Heather Neill – Sailing Camp Shadows

Heather Neill, Sailing Camp Shadows, oil on panel, 26 x 36
In 2013, artist Heather Neill created this oil painting of the former Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven. The work hangs at the Granary Gallery. As is her habit with most of her works, Ms. Neill writes a journal entry, or in this case, a poem, describing her inspiration and process.

Sailing Camp Shadows

By the time I started this painting I was deep in the zone.

I had found the essence of the story I wanted to tell with this series

and was deeply committed to telling it honestly.

I had learned how the light could change the color of the walls in every room.

How the quality of that same light could alter the temperature of the shadows.

Yet I was still finding little surprises along the way.

Like how, in this room, on this October morning,

that light could tease itself into an obscure angle

in front of and behind the open door

and cast a theatrical raking light right back up the wall.

I wanted to play with that so I added the oar.

It lives here in my studio but the painting needed some middle ground

and so did the story being told.

It is meant to represent the Sailing Camp Days

and now the empty former hospital rooms

had few traces of happily playing children.

But the rainbows

filtering in at the edges

seem to echo their voices.

– Heather Neill

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