July the 6th – rain and coolness again

Serious rain this morning which cleared the air and made it in the 70’s with a nice blissful breeze. No sunset spectacle so I stayed home and put the potted plants to work.

cropped to square:

full:

my happy little roll of brushes:

The iPad geraniums I did earlier today at work

Advertisements

Hot enough for you?

It’s been a week of heat. And by heat I mean 90F plus with 100F plus heat index (really? it FEELS hotter?) Yesterday the car thermometer kept telling me it was 99F-100F. When I finally got home last night it was a chill 80F plus.

Days like that means my goal is to find places with AC and to deal with it. Lots of people go to the mall which is my workplace. It’s not conducive to painting because the paint dries quickly on the paper and palette, making it harder to blend colors and soften edges. But we do it anyway because it is

Ever since the first shaggy hunter outlined a running deer with a stick dipped in wood ash or puddle clay or blood, paint has served a vastly more significant and creative purposeas a vehicle for the human imagination, a creator of illusions, the modest but endlessly pliable means of fixing a glimpse of loveliness for posterity. The true originators in this field have always been the great artists. But close behind these masters of illusion came the masters of the applied arts designers, architects, decorators, legions of craftsmen whose vocation was to reflect contemporary standards of beauty and harmony. — Jocasta Innes

Painting goes on

And here we are like one big WHOOOOSH, at the end of June. I’ve gone a few times now to the OOMS conservation south of me toward Chatham. It’s a nice little spot with different options for parking and sitting not too far from the road.

Last night I drove home from Mom’s in a heavy rain but eventually got ahead of the front and saw this amazing light, definitely beige-not-grey area where the sky was lighter and less heavy ahead. Eventually the front caught up to me at home and it poured there too but I was already painting by then. I was working seriously to get that lighter area and then the darkest part of the silhouetted view. Sure mixed up a lot of DARKS.

IEastward, rainy night.

What I Learned on My Vacation

There might not have been any lying around on beaches, sipping iced beverages and reading trashy novels but it was a great vacation. As you’ve seen, I spent the week with two other painters and an instructor Tony Conner from Vermont, learning about watercolor while painting scenes found in the Berkshires. This was a class offered through IS183, and if you’re looking to explore a new medium or go deeper in one you know, I highly recommend their offerings.

So what came of the five days spent with paint and a teacher. As with all media most of the work happens between your head and the paper but the process definitely gets a push if there’s a good teacher and you’re open to listening and trying and being open to doing things a different way, at least for the class. Tony is a very good teacher and able to explain the concepts and look at what I was doing to make concrete suggestions on how to proceed or what to try next time. At the end of our time each day we’d have a gentle critique, looking at the work we’d done that day and saying what we liked, where we’d struggled and what might have gone better. On the last day I put all my pieces on the grass and you really could see a progression – a small one – but the one I had worked on.

It’s easy to hear “oh that’s great! that’s beautiful!” when you show your work but it’s not always getting to what you had wanted in the end. That’s why we keep working and trying to learn, do more practice, watch more videos, read more etc etc. So at the end of the week, I could honestly say that I’m at the beginning of learning more about setting myself up to paint a scene – drawing, putting in the light and shadow areas down in washes and planning out and getting in the dark areas etc etc.

What else? As if that wasn’t enough? I already knew I like to paint outdoors. I’ve not always been a very outdoorsy sort of person and lately the whole tick thing really gets to me. This gets me outside, in the sun, soaking up the world and focusing on the beauty of it. Can’t beat that.

As I said Friday, I don’t want my paintings to look like photographs – I have a camera for that. I want to show more about what it was like to be there and let the viewer do some of the work of feeling it.

I used more paint in the five days than I could believe! I learned how to mix greens and only dipped a little into my normal greens that I carry. I learned how to mix real darks. I learned I really like real sable brushes. oh oh…

More to come!

Sunday – Paint, Words and Dad

I got up and out this morning. Forgot about people heading out to brunch for Dad. Bad news: had to wait quite awhile for food (ordered to go because the place was 100% packed). Good news: by the time my food came, on a plate, there were open tables. So it all worked out ok.

Thought I’d do a quick check on the blue herons and stayed to do a painting. Before I’d started on the scene, a father and child showed up, and stayed just long enough for a couple fishing casts and then they were gone again. Made me think about all the happy (and long boring) time spent in our boats fishing over the years. Millions of shiners caught individually by Dad, early in the morning. His time on the lake which let him spend more pleasant time on the lake, catching bigger fish.

This was my bigger painting:

and calling it complete. I was pretty happy with it and hope to do more “less detailed” or looser paintings this week.

I had a couple other visitors too

Still painting and stuff

This morning I stopped at a local park and painted the lake in between rain sprinkles. There was some sort of fishing event going on, the place was packed but as far as I could see I was the only painter.

From this morning:

From the other night at the local pond:

My aim is not to exhibit craft, but rather to submerge it, and make it rightfully the handmaiden of beauty, power and emotional content. — Andrew Wyeth

Geraniums

I’m not a bedding sort of gardener. I used to be a serious gardener, knowing all the real names of things and their growing requirements and all but now… well, I enjoy what I have and take things as they come. Even though I don’t do window boxes or planters I do like a good geranium. Last year I had one that was quite small and bushy and so dark red it was almost black. And it seems to have survived being dormant for the winter. We’ll see what happens to it. This year I got two more traditional pots, meant to hang, of “ivy” type geraniums. One is a darker burgundy color and the other is the standard bright scarlet. And I won’t lie, I got them mainly as things to enjoy and to paint. So here are the first goes at painting geraniums.

and now, the patient and beautiful real geranium.