Category Archives: landscape

Oranges ‘n’ Lemons / acrylic and palette knife

The black sketchbook paper really warped when I did the background. Maybe after it’s good and dry I can weight it down and see if it will flatten. I accidentally ripped the paper twice! omg. So I taped it and painted over the rip.

It was real nice at the garden today and a lot of people were there. Oranges ‘n’ lemons is a variegated rose. The rose garden is huge! And it smells so nice!

A nice smear and thick clumps of paint

Wow! Acrylics dry too fast!! I sprayed my orange with water when I mixed up the color then put some yellow, white and dark red on my little palette and sprayed them too. First I started painting where I wanted the orange and dark red to be and left spaces for the whites and yellow. Before I got finished with the orange it was drying up already! I had to stop half way and spray again! So I picked up a few little clumps of dried paint before I finished the orange. Note the clumps! hahah

I was glad I came home to do the background because it was really messy! When I mixed up the background green I squirted out some yellow from an old tube of paint a friend gave me long ago and it was runny! So the background paint is thinner and made the paper buckle but I like the contrast between the thick clumpy flowers and the runny background.

Siberian irises / acrylic and palette knife

It was nice to get to the garden and paint today. They’re predicting the next 5 days to have rain and wind.

I got into the zone painting this even though a lot of people walked behind me, I was on a little side path and didn’t block anyone’s way. Then I sat on a bench in the shade to do the background.

Do acrylics dry darker than they look wet? I was experimenting with mixing colors today. Violet is a hard color to match to nature. You can buy the brightest tube of violet but when you mix it with a little blue or a little red or white you lose some chroma. (brightness) That’s how it is with a lot of paint. With oils or watercolors you can do thin glazes of unmixed colors and the viewer’s eye will mix the colors by seeing through the glazes, and you lose less chroma. A lot of artists use the paint straight out of the tube without mixing colors to avoid the loss of chroma.

When I sat in the shade and looked at my violets I thought it needs to be redder and bluer so I mixed more colors of dark violet and mixed up a reddish violet and bluish in the light violet too. I’m hoping that the viewer’s eye will pick up the contrast between the cool violet and warm violet as chroma.

oops, slightly out of focus on the bottom of the pic

When you paint like this you get unwanted blips all over the painting. I decided to cover the violet blips with the background greens. Then I had blips in both violet and green. The paint goes on thick which is fun if you like textures but it’s just as slow for me to paint as if I was using brushes, it just comes out with ragged edges. It’s a look modern art likes, “happy accidents”. At least I don’t have to sketch them with charcoal first, just slap some paint down. With flowers, no one knows if you go off in drawing.

I could say I’m just wasting paint or I could say this is me figuring out how to do this. I could say, everything I do is a huge waste of paint. I’ve been wasting paint for so many years I can’t even remember. Or, I could say I’m creating fn masterpieces here. hahahah I will never get the answers to these questions. I’ll be dead, like Van Gogh before the jury comes in, if ever. And my paintings could be lost in time since I’m not signing most of them.

irises on green paper / acrylic and palette knife

This is more practice with acrylics and palette knife. Today I mixed some colors instead of using them straight out of the tube. A couple times I estimated the exact amount of a color I needed and a couple times I overestimated. The colors mixed nicely.

I want to keep practicing with acrylics and a palette knife because it gives a more abstract look than a brush and also I think I might ruin brushes with acrylics. I’ll try to paint more flowers. I’ll watch for day lilies, water lilies and those lilies called butterfly ginger. I’d like to try to paint all those again, this time with acrylics. Maybe by the time I go to Maine in Oct. for Plein air camp I’ll be able to try a landscape like this.

iris sketch / acrylic and palette knife

The greens don’t look the same in the photo as they do in real life but you get the idea.

It was great to go to the botanical garden today, sunny with a nice cool breeze. I was just playing around with this. I blobbed the paint straight out of the tube in a few spots on the paper and spread it around with my palette knife. That’s why it’s rough. I’m calling it abstract modern art, contemporary. even. And they thought I was a relic from some dead era with my old style of painting. hahaha. Start with the old style and you can switch to modern if you want, but start with modern art and you might never learn the traditional ways. That’s what they told me at the academy.

I might go back and take more colors next time. I needed yellow and didn’t have it.

Daffodil sketch / Inktense pencils

Welp, this didn’t come out as I hoped. I’m posting it anyway. I always post the good the bad and the ugly because it’s a blog. In fact the ugly stuff gets likes too, or maybe it’s my writing, I don’t know.

Why do I post the bad and ugly? That way you can see how much practice I go through to get something good. The ugly gets you one step closer to the beautiful, maybe next time. It’s a big part of art that people don’t usually see but artists know about all the failures they go through.

Art for me is divided up into a few different categories, the fun slap dash modern art attempts where I try to go with the flow and see if I get something, the time I spend experimenting, the time I spend doing sketches and planning and the time I spend trying to make a painting that I really like. All the aspects of art are important if you want to improve. Then as time goes by you get more good results but you still make a mess sometimes and you learn from the ones that don’t work.

