Smoking

I had fun with this portrait in life class last week. It was the second session of a two-session pose; I posted my progress after the first session a couple weeks ago.

 Geoff Watson, “Smoking,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Smoking,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

My upcoming show!

On November 24 and 25, I will be exhibiting paintings for sale at the Yellow Barn Studio Gallery in Glen Echo Park, Maryland. Admission is free. The gallery will be open 12 pm to 6 pm both days, and you’re all invited to my reception on Saturday from 3-5 pm. Free parking is available at the nearby Oxford Street lot. It’s the weekend right after Thanksgiving, so I know some people will be out of town, but I hope you can make it!

Here’s the front and back of the postcard I’m sending out this week. The depicted painting, “Cherry Blossoms just after peak,” will be one of the works on exhibit.

Watson - Postcard Side 1.jpg
Watson Postcard Side 2.jpg

Walking on Hampden Lane

I continued my tour of the Edgemoor neighborhood in Bethesda. One great thing about painting there is that I have so many friends in the neighborhood. I run into someone I know every time I paint there. Art can be a solitary endeavor, so I always appreciate the company!

Anyway, this painting holds promise, but I ran out of daylight before I could refine it. I was experimenting with softer edges to make the orange tree look more 3D, but in the process I’m afraid I made it too symmetrical. I’ll chop some leaves off it (figuratively speaking) if and when I revisit the site!

 Geoff Watson, “Walking on Hampden Lane (in progress),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Walking on Hampden Lane (in progress),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Fairfax Road

I was driving by this tree a couple days and came to a screeching halt. I just had to paint it! It’s been pruned in somewhat odd ways, creating some unpredictable lighting patterns. It may not be the best choice of subject, but I don’t care — it was fun to paint. I’m not sure I’m done with this one yet.

 Geoff Watson, “Fairfax Road (in progress),” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Fairfax Road (in progress),” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Harry and the Hat

This was the first of a two-week sitting with Harry, who often wears a funky little top hat. Hats are hard to get right, and my first effort here is too small. I’ll fix it next week. I’ve also got placeholders around the eyes and jawline, so there’s plenty of work to be done, but I feel this is a good start.

 Geoff Watson, “Harry and the Hat (in progress),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Harry and the Hat (in progress),” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Exfair Road

I went back to the same neighborhood I painted yesterday, this time one street over. I loved this yellow-orange tree! Unfortunately, I didn’t finish before darkness fell. I need to define the road better, refine the trees on the left, and probably tone down the dark spots at the end of the road. And I might add a figure or two, or a car. I may do those things in the studio, as rain is in the forecast.

 Geoff Watson, “Exfair Road,” oil on panel, 16” x 20,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Exfair Road,” oil on panel, 16” x 20,” 2018.

Halloween on Exeter Street

I had only an hour or so to paint today, in late afternoon, and as I was wrapping up a parade of cute trick-or-treaters came ambling by. Fun! I also had fun painting this little scene. I removed trash cans and cars, and I sneaked in a few extra fall colors, so the picture is more idyllic than the reality. So be it!

 Geoff Watson, “Halloween on Exeter Street,” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Halloween on Exeter Street,” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Norfolk Street

It was our first nice fall day of the year, or so it seemed, so I finally got a chance to search for some fall colors to paint. I found some muted ones on Norfolk Street, in Bethesda. My ink sketch was promising, but I dithered too long with the oil painting, and by the time I had settled on a composition, everything was basically in shadow. It’s a lot easier to convey form when things have both a light side and a shadow side! So this is one case in which I prefer my 5-minute sketch to my 3-hour painting.

 Geoff Watson, “Norfolk Street,” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Norfolk Street,” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Norfolk Street,” oil on panel, 16” x 20,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Norfolk Street,” oil on panel, 16” x 20,” 2018.

Emily reclining

In life class we almost always have a nude model, but I almost always paint the portrait, not the full figure. I do draw the full figure in our warm-ups, but for a painting, I am generally most interested in the subject’s face. This time, though, the reclining pose really called for a figure study. I did this in about an hour and forty-five minutes.

 Geoff Watson, “Study of Emily reclining,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Study of Emily reclining,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Orange Roof

I’ve been itching to paint this house for months, and today I finally got to it. It took about two hours. I got cold and declared victory!

 Geoff Watson, “Orange Roof,” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Orange Roof,” oil on panel, 9” x 12,” 2018.

Before I did the painting, I did this little sketch. The idea of the sketch was “light house against dark background.”

 Geoff Watson, “House on Brookside,” ink and wash on paper, about 4” x 6,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “House on Brookside,” ink and wash on paper, about 4” x 6,” 2018.

Rangers vs Capitals

My family and I went to see the New York Rangers tangle with the Washington Capitals this evening, and I did a few gesture sketches. Disclaimer: it’s hard to draw moving hockey players! Fun and good practice, though.

