Rhythms of Euphoria, Fred Poisson’s dynamic new paintings in watercolor, opens the 20th season at the Jessie Edwards Studio on the second floor of the Post Office building from June 23 to July 7. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 25, from 5-7pm.
Painted in the fall of 2015 and this spring, these works immerse us in the variety of sensations that Poisson experiences during his daily early mornings on Mansion Beach as the sun rises. “Every day is a different show,” he said recently. “It is always invigorating, a source of creative unity with nature.” These works have a sense of movement and a refulgence created by layers of rich color that is not often associated with watercolors.
Poisson has always been fascinated by the movement of water at eye level, and that is exactly where he brings us, lapped by undulating waves and bathed by the light of a new day. In his title work, “Rhythms of Euphoria,” the foreground is filled with a gently swelling sea of silvery water lit by the soft early rays of the sun. A distinctive dark rock sits in the center against the horizon. Beyond, warm peach tones of light touch the low lying clouds drifting in a pale grey sky.
Poisson regards the rock and the bluffs of Clayhead as anchors for his real subject, the interaction of sky and water. All is in motion. In “Ebb and Flow,” rich layers of green and blue swirl in a dynamic eddy around a sunlit rock. In “Envelop,” lighter greens, blues, and grey churn and heave against the rock. “Stealth Current,” is an almost surreal view of the rock and water in dark shadowy tones in the foreground while on the left, translucent green water whirls against the rock. A school of fish swims within this swirl of light and water while just above, a ghostly gull skims over the waves, white wings spread against the white sky.
In contrast, “Sunrise Serenade” is all water and sky with no rock, shoreline, or creatures. It is primordial in its sense of a new world having come into being. The gentle waves in soft tones of blue and pale pink merge with a deeper rosy blur of the horizon that in turn softens into the pale sky. The gentle movement of the water is laden with quiet energy.
In two works, Poisson captures the unusual aspect of the moon in the early morning. “Slipping Away” has a long swale of deep grey-blue water sweeping across the foreground and ending in frothy surf on the right. Dunes and bluffs stretch across the middle ground. In the pale sky, a full moon descends over the dunes, a ball of orange reflecting the unseen rising sun. “Crashing Still” depicts the water and the bluffs from the same perspective, but the sea is a darker, smoother swell as it breaks into white foam. The sky is light grey with pale bands of blue and pink along the horizon. A faint crescent moon is midway in its descent above the bluffs and it draws our eye to the ridge line where four deer stand, their heads turned towards us, their ears like wings against the sky. Perhaps they too, like Poisson, draw vitality from the dawn’s early light.