2010 Population: 2,750
Atlantic Oaks is a modern campground with a long list of conveniences which have been custom-tailored to meet the needs of RV’ers. Large, wooded, pull-thru sites are not only equipped with the full hookups which you would expect, but also include cable TV. Amenities include clean modern restrooms, free private hot showers, wireless high speed Internet service, a laundry, and LP gas sales. Our new 5,000 square foot multi-purpose building, shown above, is now open. There's also a playground, store and security gate for the convenience and enjoyment of our guests. Our campground is ideally situated, in the Town of Eastham, only a half mile from the National Seashore Visitor Center and just twenty miles from Provincetown. Bay and ocean beaches are nearby and the Cape Cod Rail Trail actually touches the back of our camp! While staying here at Atlantic Oaks, you may choose from many attractions in the area. These include playing in the surf at the National Seashore, swimming in the calm waters of the Cape Cod Bay, or bicycling any portion (or the entire length!) of the renowned Cape Cod Rail Trail. There are other nearby recreational options; take a whale watch trip from Provincetown, charter a fishing boat or launch your own from Rock or Wellfleet Harbors. Excellent restaurants, gift and antique shops are all close by, along with mini golf, the famous Wellfleet Flea Market and the Cape’s last drive-in movie theater.
3700 Route 6, Eastham, MA
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|The Tyranny of Limited Perspective|
Monday May 29, 2023
Walk With Cole & Lili, 40 x 40 inches, oil on canvas
Last October I encountered fall foliage on one of my walks along the Atlantic edge in Truro. In my twelve autumns living on Cape Cod, I'd never stumbled across this kind of seasonal color and, for many years had said 'we're not a foliage place.' Boy, was I wrong!
In my exuberance, I made a series of paintings that brought crimson, orange and gold into my depictions of the fading autumn landscape. The paintings are striking, and I'm proud of them, but it's been implied by quite a few people that they aren't very Cape Cod-y. I had a similar reaction a few years ago when I made a series of paintings about cherry blossoms in Truro's North Cemetery. It's got me thinking about how we understand a place, and what attracts us to an image.
For me, the turn of seasons, and the expressions of nature in fleeting moments, are critical to my process of understanding a place. In a sense, the unusual qualities of crimson and gold in the autumn landscape helps me see anew the trails I traverse so often in the summer and winter ? when the volatility of the landscape comes through sky & sea more than via plant life.
I'm aware that I'm both painting for myself ? pursuing my ongoing project of investigating this place ? and also for an audience that's looking to hold their experience of Cape Cod in the form of a picture. While my parents occasionally brought me to Wellfleet in the autumn and spring, I was in my 40s before I really encountered Cape Cod in winter. I remember that seeing frozen cranberry bogs and snow on the beach felt like revelations. Those images are in my visual vocabulary for this place but, when I'm honest with myself, deep in my psyche this is still a 'summer place' to me. So I get it.
I think a lot about making paintings. And, as both an artist and a workshop facilitator, I confront a lot of opinions about the 'right way' to make paintings. Of course, there are a lot of ways to make paintings, but people miss that fact when they're invested in what they know or what they've been told to believe. It's my belief that an artist has to 'listen to the painting' and use whatever means it requires to allow the picture to emerge.
I recently taught a workshop ? Visual Research & Painting From Source Material ? that was designed to explore different ways to 1) create a practice of visual research, 2) understand the different ways source material can be used to create paintings, and 3) grow a creative practice by documenting and reflecting on one's process of developing a visual language. While I offered some potential paths forward, the crux of the workshop was the development of skills and habits that work for the individual artist.
The advent of chemical photography created a crisis for painting. No longer the most efficient method of creating portraits or documenting events, far from 'being dead,' painting has reinvented itself (nearly) every generation since the 1840s. With that rapid cycle of reinvention we've inherited historically specific methods and manifestos ? rife with rules and (often) doctrinaire philosophies. People have been taught fragments of these ideas, very often without historical context, and have come to believe they constitute some kind of truth. But these fragments offer a limited understanding of the possibility inherent in the human proclivity to make pictures. Painting is complex and many avenues lead to great paintings.
For example, I believe deeply in the virtue of observational drawing as a practice. But I also know that drawing and painting are distinct disciples, and don't adhere to a hierarchy. One can make fantastic paintings with limited experience with observational drawing. And drawing should never been seen merely as step toward painting. That said, I love pictures that hew a line between drawing and painting ? allowing for both rich passages of color and elegant line work.
In the wonderful BBC documentary, David Hockney's Secret Knowledge, Hockney explores the various ways artists used lenses starting in 1420 to create paintings. He debunks the art historical idea that these paintings were made via observational drawing. Indeed, it's the skill of the painter using the technologies of optics and paint, not the draftsman, that bring life to these pictures. Hockney ends the documentary with a comparison of 14th c and late 19th c painting ? when artists returned to the project of creating expressive pictures as a reaction to the advent of chemical photography. This documentary helps me understand that I can use tools and technology to create paintings ? because, regardless what anyone tells me about 'the right way to make a painting,' visual tools and resources been part of the Western picture painting tradition for 600 years. This is not to say that familiarity with observational drawing didn't support the creation of these artworks, but rather that it wasn't as central as we've been led to believe.
Although few people pay attention to it, the primary statement on my Instagram profile is ?This is Visual Research.? I use my phone camera as a tool to capture ideas and sharpen my skills of composition as I navigate my works. I also capture visual culture I encounter that I suspect might inspire my creativity in the future. Some people have picked-up on my practice, however, and somehow think it's okay to tell me which photographs I should make into paintings. Beyond being supremely annoying ? it's never cool to insert yourself into an artist's practice ? it also misses the point. A good painting never comes from the direct transposition of a photograph (indeed that can be a recipe for very bad painting), but rather from a practice of looking and a process of those observations filtering through the body.
While I spend considerable energy trying to expand my perspective as a painter, as a teacher I spend even more energy trying to liberate other painters from arbitrary rules ? or the tyranny of limited perspective. While there are many teachers who present recipes and specific methods for painting, technique alone never makes a great painting. Rather, there's an alchemy between exploration, vision and nerve that births great painting. It's a lesson I need to continue embracing ? and striving toward. |