Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Sketches

Sketched this from a picture in minutes and then added watercolor. All done in 20min. Can see where it's tempting to make changes. Great exercise for loosening up and minimizing the strokes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ready for Summer in Harwich

One of my favorite painting subjects is the Kite Shop on Main St. in Harwichport, MA which is on Cape Cod. It is iconic for me and after painting it for years, I find many others trying it. It is a blast of colors. The front walkway is usually filled with things that you have to navigate around. It is a magnate for kids in the summer. I mixed all of my colors for this painting on the paper. I have been doing this all week and starting to get familiar with outcomes. This direct glazing gives a more intensive color.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Work Project

This watercolor was done by blending paint on the paper or direct glazing. It was experimental and the outcome gives the boat an almost metallic quality. This is the thalo blue effect on burnt sienna. Blending or mixing directly puts everything in motion. It makes everything shift and slide allowing you to transform things and go with the flow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Paint Daily?

Here are two watercolor paintings done over the weekend. They were attempts at mixing paint on the paper or 'direct glazing'. The California Missions have plenty of color and it was a challenge to mix and get different shades and intensities of color. Daily painting for me allows me this risk taking and trying out new things. There is some concern of not getting it 'right' but then you can do it again. When
working full time with only weekends and vacations for painting, I would hold back and paint only the tried and true in my insistance on getting it perfect. In the above mission paintings I had no idea what would happen with all of the reds. I started with new gamboge and added opera or alizarin red. While still wet I tried several blues for this direct glazing experiment. What surprises and it was fun without fear of failure.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plein Air Painting in Cold Weather

I know that California is not really cold but it is uncomfortable to be out painting for any length of time. Warm clothes help and standing and walking around or dancing around your work is even better. I've seen pictures of artists out in the snow but not for me. When the temp soars, I am much more at home with painting.
Yesterday the temp was in the 40s and no sun at the start. There was a scheduled paintout but I was the only show until an hour later. By two hours the sun was breaking through a completely cloudy overcast day. By then I was well into my painting but I did put in the new-found shadows. One note about plein air painting in the cold is that it forces you to make quick decisions and paint with the fewest strokes. That is something I've always sought as a watercolorist.
Other than the huge palm the rest of the deciduous trees are without foliage.  The green lawns are somewhat bleached out.  The tree in the foreground is purposely not in focus but by crossing all planes of the picture, gives more depth.  Maybe a little chill and shiver in the hand is good for painting leafless branches.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Painting from Memory

This is a well known structure near my summer place; in fact, it is rather infamous. Summer activity at the Irish Pub is standing room only, most nights. I have done many sketches and several paintings over the years. Yesterday, I just drew out what I recalled about the place and painted away. I last did a plein air painting of the pub two years ago. This is a good exercise. In art school, we used to do projects where we looked at something for awhile and then painted what we remembered. It eliminates the unimportant details. After I was done, I went rummaging for an old photo of the place and found that I had most of the things in the right place.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Plein Air Painters Handle Bad Weather

Happy New Year. You want to go out and paint but the weather is brutally cold. There is a strong pull to reading or computer surfing. I just returned from a wonderful holiday with grand kids for 2 weeks and did no painting. I see the little ones so seldom that I gave them my full attention. Now, the combination of cold weather and time off makes painting difficult to start. I remember driving by a boat sitting up on a bank;it was in terrible shape. I went online to get some boat images that fit what I remembered. Next I tried a couple of sketches and now I had the juices flowing. I turned it all around and came up with something that I had to paint. I call it 'A Labor of Love'. Can't wait for the weather to change but this was fun.