Tag Archives: charcoal

Bay Side Tide Pool w. Ship Coming In / charcoal and chalk

This spot is close to where I painted the last beach scene but today the tide was high. It was over 60F. (not hot or cold, my Celsius friends) and I wore a sweatshirt and jeans but when I got to First Landing there was a brisk Westerly wind that made it feel much cooler. I sat on the edge of a little beach erosion next to a clump of dune grass and it blocked the wind nicely. It was cloudy. Sand flies were all around but not biting. So, it was great to get out there and sketch.

I went over to the VA. Tech Arboretum and they have a lot of blooming bushes, camellias and some trees I don’t know the names of, and daffodils. They only have a few parking places but the apt. complex next to it might not tow my car if I go there to paint daffodils and hang around for a couple hours while most of the residents are at work.

I guess a lot of people who would normally go to the botanical garden will show up at the arboretum since the botanical has a small parking lot due to construction. Norfolk Botanical is building the “Garden of the Future” and the plans look amazing but if you want to go there the bar code on your membership card won’t get you in. Now you have to make a reservation for a parking spot, which I would do except there’s a catch. They send a bar code to your email for every day you want to go and that gets scanned at the entrance. It’s a bummer for an old baby boomer that doesn’t use their phone for email because now I’d have to do what? take my lap top to an office supply store and get them to print off the bar codes for me? nah. I don’t feel like it. There are flowers at the arboretum.

I have more inspiration than time or energy.

charcoal sketch from Rivers Casino

That was a fun thing to do today since it rained and I wanted to get out. I found my way over to the casino but got lost in Norfolk on my way home. It’s a straight shot over to Portsmouth on 264 but coming home I was in the wrong lane and got funneled off the highway. I got turned around somehow and made a circle but avoided going through another tunnel. Finally I found the way home. My car has gps but you need a phone with blue tooth and I never hooked it up because I have a little old flip phone. That’s ok. Getting lost in Norfolk isn’t scary.

The casino is pretty with all those bright colorful shiny sparkly machines. It’s big and a ton of people were there. People have been complaining about the smoke but they have a non smoking section and I sat at a table where I could see these pretty machines. It looked like I was in a cafe section but it was closed. I was the only one sitting there and propped my sketchbook on the table to draw. They didn’t know I was sketching and no one said anything to me which is good.

The slot machines don’t look like the old time pictures of slots except that they still have spinning pictures that line up to give you a win. I saw a guy win $25. I don’t see what the fascination is for all those people to be sitting at the machines watching the pictures spin but to each their own.

They had a section for big stakes poker but you can’t go in unless you’re playing. I saw craps games, sports betting and black jack. If I ever decide to gamble I’ll learn how to count cards so I at least have a chance of winning at black jack. I think I could do it with practice. It’ll probably never happen, just a pipe dream.

I want to go back and try to sketch more. If I want to do a painting 10 sketches of different machines might be enough. Then I can arrange all the pretty machines and they don’t have to be in rows. I could do a cubist version and have the machines and people all over upside down and sideways.

Canoe Launch Frozen / charcoal and chalk

It was a perfect day to draw or paint the water at Back Bay. It’s frozen! That makes it so easy! We had some big arctic wind and cold but not as bad as a lot of the country and now it’s back to normal for winter chill with highs in the mid 40s today and warming up more tomorrow.

A lot of people were there today. I sat in my car to sketch but if I do a painting I can use a bench right there.

This might be something I could paint in watercolor because it looks simple. I don’t know what I’ll do if the water gets wavy when it warms up.

It’s a monochromatic scene at this time of year, mostly gray.

I heard a big flock honking far away and couldn’t see them. I’ll try to remember to take my camera in case I can get a pic of them flying. I don’t know what they were, geese, I guess.

Pretty backwater at Back Bay / charcoal and chalk

This is a new plan for a painting at a spot I admired many times but thought it would be better in the winter because it’s next to a gravel road about 50 yards from the parking lot and in the summer a lot of people are walking or biking past. Today I had it to myself for a while and got started on the sketch. I need a larger paper or canvas and I might go back tomorrow.

It’s a little cold and windy but sunny and will be the same tomorrow but we have wind and rain coming in a couple days then it’s going to get colder.

You can’t tell much from this sketch. It’s the leeward side of sand dunes with rows of scrub brush and marsh grass and the water looks black. It’s not really black but the bottom might be. This water flows in and out with the tides. It’s kind of bleak. I bet I could paint it with only a few tubes of paint because I like the stark beauty of it and don’t want to force color into the scene. It’s mostly gray greens, white sand, blue sky and the sky reflects on the black water, and the sedge which is yellow ochre kind of. Painting the water might be a challenge.

I saw a lot of real pretty sea oats with the sun shining through them and was wondering if they would look good in a vase. They’re taller than me so I’d have to cut the tops off and bring them home. Then the sun won’t be on them unless I take them out back to the baseball diamond to paint a still life. That would be funny, setting my vase on something out there to paint it. People walk through all year but not tons of people.

And I’m not sure about that gravel road to this spot with the black water. They might close it when the birds migrate. That would be a bummer if I start a painting then they block it.

Right off the bat your Plein air artist has to make all these executive decisions, hahahah

Tidal Pool second view / charcoal and chalk

The weather has been nice. We’ve had some clouds and some sun, not too much rain and not too hot. I’ve been out walking on the trails a lot and not taking my sketchbook. One time I checked this spot where I sketched before and the water was high but today it was back out. This is a place where the water flows in and out of the marsh. The sun wasn’t glaring on it today. I was sitting on a huge tree that fell down on the edge of the beach.

