Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dreary Day

There is the van again. This time headed down to the water on a dreary kind of day. We have been having many of them lately and so I muted the entire picture except for the van. There is certainly a focal point in this composition. After painting the buildings, I glazed them with cobalt blue to tone them down more. It is a cool painting with a relatively warm subordinate note of manganese blue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NYC Fire Escape

The challenge in doing this rather simple graphic is texturing the wall. It is broad and monotonous. I initially wet the paper and let the first wash run into the darkened window areas. Then added the fire escape calligraphy. I rewet the paper and added spots of color to the wall. Some mixing occurred and I then put salt on the wet areas. I think that a line wash painting would get better results and I will try that the next time. I could have a head sticking out of the window or laundry strung up as is so often seen in NYC.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Zihuatanejo Redux

This is the waterfront at my favorite Mexican destination. Love the hustle of the seaside shops and restaurants. The brilliant sun gives wonderful cast shadows which are painted cool because of the warm sun. I have painted many of the streets in this town and there is a tyranny of detail to sort through. It is difficult to eliminate so much.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Rainy Day Getaway

It has rained all this weekend and again today. This painting was done off and on while I was painting some old furniture. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and got a long way from my preliminary sketch. I did a lot of texturing and you can see the effect of salt on the bank and road. This sheet of paper was already used and this is the back of a painting. I think that is the cause of the strange streaks in the sky. The activity kept me out of the rain and not thinking about it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fog on the Bay

Hurray, the sun is back and the fog is lifting. Many times I have watched the fog creep over the Marin hills and under the Golden Gate. It was exciting to recreate the picture I have of it using boats in the foreground which would have to be Angel Island or the other side of Tiburon with the fog over Sausalito. I put a little warm note in the sky (raw sienna and opera) and then covered it with ultramarine blue. I then washed it by running a thin streak of clear water over the paper, tilting the board with the paper from side to side to soften the edge. It takes some practice but is a great technique when you paint low fog. Something you need if you paint on the San Francisco Bay.

Painting on a Cloudy Day

I needed a painting for a watercolor critique and painted this one in half an hour. I know the scene well, it is the Kite Shop in Harwich Port, and painted it from memory. I roughed it out with pencil and then added the paint. The criticism was the lettering; once you spell something out, the eye of the observer is arrested. It is like seeing someone wearing a tee shirt with writing on the front. After reading the message, if asked for the vaguest details about the person, you are stumpted. That said, I see many urban watercolor scenes that are completely boned out with signage on everything from taxis to storefronts. It does have an effect, but I am not sure of the need to avoid all lettering. Paintings need some symbol to let you know where you are.

Frosty Days are Here

We do not usually get snow but it has been cold and overcast. The sun came out yesterday and it reached the mid 60's, which feels warm. I painted this scene to remember how it is to paint snowy scenes. There is nothing like this until you get up in the mountains which are 2-3 hrs away. In painting this you leave a lot of white paper which you texture with streaks of blue and spatter. No yellow snow!