Category Archives: Virginia Beach

Dune painting update

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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.

plan for dune paintings panorama

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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.

sketch of dunes / charcoal and chalk

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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.

Between Two Dunes / charcoal and chalk

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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.

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.

 

 

50 free masks for nurses

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There they are all lined up on the back of my sofa before going out this afternoon.

It will be great to have the masks on the faces of 50 health care pros tomorrow. I must say, this is a great organization I hooked up with, the Covid19 Sewing Taskforce for Hampton Roads. They have over 1200 volunteers including me and have made 10,975 masks so far for 22 health care institutions. A lot of the fabric is donated but they have people donating money too and are buying fabrics. People that can’t sew help in other ways like cutting the fabrics and making kits for seamstresses.

There must be a wire shortage because one of my kits had pipe cleaners instead of wires. Since they had precut the fabric I could knock out 50 in two days for them. I did around 15 before I hit my stride.

The cable tv guy had to come over today and hook me up because I can’t do it and my son in law was stumped as to why it didn’t get the signal. The cable guy asked me to sell him one of the masks. I told him I can’t sell them, those were for nurses. Those cable guys, they have to go into people’s houses and wear a mask but the company isn’t giving them masks, I guess, because he was wearing a dirty old construction mask. He wants a mask he can wash.

I have a box full of scraps of cotton so tomorrow I’m going to sort through the pieces and cut masks for the cable guys. I got his phone #, told him I’ll call him in a couple days and give him cotton masks for himself and his coworkers.

Then maybe next week I’ll sew more for nurses. People seem to think this crisis will go on for a while but I think it’s almost over. I’ll sew more for a little while then I’ll get back to art projects.

Rudee Inlet at Sundown / pastel

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Long ago, when I was a young chick in art school, they insisted we must learn linear perspective using vanishing points. It was too technical for me. I promptly forgot what I learned. After doing a few vanishing point exercises I decided if I wanted to draw architecture I’d just eyeball it.

It’s not easy to draw architecture. I have to try at least twice and it’s still not exactly right but it’s not annoying my eyes so this will do. My perspective is a little off and my proportions are a little off, I hope it’s not noticeable.

When I can get my lines straight I’m happy. I did this all free hand not using a photo or even a ruler. To check my lines for straightness I look at my drawing on the edge the way you look down the edge of a board to see if it’s warped, tilting the drawing so I’m not looking straight at it but kind of looking sideways. Then I can see where my lines go off straight and it’s easier to make corrections. It might seem like a slow process to draw straight lines this way but  I want to do it freehand and practice will pay off in the long run.

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This is a close up showing two focal points. The light in the foreground is a focal point because it’s contrasting with the bridge support that is partially illuminated by it, that support being the only one with a lot of light on it, and the dark lines going behind it on a slant. The secondary focal point in the background is a streetlight far away. It’s white against black, so if a viewer’s eye is zooming in on details their eye will stop there and look at the background for a second before moving on. You can see some sketchy boats in this photo which aren’t a focal point and aren’t even noticeable from far away.  Yeah, those are boats. I could hardly see them from where I was but I drew them anyway. (artistic license – draw as much or as little as you want to)

The lines look tilted because I wasn’t holding my camera exactly square to the paper.

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This close up shows reflections continuing from above the bridge to below it. I wanted to have some light reflecting under the bridge to tie the top to the lower part with a little light. That’s another secondary focal point on the far right of the drawing because of the white square on the black background and the orange square next to it.

Sundown was my favorite time of day to draw this scene from the balcony of my hotel. A half hour earlier the sun was glaring on the water so bright I couldn’t look in that direction. A half hour later and the buildings in the background blended in with the trees’ darkness.

I started this pastel in Plein air at the inlet on the 6th floor of the hotel. I did my drawing and picked my colors in plein air. Then I got an apartment and moved in. After a couple days I stopped unpacking and organizing the apt. so I could finish this. Now I have to get back to the unpacking job before I start another art project.