Category Archives: sketch

tidal pool with ship coming in / charcoal and chalk

The weather has been dismal here. We did get a little snow but mostly rain and it looks like more rain and cloudy weather for another week. I was glad to get another sketch of the tidal pool when the sun came out. It was cool with a little breeze.

It would be nice to see more snow than rain but the people around here don’t drive in snow very well.

I might try to paint this at home or I might do a sewing project but I needed another sketch first. This helped me visualize the bottom of the pool where the water runs back out to the bay and I made some mental notes of the colors I’ll need. It can be a limited palette. The vertical format isn’t going to work for a painting. I need larger paper. Some times I have to keep sketching before I can decide even simple things like horizontal or vertical. The pool looks too narrow here but I think I can use both of my sketches and fake it for the painting.

The ship had a lot of red on it. It was pretty on the gray blue water.

tidal pool / charcoal and chalk

This is what I decided on for my next plein air painting. I hope that pool doesn’t dry up. It looks like it will be easy to paint.

It’s going to rain again tomorrow, Mon. sunny and cold. I don’t mind cold but if it’s windy I can’t paint on the beach. Then more rain and maybe snow is coming for a few days.

The weather is keeping me at home too much. I started a flower painting and worked on it a few times at home when it was yucky out, maybe I can finish it tomorrow.

Today was beautiful outside for a change. Sunny and cool with a little breeze. A lot of people were enjoying the beach.

a quick sketch from 2006

tundra swans at Middle Creek

This sketch is about to get wasted. I’m using the back of the paper. This will get ruined so here it is to be seen for the last time.

I remember it was 06 because that was a strange time in my life. I sold the house in Chesterfield because I knew the market was in a bubble and I didn’t feel safe there alone. I put my stuff in storage and went to PA. For a couple years I bounced around between PA and VA. I was a gypsy. It was great.

I couldn’t settle down for long. I couldn’t pick another house or an apartment so I lived with this lady or that lady. Finally I got an apartment but still, I want to keep moving even up to last year.

The apt. I have now is quiet and no one is bugging me so I will probably renew my lease in April. I’m not sure. I’ll decide when I hear if the rent goes up or not.

lichens / charcoal and chalk

slightly larger than life on my 11 x 14 sketchbook

They’re light green, and layered like tiny leaves or scales. I’m not sure but I think this is a live oak. I’ll ask later at the visitor’s center to be sure. The trees are sprawling with limbs going back down to the sand and all covered with lichens.

I was glad to get over there today after staying home for a couple days because of windy and rainy weather. Today it’s still a little cold and cloudy but not much wind. Tomorrow, winter weather is coming in.

I’d like to paint the whole tree. There’s a lot of them around the empty campsites, so, good time of year for that project.

It would be fun to paint lichens super close up too. I might be able to wing it at home since I have this sketch.

dunes, bay, ship heading out / charcoal and chalk

In defense of perfectionism:

I wonder why perfectionism is so unpopular these days.

Sometimes I see a piece of art, any type of art, and I think that is just sublime. I couldn’t do better. I can’t find any fault with that. That looks like perfection to me. It’s a treat for your eyes. That was no accident. If the artist didn’t work on that particular piece for a long time then they are showing you the end result of years of practice.

Art experts don’t like to see evidence of hard work. They call it “labored over” like labor isn’t part of life. It’s to be avoided. There is no such thing as a labor of love to those people.

If an artist is insecure maybe the person saying, ” don’t continue to work on this painting, stop now before you overwork it.” The expert is trying to make the artist feel better about themself. If the artist is saying, “I’m not good enough,” that isn’t relevant in the art world. You can be a real jerk, it doesn’t matter. You can still do art that is uplifting and people might love your art. I’m not good enough also doesn’t make sense to me because imperfection is accepted, even prized. The artists I’m talking about only need more practice till they feel good enough.

You don’t get there by giving up if you think you can fix a painting and make it better by continuing to work on it. If you don’t want to do that right now, it’s ok to put it off till next week, next year or any other time when you think you can do better.

I’ll agree no one is perfect. Perfection is an ideal. Why not shoot for the ideal? Even if you never get there trying is better than copping out. Art might be the only chance we have to get close to perfection.

If you want to keep going over it again and again don’t let anyone stop you. If you get on a good path and want to keep doing the same thing in different variations until you have had enough then you have to do that and don’t let anyone say, “you’re not done with that yet?”

Ignore anyone that tells you what not to do.

