Tag Archives: charcoal

beach goldenrod / charcoal and chalk

It was really nice over there today, sunny, not too hot with a light breeze. The tide was way out and boats were going out through Lynnhaven Inlet and guys were fishing. I just sat down on the sand and was enjoying the view for a minute and a man with a beagle stopped and asked me if I was ok since I was sitting in the shade with my back next to the dock and he expected to see people catching rays. I said I’m fine that I was planning to sketch but didn’t start yet. Then he talked a little while.

There are two views I’d like to paint from this spot, the sand bar at low tide with boats beached on the sand and people out on the sand bar playing around, and the other view I want to paint is the bridge going over the inlet. There are at least 6 or 7 views that I’ll paint at Pleasure House Point eventually. Today it was just a goldenrod sketch.

They’re calling for rain tomorrow. I might be able to paint this at home from my sketch. The goldenrod looked like straight cadmium yellow and the greens are the same greens I use all the time.

The recent tidal flood left a lot of debris washed up in front of the goldenrod. It’s a messy looking weed but that’s ok. I don’t have to paint all the dirty stuff around it. I’d like to do a fall still life, maybe next year, because I have so many plans in mind for this fall, but I think goldenrod would be good for the still life, so it’s a good thing to get some practice on the subject.

flooded path / charcoal and chalk

The sandy path is on the left, water on the right and in front.

I like this scene for my next painting.

I took my 11 x 14 sketchbook and charcoal because I didn’t know if it was still flooded there and I wanted to sketch the flooded meadow but that has dried up again. I considered trying to sketch goldenrod but when I got this far on the path the water was over a foot deep so I sat on the sand to draw this. I was up off the path slightly. When I last saw it the water looked 3 feet deep there. That’s where the tidal water floods the path every day, but sometimes you can walk across and not get your feet wet.

2 ladies came through with 4 little kids and 2 babies. One of the babies isn’t born yet and the other lady carried a baby in a sling. The smallest kid was a little girl that looked about 3 years old and when she stepped in the water she fell down and got drenched but she didn’t cry. Her Mom said, “This is the same water you play in all the time.” Then they all waded across, a couple of them stepped on the cinder blocks which were submerged, and a couple of them walked straight through. They’re not afraid. They reminded me of myself when I was a kid and played around by the creek a lot. I fell in and got muddy every year. That’s how your plein air artist spent her carefree childhood, down at the creek, catching crayfish and making mud pies, getting stung by stinging nettles and slapping mud on the rash because mud stops the sting. Jewel leaf also stops the sting but mud is quicker, and mud is fun, but jewel leaf is pretty when you make it wet. It looks shiny and silvery. And now I’m getting old and still hanging around by the creek, only a different creek.

dune and bay sketch / charcoal and chalk

Today I walked all the way through the campground with my sketchbook charcoal and water bottle to see the view from the farthest yurt, #1. I was glad I waited until this afternoon because I think they had some rain over there this morning. There were puddles and the big chairs at the yurt were wet. I mainly wanted to get some exercise because it’s going to rain tomorrow and Sun.

Sketching is progress even if I never use the sketch for a painting. I can’t get too much practice. It would be a long haul to take paint that far from the car even with my beach cart. I’d still like to hang around all the yurts when they’re not occupied and do more sketching this fall. That’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the horizon.

I think I’ll try to paint Lynnhaven Inlet next but I wasn’t ready to start on another big project today. Maybe Mon.

wind swept trees second sketch

This time I had a larger paper and liked my sketch more than the first try. I might be able to use this one for a painting since my tree feels less squished and more more wind blown.

There was a nice breeze and a few guys kite surfing. They’re just tiny tiny figures out there. I was thinking about putting a kite in the painting. I’ll have to move him in more off the edge of the scene. He’s so small on the paper I’m not sure I could paint him with Inktense pencils or watercolor. I might use oils for this.

There are some buildings in the background on the left. This photo cuts off the buildings a little. It also cuts off some dune foliage that is in the tall grass. I was thinking of leaving the buildings and other foliage out of the picture, move the tree a little to the left so the kite surfer has more room. The dune grass blowing in the wind is shiny and soft looking, so that will make a nice contrast in color and texture to the pine tree. You can see a little of the sandy beach in the background too.

I need to get out there a little earlier if I use oil paints because it could take some time to mix colors. I’ll do an underpainting, maybe start tomorrow.

That’s my plan, all worked out and ready to start on the painting. I had to do the second sketch to make those decisions.

windswept pine tree on sand dune / charcoal and chalk

It’s really nice out today. I knew where I wanted to go but not what I wanted to draw, so I took my 11 x 14 sketchbook. I walked on a sandy path over a dune to the beach. I usually bypass that path for the easier path. This tree is in between dunes. You can see the sky and bay behind it with shoreline. The dunes on this side are covered with pretty soft looking dune grasses but you can see sand too.

This might make a good subject for a palette knife painting because of the pine needle texture. I could use a larger canvas.

