It’s brisk here, but our cherry trees are starting to bloom all the same. I spent about 90 minutes painting this tree before my hands got too cold to continue. I need to find better painting gloves! This picture would have benefited from another hour’s work. Not a bad start, though.
I’ve always wanted to paint the various auto repair shops on Butler Road in Bethesda, and today I had my first go at it. I should have chosen a different time of day, as I was painting contre jour — into the sun. Also, I realized that I was more interested in the stacked cars on the left; next time I’ll make those the focus. So, not my best effort, but an interesting first study.
It was unseasonably warm today, so I rushed outside and painted this telescoping house. I spent about 90 minutes on it. Fun!
It was relatively warm today, so I paid another visit to Cabin John Park in Bethesda, Maryland. I painted a scene like this about seven weeks ago, in warm afternoon light. Today there was some sun, but it was not as intense, and the woods seemed more subdued. I painted this quickly; it took about two hours.
Here’s what I did in December. Not quite the same vantage point, and different light.
Again it was warm enough to paint outside, so I grabbed my big wide 12x24 linen canvas and drove around looking for a spot to paint. I stumbled on these woods, off Bradley Boulevard, near Potomac, Maryland. I loved the warm afternoon light flooding the scene, so I set up and went to work.
This is only the second time I’ve painted with a large-ish canvas outdoors, and I think it suits me well. The large support forces me to use large brushes — size 10 and 12 flats and filberts. And I made myself use them for just about the entire 2-1/2 hour session. The result is a less literal, more painterly first draft. I’m pleased with it. I’m tempted to sign it and call it a day, but I’ll probably go back tomorrow to refine things and add detail.
Just for fun, here’s a photo of an earlier stage of the painting on the easel.
I had 45 minutes free before a dentist’s appointment today, so I parked my car and painted this sketch of a bright yellow house overlooking MacArthur Boulevard, in northwest D.C. It’s obviously rough, but it has some energy.
I hope to continue painting plein air in the winter months, at least occasionally. Cold I can manage; cold and wind is tougher! I’ve also resolved to swim (indoors) throughout the winter. We’ll see how these resolutions are holding up when the dog days of February arrive! (Or are they cat days?)
With the colder weather, I've beeen working on larger projects in the studio. One is a self-portrait, in oil, on canvas. Unfortunately, it looks like me! I'll post it soon.
Today I also started work on a 16" x 20" version of the study below, which I painted on location at Cape Henlopen this summer. I plan to add clouds to add interest to the sky, and I'll add detail to the people and umbrellas on the beach. It will be fun!
I gave my new Soltek easel a spin! Together the easel and I visited Lake Needwood, in Rockville, Maryland. The easel was great, but my sun umbrella broke and floated into the lake. I waded in after it before it sailed away. Kinda comical!
I had planned to put the focus on a fisherman standing on the spit of land in the front right, because he looked cool and would have helped establish scale. But the flies started biting, so I omitted the fisherman and fled. The resulting study was rushed; I hope to go back and improve it. In any case, a good start.
Over the past couple weeks, I've been painting the storefront of Anglo-Dutch Pools & Toys, a wonderful toy store in the Westwood shopping center in Bethesda, Maryland. I've been buying toys for my kids from this delightful store since they were little. I decided to paint a zoomed-in, "kid's-eye view" perspective of the storefront. (I'd also like to paint the whole storefront from further away, but this will be tricky because I'll have to set up in a busy parking lot.) Soli and the other proprietors of the store were very welcoming to me. You can learn more about the store here: https://www.anglodutchpoolsandtoys.com/
Plein air painters love The Great Falls National Park, and for good reason: there's no shortage of interesting subjects. I visited the Maryland side of the park today and started this painting. This old tavern stands guard by a lock on the venerable C&O Canal. The picture needs work; the only question is when I'll revisit the park. maybe later this week.