Daily painting #82: Nocturne

We arrived safely at Rehoboth Beach, which is suffering through a blistering heat wave. I can’t really paint inside our rented house, so much as I’d have preferred to do a still life in the air conditioning, I had no choice but to look outside. I waited until it was a mere 88 degrees, at 10:30 pm, and then painted this little nocturne. It’s not as dark as this photo suggests, but I hope you get the idea.

Geoff Watson, “Nocturnal window,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Nocturnal window,” oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

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 #80: Caesar (day 2)

Painting these sculptures is great practice. I often find it harder to get a likeness with a sculpture than a human figure. I think part of it is the tiny size of this sculpture; the tiniest error is magnified. But part of it is that living, breathing models seem easier to draw, even though they move. I wonder why that is.

Anyway, this one is coming along. I may continue tomorrow, or I may start another still life. One thing’s for sure: I won’t be going outside to paint in the 98 degree heat.

Geoff Watson, “Caesar (in progress), day 2,” oil on linen, 5” x 7.”

Geoff Watson, “Caesar (in progress), day 2,” oil on linen, 5” x 7.”

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 #78: Garlic & pottery (day 2)

I made progress on this still life, but I’m not sure I’m finished yet. Everything could use a bit more polish. Then again, polish sometimes sucks the life out of paintings. Will think on it! (Photoshopped the background to get rid of glare.)

Geoff Watson, “Garlic & pottery (in progress),” day 2, oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Garlic & pottery (in progress),” day 2, oil on linen, 5” x 7,” 2019.

Daily painting #75: Potomac River

I painted this view of the Potomac from Swains Lock campground. A couple of nearby campers took an interest in what I was doing, and they seemed to like it, even though I was hogging a good campsite for a couple hours! I was especially interested in the strange little tree that seemed to be growing in the middle of the river.

Also, I found some relatively inexpensive linen panels, so I’ll be using those a lot over the next few weeks. I think I paint better on linen, but it’s ordinarily prohibitively expensive, so I’m excited about the switch.

Geoff Watson, “Potomac Tree,” oil on linen, 9” x 12,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Potomac Tree,” oil on linen, 9” x 12,” 2019.

Daily painting #73: Sculpture (day 2)

Modern ateliers — art schools that focus on practical skills — often require students to draw plaster casts for days or weeks before attempting to draw a live model. I agree that it’s great practice, so I have 3 or 4 casts lying around. The trouble is, the cast I’m using now is tiny; it’s head is about 2 or 3 inches tall. That means my little 6” x 6” painting is larger than life size, which makes things a lot harder.

Also, I forgot to mark where I was painting yesterday; I inadvertently shifted positions and ended up redoing the entire thing! I’ll give it one more day, then on to other things. Sorry about the glare on the photo.

Geoff Watson, “In progress: study of a sculpture,” day 2, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “In progress: study of a sculpture,” day 2, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Daily painting #70: Rooftop

I hadn’t planned to paint outdoors today, but the clouds suddenly parted in the afternoon, and I rushed outside. I stood on Butler Road in Bethesda and saw this rooftop overlooking nearby River Road. I was most interested in the late-afternoon light on the walls of the buildings.

Geoff Watson, “Rooftop,” July daily painting #9, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Rooftop,” July daily painting #9, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Daily painting #69: sweet potato & friends

We have a few sweet potatoes in our fridge, so why not paint one? We also had this cool container, so why not paint it? And one never needs a reason to paint an apple. But I forgot to finish the apple! I didn’t gradate its color much, and (worse) I forgot its highlight! The shame of it. I’ll fix it tomorrow.

Geoff Watson, “Sweet potato and friends,” July daily painting #8, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Sweet potato and friends,” July daily painting #8, oil on panel, 6” x 6,” 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 #67, and Sasha

When I’m in New York, I like to attend at least one life-drawing session at the Art Students League on West 57th Street. I chose a long pose of Sasha, an excellent model. I started with an indifferent gesture sketch of her full figure, then did this 35-minute portrait sketch.

Geoff Watson, “Sasha,” graphite on paper, 6” x 8,” 2019..

Geoff Watson, “Sasha,” graphite on paper, 6” x 8,” 2019..

Before life class, I took my little portable paintbox and stood on the corner of 57th and 7th Avenue, looking downtown, toward Times Square. I had trouble concentrating: there was no place to sit, it was hot, and it was crowded. But at least I got a few ideas down on the canvas. I was interested in contrasting the dark mass of green (the backstop for the 57th Street subway stop) with the very bright buildings on the left. And it’s always fun to sketch figures in the city.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of 7th Avenue at 57th Street,” study, July daily painting #6, oil on canvas panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Sketch of 7th Avenue at 57th Street,” study, July daily painting #6, oil on canvas panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Daily painting #66: Central Park

It was a hot and sunny day in New York, so I bustled my way to Central Park to do some painting. As I mentioned earlier, I brought only four colors on this trip — red, blue, yellow, red oxide — pus white. With that palette, it was hard to get some of the bright greens in this scene, but it sure was fun to try. I can see why some people advocate a limited palette: it makes you think more carefully about mixing paint. Anyway, I did this little sketch in about two hours, with the tiny 6” x 8” panel propped up in my little Guerilla Thumb Box.. I sat on a bench until the sun bore down on me, then stood behind a tree, then sat on the ground. Meanwhile tourists bustled all around me. Challenging circumstances!

Geoff Watson, “A hot day in Central Park,” July daily painting #5, oil on panel, 6” x 8,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “A hot day in Central Park,” July daily painting #5, 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 #63: Miata

I drove around in my Miata looking for a good spot to paint, and after failing to find anything, it occurred to me that the Miata itself might be a good subject. It’s 29 years old but stlil cute. So I parked it and got out the paints! Especially those reds. :)

Geoff Watson, “Miata,” July daily painting #2, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.

Geoff Watson, “Miata,” July daily painting #2, oil on panel, 8” x 10,” 2019.