Sailboats on Sand Dune / charcoal and chalk

The weather is improving. I’ve been getting out to sketch a lot more lately and getting a lot of sun. Today I sat in the shade of 2 big trash cans that only had a few empty cans. Tomorrow I might be in the sun because I want to go back to the overlook where I saw the guys kite surfing. They weren’t there yesterday or today, maybe tomorrow when less people will be there and it might be more windy.

When I was walking out next to the water a lot of people were on the beach and kids were making sandcastles and playing in the water. They were using pieces of horse shoe crabs in their excavations. I saw one small blob of a jellyfish on the beach.

I can’t get enough drawing practice. They told us drawing is more important than painting. And if your drawing is strong when you paint your painting will be strong. Is it better when you die if you’re remembered for being prolific in painting like Bob Ross, for example, or is it better to be remembered for your drawing skill?

I’d like to practice drawing boats but I doubt they’d let me hang around in a marina. I know where there is a canoe stuck in mud and broken. That would make a good subject but I was waiting for the crowds to thin out so I can have the place to myself, even if it is next to the road. It’s a country road with a canoe launch and guys fish there too.

Horse Shoe Crabs / Dead but not boring

charcoal and chalk

Today was a little bit of drawing waves practice with a couple dead horse shoe crabs for interesting subjects. First I sketched the one on the right. The wave wasn’t washing over it, I just wanted to try to fake it to make it look like it was. I had that drawn in and a dog DESTROYED IT! I thought, that thing got crushed real easily. They must be fragile.

Then as I was walking back out to the parking lot next to the water I saw 2 more. The one on the left was upside down and being moved by every wave so I carefully dragged it back up on the sand a little to sketch it.

How many legs do they have? I don’t know, a lot.

Seeing these dead ones makes me think, how many live ones are there? Could be thousands right in that area. What if you were in the water and stepped on a dead one and crushed it under your bare feet! EEEEEK!

What if you were in the water and a live one crawled on top of your foot?! EEEEEEK!!!

I never heard anyone say that happened but we can’t rule it out.

A lot of people were enjoying the bay.

a sketch I can use for a painting / charcoal

It was still too warm, humid and the wind was calm so the bugs were swarming me. I drenched myself in bug spray and they kept coming. I almost decided to give up but then I thought, I got the bug spray on me already I might as well see if it works. So far, I’m not itchy.

This is the second time I sketched this scene. The last time I had my 11 x 14 sketchbook that I can hold in one hand to draw, but that size makes me squish my trees too much to make them fit. This time I took my easel and drawing board with an 18 x 24 piece of charcoal paper. The larger size makes it so much easier. It gives me more sense of freedom to work larger too. I don’t know how the other plein air painters can work on their small canvases because I can’t. Oh yeah, they’re copying the pictures on their phones so the scene is small to start with. hahahah

A photographer asked me if he could take my picture and I said yes. He snapped off a dozen or so and he said he’d send them to me so if he does and if I can use them I’ll post them but I might look bad all sweaty and drenched in bug spray.

This is a better plan for something to paint in Nov. after the bugs are gone and the leaves get some color.

Cypress Tree with Spanish Moss / charcoal

I’ve had my eye on this old tree off and on for a few years. It looks best in the late fall when the trees in the background get some color. It’s all too green right now. I want to paint it large so I don’t crowd the tree as much. The tree is in a good place to paint with a boardwalk through the swamp and a bench and enough space for an easel and people can still walk through. I might paint it in Nov. but I could start sooner. In Nov. the bugs won’t get me. I sprayed a lot of bug spray today and they were still buzzing around my head so I sprayed my HAIR! I hope I didn’t get bit but you don’t always feel it until later.

I have so many plans for paintings and still want to sketch more first. The one I was planning to do with Inktense pencils, at the overlook facing the bay with the dunes and boardwalk, that had wind surfers, I’m waiting for the wind to pick up again so those guys will be there with their brightly colored kites.

There’s another place I might sketch tomorrow if I get up early enough but that spot looks better in the afternoon. I can do my sketch in the morning and save that until it gets colder too. We had more hot and humid weather but tomorrow is going to be cloudy with less heat. Then the chance of rain goes up for a few days, then a little cooler. It’s been a long hot and humid summer. We had some haze from the Western wildfires but it’s so high in the atmosphere it doesn’t change our air quality. It makes pretty red sunsets though.

We have the Neptune festival coming up which I’m looking forward to this month, then the vacationers will thin out until Spring.

beach sketch and good news

The good news is that my granddaughter was born on Sept 4! She has a full head of dark hair. The baby is fine. My daughter is recovering but they’re not getting much sleep. I took a tuna noodle casserole over there and it was a big hit. She wants another tuna noodle casserole. I’m looking forward to baby sitting some time soon and eventually teaching my granddaughter how to sew and do art projects with her, bake cookies, shopping, etc.

The weather is much improved today. It was windy sunny and cool on the beach and some guys were kite surfing. I liked seeing the brightly colored kites on the sky. The end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is on the horizon.

The boardwalk over the dunes has some nice overlooks. I might transfer this sketch to water color paper and use my Inktense pencils to paint it.