Daily painting #43: Great Falls

Time to renew my annual visitor’s pass for Great Falls National Park! It was a gorgeous day today: sunshine, low humidity, no clouds, and a strong breeze that is unusual for Washington summers. I hiked from the Visitor’s Center to the overlook trail, then found this view of the river. It was one of the few times that I didn’t have to alter the scene to suit the composition: everything was already placed just so.

That said, the conditions were a bit challenging. I painted “contre jour,” into the sun; you can see this from the angle of the shadows. As the afternoon wore on, I had increasing difficulty seeing my canvas. Bugs were biting. And I was set up on a somewhat rocky slope, and my feet hurt after a while. So when I got back to civilization, I found a few stray marks on the canvas that I hadn’t noticed. But to maintain this piece’s status as a pure “plein air” work, I have left those marks where I put them. :)

Geoff Watson, “Great Falls,” June daily painting # 12, oil on linen, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Great Falls,” June daily painting # 12, oil on linen, 8” x 10,” 2019.

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.

Kenwood Avenue - Day 2

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.

Geoff Watson, "Kenwood Avenue," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Kenwood Avenue," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Kenwood Avenue - Day 1

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.  

Geoff Watson, "Kenwood Avenue - in progress," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Kenwood Avenue - in progress," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Farm

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.

Geoff Watson, 'Farm," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Geoff Watson, 'Farm," oil on linen, 18" x 24," 2018.

Brookside

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.

Geoff Watson, "Brookside," oil on linen panel, 12" x 16," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Brookside," oil on linen panel, 12" x 16," 2018.

Cherry tree on a corner

The wind blew again today, and the cherry trees lost more of their blossoms, but they still look great.  It was also downright hot -- 85 degrees or so.  So it was a good day to get outside and paint once more. 

I struggled with this one more than the past few.  I drew a few sketches and settled on a plan, but once I started painting, I started rethinking the composition -- adding and removing background elements, fussing with shadow placement, etc.  I think I managed to recover, and I hope the picture doesn't reflect my early indecisiveness.  In any case, the blossoms look pretty, and that's what counts!

Geoff Watson, "Cherry tree on a corner," oil on linen, 14" x 18," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Cherry tree on a corner," oil on linen, 14" x 18," 2018.