a beautiful marsh at False Cape St. Park / charcoal and chalk

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Twice when I was riding my bike down the east dike road, a flock of small birds with light colored bellies, maybe finches, I don’t know for sure, was flying back and forth over the road and marsh back and forth swooping and dipping or kind of zipping all around me. It was CRAZY! Almost like the Birds movie! I couldn’t see whatever bugs they were after, if they were going for bugs.

I think the road closes in Nov. so I want to go back this week.

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Mums / a pointillism experiment / oil paint

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Pointillism is a scientific style of painting. I never saw a class offered on it but I wanted to try. I read a few articles and they don’t give much information so I had to make my best guess. I’ll give you my questions and if I got it wrong please tell me.

The first thing I could get from my research was that Seurat used the paint straight out of the tube without mixing colors on the pallet. Did he thin the paint with turp or not? I guessed not. Then I saw my dots forming peaks. Did Seurat have peaks on his dots? How large are the dots supposed to be? Can the dots overlap? Can the paint mix  on the canvas when the dots overlap?

One article said Seurat had 11 colors and white. It didn’t say what the colors were. I bought a tube of veridian green  for this painting. I never buy tubes of green because I have a few yellows and a few blues so I can mix the green I need. But to try to stay true to the no mixing colors on the pallet rule, I bought the green. Then I broke the no mixing  rule when I added white to cobalt blue and then I added white to the green. I didn’t use gray because I know modern artists don’t like gray and Seurat probably never used it.IMG_2124

One of the articles said there should be an underpainting. I usually tint my canvas before I do my underpainting, but this time I did my underpainting on a white canvas.

It’s important to keep color theory in mind in pointillism. I took a class long ago in color theory and remember some things like using complimentary colors and using tints of equal value to create the visual mix of gray or the visual mixing of colors that vibrate, and how colors look different on top of other colors.

Is this experiment a success or a failure? I don’t know, but this is my first attempt at pointillism and I’ll try again some time in the future.

Bay Scape / oil

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Should I call this finished or should I paint a ship coming in? I have the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in the painting. Should I add some pelicans on pilings? Maybe some happy little pelicans flying away in the sky?  Or a guy wind surfing?

I tried three times on the sky till I finally got something I can live with. The first time I tried to make a blend of lighter blue on the horizon to slightly darker blue over head without using glazes. I tried to make my blend with thick paint, blending the values wet instead of letting it dry and going over it a few times with glazes to get my blend. That didn’t work. I think blends are difficult.

Then I tried to do the sky with dots like Pointillism. That didn’t work either. I want to try Pointillism but I’m not sure about the proper technique. I’ll try Pointillism on an easier subject some time soon.

So then I tried to do clouds with some blue sky showing through and that looks better.  I used my Maroget medium and glazes on the sky. I like my clouds to look light and fluffy without hard edges. Now, how about that water? I don’t know, I might try again. I’m open to suggestions on it.

I took my painting supplies out to the beach at First Landing State Park a few times when it wasn’t too hot and not too crowded and mixed my colors there, but mainly painted it at home from sketches. Sand got on my painting but I got most of it off when the paint dried.

sand sculptures from the Neptune Festival

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This one won two first prizes. It’s called “Worshippers of the Point” by Karlise Ile from Latvia.IMG_2113

In this photo you can see the little worshippers and one is going up the ramp to the goddess.IMG_2115

This one is a team effort by Sue McGrew and Kirk Rademaker  from Washington and California titled “Blackberry Blossom”. How did they do that multi layered intricate carving? IMG_2121

This is the other side of Blackberry Blossom. IMG_2116

This one is titled “150 % Organic” by Jakob Zimacek  and Jan Zelinka from the Czech Republic. It looks like the broccoli is going to eat the people.IMG_2117

This one is “Emerge” by Jonathan Bouchard and Jacinthe Trudel from Canada.IMG_2120

The other side of Emerge.

This is only a few of my favorites. They have 22 in all. What an inspiration! I always wished I could do sand castles like that!

Bald Eagle after William Turner / charcoal and chalk

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This is my second try on a larger piece of sanded pastel paper. I think it looks better than the first one which I tried to draw on a smaller sketchbook. This time I took my easel and drawing board with the large paper  instead of holding a sketchbook in my hand like I did on the first try. It’s easier for me to work larger. Compare this sketch to my previous post and tell me if he looks better this time. I’m not sure if the proportions are exactly right, but not too far off.

I thought the sculpture was by David Turner but it was done by his dad, William. I can’t tell their work apart. They both make the most beautiful wildlife sculptures out there.

It’s great to draw the Turner guys’ sculptures. I think I see some kind of attitude in my bird’s face, but that could be my imagination because I was only trying to copy the bronze, not put my own personality into the drawing. With all that beauty out there for me to copy it takes the pressure off an artist to be “original” all the time. And copying some other artist’s masterpieces is improving my drawing skill slowly but surely.

Even if an artist tries to copy as closely as possible, they still put information about themselves into the drawing. I can’t avoid it. The savvy art viewer will see it. Know what I mean?

Bald Eagle charcoal sketch

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My model is made of bronze. This is just a start. I couldn’t draw small enough to fit the whole bird on the page so I want to transfer it to a larger paper and go back tomorrow if the nice weather holds out. When I go back I’ll make some corrections. I’ll finish the feathers more and draw white feathers on him. I should look up eagles to be sure because the sculpture doesn’t have the white feathers colored white.

