Sunday, December 27, 2015

Liminal Reflections

                                            SAILBOATS, LAKE CHAMPLAIN
                        Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2015

Winter weather appears to be on the horizon at last here in Vermont, after what seems to have been the longest autumn ever.  This calm stretch has been strange, but it has also offered extended opportunities to contemplate big skies, bare light on the bare landscape, and reflections on waterways that seldom remain open and free of any ice so late into December.
Reflections, light, and water were important to me in 2015, coming up again and again in my painting and writing. So, as the year ends, it seems fitting that I take some time to go inside and reflect upon the currents, shapes, shadows, and light-falls that have guided my explorations.
Among these thoughts are those of deep gratitude for you who follow the words, images, and sounds I share. It is an honor to have you partake of these offerings, these energies I receive and transmit as best as I can. Thank you for your part in the confluence!
I look forward to new adventures and explorations in 2016, including the publication of the fifth book in the Liam Dutra New England mystery series, THE ISLAND OF ANCIENT LIGHT, sometime in the fall.
I wish you all wonderful things, for right now--and the year ahead!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Light

From Oakledge, Lake Champlain, December- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2015.

As the year turns, I once again give thanks for the lake that has taken hold of my heart and soul, inspiring so many explorations of mystery, power, landscape, water, shoreline, and sky...

Thanks  to all  of you who share these adventures with me here. I hope you'll be back in 2016!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Sketches

In autumn the shores and waters of Lake Champlain seem to hold on to summer colors and textures quite a bit longer than do the surrounding areas. You can see fall higher up in the mountains all around, and in the changing angle of light on the water and islands, in the flocks of geese in motion, the rust and gold of grasses and some copses of trees-- yet there are those remaining suffused blues and grays of sky and water, and still so much green all around. Eventually November winds will strip away the late summer vestiges, and snow and ice are likely to take over. But in October it is the way the light strikes and suffuses that offers the truest sense of autumn.-KMB


Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2015.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Look Back at Summer ( watercolor painting)

Last week, beginning a watercolor commission, I found myself preparing an autumn palette. 
With the light changing and the leaves turning, I thought I might look back and post one last Lake Champlain painting from the amazing, almost-endless summer of 2015.  

                                From Oakledge, August.
                                Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2015.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Painting Journal, Summer's End.

Summer’s hold has been strong this year in Vermont—and it has made for a long and satisfying season of lakeside watercolor painting. It seems that there has been so much light and color to explore, with endless surprises and variations.
Here I will a share a day’s work of paintings from late August.
 As usual, I began at the Burlington Waterfront, with boats and reflections ( and a very large iced coffee.) The water was ruffled by wind, and the strong morning sun made bright fields of reflected color. It was a bit of a struggle to keep things from blowing away, making for a very physical, almost athletic, session of painting.

I packed up my very portable painting gear ( see the photo at the bottom of the page) and ran for a while along the shore, stopping to paint at the urban beach south of Perkins Pier. The wind quieted, and thin high clouds veiled and filtered the sun now. I found myself re-wetting and reworking quite a bit to capture the strange flat light. The end result seems to me to have the look of a work in pastels and gouache.

After more running, I settled in and set up on the rocks at Oakledge Park. I met another painter there, and we had an inspiring conversation. Later, after swimming, and sunning on the rocks, I made a few paintings of the long view, toward Shelburne Point and beyond to the Adirondack Mountains. The afternoon light here is ever-changing and full of energy—I never grow tired of painting this view.

In the late afternoon the light simply suffuses the harbor and marinas, washing out colors and creating high contrasts. I made a very quick monochromatic sketch of a boat inside the breakwater, before I had to run again and catch a bus home. 
The summer light will stay with me, inside me, I am quite sure.   -KMB

All paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2015.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

the long lake between mountains with all the sky above (new music)

                                         (Photo by KMB)

I tend to keep a sort of sonic easel, a place to hold ongoing soundworks for long stretches of time, often the length of a season. I think of these long-form works as actual places I can go to,  places made of sound and space, usually inspired by my re-imagining of  real places in the world.
While there in the music, I treat the sounds, notes, timbres, and textures like paint on paper or canvas, working and playing with proportions, moods, the evocation of landscape and memory. I might keep a work going for months, listening, layering, listening again, until one day it begins to feel finished.

This latest soundwork was begun in the spring and finished in late summer. The energy behind it is the sense of a walk along the stretch of Lake Champlain shoreline from Oakledge to Perkins Pier in Burlington, Vermont. This walk takes the form of pilgrimage,  an immersion in what is there, the way  the elements experienced resonate with something deep and eternal:  a shifting and shimmering of shapes, landforms, waterway and sky, all things rearranging in slow change from angle to angle, aspect to aspect.

I find that these soundworks tell me things that I need to know: things that I might not reach in any other way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Strange Summer Light (watercolor painting)

For a few minutes on a July afternoon, just before clouds thickened and thunder rolled, the light  across Lake Champlain became very strange-- a sort of luminous, saturated, high-contrast mistiness that suffused the sky and water and shore in and around Burlington Bay.
 I stopped and made this very quick watercolor from the sea-wall at Blanchard Beach. I used very light washes contrasted with dark dry-brush pigments. I had to do a lot of scraping down to bare paper in an attempt to capture the crazy brightness that hit the sails and some places on the water.- KMB

Afternoon, Before a Summer Storm, Lake Champlain- Painting by  Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, July 29, 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Day of Painting at Burlington Bay

Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, June 17, 2015

Too long between trips to the lake—my eyes, heart, soul were more than ready for the water and sky on this perfect cool, clear June morning.  As usual, I began the day with painting--and large iced coffee -- at Perkins Pier, lost in a bliss of morning sun, boats and water and light in motion.

Time vanishes when I paint.

 Running along the bike path , beaches, shore, with my paints and brushes and paper in backpack, I stopped when spirit moved me, painted some more, the distances, shapes and textures of lak e, islands, mountains, and sky shifting as I changed angle and vantage. At Oakledge I stopped for waves and sun for hours. In the afternoon I made my way back the way I had come, but this time in that shimmer of afternoon light that is one of the miracles of Burlington Bay.

 Painting seemed such a flow today, a deep and energetic meditation. Perhaps it helped that I had found a new watercolor paper block that I really liked, in a size and dimensions perfect for what I was seeing. Also, I felt like I had arrived at just the right summer palette: Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Rose, Yellow Ochre, Viridian, Payne’s Gray, White. 

But even putting matters of technique and material to the side, it  remains that every time I come to this familiar place, I find something new to see, feel, and paint.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lake Champlain, almost sunset, almost spring

LAKE CHAMPLAIN, ALMOST SUNSET, ALMOST SPRING- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2015.

My first lake painting for 2015 comes from the energies and movements of changing light, changing skies, the liminal seasonal transformations of ice and open water.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Lake Champlain and Adirondacks ( Winter Sky in Motion) --watercolor painting

For the second year in a row, the National Weather Service has declared Lake Champlain closed-- that is, completely frozen over. As the lake is more than 100 miles long and around 12 miles across at the widest point, that's a lot of ice.
This watercolor, finished recently, was begun back in late December,when there was open water to be found.

Lake Champlain and Adirondacks (Winter Sky in Motion)  Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2015,