Category Archives: charcoal

figure drawing

The first of two models.

My models are made of bronze and I’d like to paint them in bronze colors. I’m not sure exactly how yet, Which media to use, probably not oil paint. I still have to sketch the second dancing girl and she’s in a more difficult pose to draw. She’s leaning back. I’ll do it next week.

The back of the sculpture looks good too, so I might draw both sides. I’ll have to transfer the sketches to a larger paper. They’re holding hands while dancing.

It doesn’t make any difference how long it takes me to come up with a plan for my dancing girls. They’re not going anywhere. I might even wait till winter to do it so there will be less people at the garden and I won’t be in the way on the path.

Still life plan

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This is what I have so far. I might work on the pot more and I might add more flowers. I’m not sure. I stood back farther from my sketch to take the picture than I did to sketch it so the ellipse on the pot isn’t the same as it is in my photo. And I leaned the starfish up against the pot so you could see it but I wasn’t planning on leaning it there for my final pastel drawing. I need to go to the store and buy peaches because I need a peach in this picture. I might take it out on my balcony to work on it later because the balcony has good sunlight before 10. The light in my apartment isn’t good.

This is the second time I tried to draw the pot. When I was in art school long ago drawing accurately was important. An unsymmetrical flower pot or unsymmetrical ellipses on the pot would be mocked in a critique. Like, how high were you when you drew that? if it was lopsided.

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This is how I try to make my flower pot look right. First draw straight lines on tracing paper to the approximate proportions then fold it in half and check it. Fold tracing paper in forth and cut an ellipse, compare it to what you see in real life. If the ellipse isn’t right, try again.

This much work on the flower pot is enough to make some people call the drawing “labored over”. Labored over is bad in contemporary art. Which makes no sense to me. Is it really bad if you enjoy working on something difficult and finally get it right? Is it actually labor if you’re not getting paid but doing what you want to do just for fun?

The thing about contemporary art being so badly drawn is that they don’t like a drawing that isn’t sloppy. If I entered a juried show and the other flower paintings had unsymmetrical flower pots and messed up ellipses or totally absent ellipses, and mine was the only entry that showed some effort, mine would get rejected. If the juror is an art teacher that never learned to draw because their art school didn’t force it on them like mine did, and if that art teacher didn’t tell their students to try again to draw the pot better, then mine would be a kind of affront to them and they would resent my efforts.

If I called the juror and asked why my painting was rejected the juror would say, “I was making groupings and yours didn’t fit with the others”. This is why I say, the art world demands conformity. And why I say the jurors think like interior decorators.

I’m not making this up. This is one reason why I h8 the art world and will never pay another entry fee. I might go for free wall space some time in the future but maybe not.

Once I asked a juror who constantly rejected my paintings why and she told me the jurors are looking for “contemporary”. As if my being alive and doing art today isn’t enough to make me contemporary. I also have to lower my standards. They see my paintings as old fashioned. The joke’s on them though, because I’m not behind the times, I’m ahead of the times.  I can’t change the art world. It will happen anyway eventually but I’ll be dead. And my daughter will be able to sell my paintings for big bucks. She has a genius marketing plan that I can’t divulge.

 

plan for dune paintings panorama

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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.

the path to the beach

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That’s the ocean in the background.

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.

sketch of dunes / charcoal and chalk

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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.

Between Two Dunes / charcoal and chalk

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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.

Sand Dune @ Back Bay / charcoal and chalk

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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.

another pretty scene at Pleasure House Point

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charcoal and chalk

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.

charcoal sketch at Pleasure House Point feat fisherman and oysters

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I like this one more than my sketch from yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be nice again then a couple days of rainy weather. I could find another view and do another sketch before I make up my mind which view to paint.

I hope they open VA up real soon because I thought I had a big piece of watercolor paper and all I have is smaller sketchbooks. I guess I could order the paper from somewhere but I’d rather go to the store and buy it.

Meanwhile, I could prime a canvas, maybe do it in oil paint. Which medium to use… often the first decision to make out of hundreds when planning a painting. I really need the watercolor practice.

Today I broke one of my own rules. I stepped into the tall grass to sketch. I didn’t spray with Deet first either.So far I don’t feel bug bit so maybe I got away with it today.

That guy standing out there in the sedge made me think nothing would bite me. He might be wearing waders. I couldn’t tell. I just scribbled him in before he moved.

If I paint this scene I’ll have to look at the tide tables so I can catch it at low tide so the oysters won’t be under water.

sketch at Pleasure House Point / charcoal

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It was nice to get over there today. I smelled honeysuckle, my favorite scent since I was a kid and the honeysuckle bloomed when school let out for the summer.

A lot of people were there but I found a spot off the trail to sketch. I saw a lot of birds, egret, osprey, some kind of small heron type bird, possibly a sand piper.

This was easy to sketch. I’ll stretch a piece of watercolor paper and go back tomorrow. The weather is going to be nice again.

The little black dots in the water are oysters. mmmmm, fried oysters. You can’t take these, they’re protected.

I sewed a lot of masks for the cable guy to distribute. He sent me an email to say thanks. Whatever he does with them, I don’t care. It’s too many for one guy to need, he’ll probably give them away. I didn’t tell him it’s a bad idea to sell them. I hope he doesn’t, but it’s really out of my hands.

A few days at the sewing machine made my back tired. I’m glad I have the opportunity to help the community in the corona crisis. I might sew more, but first I need to get out and try to do an art project.