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.

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.

Friendship Boulevard

The Washington area features all sorts of streets with distinctive names: Democracy Boulevard, Constitution Avenue, Independence Avenue, and the avenues named after states -- Wisconsin Avenue, Hawaii Avenue, Michigan Avenue, and so forth. But until today I didn't realize there is also a Friendship Boulevard, located (appropriately enough) in Friendship Heights. There are a number of Slavic places named Druzhba ("friendship"), but I don't know if I've ever encountered a Friendship street in the United States.

Anyway, Friendship Boulevard lived up to its name today! All sorts of friendly people stopped by my easel to chat. Kids always like to talk about painting, but plenty of adults came by too. Back when I started painting plein air, I was nervous about onlookers, but now I welcome them. Partly this is because I've grown more comfortable painting outdoors, and I'm proud of much of my plein air work. But even if the painting isn't going well, I'm happy to explain my plan to improve things. Za druzhbu -- to friendship! 

Geoff Watson, "Friendship Boulevard," oil on panel, 8" x 10," 2017.

Geoff Watson, "Friendship Boulevard," oil on panel, 8" x 10," 2017.