There are so many beautiful bronze animals around here. This one is at Norfolk Botanical. I bet they’re all made by David Turner. I love that guy’s work. At Seashore State Park they have a beautiful red fox in bronze which I also want to draw.

I’m one of those artists who think there’s nothing more beautiful than nature and it should be represented in art as closely as possible to reality.

 

sketching on the beach with charcoal and chalk

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Can you see those two pelicans flying away? I had my Bob Ross moment there, drawing those happy little birds.

I think that guy knew I was sketching him. He kept turning in my direction. I was almost finished with my sketch and he left. Then some foreigners came out with a giant arch shaped kite. The guy had a harness strapped on his body holding the kite strings. It looked like the girl was doing most of the work trying to lift the kite up to catch the wind then going after it every time it came down. He was yelling instructions at her in Russian or something.

The kite was coming down a little too close for comfort to me so I packed up and left. That happens sometimes when you go out sketching in plein air, you gotta move for some reason.

 

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Tour Road / charcoal and chalk

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I drove to PA because they had the cone for the hurricane hitting Virginia Beach. They told people in sections A to evacuate. I live in section C but I decided to leave to avoid power outages and so I wouldn’t have to worry about my car getting flooded. As soon as I got to PA I heard the hurricane was going to hit farther South than previously thought, so I came back to the beach and the lights are still on. It’s windy but not scary here. It looks like we got lucky this time. And I enjoyed the drive to PA and back. The scenery is beautiful and traffic was light and fast.

The place I love most in my home county, (Lancaster) is Middle Creek so I went up there and got this sketch. After I got my sketch and was ready to drive out I saw a huge pheasant in the tall grass by the side of the road. He was just poking around in there and didn’t fly off when I drove past him. I saw him close up. He was a beauty with big red spots around his eyes.

Middle Creek is great for seeing wildlife. In the Spring you can see 100,000 snow geese if you go at the right time and get through a traffic jam on that little country road.

Can you see the little mountain foothill  in my sketch is hidden by fog?

Crab bag

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What was your first impression of this painting?

(a) Oh no! That finger could get a nasty pinch!

(b) This way to the crab.

(c) That artist picks crabs.

(d) God created crabs.

(e) other

My working title was god created crabs but this is one of those paintings better left untitled because it’s open for interpretation.

A long time ago I saw an unforgettable mural. I thought it was brilliant! It was at Colonial Beach VA. It was the hand of God as it looks on the Sistine Chapel pointing at a crab. The hand of God is easily recognizable as you remember it reaching to Adam. When I went back another time that building was gone along with the mural.

I looked up the fresco and all I could get was a tiny picture to work from. I thought it was too small for me to copy and I’d rather draw a hand myself than copy or trace the hand of God, which would be difficult anyway. So, that’s my hand. It doesn’t look strong enough to be the hand of God. I wondered if art viewers would make the connection.IMG_2107

It wasn’t easy sketching my hand. It kept moving. I worked on this sketch for around 2 hours but I took a couple breaks.

To get my sketch of the crab, I looked up Blue crabs and then tried to sketch it from memory. They’re always steamed when I see them and they’re red all over. I decided they look cute still alive and standing up, so my painting isn’t like the mural either with the hand or the crab’s pose. Lucky for me I had some practice sketching live ghost crabs a couple weeks ago.

Yes, it’s true. The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is the tastiest kind of crab in the world. I could pick for hours and eat my fill then pick more for people who don’t like to pick so they can have crab cakes. yummy

The side straps the bag was made with are sewed into the seam at the bottom. They’re made of some kind of black twisted polyester strings. I have another bag with similar cords for strings and sometimes they hurt my hands. On this bag, the cord was fraying out of the seam. I had to make it stronger and I wanted to cover the strings in some fabric that would be softer than those rough black strings. So, I used this little scrap of fabric that was left over from the quilt project, because it’s a good color match.

I’ll use this bag to carry my sketch book, water bottle and pencil box when I go out to draw.

Look what I bought!

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Normally I pooh pooh the zodiac because they often describe Capricorns as social climbers and I have no interest in society, but once I read that Capricorns can have a second childhood and I thought that sounds like fun. I’ll do it.

When I was a kid I had a hand me down bike that was my brothers news paper delivery bike. It had coaster breaks and no gears. I was all over town on it. This is the most popular kind of bike at Virginia Beach because who needs gears on flat land?

I should have bought some training wheels. (nah) It’s been a long time since I was on a bike, but they say you never forget how to ride. I did ok going around the parking lot at the bike shop but when I took it on the gravel road at Back Bay I couldn’t control  it. I was all over the place on the bumpy road. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of people that afternoon and when a car or hikers or other bikers came down my path I stopped so I wouldn’t cause an accident with my zig zagging. I rode about 2.5 miles in then turned around and on the way back out I did a little better steering. Before I went home I stopped back in at Conte’s where I bought it and asked the helpful sales guy to adjust the handle bars down a little cause I’m kind of short. Maybe that will make it a little easier next time I go out.

It looks like they’re calling for more hot weather and chance of rain this week, but next Thurs. it’s supposed to cool down again, and after Labor Day it will be less crowded so I’ll get in some riding practice in Sept.

My goal is to go to the end of the Back Bay road to False Cape. I’ve never seen False Cape. They have already closed the one side of Back Bay for the migrating birds. They could have left the trail open until the birds get here, but oh well. I hope they let the other trail open all year and I also hope I will be able to see the Snow Geese and Tundra Swans because they are so beautiful. And I will eventually capture the beauty of Back Bay in drawings and paintings.

 

No Camera Needed