I spent the afternoon adding details to trees, improving the drawing, and painting MY car instead of the car that abandoned me in my first session. I also added a figure walking on the street. I'm not sure this one is done yet, but it's getting close; I'm inclined to leave it loose like this. I'll set it aside for a week or so to think on it.
When I started this painting, there was a car parked on the left side of the road, but of course it drove away after an hour. I may park my car on the road tomorrow so that I have a model to paint.
I spent the afternoon in a smelly alley behind a gas station. (Quite a change of venue after painting the National Cathedral the other day!) I was initially drawn to the scene by the way the light slanted across the scene, but as I sat there, I appreciated other things: the many people who visited the dumpster; the large tangle of pipes, wires, and utility poles behind the building; the various shades of green on the dumpster itself; the mysterious lights inside the doorway at the end of the alley.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to paint a study of the west facade of the National Cathedral. As I was painting, a pair of newlyweds drove up and told me they'd just been married there! They were delighted to hear that my wife and I were married there too! I took their photograph and gave them my card.
As for the painting itself, I had time only for an impressionistic sketch, so I simplified things and painted loosely. The exercise gave me new appreciation for Monet's Rouen Cathedral series. It is hard enough to draw all that architecture; it's even harder when the shadows change every 5 minutes, as they do with all those nooks and crannies. I hope to return to this spot with a larger canvas and the time to do a more careful rendering. But I think this study is a good start.
I did a study of Little Falls Creek last year, and I've been meaning to turn it into a larger studio painting. For this first effort, I experimented with the odd painting implements pioneered by David Dunlop: squeegees, house-painting brushes, paper towels, gloves, fingers. The result is a bit messy, but I do like the lighting effects. I haven't decided what to do next with this picture.
It was too hot to paint outside today, so I did this little still life for fun.
It was 97 degrees here today, but that didn't stop your intrepid correspondent from getting outside and busting out the oil paints! What's more, I busted out a big canvas -- 18" x 24," absolutely huge by my standards. I worked on the picture about 3-4 hours. I like it, but I think I need to make the distant objects -- the trees, and the furthest red barn -- recede more by cooling down their colors a bit. I'll let it sit for a few days and think on it.
This is a parkland area along Brookside Drive, a quiet local street. It was very hot and very buggy, but I did my best. The painting took about 3 or 4 hours.
It was a beautiful but hot day, so I decided to draw and paint at the swimming pool. I wasn't sure I'd finished coloring this piece when it was time to leave, but maybe less is more?
Here's a picture of the piece after I'd finished drawing, with just one thin wash of watercolor on one part of the roof. I love drawing architecture! If the weather stays this hot, I may draw this building a lot this summer.
I voted and then spent a couple days hanging out at my polling place, talking to campaign volunteers and a couple candidates -- and sketching the proceedings. Here are some of the political signs in the parking lot:
And here's the entrance to the polling place. There was a steady trickle of people arriving to vote, but at any given moment, there were more campaigners than voters.
I went back to my benches today. I made some progress, but I'm still not satisfied with the benches themselves, and I'm not sure if there's enough contrast between light and dark. The foreground is mostly in shadow, except for some light hitting the ground between the benches; but there is bright light behind the tree. I may try making it brighter. Unfortunately, this is a lousy photo; the actual painting is brighter.
Just for grins, I applied some filters to add saturation. This image is lighter than the actual painting. My photograph needs work! I need to invest in better lighting -- and I need to find my camera tripod!
I started a plein air painting of these benches near my house, but thunderstorms interrupted my session. Here's the lay-in, after about 45 minutes of sketching and fussing. I did start to add some color after this point, but I got chased away by the rain. I plan to return tomorrow or Monday to continue.
It's so fun to sketch at the swimming pool! It's relaxing and never too hot. Today was rather cloudy, but this lifeguard still had a few swimmers to watch.
This is too late for Memorial Day, so we'll consider it a warm-up for Independence Day! I just felt like painting the U.S. flag today, so I did. I had to wait for the breeze to die down so that I could draw it correctly. I used ink and gouache -- opaque watercolor.
Today was my last life session until September. I didn't finish this little oil sketch, but I made good progress on it.
I had another lovely day at Saints Peter & Paul's Antiochian Orthodox Church, this time including a fascinating meeting with the parish priest who leads the Church. He showed me the interior of the temple, and it was glorious. Then I returned to my spot in the parking lot and did my best to improve the painting. I still didn't finish; I'm going to let it dry so I can add the crosses, for example. But it's getting there.
I went swimming today, and I noticed this group of women by the baby pool. One dad did show up for a brief time, but other than him it was all women. I did this quick pen-and-watercolor sketch of the scene.
After a day off for my daughter's graduation -- woo! -- I returned to Saints Peter and Paul's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac. I improved the drawing, though some verticals are still out of alignment. I hope to return at least one more time to fix those, improve the trees, add a cloud or two, paint some more windows and window trim, and -- above all -- to add the crosses to the domes.
Yesterday I started a painting of this impressive church in Potomac, Maryland. I set up in the parking lot behind the church because I liked the light here best. I arrived late, so I didn't finish. Here is my initial drawing, about 30 minutes in.
Next, here's the painting with the darks blocked in. A bit less than an hour in.
As I was getting ready to block in the lights, the sun suddenly came out. I'd been planning on an overcast-day composition, so I wasn't sure whether to change my plans. I sketched in some lights and decided to decide when I return to the scene early next week. In the meantime, here's where I left the picture. I've left empty white spaces for trees. Also, some of my verticals are so crooked they look like they were drawn by a drunk. I'll fix that next time.
Here's a look at my setup in all its glory. My traveling road show.
My family finally got to see our beloved Washington Capitals capture the Stanley Cup last night! I've sketched a few Caps fans in honor of the occasion. First, the biggest Caps fan I know, my daughter. I drew this a few days ago, when the Capitals' fortunes were more in doubt.
Next, a couple random fans who rode the Metro with us back from Game 4, which the Capitals won 6-2. These fans did not sit very still, so these sketches are rather ... sketchy.
I've been to several golf major championships, but I'd never been to the finals of any professional team sport like baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or soccer. So seeing a Stanley Cup playoff game in person was a thrill. It was even more thrilling when my team won! Alas, I did only one sketch of the proceedings, and it's not very good; we had nosebleed seats, and I was juggling drinks and fries and worrying about dropping my pen and sketchbook. But I WAS THERE, so I'm posting this lousy sketch to prove it. :)