The daffodils are starting to wilt but I’ll go back for tulips or day lilies or irises. They’re all on my list of flowers to paint.

Great Blue Heron sketches / charcoal

about 4″

This is the easiest kind of heron to sketch, the kind made of bronze. It’s a sculpture at Norfolk Botanical Garden called “Hunter’s Herons” that they donated to the garden in memory of someone named Hunter. The plaque doesn’t tell the name of the artist that made the sculpture.

around 2.5″

I sketched it from different sides. It’s not easy to see their legs because the sculpture has some sticks as part of the design.

That’s the only problem with herons, they’re camouflaged. I’d like to use these sketches in a painting some day. I’ll tape this to the wall so it doesn’t get lost or smeared. If I paint them small, which is how I see them in a scene because I can’t get close, they won’t show up in a large painting. I could paint them white and make them into egrets then they would be noticeable.

around 2″

I stood on the other side of the canal to draw these first so they are farther away. Then I went over the bridge to get the other sketches. A lady hollered across the canal to me, “Can you sketch me?” I yelled back, “How long can you stand still?” She yells back that she could take a nap and I yelled back to her, “All right!”

It was nice out but we have rain moving in so I’m glad I got out today. The daffodils are blooming big time over there. I might try to do a watercolor.

In unrelated bird news, the ospreys are nesting on the light pole out back again. YEA!

another try at the bent tree over the marsh

This is a plan for a pastel on large sanded paper.

The spot is an overlook next to a sidewalk with a couple benches. Its next to a busy road so I wasn’t sure if its a place I want to set up my easel and paint. Cars are going by fast and when I drive past there I think the drivers won’t notice me because I’m back in the corner and some trees are next to the spot. When I was there for a while I thought it felt safe.

A soldier jogged past me wearing sweats and a guy walking stopped to look so I said hi. He said, “Don’t let me stop you.” I said, “That’s ok.” We said, how you doin? He asked me how long I’d be there and I said, long time but not today. Then he asked me if I’d be there in 30 min. I said no, why? And he said he wants to see my progress so I told him check back next week.

Its going to get cold again tomorrow then we have more winter weather coming in at the end of the week. If I can pick out some colors I might be able to work on this at home a while. I’d like to try to do an impressionistic look with short smears of different colors that blend together visually to give the colors and values I want. It could take some time depending on the weather. I’ll build up layers with the pastels.

The background is complicated with sky, trees far away, trees closer, water with reflections of background trees and reflected sky. Then there’s the sedge which should go in before the bent tree in the foreground. The tree has some leaves hanging on.

The little numbers on the bottom left are from my color charts so I can try to pick some colors at home and not take all my pastels out with me. I took the charts along today and tried to pick the colors close to nature.

Easy Does It / Inktense pencils

Easy Does It is the name of this rose.

This is the nicest weather we’ve had in months! I went to Norfolk Botanical Garden today and took my Inktense pencils, didn’t have to walk far from the car into the rose garden. It smelled so sweet! It’s partly cloudy, cool and a nice breeze. It felt good standing in the sun to draw this.

I didn’t draw it with charcoal or pencil first, just went straight in with the Inktense, which you can’t erase. That’s ok, if you go off drawing a flower no one can tell.

The roses are so bright the Inktense pencils don’t do them justice. If I decide to paint these roses I might have to buy fluorescent paint. Maybe they make acrylic that’s brighter than oils.

twisted crepe myrtles / charcoal/ and wildlife report

This is real neat the way they twisted the crepe myrtles across each other then the branches join together. They fuse together into one solid branch. It’s like drawing a Celtic knot. You can get lost in it. If I had a larger paper I could have got another set in the sketch. They’re blooming now but almost over. A lot of petals are down. I like the view in-between the branches that is like looking through diamond shaped windows. The background is pretty too. I was standing on the shady side of the crepe myrtles but some sun was on the branches and the background was sunlit and also shady.

I didn’t draw leaves or flowers. The tree trunks were enough today in the heat and humidity. I might go back and use a larger paper after the weather breaks. I was standing in the shade but got sweaty anyway.

When I got back to my car I walked over to the lake and looked for a couple minutes to see if I could find a good spot to sketch and instantly around 10 turtles and a couple huge fish, I mean 18″ or so swam right up to me and looked at me like they were expecting to be fed. Just in case of society breakdown, if we have to live like Survivorman, there’s food around easy to catch. You can’t stand there and fish in the garden but people do fish there in canoes on the lake.

azaleas / oils

Sometimes I neglect everything else in life and paint for days. Other times I do things that need to be done and neglect painting. This is one joy in my amateur status. It’s not a job.

When a subject takes up most of the space on a painting the negative spaces become an important design element. The art viewer’s eye needs to find a place to rest so it doesn’t get tired and will look longer.

Making an interesting background keeps the art viewer’s attention on the painting with more contrast and texture but it’s not as bright so it recedes.

The veins in the paint let my imagination think the painting is part of nature. It’s an illusion I like to make.

I didn’t see a plaque in the garden with the name of this variety of azaleas. Maybe I overlooked it. If it was up to me to name it I’d call it Candy Cane.