 Geoff Watson, “Arm’s up (sketch),” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Arm’s up (sketch),” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Henrik Lundqvist (sketch),” ink on paper, about 3” x 3,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Henrik Lundqvist (sketch),” ink on paper, about 3” x 3,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Unfinished sketch of Lundqvist,” ink on paper, about 3” x 3,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Unfinished sketch of Lundqvist,” ink on paper, about 3” x 3,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “Unfinished and crooked sketch of the Capital One Center,” ink on paper, about 2” x 5,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Unfinished and crooked sketch of the Capital One Center,” ink on paper, about 2” x 5,” 2018.

Emily looking right

I did this portrait in about two hours in life class today. As always, more time would have been nice, but I did get a likeness.

 Geoff Watson, “Emily looking left,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Emily looking left,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

The Old Campus

I did a number of fast sketches while I was at Yale for Family Weekend. Here’s a quick depiction of the Old Campus, looking west toward Connecticut Hall. It took about 5-10 minutes.

 Geoff Watson, “Connecticut Hall (quick sketch),” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Connecticut Hall (quick sketch),” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

The Yale Bowl

I saw a football game at the Yale Bowl, something I last did 36 years ago. Fun! We hosted Dartmouth. We shall not speak of the outcome. Here’s a quick sketch.

 Geoff Watson, “Sketch of the Yale Bowl,” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of the Yale Bowl,” ink on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Wisconsin Avenue

Today I started drawing and painting Wisconsin Avenue looking south toward Chevy Chase Acura and downtown Bethesda. Here’s the oil painting, still in its early stages:

 Geoff Watson, “Wisconsin Avenue (in progress),” oil on linen, 18” x 24,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Wisconsin Avenue (in progress),” oil on linen, 18” x 24,” 2018.

And here’s the preliminary sketch I did, in black carbon ink and purple water-soluble ink. I hope to return over the next few days, but parking is difficult there during the week, so I may not finish this for a while!

 Geoff Watson, “Wisconsin Avenue,” ink and wash on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Wisconsin Avenue,” ink and wash on paper, 5” x 8,” 2018.

Study of Natalya

Natalya is a striking model with high cheekbones and scarlet hair. Alas, I ran out of time before I could finish modeling her ear and neck, I only sketched her hair, and I never got around to detailing her eyes. Even so, it’s a reasonable likeness.

 Geoff Watson, “Study of Natalya,” oil on canvas panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Study of Natalya,” oil on canvas panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Flowers on the Porch

We have some nice flowers out on our back porch, and it was the first nice day since July, so I rushed outside to paint. My plein air skills are a bit rusty, but I think it turned out reasonably well.

 Geoff Watson, “Flowers on the Porch,” oil on canvas, 18” x 24,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Flowers on the Porch,” oil on canvas, 18” x 24,” 2018.

Girl with the Red Hat

I’ve been working on this copy of Vermeer’s “Girl with a Red Hat,” which hangs in the National Gallery of Art here in Washington. It’s a challenging project because the original is so small, and I’m painting at roughly the same scale.

Also, it’s hard to find a definitive photo! In my Vermeer book, the painting looks dark; online photos often look much brighter. I have stared at the painting in person many times, and I’ve taken my own photos, but I’d still be better off setting up an easel right in front of the painting in the National Gallery. Maybe one day I’ll join the artist-copyist program the Gallery sponsors.

I like the way it’s going so far. I’m not striving for an identical replica. Mostly I’m trying to learn from the experience of copying it. And I’m having fun painting that crazy fuzzy hat!

 Geoff Watson after Vermeer, “Copy of Vermeer’s Girl with a Red Hat,” oil on panel, about 8” x 10,” 2018.

Geoff Watson after Vermeer, “Copy of Vermeer’s Girl with a Red Hat,” oil on panel, about 8” x 10,” 2018.

River Road House

It was the first nice day in months, or so it seemed, so I got out to do some drawing and painting. I started with an ink sketch of a nearby house, and then I sketched it in oils. This was my first session with my tiny new “Thumbbox,” a pochade box that holds only 6” x 8” panels. I hadn’t painted this small in a while, so it was an adjustment, but I still had fun. Here’s the ink study:

 Geoff Watson, “River Road House,” ink on paper, about 3” x 5,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “River Road House,” ink on paper, about 3” x 5,” 2018.

 Geoff Watson, “River Road House,” oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “River Road House,” oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2018.

Life class resumes

After a three-month hiatus, my regular life class finally resumed today. I draw every day, but I still felt rusty! I did this oil sketch in about 90 minutes, using a limited palette of Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Viridian, Mars Black, and Titanium White. Given the long layoff, I wasn’t expecting too much of myself, but I thought this turned out reasonably well.

 Geoff Watson, “Simply Sheba,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Simply Sheba,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.