I think this will work for a painting. I’m planning on taking my acrylics and palette knives instead of oils. I don’t want to take my easel out on the beach because if sand gets into the telescoping legs it might make them get stuck. If I use my acrylics and palette knives I probably need to work on a flat surface but I could use the dead tree which is a huge round stump on its side with giant branches and roots. It would make a wobbly surface to put my drawing board on.

The acrylics would be a lighter load in my beach cart because I won’t need my brushes, terpenoid or big palette. I could mix some acrylic colors at home for my underpainting and make them wet enough that they will keep for a while in little plastic tubes. I use a plastic lid as my palette with acrylics which is much lighter than the one I use for oils with glass. I’ve been playing around a lot with acrylics and palette knives but never did a Plein air landscape with them.

tidal pool / charcoal and chalk

It was really nice out today. After running some errands I drove to First Landing State Park and walked on the trail to the end of the beach where I found this sparkly tidal pool. It’s a good thing I had my sunglasses on because the sun was shining on the water so brightly I wouldn’t stare at it without them. It outlined the tidal pool with bright white and showed a lot of little wet sandy lumps that weren’t covered by water.

My spot was off the trail. I might go back and see if I can catch it the same another time because the timing was just right with the tide and the sun today. The times of high and low tides vary every day by a half hour or so, I’m not sure. A few minutes too late and those pretty lumps of wet sand could be covered by water.

My sketch doesn’t do it justice, but I might try to paint this scene. I’m not sure how to make the white sun reflecting on the water as bright as it looks in real life.

rocks at Acadia / charcoal

I know I said I wouldn’t go out on the rocks again but the rocks are irresistible. This sketch could work for a painting . I found an almost flat rock to sit on . If I drop something it’s lost down a chasm. It started out partly cloudy today and clouded up then it rained a little. You can see some drops on my sketch. I wonder if I have enough time to paint this. Check out is Thurs. morning.

I made progress on my painting of islands. Yesterday it started out nice and cool in the morning then got so cold and windy it was whipping the artists. I couldn’t find a lee place to sketch. Today I worked on painting the rocks and water but I’m not showing it to you because I want to go over the water again.

a sketch from the road into Schoodic Inst.

As soon as I finished breakfast I left for Bar Harbor to get some big band aids for my owie. It takes over an hour to get there from Schoodic but I didn’t see any drug stores on Rt.1 or 3 on the way. I Found the Walgreens in Bar Harbor easily! I skipped the posing for the group picture at 8:15. Hope they don’t care.

Then I got a lifetime senior pass to any national park for $80 and drove around the loop road on the main island of Acadia next to Bar Harbor. It was crowded with not many parking places but I got a sketch of Sandy Beach from far away. I don’t know if it’s really sandy.

I got this sketch by the road back into Schoodic where a few cars can pull off. It’s my best sketch of the 3 I did today so I’ll go back with a canvas tomorrow and stay there longer.

I’ll probably keep on the Schoodic peninsula side of Acadia instead of driving over to the larger part of Acadia in that crowd again. This side has less people.

I finally had my lobster roll. It was $28, same price I saw them for in Portland. Expensive but delicious! Also they give you fries but now I have to get the fries out of the car or it might attract BEARS!

Came back to Schoodic and I’m sitting outside the building where we all checked in yesterday but it’s locked and I can get the signal outside.

Rocky Coast of Maine sketch / charcoal and chalk

I scraped my hand on a scraggly pine tree while climbing over rocks, darn it. It bled and I had to make a bandage with a paper towel and masking tape. Lucky I had those things in the car but it’s a bad scrape. I might have to drive out and get some antibiotic ointment and band aids tomorrow. It’s a long drive out of here but there is an amazing look out as you’re coming in where you can see across Frenchman’s Bay to the main part of Acadia. The road is one way and makes a loop.

This view is at Schoodic Point where art camp is happening. After I did this sketch I went a little up hill and you can see another point jutting out. I might go back there and try to do a painting. It’s by the side of the road. I could put my palette on a rock and would be off the main area where everyone goes by 100 yards or so. I’m not going on the rocks again.

It’s almost check in time. I’m not sure if this joint will be open later for ninnernet access.

A lot of artists are out on the point doing their first painting.

horse for a still life / 4th or 5th try

That’s almost right as far as proportions and perspective go, as far as I can tell. You can see how many times I compared the leg joints to the body to try to improve it. It’s a little larger than life on my 11 x 14 sketchbook. At this point I can make a grid to draw it smaller and the teachers at the academy wouldn’t mind because I’ve already done the hard part without a photo or a grid. Now I want to draw some hard shell crabs to go in the still life too. I have a few in the fridge that I saved for models. I need to decide, do I draw them on a plate? I think I’ll draw jumbo crabs and have one almost falling off the edge of the table.

They say paint what you love. Right? Who cares if the art viewer wants a model horse and crabs in a still life? That’s the attitude that will keep you from getting burned out. Take your sweet time, do what you want to do.

And if you want the luxury of binge watching all the zombies on Netflix, or whatever you like to do, don’t feel guilty about it. The brain of a well balanced artist can take a break from art. Artists that are “driven” need to chill or they will burn out. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not “prolific”. This way of thinking is mostly a self preservation thing which not all artists would relate to.

I’m trying to decide, since the weather is likely to stay hot and humid for another month, do I want to do a color experiment with this plan? Like maybe try pointillism again? I’d still have plenty of time before I feel like going outside to draw and paint in Plein air. This weather is too much. Thank God we have AC.