This is a plan for a palette knife painting on paper. I’m going to try painting right on top of my charcoal sketch, at home, because it’s going to rain again for a few days. Luckily, I got a few colors mixed in plein air today which I can put plastic wrap on top of and they will be good for a week or more. They say the sun will come out on Sat. too, so I can get back over there and mix more colors.
We didn’t have any frost yet. The trees are showing some color but not a lot. I might fake in some fall color in the background, or I could wait and see what happens, but the beach isn’t the best place for fall colors.
I need to look at this sketch and make some decisions before I get started painting . Like exactly where to start. I mixed some middle ground tree colors in plein air but I should probably start with the sky and background. Or I could try to paint the water first. The water looks different every time I see it, so I might just wing it.
I’m not a good photographer, but this pic is too boring. I’ll get a more interesting painting if I don’t use it, I’m only showing you the photo so you can see how much my naked eye differs from the camera. Which eye is the better representation? The human eye or the camera?
I transfered those old sketches to this larger paper and made some corrections but I can see it’s not still not right, better, but not good enough. When I transfer this to a canvas and go back I’ll make more corrections and it will be ok the next time.
Perspective ain’t easy. I’m eyeballing it and drawing freehand. It’s a challenge so if I keep at it my drawing will improve for other subjects too.
I’m looking forward to painting it with a palette knife. If I told you this joint vibrates with its own weird frequency, I hope you know what I mean. I don’t believe in ghosts so that might be why I never saw one, and I spent a couple years practicing figure drawing in Hollywood Cemetery around 15 years ago. I drew the sad stone angels. They make great subjects because they never move and they’re free any time you want to sketch them. Hollywood Cemetery had the vibe of a sanctuary to me.
I felt safe at Fort Monroe the past few times I went there even though there’s a two lane street between me and the battery. There’s not much traffic. I saw a ton of cops over there too so they may be making me feel safer. I was not a person of interest this time. I parked in the real public lot across the street instead of taking an illegal spot next to where I was standing.
Every time I go out on the highway lately traffic is flying!
Fort Monroe was decommissioned in 2011. It’s one of the oldest forts. They called this spot Point Comfort when the first colonials came to VA. After their long dangerous voyage across the Atlantic they were so happy to find a good place to land.
The fort has so much history I can’t remember half of it, but I’ll give you some info and if it’s not exactly right feel free to tell me.
It was a Union held fort in the Civil War which caused VA some problems because VA. was Confederate. A lot of escaped slaves took refuge there. After the war was over those people started up Hampton University which was the first black university.
The battery is long. My sketch so far only shows about 1/5 or 1/6 of it.
I heard someone wants to redevelop the fort. The plans aren’t all laid out yet. I wonder if they’ll try to take the batteries out. Can you imagine how much dynamite that would take!? That thing is thick!
Three rivers flow together here, the James, the Hampton and the Elizabeth. From there they go into the mouth of the Chesapeake not too far down stream.
From here looking that way they could watch the famous battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack, the two first ironclad ships in the Civil War. They bombed each other for hours and neither one sank. They took a break to rearm and do repairs then they went back at it.
What did they learn from that battle? We need bigger guns.
I don’t know if you can see it well enough in this photo. As I was working on these separate pieces of sketch paper I was putting the others in my bag loosely and the charcoal and chalk was rubbing off inside the bag. No big deal, these are only sketches that I’ll never frame. They got messed up with sweaty fingerprints too. This is 4 pieces of sketch paper each 11″ x 14″ with a 4″ piece of a gray paper added to either side because I need 64″ across for my panorama but I ran out of the tan paper.
The watercolor papers are 15″ x 22.5″ so if I deduct a few inches from 3 x 22.5″ because I’ll staple them to boards, then when it’s all finished I’ll have to trim off the staple holes, I’m figuring roughly 64″. I’ll transfer this to the watercolor paper tomorrow and I might have to redraw at the beach a little before I start painting, but the hardest part of the planning stage is under control now.
I made some notes of colors I think I’ll need. And I want to do a couple practices for that little triangle of ocean showing between the dunes on the left. The ocean looks gray and it has sparkles. It’s far away but still sparkly.
The chance of rain goes up over the next few days. I’m hoping for a blue sky with light clouds. That will be the first step in the painting. If the weather cooperates, it might not take long to paint my 3 pieces of the triptych, or it could take weeks.
