Calm Morning1904 by Frank Weston Benson

In the late 1890s Benson began to paint outdoors and over the next 2 decades he produced many of his most popular plein air paintings, primarily of his family at play...

In Calm Morning Benson depicted his 3 oldest children fishing over the side of a dory—Eleanor, the eldest, to the left in the stern of the boat; Elisabeth to the right; and George standing. Benson’s bright, luminous colors and long varied brush strokes give the effect of warm sun shining on the children and the inside of the boat, contrasting with the cool, quiet ocean. He skillfully captured the reflections on the stern of the boat and the deep green color of the water in its shadow. Although Benson usually composed and painted a finished oil directly on the canvas, for Calm Morning he took a more academic approach, making 3 oil studies which he combined into this larger work. Benson was pleased with the result, declaring it his “best out of door work.” (
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