Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

painting with mike


 Weds. I went up the road to visit my dear good friends Mike and Lisa, both of whom do all kinds of things, and do them well. Mike is adding watercolor painting to his list of accomplishments. We were going to paint together on our sailing trip; turned out I couldn't go, but Mike painted anyway, for which I applaud him--it's hard to sit down and paint on vacation when no one else is doing it, and he made some beautiful paintings (which I'll post here when I get his permission).
We set up a couple of simple still lifes and finally managed to paint a little yesterday and today.
Below are Mike's paintings. Aren't they great? I love his watermelon, and the peaches and cherries are so rich and dark. The whole painting has Chinese feeling to it.
Mike painted these next two on a little pad of Sennelier paper that I brought along--he's been painting on lightweight paper, which, you know, can be a struggle. I love the color of his corn and tomato and the garlic bulb is just great.
Mike has beginner's mind and just works with what he has--I don't think he even has ultramarine blue!--It makes me wish I were a beginner again.
And here's a portrait of the reason we didn't get even more painting done.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

next up ...

I added more rigging to and behind the Lucky Danny (I know it looks like Lucky Penny, which is also okay!) and contemplated doing more to define the apparatus on all the boats, but decided to skip it here, mainly for the reason that, when I look at my photos, I'm not really sure what I'm looking at. I may need to consult a commercial fisherman!
There's such a tumble of lines and unidentifiable things, that I can't pick them all out. I'll have to settle for the suggestion ... and call it done.

I also started a larger redo of the scene that I messed up earlier (below). This time I started with the windows, which I was so unhappy with and washed out (big mistake: there's no going back) in the earlier version. The ones above are okay; though I don't like how uniform they are and think perhaps I should have broken a few of the edges and let the paint run out ... But I'm not going to meddle them with now, as I'm sure that would not be a help. "Don't correct," just move on.
Windows are hit-or-miss for me. Sometimes they work so well; othertimes they're ugly black holes! Sometimes I just draw two sides of a window, or the shadows the frames cast. I find the more thoroughly I try to describe them, the worse they look to me.
Does anyone have a preferred method for painting windows?


 Today I got some new brushes in the mail, recommended to me by my friend Shelby, whose teacher recommended them to her. They're Pearl Paints Tribeca brushes: synthetic (so inexpensive), with big bellies that hold lots of water, and nice fine points.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

a little further ...

The problem, for me, with working in stages instead of rushing through to completion in one sitting is that I beging to lose heart: I get timid; every new thing seems like a mistake ...
This is very nearly done, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow and then attack it early in the day, before I have time to wring my hands.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

saturday's efforts

Awhile back I bought some Japanese watercolor markers, which I've since supplemented with some colored Tonbow markers ... I made a couple of little sketches with them to try them out, then forgot all about them.
Yesterday I got them out and enjoyed playing around a bit: I feel a little afraid--ridiculous, I know--of the intense color, but, on the other hand, the markers seem to encourage more playfulness.

After being disappointed with the last fishing boat painting I worked on (I haven't posted it, but I will), yesterday I decided to start on this drawing I made last week.
I'm being careful, which is unlike me ... but I think I want to get past some details and major areas being cautious, with the hope that then I'll be able to finish off the sky and water a little more freely.

This is where I stopped last night:

And this is what I did this morning:

Now I'll prop it up where I can see it and think it over before going any further.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had painted the Brandywine Shoal lighthouse before. Here's one I did a year or two ago ... I had an earlier one, which I gave to a nice young man who was doing some construction work at my house and mentioned to me several times how much he liked it.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

koi studies

Continues hot and muggy here. Taking a break from the fishing boat paintings: I've done a couple of drawings on Fabriano paper, which I'm thinking may be too "soft" to enjoy painting on in this humidity. Instead I thought I'd play around with some koi studies--quickly done and then left alone (though I did go back, and overdo, the middle one). These are also on Fabriano paper, but are small and I didn't intend to "work" on them much.
These are in the opposite order of how I painted them: I did this last one first, and drew the shapes before I painted; the other two I didn't draw first.
At first, I was most disappointed with the one I drew and thought the drawing had weakened the painting, but now, looking at it, I'm partial to this one ... So, you never know!
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I think there used to be a little dock here; my dad may have kept his boat there years ago ... During the boom these little places were being torn down and replaced by condos; condos that are now, in the bust, mostly empty.
Damp, humid weather continues here: not conducive to watercolor painting ... Perhaps it's a good time to start a sketchbook.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

brandywine shoal lighthouse

Brandywine shoal lighthouse
My favorite of the Delaware Bay lighthouse. 
I haven't painted it in a few years, but it looked so beautiful yesterday that I'll probably try soon. I'd like to do a series including the Cape May and East Point lights, which are both on land, and Miah Maull and East Point, which are in the bay.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

angelsea views

Last night, after painting this, I redrew it, with the red house smaller to allow for more space around it, and eliminating the white house.
It was extremely damp and rainy here yesterday and obviously I couldn't wait for the paint to dry.

