Daily painting #81: Compositional sketches

I set up an interesting still life scene, and then I spent two hours ineffectually trying to find a good composition. Here’s the scene itself:

“Still life setup,” July 2019.

“Still life setup,” July 2019.

I sketched various combinations of these objects, and I still haven’t found an arrangement I like. (I also need to wash the glasses!) I couldn’t include any live objects, like fruit, as we’re about to leave on vacation for a week. Anyway, here’s one example of a possible composition:

Geoff Watson, “Study-sketch for a still life (in progress),” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Study-sketch for a still life (in progress),” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Here’s an earlier start, focused on the pitcher with the other objects receding into the woodwork. It’s okay, but I think I’ll go with the vertical composition above. I have a week to think about it, as I’m not bringing these objects with me on vacation.

I will, however, be bringing my paints. Tomorrow will be a busy day, so at most I’ll post a quick sketch, but starting on Sunday I’ll be painting Rehoboth, Delaware in all its glory. Weather permitting. :)

Geoff Watson, “Study-sketch 2 for a still life, in progress,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Study-sketch 2 for a still life, in progress,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Daily painting #79: Caesar (day 1)

I had very little time to paint today, as I had other obligations, so this was a pretty rushed start. Next month I’ll be getting busier, so once I get to daily painting #100, I’ll probably declare victory and work on longer-term painting projects.

Anyway, I started painting a tiny little 4-inch statue of Caesar. Here was my lay-in, with just transparent red oxide, using a small round brush, in about 20 minutes.

Geoff Watson, “In progress: Caesar,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “In progress: Caesar,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Daily painting #68, and my pochade box

Here’s the little pochade box I used for all my little paintings while visiting New York. It fits 6” x 8” panels, and it’s made by Guerilla Painter. As you can see, it’s pretty small and basic, but the design is clever. The palette slides away to reveal storage space for paint tubes and such.

Geoff Watson, photo of my Guerilla pochade box.

Geoff Watson, photo of my Guerilla pochade box.

Using that box, I did this quick sketch of Red Caps at Penn Station while waiting for my train. Again, I had only the three primary colors to work with. The painting is not the greatest thing ever, but not bad for a quick thing from life. I did touch it up some on the train and at home, but most of the work was done on location, in about half an hour.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of Red Caps at Penn Station,” July daily painting #7, oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of Red Caps at Penn Station,” July daily painting #7, oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Daily painting #65: Self-sketch

I’ve taken my daily-painting show on the road! I’m in New York visiting family, and I brought a portable easel and five tubes of paint: red, yellow, blue, white, and transparent red oxide (for sketching). I spent the evening trying to paint family members, but I kept wiping out half-decent efforts — without remembering to photograph them for this blog! Dumb! So I got back to my hotel room with nothing to post. But the daily painting streak must live on! So I did a quick 15-minute self-portrait sketch, in just one color, transparent red oxide. Not great, but I like the old-style sepia feel.

Geoff Watson, “Self-study (sketch),” oil on panel, about 6” x 8,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Self-study (sketch),” oil on panel, about 6” x 8,” 2019.

Daily painting #62: A crane, a cafe, and a collage.

I did this collage of the thirty paintings I did in June. The final painting actually took 3 days, but on several days I did more than one painting, so I probably did at least 30 paintings all told. Some are better than others, but I like most of these a lot. Some standouts include the Jefferson Memorial, the Great Falls picture, the roses, the yacht, and Voltaire.

Collage of June daily paintings.jpg

The daily painting craze continues in July! Today I started painting a giant red crane, but it kept changing positions, perhaps because it was being blown around in today’s high winds. After an hour I gave up, wiped out the painting, and did a quick sketch of diners across the street at Olazzo, an Italian cafe and restaurant on Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda. I had only about half an hour, as the diners finished their meal and left. If I’d had more energy, I would have found substitute models, but by this point I was tired and called it a day.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of diners at Olazzo’s,” study, July daily painting #1, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of diners at Olazzo’s,” study, July daily painting #1, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Daily painting #53: iPhone

I actually made three paintings today, but only one of them is worth posting — this little sketch of my iPhone. I tried to paint it in as few strokes as possible. I counted about 350, but the actual number was surely more than that, as I’m sure I forgot to count strokes in the heat of the moment. The idea is to think more about each brushstroke, to make sure the brush is loaded with the correct color, and to get the brushstroke right the first time. I did find myself mixing paint and cleaning the brush more often, which is a good thing. It’s easy to get lazy and pick up paint that’s close but not quite right, or to make too many strokes with a dirty brush.

I like the resulting image, though the composition is a bit stark. If I’d had more time, I’d have added other objects or a more elaborate background. But it was a very worthwhile exercise.

