I painted this at home and took it to the beach to compare it to real life. I didn’t paint nearly enough greenery but you might not notice it’s missing until you see the photos below. The dead trees need sunlight and I just painted them solid gray here. I was trying to make it easier for myself, now I know I have to paint the light on the trees. I guess I’ll have to go there to work on my big paintings after all. I miss too much working from my charcoal sketches at home. Plus, painting at home is boring when you get used to painting in plein air. One good thing about the dunes is that the foliage doesn’t change much over months so I can still take my time finishing my big panorama plan.
Gosh darn it, my computer’s acting up again. I thought these would never load.
I bought a sunflower at the farm stand on Sandbridge Rd. And I got some scallops, a stuffed clam and a tomato. I might try to sketch the sunflower later. The lady told me it would last 7 to 10 days if I don’t put more than an inch or so of water in every day. Too much water rots the stem.
This is a busy week at the beach but I got out this morning before it got too hot and crowded with heavy traffic.
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.
This is a color rough for my panoramic dune paintings in the works. Some other color dots are in the sky. I don’t know where it came from. I tried to lift it but couldn’t. Oh well, it’s only a rough. I’ll be mad if I mess up the sky on my good paper. Good thing I did the rough, now I know I have to figure out a way to wrap my papers to take them out to the beach.
It’s a big job. first I had to buy 3 pieces of plywood and cut them to fit half sheets of watercolor paper. I used my son in law’s battery powered saw. That went ok but stapling the paper to the boards was a problem because the staples I ordered weren’t the Duo Fast brand like I asked for and gave the stock number for. They got stuck in the stapler and I had to pry them out with a pliers. I had to use the staples I had which were too long and stuck out the back of the boards. I covered them by taping cotton cord on the back over the points so I wouldn’t scratch myself.
Then transferring my sketches to the paper took a long time. My hand gets tired holding a pencil to draw. Charcoal doesn’t make my hand tired but pencil is best on watercolor paper. That part of the job took days because I had to rest my hand.
We had a whole week of rain and I didn’t care. I also had to try to mix some colors and do a few color roughs at home before I go back to the beach and paint on my good paper.
This is my 4th try on the ocean. I want to make it sparkly, can’t tell if that’s working. It’s my 3rd try on sky and second try on dune colors. First I used yellow ochre for the dune color but thought it was too yellow so I tried again with burnt umber. This looks better but I need to take this along to the beach and compare it to nature.
Hopefully, tomorrow I can get out of here early and go back to the overlook. The light is best early and it’s easier to be there before it gets hot.
I knew this would be a big difficult job for me so I had to take my time and figure everything out first, do the drawings in detail, transfer everything, do my color roughs, mix colors at home, work out as many bugs as I can before I try to paint on the stretched papers. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish it. If I do all that first there’s a better chance it will work out. If I can’t concentrate on it I’ll just put it off until I can and the weather improves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.