I bought two big sheets of watercolor paper for my dunes now that I have a few sketches I can use. I’m planning a triptych. I want to show more sky in the watercolors than is showing in my sketches and it would be great if I could make the three paintings of the triptych look connected. The watercolor paper is larger than my sketchbook so I’ll be able to extend my sketches on both sides a little.
I’ll have to haul my watercolors supplies down a path but not real far, I/4 mile or so, I guess. I can use my beach cart. I’m not sure if I can take all three pieces out with the paper stretched on boards, or if it would be better to work on one at the beach and the other two at home. The three watercolors will be a big job for me. I’m not sure how to paint that little bit of ocean and I’ll have to decide how to do the sky.
The bugs were after me this morning. Now I’ll have to start taking bug spray along too.
This plan seems like a lot of work but I think it will be worth it. Just hanging around there is worth the drive.
The earlier I can get to Back Bay the better when it’s hot. Today I got to my overlook around 8:30 and it was great! Not many people were there either.
I could get at least two more sketches from this one spot. It’s pretty 360* around and a place where I can see a little ocean between dunes. I could do a series of dune paintings in a row to give the panoramic feel of it.
Walking on the beach is nice exercise after sketching. The dunes get my heart rate up for a few minutes. The waves were small again this morning. In another week or so the tides will be all different from this week and I might be able to do some wave studies.
There’s not much shade down there but I found some and sat in it to sketch. It was uncomfortable but better than standing in the sun. By the time I got to my overlook at 10 this morning I already had enough sun.
Yesterday was cloudy and cool. Then, on my way home at 11:30 today I passed a long line of cars waiting to get into the public parking lot at Sandbridge. If I had to wait in that line I’d just turn around and go somewhere else.
The past two times I walked on the beach at Back Bay the waves were small. That’s why I’m getting into the dunes even though I really need the practice drawing and painting waves.
I’d also like to sketch more at Pleasure House Point, so depending on the weather I might go back over there. It’s closer than Back Bay. I need to check the tide charts again.
I’ll try to get out earlier so it’s not so hot and I can sketch the better views in the better light.
This is weird, I went back to the old wordpress editor for this post because I couldn’t find the place to click to add media on the new one. I had a post made up but somehow I lost it and couldn’t get it back. This makes my 3rd try here.
I’m going to do a few sketches at Back Bay and get some sand dunes then decide which one to do a watercolor from.
This will be a short post because I’ve already worked on it too long.
There are so many nice places to get off the main trail and sketch. The fishermen have beaten little paths all around. If you’re concerned about social distancing you can step back easily when a group of people walk past you.
I enjoyed being there so much this morning. It was sunny and windy. I had to take my hat off because I was afraid I’d lose it.
When I left there today I decided to run by Jerry’s Artarama and see if I could buy a piece of watercolor paper. The store is open but you can’t go in. People are calling in their orders or ordering online, then you can pick it up at the door or they will deliver it to you. So, I didn’t have to wait very long and the sales lady brought the paper out to me.
Modern problems require modern solutions, right?
I’d like to try to paint this scene in watercolor as my next project.
This is the view from the window at the end of the hall on the 6th floor in this hotel where I’ve taken up temporary residence. (facing South) It’s charcoal and chalk. I worked on the sketches off and on for 3 days. It was cold and windy so I ducked back into my room to warm up and then went back to it later.
I’d like to paint the scene but I don’t know how long I’ll be here. I might be able to find an apartment this week. The ones I called last week don’t have availability until May. Not that I’d feel bad about staying here a whole month, but this isn’t a residence hotel, I should move on.
I might have time to finish this in pastel. There’s a bridge I want to sketch first. The bridge scene would be great for a nocturn. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try. The lights reflecting on the water at night are real pretty.
This is the same view as seen by my camera. I don’t think the photo does it justice. I’m posting it so you can compare my naked eye perspective to the camera’s perspective. I don’t need a photo that’s half parking lot. Big yawn! haha
I must have stayed at this hotel long ago but forgot this was the one with the view I wanted to capture. I remembered it has a great location when I was faced with the prospect of being locked down. Then when I got here I said to myself, “OH YEAH!”
The bridge is out the room’s window. (facing West) I don’t have to go out at all to draw it.
The boardwalk is open. Guys are out surfing. A lot of people are out getting exercise but traffic is light.