Category Archives: oil paint

sand dune painting update

It was windy but nice to be out after a lot of days that were too hot and humid and rainy to paint in plein air. Finally! I could go back down there to work on this again. The wind was around 20 to 25 mph I think. It almost blew me down when I stood up. Last time it was windy too. It felt good but the blowing sand got in everything.

the wind was blowing my brush around because I had it taped to a yardstick and was sitting back a yard away from my painting, like Matisse did. It’s a lot of fun but you have to give up some control. Can you see the craziness in this close up? Sand in my paint? Scribbling because of wind and sand? I doubt anyone could call this painting “tight” hahahah

I enjoy it a lot but maybe other artists wouldn’t.

That big dark slash there, that’s a blip of the brush because of wind and sand. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix that but I fixed the bad place in the sky so I’ll do something to break up that dark blob. Note the sand getting bad by the time I got this far with it.

I’m trying to decide if I should brush the sand off when this dries or leave it there. Some of it won’t come off.

Just as I was packing my things to leave the wind blew my canvas paper off the drawing board and it flipped back with the paint in the sand. I thought that was too much but it didn’t wreck it any worse than it was already. I had to quick slap more tape on it before it started flapping in the wind. This is the kind of plein air experience that might deter a lot of artists. I’m not fighting nature. Let her mess up my painting. I should care but I don’t.

Too much sand on my palette. I had to quit working on it or else clean my palette out there because I couldn’t mix up another color on top of that mess. The blue colors on top are what was left over from the sky and they’re covered with little pieces of plastic wrap to keep them workable, so maybe that much paint is still ok.

I’m not sure about finishing this. I might go back in a few days after this dries a little or I might finish it at home.

can this painting be saved?

This is a start. It was tiring to lug my art supplies out to the dune and I had everything in my beach cart, but so much fun to paint there. I was saying to myself, This is the life! All those years that I worked at jobs trying to make ends meet and never gave a thought to retirement, then when I started painting in plein air and the beach was far away, I wished I could hop in the car and be there. Then my daughter married a Norfolk guy and says she’s staying in Norfolk, I moved to the beach and it’s great! Norfolk and Virginia Beach are just one huge city to me. If I believed in karma I’d wonder what I did to deserve this, because it was a pure delight out there today. Even though it made me tired, I thought the rewards for doing something difficult are higher than the rewards for doing the easy thing.

My spot is so nice. Picture this. I’m in the only shady place in the dunes. I sat on the sand and leaned against a post. I leaned my painting on a post about 4′ away and spread my stuff out all around me. I found a heavy piece of metal to lean against my painting and had a foot on it too and the wind, which really picked up when I was there, didn’t blow it down. The wind felt good. It was sunny and not too hot. But the best thing is people didn’t notice me there. Only one kid saw me and they all moved on. Since I knew I was hidden I took my yardsticks and taped my brushes to them so I could sit back and paint from far away like my favorite artist, Matisse. That’s why this underpainting is loose looking. And that made it all the more fun.

Since I had my brush taped to a yardstick it went a little wild here and I accidentally smeared some green into the sky. When I tried to wipe it off it only got worse. I wanted to go over the sky again so I’m not worrying about it.

The whole experience was so much fun I don’t even care that sand got all over my painting. It’s not even artfully designed sand and I don’t care. I mean, how zen is that?! I’ll give it a few days to dry and maybe most of the sand will brush off. It won’t all come off but let that be proof for future art historians after I’m dead that I was really right down there in it. I’m like freakin Turner tying himself to a mast in a storm to capture the storm! haha I would never tie myself to a mast because I’d be seasick. It would be great if my efforts would show up in the painting when it’s finished. I want to go back and finish it soon but it might rain in a couple days after this dries enough to work on it again. I need to go over it again twice.

stars and planets spiraling in a downward tornado into a black hole

stars and planets spiraling in a downward tornado into a black hole

I don’t know what happened to my wordpress thing here. Before, if I clicked on” write” a bar for a title was at the top of the post but now that bar is gone. So I clicked in the box and typed in “title” then I get a line to type on but it’s showing the title twice. If I try to erase one line they both get erased. I fooled around with it but I can’t figure it out. The blue question mark wasn’t getting me anywhere either and even my daughter can’t figure it out, so, oh well, maybe it will fix itself, who knows.

OK, back to art talk.

I’ve been doing modern art all week because the weather isn’t good for plein air lately. The modern art is fun and fast. I could knock out 5 in a day, or even more, but is it just a waste of paint or will it eventually make a better artist out of me? It seems to me that if you want to improve at a difficult game like art you have to challenge yourself and modern art, fun as it is, is no challenge.

