Daily painting #42: Corner cafe (unfinished)

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.

Geoff Watson, “Corner cafe (unfinished study),” daily painting #42, oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Corner cafe (unfinished study),” daily painting #42, oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Daily painting #25: Improved self-portrait

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.

Geoff Watson, “Improved self-portrait (in progress),” May daily painting #25, study, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Improved self-portrait (in progress),” May daily painting #25, study, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Daily painting #23: unfinished cars

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.

Geoff Watson, “Cars at the supermarket (unfinished),” May daily painting #23, study, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Cars at the supermarket (unfinished),” May daily painting #23, study, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Daily painting #14: Waiting for repairs

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!

Geoff Watson, “Waiting for repairs (in progress),” May daily painting #14, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Waiting for repairs (in progress),” May daily painting #14, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Daily painting #5: Laura

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!

Geoff Watson, “Laura (in progress),” May daily painting #5, oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Laura (in progress),” May daily painting #5, oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

A strange lay-in

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.

Geoff Watson, “A strange lay-in (in progress),” oil on panel, 12” x 16,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “A strange lay-in (in progress),” oil on panel, 12” x 16,” 2019.

Moe

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.

Geoff Watson, “Moe,” study in progress, oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Moe,” study in progress, oil on panel, 11” x 14,” 2019.

Study of Natalya

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.

Geoff Watson, “Study of Natalya,” oil on canvas panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Geoff Watson, “Study of Natalya,” oil on canvas panel, 11” x 14,” 2018.

Washington National Cathedral

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.

Geoff Watson, "Study of the Washington National Cathedral," oil on panel, 11" x 14," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Study of the Washington National Cathedral," oil on panel, 11" x 14," 2018.

Mansion studies

I did this quick oil study of a local mansion today. 

Geoff Watson, "Mansion study," oil on panel, 12" x 16," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Mansion study," oil on panel, 12" x 16," 2018.

Here's an ink study I did of it beforehand. I think I prefer this to the painting!

Geoff Watson, "Mansion sketch," ink wash on paper, about 4" x 6," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Mansion sketch," ink wash on paper, about 4" x 6," 2018.

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.

Geoff Watson, "Church sketch," ink and wash on paper, about 4" x 6," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "Church sketch," ink and wash on paper, about 4" x 6," 2018.

A windy day at the canal

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.

Geoff Watson, "A blustery day," study, oil on canvas panel, 11" x 14," 2018.

Geoff Watson, "A blustery day," study, oil on canvas panel, 11" x 14," 2018.