Into the Mystic with J.M.W. Turner

Last week I showed a few photos of my sketchbook from my visit to see the Turner watercolor exhibit but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. You see, today I’m going to inundate you with photos I took of both the location and the exhibit itself. Fortunately photos were not only allowed but encouraged.

J.M.W. Turner… Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April, 1775 – 19 December, 1851)






The Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT is perfect, located on the Mystic River just as it empties into Fishers Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  It seems William Turner, throughout his life was enamored of the sea and its seafaring vessels. The exhibit includes works spanning his life as early on he depicts architecture for his patrons while he transitions to studies of landscapes and light. All of these are awe-inspiring but I was particularly taken with his more atmospheric ethereal pieces done in his later years when he bucked society’s expectations and experimented and created for his own pleasure.

The photos that follow are roughly in chronological order and are heavily weighted to his later work that I love so much.  I’m not going to describe them but instead have captioned each work for reference.  Oh, and please excuse the reflections from the glass… you may want to google the captions to find better online images.


Loch Long Morning 1801


Durham Cathedral: The Interior, Looking East Along the South Aisle 1797-8



Brent Toor and the Lydford Valley, Devon 1814-16


A Hulk or Husks on the River Tamar: Twilight 1811-14



Kirkby Lonsdale 1817


Shields Lighthouse 1823-6


Banditti, for Samuel Rogers’s Italy 1826-7



The Forum, for Rogers’s Italy 1826-7


Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore – Early Morning 1819



Marly-Sur-Seine: Color Beginning 1829-30


A Wreck, Possibly Related to “Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End” 1834


Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland 1837


(Whitehaven), Cumbria 1835-6


Coastal Terrain 1830-45



Sea and Sky 1845


Venice: Looking Across the Lagoon at Sunset 1840


Venice: An Imaginary View of the Arsenale 1840


Sea and Sky 1835


Brighton Shore, Looking West 1824


A Harpooned Whale 1845



Beach, (English Coast) 1835


(Flint Castle) 1834


Sketchbook and Loose Papers



Admission is to the entire Mystic Seaport Museum… its village, exhibitions, shipyard and vessels.




And if you stay overnight and are as fortunate as we were to have a brisk sunny day you might just want to find a spot to walk the shore and enjoy the scenery.



The Turner Watercolor Exhibit continues at the Mystic Seaport Museum until Sunday, 23 February, 2020. 

#jmwturner,  #mysticseaportmuseum


To The Sea and Mr. Turner

I’ve just returned from a short overnight excursion to Mystic, CT, specifically the Mystic Seaport Museum, to see the JMW Turner watercolor exhibit.

I’m still processing all that I experienced and I have many many observations and photos to share but they’ll have to wait. Instead I’m going to share a few pages of my sketchbook to show you how much more my books contain than a few quotes, drawings and splashes of color.

I keep brochures and even full sized maps that I sew into the book as extra pages. All sorts of things too valuable to toss or to lose on my messy desk in a failed attempt to keep them safe.

All this and a drawing too!

Sketching the Sketchers

Our local college, Dartmouth, has closed its Hood art museum for two years as it renovates and expands. In the meantime they’ve created an exhibition space in a previously empty storefront downtown… cleverly named Hood Downtown. Last Thursday night they had a “Sip and Sketch” event featuring noshes and drinks. (White wine, ginger ale, Perrier…nothing with color in case there were was an “incident”.) 

The museum had set up two beautiful 360 degree still lifes for us to draw. I briefly thought of sketching the objects but instead decided to sketch the sketchers. My subjects were so intent on their own work they never knew they were models!

The Hood, like many other museums, has a policy of allowing only pencils for drawing in its exhibition space. That’s okay by me… the humble pencil is a powerful tool!

If you’re in the area be sure to see the current exhibit, Bahar Behbahani’s Let the Garden Eram Flourish. It will be on view through March 12, 2017. 

Here’s just one of Ms. Behbahani’s stunning works… Adorned With Pillars (mixed media on canvas). 

Witness Protection Program

I have more pages from my new favorite pocket sketchbook to share today.

It’s the Daler-Rowney Simply Pocket Sketchbook. I found it for $5 at Walmart and decided to give it a go. I consider it “Moleskine – Lite” since it looks and has all the elements of a Moleskine but with much thinner pages. The label shows all the particulars.

I don’t need the thicker pages… this is my pen n’ ink, people sketching, note taking, every day carry book. It’s great with all my black ink pens, but what if I felt like adding color?

Not an issue with standard colored pencils.

What about a scribble of watercolor pencils dissolved with the touch of a waterbrush?

No problem. The paper buckled a tiny bit but there was no bleedthrough. Granted, I didn’t flood the page.

I know this woman, we used to work for the same company years ago! I wonder if mutual friends will recognize her from my sketch.

… so much for the witness protection program.