My wife Anne and her twin sister Alice celebrated their birthday on Monday, and we marked the occasion by congregating at the American University track, where they often meet to jog. I sketched them in oil as they circled the track.
I have two things to share today. FIrst, the daily painting adventure continues into June! Today I visited Walt Whitman High School and painted its football field, which was about to be used for practice by a soccer team. A very fun subject to paint!
Second, I used Photoshop to put together a collage of all 31 of my daily paintings for May! Enjoy.
I spent the afternoon painting this pleasant view of Cordell Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland. Cityscapes are, for me, the most challenging form of plein air painting. First, you’ve got to get your perspective right. Second, it’s a drawing challenge: there are lots of machine-tooled, symmetrical objects with sharp edges and perfect corners (buildings, cars, windows), and it takes lots of concentration to draw them correctly. Third, composition is a challenge: how do you pick a focal point when there are so many interesting things to see? Fourth, there’s a ton of detail, and even if you omit 80% of it, there’s still a ton of detail. But the upside is that it’s never boring, and I never lack for company — well-wishers stop by my easel all day long.
It was a glorious day, and my back felt great, so I got outdoors for three hours of plein air painting! I think it turned out nicely. I was going for a placid, springtime feel.
The rain held off today, and I managed to get in 2-3 hours of plein air painting. I'm really out of practice, as I've been doing mostly pen-and-ink and watercolor work for the past month, since I can do those things indoors (away from all the rain!). So I set my expectations low and resolved to do a loose urban sketch.
The painting depicts the Friendship Heights metro stop on the DC-Maryland border. I was most interested in the area on the left, and I should've zoomed the picture in more on that; I didn't spend much time at all on the right half of the painting. I still like it.
Bethesda Lane is a lovely pedestrian mall sandwiched between two busy streets in downtown Bethesda. Its defining feature is this graceful arch. People come to eat at the various outdoor cafes or just to sit and relax.
Last week I did a watercolor study at this spot, and today I returned to try my luck with oils. I had an easier time drawing the scene this time, and I was happy to get some people into the action. Unfortunately it was rather a dreary day, and the lighting conditions weren't great. I'd like to return one more time to try to capture more vibrant colors. I love this spot, so I shall return!