DUNE SHACK SERIES
“The Great Beach is not only a metaphor. It exists geographically as the wild backshore of Cape Code, and I am lucky enough to have lived and painted there every summer for the last twenty-seven years.”
— Jan Gelb
One week in the Margo-Gelb dune shack/Fine Art Work Center, Peaked Hill Trust Artist-in-Residence, Provincetown, MA
Friday, July 18th
My journey began as I packed my rental car with all the supplies and provisions for my "dune" stay. A dear friend hosted a soiree in Osterville, and sneak preview of the film Unconditioned Love about Henry Henshe and Hans Hofman's painting school in Provincetown.
Saturday, July 19th
I purchased my perishables and traveled Route 6 to Provincetown. At 11:30 I found 555 Commercial Street to visit with a lovely friend. She and her friends toasted to my success and "return" from the dunes. Neil, the PHT caretaker, brought me to the dunes. Murray Zimiles, his son, and a guest greeted us at "Boris".
They helped me get my belongings/supplies to the shack...it was amazingly well stocked. The views were absolutely breathtaking. I relaxed, cooked and settled into the pace of the dunes. I found the silence rejuvenating...the outhouse, water pump, and kerosene lamps were challenging. I derived a new respect for running water, electricity, and our forefathers. As I sat on the bench in front of two large windows I realized the panoramic expanse was hypnotic. The wind blew and whistled through the door and windows. The field of tall grass moved and rippled, the humming birds, osprey, and sparrows became my neighbors...this peace is what I was seeking...it provided the environment to create.
Sunday, July 20th
Michele and Neil hosted a birthday party for artist, Adaline, at a nearby shack "Zara." This was reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century salon. Writers, artists, actors, singers, and "dune enthusiasts" gathered to enjoy great food, drink, and wonderful conversation...I learned so much about the dunes and the art community in Provincetown. What a civilized way to start my week in the dunes.
Monday, July 21st to Thursday, July 24th
Studio time...no distractions. I had mentally prepared my approach to painting the natural beauty of the diverse landscape surrounding me. The shack had decks on all four sides of the 9' x 16' structure, creating four views plus variations. I began by painting the interior and then the view from the large (Northeast view) windows facing the ocean in black ink and washes. Then I painted the southeast view. Rosa Rugosa (sea roses) surrounded two sides and were sprinkled over the landscape throughout all my views. The dunes were 30 feet tall in areas, tall blades of grass and shrubs abound, creating tremendous texture and layering leading to the ocean.
Tireless opportunities to paint here...the light was amazing...and the colors changed dramatically during the days. As a tropical hurricane approached, the vivid colors from the sunny days faded to muted deep hues. The solitude of this experience was remarkable and enriching. I was undistracted and free to paint, write, read, walk, explore, and truly experience the unique life of the outer cape dunes. I will always relish the experience...I was stretched and renewed.
—Anne Fitzpatrick, Journal, July 1997
All pieces are painted in gouache on archival paper