All you have to do is throw some paint down, smear it around or don’t smear it or whatever you feel like doing, then look at it and think of a title. I guess most art viewers like a title because people want to make sense of things.

When I’m doing that, it’s like making a little Rorschach test for myself. The art viewer gets a glimpse into my subconscious. Maybe if I keep doing modern art the art viewers will feel like they know me.

I’ll let the viewers make the call on the question of will this make a better artist out of me. Meanwhile, it looks like more rain is in the forecast so I might continue with this for a few more days. At this time of year if I want to go out to draw in plein air, I have to get up early, and check the local radar for rain. If it gets too late it’s too hot out.

connections to the past / mono prints

Isn’t it funny when your kid thinks they’re smarter than you?

If you lived through some bad stuff and people tell you to, “Let it go”, that might not be good advice.

You might think you know what happened but you might not figure it all out until you’re over 50!

If it’s on your mind when you’re trying to sleep years later, there’s a lesson in there for you that you didn’t get yet.

We have to learn from the bad stuff because more bad stuff might happen and we will be better able to deal with it if we know what didn’t work before.

Blue Angels spot UFOs / mono print

My Blue Angels came out funny looking. Should I try again?

50 years ago when I was visiting my Grandma she always had tabloids with articles of great interest to me. UFOs were a thing back then but the people who reported them were laughed at and the Navy pilots that saw them were told not to report it.

So, they’ve been hanging around the Earth for at least 50 years possibly thousands of years or even more. Why don’t they kill all of us? Maybe they like us as we like dinosaurs.

Now it’s in the news here that UFOs are in our restricted air space off the coast of Virginia and California and now the government wants the reports from the Navy pilots. The govt. is saying, “Yes, we know they’re up there.”

kelp forest for a background

I looked at some photos of kelp and then winged it with my palette knife. This is my background for a mermaid. It might take a couple days to dry but I don’t have the plan worked out exactly, so that’s ok.

Yesterday was too hot for me to enjoy drawing in plein air and tomorrow is the start of a big weekend here. Traffic might get bad. And there is a chance of rain this weekend which isn’t good because so many people are vacationing at the beach after being locked down last year at this time. It will be a busy summer season here. It has been dry though, so if it rains it’s ok with me.

Last year when I didn’t have an apartment for a week or so, I stayed at a hotel at the oceanfront. I thought it was a strange twist of fate that when we were told to lock down I was at a place that I could enjoy for a while. I couldn’t call myself homeless because the homeless are broke, it was only a weird moving experience. A lot of my art got stolen while I was moving into the new apartment and I cancelled the lease and put my stuff in storage for around 10 days because I wanted to not rush into making another bad decision on an apartment. Then a guy returned my stolen art. How often does that happen?! So finally I moved in here, but when I left the oceanfront I bought this plaster mermaid for a souvenir from one of the stores on Atlantic Ave. that was open. I thought she was the prettiest mermaid and wanted to draw her. Statues are my favorite kind of models.

I don’t like her tail. I guess they made it like this so the figure would fit in a certain size mold but the tail looks weak. How can she swim with a floppy tail?! I’ll think of a better way to draw it but I didn’t try yet. I’m not sure about the sea shell bra either, or what she should be holding. Should I give her a crab to hold? When I bought this I thought it would be fun to put a little cactus on that plate.

Now I need to decide, do I want to try to do a mermaid mono print or do the fun painting style of Matisse where you tape your brushes onto yard sticks, or possibly continue with the palette knife.

I’m open to suggestions. Maybe I can make these decisions when I’m sketching her.

pointillism experiment finished

The artist that invented pointillism, Seurat, had his color theory down to a science. I wish I knew how he did it but I see so many variations of pointillism I guess most artists put their own spin on it.

close up

Last week when I got to Back Bay the clouds were so pretty I couldn’t resist trying to paint them. It was windy and the clouds were moving fast. I got some general shapes dotted in for the cloud shadows and when I wanted to puff them up with more volume they were all different so I decided to wing it when I got home.

I can’t tell if this experiment is working or not. If it’s not, and you can tell me how to improve next time, please don’t be afraid to advise me. I’m not sensitive about a critique and I don’t feel emotionally attached to my paintings, so my feelings don’t get hurt easily if it’s a flop.

cloud close up

The thing about painting at home is there are too many distractions here. When I go out to paint in plein air I’m leaving everything behind and concentrating on the drawing and painting. It might seem like people out in public would be a worse distraction but the people don’t bug me. I like when someone is interested in what I’m doing. Most of the time I’m alone out there except for walkers passing through.