As always, feel free to opine.

the way to the bay / sketch

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the horizon

Oh man, there are so many places and things I want to draw and paint. I went over there thinking it would be fun to sketch lichens. I had lichens in the back of my mind since last winter. Then I saw some strange thorn trees. I continued walking a little further looking at lichens and trying to decide, lichens or thorns, and I walked out on this overlook and thought I’ll do this scene.

It was great weather, sunny, cool, light breeze. I only saw two people coming back from the beach.

The water was dark gray.

I need a bigger piece of paper. I could get into painting this freely if I tape my brushes onto yardsticks again and stand back. That might help my perspective a little too.

They’re calling for sunny but cold weather this weekend. I should go back. I’ll have it all to myself. It’s a real nice overlook with a bench.

sketch from Back Bay / charcoal and chalk

My sketchbook has assorted colors, blueish, greenish, tan, gray and white. The white is too bright to enjoy drawing on in plein air. Sometimes I tint white paper with pastel, blend it down and spray it with fixative. It’s easier to draw on. The white has so much glare in the sun. That’s what I did for this sketch, tinted it gray first.

Darn it, the waves look a little weak. I need more practice drawing and painting water. It’s always a challenge and it changes every day. I’d like to paint this scene. This is a good time of year to do it. The weather was sunny, cool and windy today. It felt refreshing and I had the overlook all to myself

Except for the water, which might be difficult to paint, this scene looks easy to do. I’m trying to decide, it might not be a good idea to take my easel because I can’t anchor it with the spikes on the wooden overlook. I might be able to paint on paper and lean my drawing board on the railing. I’d have to keep a hand on my easel all the time since it’s windy there.

egret in dead tree / charcoal and chalk

The thing I like about this tree is that a lot of the bark has fallen off and it makes an interesting change in texture between the bare places and the places with bark.

The egret wasn’t there. I looked at photos and tried to fake it.

I still need to sketch more before I can come up with a good plan for a painting. I’d like to use this tree and not have it in the center of the painting. I was glad it fit on the paper because it was windy and I took my 11 x 14 sketchbook instead of a larger paper on my drawing board and easel. I can hold that size sketchbook in one hand and it’s ok in wind. Anything larger and I need my easel. Then I have more to carry and wind makes it difficult.

a place on the path that often floods but was dry today / charcoal and chalk

I like it more when it’s flooded.

I’ve always loved sedge. There isn’t much of it in PA. but in VA. it’s all over the place. It looks soft and is so pretty and bright orange, gold or a shade of red when the sun hits it right. It’s ok to walk through and today I sat on a clump when I took a break.

A huge white egret was sitting in the tree on the other side of the water but he flew away before I got far enough into the sketch to include him.

I was off the path a few feet and some people walked and jogged through. I thought I’d have it to myself if it was flooded but it was real nice out today, sunny and cool and hasn’t rained.

This is one spot I’m considering for my next painting but I haven’t decided yet. I often go there to walk and don’t take my sketchbook. There are so many great views there.

I see wordpress is putting their own ad under my post. And they moved it up to keep it current. hahaha Is it showing up on your reader? It says “Learn from the experts”. I guess I’m an expert now. Nah, They want to sell you something. I didn’t click on it. Well, I’m not paying them for the blog so – whatever.

omg. I just looked at freshly pressed under the art tag and there is so much pornography on it today I had to leave it. It’s too annoying having to keep scrolling past it. Sorry, friends, if I miss something good.

marsh sketch / debunking a famous quote

Do you remember that famous quote, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” ?

sounds like b-s to me. It makes me think they want art to be political and that is not the main reason for art.

When I was in art school my wise teachers told us art serves 3 purposes, decoration, illustration and self expression. Self expression being the least important. It’s only the huge egos of the modern art world that think they can change society with a painting. And who cares about my self expression? I don’t have that kind of ego. I blame my parents. You might want to thank them. If an art viewer is savvy enough to analyze my paintings, there’s plenty of information in there about me. I can’t keep self expression out of it. I don’t need to deliberately make paintings expressing my moods.

Now, let’s say I know a disturbed person. Am I going to show them Starry Night and think that will comfort them? If I want to comfort someone who is disturbed I’ll find out what’s bugging them and try to find a real practical solution. If I showed Starry Night to a disturbed person and asked them if that comforts them they might say yes because they think I want to hear a yes. Then they go right back to their problems and forget Starry Night instantly.

What if I had some resentment to people who are comfortable? I don’t, but that would be political and if someone’s comfortable why should I try to ruin that for them. They’re not hurting me.

I don’t care really, if art metaphorically stomps on some high muckety muck’s toes. Whatever. I only want to say, if a quote sounds stupid, stop repeating that nonsense. Make art for illustration or decoration. Making the comfortable disturbed is a weak kind of art.