That Bright Shiny Thing…

in the sky… what was that?

That was yesterday. Today, it wasn’t raining but there was no sun, and since I was off I got out there and tried some painting.

And then it rained some more.

So I came home and drew a couple things for the online people-drawing class.

That Bright Shiny Thing…

Short February

Tuesday I went over to the Clark to hear a talk about John Singer Sargent and had a short time beforehand to look at some new and newly rearranged things in the gallery – where did the nymphs and satyr go? Off visiting no doubt! And to look out of the windows at the gathering afternoon.

The next day I did these two versions of a scene of shadows. The first was done on a 6″ square of hot press paper and the second on a larger 9 x 12″ or so piece of cold press.

Cold January Hath Arriveth

Last night the howling wind continued but it blew away all the Farenheits and this morning it was 15F.

I toodled off to Williamstown for an hour of drawing from selections in the Manton Collection at the Clark. An hour isn’t a long time to draw. I went in with the idea that I’d try to work faster – to put down the values. I worked a bit longer on the first one and then did a few more very quick ones, the final one done from a work by Francois Bonvin seeming so abstract that even I couldn’t tell what it was until I walked up to it and discovered it was a still life of inkstand and pens and desk paraphenalia LOL. Mine was definitely not that.

Came home and took a deep breath and finished this.

I’ve always said that if I become Queen, my first mission will be to bury all cables because, frankly, it’s all out of hand. I’d gotten it to the “oh it’s a pretty local scene” sort of thing last night but committed to at least one pole by putting it in in a faint blue. Sorry I didn’t scan it but at least I took a reasonable photo.

And here’s a sketch based on Melencolia I, Albrecht Dürer, 1514 and a still life by Francois Bonvin.

Plein Air October 2018

Here are all the pix from the week of plein air painting with Bob LaFond:

En Plein Air October 2018//


I headed back to the Clark because it was my last chance to see the installation of Jennifer Steinkamp’s video works. I was sorry I hadn’t gone earlier but I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. It wasn’t what I was expecting for some reason and it was hard not to keep watching the wall-size works. Two really grabbed me – Diaspora which started as as interesting composition of branches and things and then they began to move through the virtual space, running into the boundaries of the walls and corners and breaking into lots of small parts (the description mentioned the dispersal of spores) and then reversing path and gathering up again into a composition. The other, Blind Eye, was a head-on view of birch tree trunks that light played over and then a rotation of seasons, dropping leaves, slowly then quickly, moving and swaying with wind, budding and forming catkins and leafing out and then yellowing and dropping the leaves again.

I had thought to do some painting but as I set out from the car it was very misting so I stopped at the closest picnic table ready to dash back to the car.

Then I tried one that showed the scene more accurately and the sun came out.

Then I thought about going up the hill, stopped at the bottom to do a really quick sketch and it began to rain. Went and had dinner with Mom instead.

Day One, Plein Air

I’m doing a week-long plein air class with Bob Lafond via IS183 and The Clark over in Williamstown. Last time you’ll recall I was out and around Berkshire County on brutally hot summer mornings. Today was cold and damp and misty. But! We had a tent to be under so all was well.

I’m the lone watercolorist in a small group of oil painters but the pre-paint-pep talk was good and reviewed the basics – block in areas, shapes not objects, limit the palette, maybe do a value sketch first. So that’s where I started, in paint, in grey.

We’d talked about chasing light – if you take too long painting outside, eventually the light changes enough that you should start again. This was my second, much quicker painting of the scene shortly before packing up. The clouds were lowering and the mist was coming in.

Tomorrow we’ll be inside looking at drawings done outside and doing some sketching from the Clark’s collection.

For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear
When you are the hammer, strike.
— Edwin Markham

Doing The Work, The Learning Process

Tuesday when I went over the hills to the east, I did two paintings at the Clark. The first was smaller, 5×7″, and my intention was to try sketching, color and value while trying out the plein air “thing”. My paper and board tried to blow away, my water tried to blow over, my brushes fell into the bottom of their travel bag. You know. Juggling in the wind. Meanwhile I was sitting on the cold ground with my little beach backrest hoping it wouldn’t suddenly dump rain on me.

The second I did I moved to my 8×12″ sheet of arches and started from the covered but still breezy Crystal. Man those colors did not want to cooperate. I saw pinky orange, bright yellow-green and dark trees and well. Part of it I know was impatience. I know I should let things dry before adding more color, filling in darkness but for whatever reason it wasn’t happening and so it didn’t work out all that well.

[Note to self- this is why you should bring a thermos and a snack – to divert yourself while letting things DRY!]

This really bugged me so I decided yesterday I would NOT do a scene but work on hot press paper which isn’t my favorite just on trying to get those colors. I didn’t tape down the paper – just stuck it with water to my table. I stopped before I got fiddling with things. Like the bluish color of the main distant hill better. Like the trees more but… meh still not quite it. Will try a different approach next.

On to the next!

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well and doing well whatever you do. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

and keeping on keeping on!