Category Archives: Pleasure House Point,

Today’s wildlife report from Virginia Beach

Oysters spit.

I was walking at Pleasure House Point and stopped to look at some oysters. A bunch of times I saw little jets of water shoot up. It was kind of funny. I never knew they did that.

Human wildlife

I found another good place to sketch that I didn’t see before. There were boats beached on a sand bar and people out on the sand in the middle of the inlet. The tide was low. A boat was blasting country music.

Birds

I saw an egret, a sand piper and a small heron.

I think the osprey chicks in the nest out back are learning to fly. I saw one fly to the ground and then back up to the nest, and I saw one fly around the nest in high circles. I think those were this years chicks, but I’m not sure.

This photo was lifted from stock photos

Ok. this is my second try using the new editor. It took some time to find the right place for categories and tags. This editor seems more technical or complicated to me.

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.

 

 

a better plan for Pleasure House Point

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This is watercolor paper stapled and stretched. It’s 15 x 20, larger than the pastel sketchbook I used for the previous  marsh sketch. I did a more panoramic view this time, just outlining the shapes of the trees, sky, water and grass with charcoal. It’s a little easier to draw larger and on the second try. I didn’t start  painting today because it’s too hot and humid. I didn’t want to stay out long. It’s cloudy and not much breeze. We’re on the edge of the cone of doom for hurricane Dorian.  I didn’t hear any evacuation orders so I’m not leaving. We’ll have a couple days of nasty weather, maybe it won’t be too bad. Keep your fingers crossed for  VA Beach. I hope the lights stay on. Maybe I’ll be able to start painting this on Sat.

So, this is the first step. I think this is a better sketch than my first try. I don’t know if you can see it very well.

I almost forgot to tell you about the weird noises. I guess it’s birds in the sedge. Every once in a while a bunch of them start squawking oddly.  I don’t see them.

Marsh at Pleasure House Point / charcoal and chalk

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It was so nice to be over there. The weather is great! This is a big holiday weekend  so Pleasure House Point will have a lot of visitors. I’ll get back out next week with my watercolors and try to paint this. I’d like to use a bigger paper so I can show more sky and water. I think the biggest challenge will be the edges where the top of the sedge overlaps the water edge. I’ll probably do a couple practices on scrap paper.

A watercolor might be my last art project until I’m at art camp in New Mexico. I should start getting my things organized this week and pack art supplies. I’ll be off the grid and under the radar for a few weeks but when I get back I’ll tell you about my adventure. Driving across country alone is a zen thing. It’s a beauty and vast.

Pleasure House Point in Dec. / oil

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The story of the insane SHRIEKING bird.

One day I was over there painting. I was all alone on the path. It was peaceful until this loud screeching shriek came from right behind me. I stopped and looked around but couldn’t see the bird.

Another day, I heard it far away. I also saw the likely culprit walk into the sedge a couple times. The second time I heard the bird, people walked down the path with binoculars and I thought they were probably bird watchers, so I asked them if they heard that loud screeching bird, and they did hear it. They said it was a sandpiper, and showed me a photo on a phone. I said, yes that’s it. Mystery solved.images

I also heard a loud chattering bird noise and now I wonder if sandpipers make that sound too.

A problem happened because of the cold weather.

Finally the sun came out after days and days of cloudy rainy weather and I was anxious to work on my painting, even if it was freezing. I bundled up and went out. As soon as I opened the lid on my palette, the glass broke! It was 32. Fortunately, I always put gray duct tape on the back of my palette glass, so little pieces of broken glass didn’t fall out. Breakage does happen sometimes with glass, but the main reason I put duct tape on the bottom of my glass is because it’s easier to see colors and values on gray than it is on a white palette. And some of the broken pieces were big enough to mix paint on, so I made some progress on the painting that day despite the broken palette. Weird, huh? I guess it was the sudden cold on the glass that caused it to break.

Well, that’s two nature stories for you.

how I rig up my taboret for plein air painting at the beach

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I looked at plein air easels in catalogs, and saw most of them don’t have spikes on the legs. They also have tiny pallets. I have an easel with spikes, It’s saved my painting from falling down in the wind a lot of times. I wonder why spikes aren’t always on plein air set ups. And why the tiny pallets? How’s an artist going to mix up colors and thin them down with turp for a glaze? I guess that might be one reason plein air impressionists don’t use a palette knife to mix paint, their pallets are too small. I usually spend a lot of time preparing my paint so I need a big enough palette to mix a few colors. I bought a palette for watercolor or acrylic and discarded the sponge it came with. I have a piece of glass with duct tape on the back to mix on. I can see my colors and values better on the gray duct tape than on a white background.

They make the plein air kits so it all fits in a box you have to lug out to your location. Maybe most plein air painters don’t go over sand dunes or down long trails. A few years ago I bought this beach cart with wide wheels. That’s how I can take all these heavy supplies down a sandy trail. I lay my cart on it’s side close to my easel on the left because I’m left handed, and put my palette on the side of my cart. It’s off the ground high enough that I can easily reach it, and it was windy this week but my palette stayed wedged in that spot and didn’t blow down. I had to keep a hand on my painting at all times, and when I stopped painting I had to take it off the easel and put it on the ground so it wouldn’t blow down. Even so, sand gets into my paint and sticks blow on it that I can brush off most of after the paint dries.IMG_1956

This is my camera’s perspective of the scene. It looks far away compared to my naked eye perspective, and the colors look more gray. It got a little cloudy so the shadows aren’t showing up in this photo. This is why I don’t use a photo to get my sketch.

Instead of starting my painting from the weak perspective of the camera, I hold up my sketchbook and try to imagine it’s transparent. I decide how much of the scene is covered by my sketchbook and measure my perspective by comparing nature to the size of my paper. I try to decide where I want my horizon line to be on my sketch and how far I can extend my sketch on each side. How many trees can I fit in the painting, how much sedge, water, etc.

Even though I am trying to match the colors and values of nature so that I can make the illusion of depth, I can’t copy nature exactly.

I recently read an article about a plein air painter who says don’t copy nature, just do your own interpretation of it. His paintings were monochromatic. What’s the point of going out to paint in plein air if you’re not trying to match the colors and values of nature? I can’t see anything more beautiful than nature as it is. My own interpretation comes through in the painting even though I am trying to copy the beauty of nature as I see it. That artist with the big write up in a magazine has a much larger ego than I do if he thinks his monochromatic fuzzy flat paintings are somehow better than real life.IMG_1954

This is my painting with one layer of glazes over the whole canvas. You can see the difference between my naked eye perspective and the camera’s. My perspective is up close and personal compared to my photo. So, what is real? It could be entirely something else from the naked eye or the camera.

Pleasure House Point / charcoal

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It’s so beautiful over there, I could get 4 paintings from this one spot.

There’s a canal on both sides of this sandy path and the path makes a turn, so there’s water in front of you too. It’s all divided up by tall red grass and various types of vegetation.

I’m priming an 18 x 24 canvas for this painting so I can show more of the water on both sides. I don’t want to crowd this beauty into a small canvas.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation owns this wildlife preserve. They have some nice trails going through it. It’s free and not too crowded, with enough space for me to stand up my easel.