Tag Archives: summer

Ah Summer!

Summer is the season that Bill Barrell enjoys the most.
Bathers, 42" x 48", 1996, oil on canvas

… When I lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts, I was in the water half the time. I had a sailboat, a big awkward thing, but it got me out to the Point where I could look back at the town with all of it’s crooked houses.  I would fish and swim. It was liberating to be without heavy clothing. Oh, I loved the other seasons but summer was special. I believe it stems from some miserable summers I spent in England growing up. It is impossible to stay in the water there for more than a few minutes.

I also summered in Maine for many years. The sea was hopelessly cold, worse than England. So we swam in the lakes. Many of my works echo those days. We would often swim in the buff. Swimming amongst the reeds was beautiful if there was a full moon! Frogs would croak, crickets would chirp and the loons would sound off across the lake to one another. They were fun filled days and my work would become fun filled too.

In Pembroke, Maine there was a waterfall where I would take my son Joshua. We would splish splash from one level to another and sit under the falls.  Small waterfalls appear often in my paintings reflecting those days of bliss.

It was even more exotic in the French West Indies where I lived for three winters. No waterfalls but water one could swim in for hours on end. Palm trees and soft breezes would make any time of day pleasurable.

Here in Easton, Pennslyvannia, I have recently been introduced to a swimming hole in the Bushkill River. I intend to take my grandchildren there to enjoy the peace and tranquility of such a bucolic environment. It’s soothing and restful.

These kinds of places crop up in my work from time to time. Here in “Bathers”, it feels like a conglomerate of all of these places.