Geoff Watson, “iPhone sketch,” June daily painting #22, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “iPhone sketch,” June daily painting #22, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Danny's truck

My sore back has kept me inside during the gorgeous spring weather here, but today I could no longer resist, and I gingerly set up my easel on my front yard and painted this truck, using mostly gouache — transparent watercolor. I haven’t touched my gouache in a while, and my blue and red tubes were caked dry, so I had to improvise to get the colors you see here. Time to buy some new paint!

The underlying drawing is better than the finished painting. I did a very careful and accurate pencil drawing, but I chose brushes that were too large. Artists always say use the largest brush possible, but I think I took that principle too far here. Still, it was great to get outside and paint again.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of Danny’s truck,” gouache, watercolor & graphite on paper, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of Danny’s truck,” gouache, watercolor & graphite on paper, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Broad Branch Market

Broad Branch Market is a charming neighborhood general store in northwest Washington DC. Every time I visit it, neighborhood kids are buzzing around socializing, neighborhood parents are shopping for groceries, and friendly people are sitting at the tables in front of the Market, enjoying the day. Followers of this blog may recall that I painted a tiny ink-and-watercolor sketch of the market last summer, plein air, in my sketchbook.

Well, the Market is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and I guess they were googling themselves when they ran across my blog post. They contacted me about acquiring the painting and displaying it in their store and on their website. So lo and behold, the Market now owns the original painting, now handsomely framed under glass. Their website apparently will be updated later this year to commemorate their anniversary; here’s the current link. https://www.broadbranchmarket.com/

Anyway, if you need some groceries and neighborly cheer — and if you want to see a Watson original — stop by the Broad Branch Market. :)

Geoff Watson, “Broad Branch Market,” ink wash & watercolor on paper, about 5” x 8,” 2018 (private collection).

Geoff Watson, “Broad Branch Market,” ink wash & watercolor on paper, about 5” x 8,” 2018 (private collection).

Fenway Park thumbnail

Here’s a tiny thumbnail sketch of Fenway Park, one of several studies for an eventual oil painting. The original is 2” x 3” or so, maybe smaller than the image you see on your screen. Ordinarily I don’t post my thumbnail sketches here, but it’s Opening Day, so why not? (We will not speak of the unfortunate result of Boston’s Opening Day baseball game against the Seattle Mariners.)

The main idea here is to highlight the Green Monster by graying and darkening things around it. The Green Monster is Fenway’s huge, iconic left-field wall. I think Monster is a rather unfair name for such a beautiful piece of architecture, but there are lots of left-handed pitchers who disagree with me.

Geoff Watson, “Fenway Park (thumbnail sketch),” study, ink and wash on paper, about 2” x 3” (2019).

Geoff Watson, “Fenway Park (thumbnail sketch),” study, ink and wash on paper, about 2” x 3” (2019).

Sketch of Moe

I did this oil sketch of Moe in about 40 minutes today, in life class. I wasted much of class prepping my panel and then dashing to my car repeatedly to grab supplies I forgot to bring inside. So this quick painting is very rough, mostly painted with a very big brush in one go. Next time I’ll get to class early!

“Sketch of Moe,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

“Sketch of Moe,” oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

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.

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.

Sunbather

It's been too hot to draw anywhere outside other than the swimming pool!  So I did this sketch of a sunbather at the pool.    

Geoff Watson, "Sunbather," ink on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Sunbather," ink on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.

View from poolside

It was a beautiful but hot day, so I decided to draw and paint at the swimming pool. I wasn't sure I'd finished coloring this piece when it was time to leave, but maybe less is more? 

Geoff Watson, "View from poolside," ink and watercolor on paper, 4" x 8," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "View from poolside," ink and watercolor on paper, 4" x 8," 2018.

Here's a picture of the piece after I'd finished drawing, with just one thin wash of watercolor on one part of the roof. I love drawing architecture! If the weather stays this hot, I may draw this building a lot this summer.  

Geoff Watson, "Drawing from poolside," ink and watercolor on paper, 4" x 8," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Drawing from poolside," ink and watercolor on paper, 4" x 8," 2018.

Primary Election Day

I voted and then spent a couple days hanging out at my polling place, talking to campaign volunteers and a couple candidates -- and sketching the proceedings.  Here are some of the political signs in the parking lot:

Geoff Watson, "Parking lot on primary day," watercolor and ink sketch on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Parking lot on primary day," watercolor and ink sketch on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.

And here's the entrance to the polling place.  There was a steady trickle of people arriving to vote, but at any given moment, there were more campaigners than voters.

Geoff Watson, "Polling place on primary day," watercolor and ink sketch on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Polling place on primary day," watercolor and ink sketch on paper, 5" x 8," 2018.