I’ve been busy learning to draw on the iPad and experimenting with gouache and watercolor, but while I have produced a lot of stuff, not much is worth sharing yet. This gouache study is sort of borderline, but I do like some things about it. The sky dried darker than I expected, as gouache is wont to do, and I had trouble making it lighter by painting over it, so I gave up and left it as it was. Other than that, there’s a lot to like here.
I love painting peaches, but I’ve always had trouble with them: they aren’t shiny, so they’re harder to model than, say, apples or grapes. True to form, I struggled with these peaches today. (I like the water glass in the background better!) I may paint more peaches tomorrow, just for the practice.
It was a beautiful day out, but I still felt like painting glass and water, so I stayed inside and set up yet another little still life. I spent only an hour on this, but I think it’s an interesting start. The drawing needs a bit of work, but I like the light.
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:
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:
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. :)
I finished this piece, at least for now. I will let it rest for a while and return to it with a fresh eye later. On to new things tomorrow!
I found a little plaster cast in my basement and decided to paint it. I didn’t get all that far, as I haven’t been feeling great today, but it’s a start. One question with a white cast is whether to invent colors. I probably will!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today’s model, Amy, was wearing a slightly surprised expression, and I seized on it as the focus of my portrait study of her. This was a single-session pose; it took less than two hours.
Cityscapes are still, for me, the final frontier of plein air painting: challenging but exciting. Here I tried to get the feel of a corner cafe, on Norfolk Street in Bethesda, and its surroundings. At first I had a clean image of the sign and front window of the cafe, but I didn’t like it and wiped it out, and never got around to restating it before sunset. I still learned a fair bit from this tiny (6” x 8”) study.
I couldn’t stand looking at that bad start, so I resumed my little 6” x 6” self-portrait today. After a couple more hours work, it’s better. It’s getting closer to a likeness, and it’s no longer bad, lol. I will work on it again on the next rainy day.
I wanted to practice painting cars today, so I parked myself at the local supermarket. I was counting on shoppers taking 45 minutes to get groceries. Instead, most cars stayed for 10 minutes, or so it seemed! The result is an unfinished painting, unfortunately. Plus I took a terrible photo!
Next time I’ll try sketching in the shape of the entire mass of cars, then moving to individual cars, rather than the other way around. I’m still not sure whether to work from back to front or vice-versa.
I started this study in the early evening. My idea here was to focus attention on the cars, and I had some success depicting a couple of them. But they all were moved in the hour or so I was standing there, so I didn’t finish any of them. On top of that, I didn’t make clear that the building on the right is a repair shop, and the sun went down so fast that I didn’t have time to fix it. So the title of the painting is all too apt: it’s waiting for repairs!
Today I painted a new model, Laura, in life class. This was the first of a two-week pose, but I think it’s off to a decent start. She holds her head nicely, and her features are strong, so she’s fun to paint. Next week I’ll refine her features, balance the lights and shadows better, model her head in a more 3D way, and work on her hair. All in two hours, natch!
Today after life class I stupidly left my easel and painting in the studio! Fortunately, my instructor noticed and stored them for me. But that means I don’t have a photo of the progress I made. I do have this photo I happened to snap of the lay-in after maybe 45 minutes of work. It’s sort of strange, as you can see, but interesting too. Obviously I hadn’t figured out where that left foot is!
Once I recover the painting and easel, I’ll try to bring order to the chaos in our next session, next week.
I’ve never had the privilege of painting Moe before. Wow, what a great model! He’s got a handsome face and fantastic physique, and he’s a super nice guy — just a treat to paint. This was the first of a two-session pose; not sure whether to refine this next time or start a new one, perhaps of his whole figure. Either way, I really look forward to painting him again.
Natalya is a striking model with high cheekbones and scarlet hair. Alas, I ran out of time before I could finish modeling her ear and neck, I only sketched her hair, and I never got around to detailing her eyes. Even so, it’s a reasonable likeness.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to paint a study of the west facade of the National Cathedral. As I was painting, a pair of newlyweds drove up and told me they'd just been married there! They were delighted to hear that my wife and I were married there too! I took their photograph and gave them my card.
As for the painting itself, I had time only for an impressionistic sketch, so I simplified things and painted loosely. The exercise gave me new appreciation for Monet's Rouen Cathedral series. It is hard enough to draw all that architecture; it's even harder when the shadows change every 5 minutes, as they do with all those nooks and crannies. I hope to return to this spot with a larger canvas and the time to do a more careful rendering. But I think this study is a good start.
I did this quick oil study of a local mansion today.
Here's an ink study I did of it beforehand. I think I prefer this to the painting!
Behind me was the church I painted last week, so I did a quick ink sketch of it for fun too. It might have made for a better subject than the mansion, but I wanted to try something different. I may return to the church later, as I do like it a lot.
It was a cold, blustery, windy day down by the Potomac River today. That didn't stop me from getting out there and painting! Alas, I got cold, so I didn't really finish this piece. I still had fun with it.