James Coe

Pond Light; Into the Sun, 2020
Oil on Linen
20 x 30 x 1 in
Completed in my studio this past winter, shortly before the Coronavirus pandemic took hold of our world, Pond Light; Into the Sun is the largest and most recent of a series of paintings representing this little hidden pond located in what is currently a park in the Hudson Valley village of Greenville, New York, just a few miles from home. Historically, this was a shallow farm pond, as the park is situated on lands that had been maintained and farmed since before the Revolution by the Vanderbilt family and which were donated to the community just a few years ago.

I have painted this same view looking across the reflective surface of the pond south towards the northernmost escarpment of the Catskill Mountains many times – both on site, and in the studio. I have taken groups of students to share the view and paint the scene with me. I know it so well! Obviously, the nature of the scene can vary with the season and with weather conditions. It can be dark and brooding, or blinding with sun. The water can be still and mirror-clear, or crusted with swirls of bright green scum, or frozen solid and packed with snow. But the peace and solitude I find in this location is what moves me most. Few visitors to the park or dog-walkers ever bother hiking down into the hollow where the pond is tucked away.

During these past weeks of self-isolation and social distancing, my wife and I have found that the park and the trail that leads down to ‘my’ pond have provided a welcome escape on our walks together. The view is always inspiring. The motif calls me to paint it again. And I look forward to setting up my easel up there very soon.