By Andrew Rudansky
The Grenning Gallery, a staple in the Sag Harbor art scene is presenting an opening reception for British import Paul Rafferty at their new location on 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor.
The opening on Saturday, August 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. will showcase some of Rafferty’s impressionist and post-impressionist landscapes and life-scenes from the East End and Europe. This show will feature many noticeable landmarks of the Hamptons, including the Sag Harbor Cinema, the American Hotel, Long Beach and The Dock House.
Rafferty, who was born in Oxford, England, has had no formal training himself, but paints based on what he calls a “melting pot” of influences.
“I take a little bit from everyone,” he says. “I consider myself a tonalist not a colorist…I only use six colors. What really influences me is light,” said Rafferty of his work.
Light plays a central role in all of Rafferty’s paintings. One of his works entitled “Waiting for Lunch” is a close-up view of the American Hotel, located on Main Street, Sag Harbor. He explains that he combined three different light sources to influence the colors of the painting: lights from the interior, sunlight and the shadowed light on water.
“Light ties my collection together,” he said.
Rafferty says the light on the East End has a grey quality that he tries to put into his paintings of the local area. He adds that places across the globe give off different light In the South of France, where Rafferty now lives, has a golden light, where California has a blue tint to the light.
Rafferty eschews a traditional studio for the open air. “I like to paint outside,” he said. He explains that when you are inside you cannot capture the light on the canvas. Light plays such an important role in his creative process that he might discard a piece he is working on if he doesn’t capture the light within 30 minutes. He explains the reason for this is “It’s a different painting every half hour.”
“Sunset Over the Haerter Bridge” a massive 48 by 60-inch oil painting of the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge in Sag Harbor is one of Rafferty’s most impressive pieces for this show. The painting was completed two years ago and was originally titled “Sunset Over the Sag Harbor Bridge.”
“I have always loved this painting,” said Rafferty. But now, with the renaming of the bridge and significance it has for Sag Harbor locals the painting now has “a deeper meaning,” he noted.
Like Monet, Rafferty is interested in series paintings, painting the same scene at different times of day or season. Rafferty expressed interest in doing a series of paintings for the Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge in the future.