Yesterday I slept too late for the best light. It was 9 when I got to the overlook. I decided not to take all my plein air supplies with me because I knew it would be crowded. I only took my color rough from the day before, my color charts and a pencil to make notes.
When I compared my rough to nature the first thing I noticed is that there’s not enough greenery. Otherwise, not too bad, I thought. So I decided to do another color sketch. Also, the ocean wasn’t sparkly at 9 like it is at 8 so that solves the problem of painting the sparkles. That wasn’t working out in my trials and I decided to forget about it until some time in the future. I might have to use oils to paint the sparkly water.
I came to another important decision. I decided to paint the panoramic scene at home. I might mess up the paper outside and can’t fix it with watercolors like I can fix a mistake with oil paint. There’s less chance of the paper picking up a smudge in the wrong place if I paint it at home as opposed to lugging all my stuff out there in my beach cart. After I get more experience with watercolors I’ll know exactly what I need to take along to paint in plein air and it will be a lighter load than taking oil paints.
If I do another rough sketch of a different area of the panorama and it looks ok compared to nature I’ll feel like I can paint it at home with more confidence. Just one more rough. I think I almost have it all worked out. I want to try to paint the thicker foliage first. This is a challenge and I want it to come out right. That’s why I’m doing so much preliminary work, the sketches, the color roughs, taking my time when making the decisions, etc.
It’s nice to have the luxury of taking my time when doing something difficult, and it’s nice to go there and walk even if I’m not working on an art project.
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.
One place on the path floods often and I can tell which way the tide is going by the way the water is running across the path. A lot of times I go there just to walk and don’t take my art supplies along. Now, we’ve had a few days of rain and I worked on this at home, but the past couple weeks when I went over to walk or to sketch or pick my colors, the flooding place was dry and the water looked like low tide. I could see sand and oysters. When I got home I looked at the tide tables and was surprised to see the tide was almost high because I expected to find it was low tide. I wondered if I could read the tide tables at all.
The last time I went to the point to sketch and pick colors from my charts a lady on the path above where I was standing spoke to me. We were both amazed at how far out the water was and she told me low tide was an hour and a half ago but it hasn’t moved and might not move much even at high tide.
This could be one of the lowest tides I’ll see all year, which was ok because I wanted to paint the oysters on the mud flats.
This week we’re getting a lot of rain so there will be coastal flooding and low tide will look like high tide, I guess.
I don’t have as much confidence working at home as I do working in Plein air or as much confidence working with watercolors as working with oil paint or pastels. The weather forced me to paint at home. I thought it would probably be ok because I did my sketches in plein air and picked my colors and made notes of which color to use in plein air. Then after I get past my reluctance to start, I find that I enjoy drawing with the Inktense pencils. I can make a texture with the Inktense pencils and I have a lot of colors, so they save me the time of mixing watercolors on my palette.
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.
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.