This one isn't done yet, but I redrew it also, making the house smaller ... I guess I think of these as a set.
I did discover a color combination that I love while painting the smaller building: burnt sienna (Winsor & Newton, in this case) and Holbein's royal blue (PB60), which is a dark, cool, transparent blue like Daniel Smith's indranthone blue.

I've tried many times over the years to keep a notebook or notebooks--one for painting advice, ideas, lists; one for books I want to or have read; but I'm not a creature of habit (probably because I have no schedules!). Consequently I have numerous little books with things jotted on the first few pages that are otherwise empty. Once in a while in a fit of desire for order, I decide to try to consolidate them.
I found this list of painting advice gleaned from various: these I thought were the highlights to keep in mind.

Going fishing today!
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

diligent squirrels get the best of tired proofreader

A few years ago I had phenomenal success with sunflowers: I planted a variety of them out front, where I get sun all day, and had some that were over six feet tall. I've tried every year since, but the squirrels always outsmart me.
This year I thought I had a good plan and started the seeds indoors, then planted the seedlings. But I guess seedlings must taste pretty good too, because the next morning they were all gone.
Now I just buy them: I picked up a little bunch at a farm stand day before yesterday. And continue to try to figure out how to paint them.
Houses on bay, North Wildwood
(9x12 sheet)

I put in a long day yesterday trying to finish a proofreading job: an anthology of Middle Eastern writing of the last century. It's fatiguing working on a large job with so many special characters and diacriticals--so many little things, along with all the rest, to keep track of. Diligence is a short-lived virtue.
The collection is one in a series of works put together by Words Without Borders; you can visit their website here. I read their eponymous short story collection and would recommend it. The anthology I'm proofreading, Tablet and Pen, is edited by Reza Aslan and features works translated from Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu.
I didn't finish, but had to stop and was going to just enjoy a few margaritas on the deck, but the bugs were a nuisance, so I came in and made these sketches for painting later, when the job's finished.
My father's--or as I called him when I was small no matter how many times my mother told me he was "daddy," Danny--last job was for Conrail, whose motto was "Keep It Moving," which I've adopted as my own.
"Lucky Danny," Cape May fishing boat (11x15)


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Friday, July 09, 2010

more from inspiration all around us

Hydrangeas, or any flower made of small clusters, are taxing to my brain! I think they're best painted by negative painting ... picking out all the little interstices.
I did this in two stages: the (blurry--sorry!) photo below shows where I stopped last night. Today, taking a break from work, I kept adding and adding until I ran out of time! Not the best methodology for watercolor painting.
I wish I had planned and left more white space. If I do it again, I will.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Having some difficulty uploading this image to the post it belongs in, below ... so, in frustration, my inelegant solution: a new post.
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inspiration all around us

I continue to lag behind the current challenge on Inspiration All Around Us.
This little still life appealed to me for it's Renoir-like colors.
I painted it twice, but put more effrot into the top one, which was coming along more nicely. I much prefer the cooler, green-tinged cast shadows to my usual bllue-violet ones.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

fishing boats

Working on more fishing boats--work that's considerably more pleasant than actually working on a fishing boat. (Do you ever watch The Deadliest Catch?)
I've been kind of thinking--though anything involving commerce is outside my usual realm of thought--that there might be a market for these, and so now I'm considering these 6x9s as studies for larger paintings to come: a way to work out shapes and colors, hopefully refining them and improving on the compositions and my color choices. I suppose some painters do that before painting--but I can't; I have to try it out.
For instance, in the top painting, I wanted a reflected glow on the wheelhouse ... but didn't get it; the color looks dingy.
This morning I washed the whole area out, which, for me anyway, usually leads to an even bigger mess. I'll let it dry--if it will, in this humidity--and see if it's still workable.

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