Tag Archives: charcoal

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.

 

 

Rudee Inlet sketch and photo

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This is a sketch I can use for a pastel on this nice rough sanded paper. I’ll go over it again later and even up my lines. That’s all freehand, no ruler either, so, it’s still a little rough, but an improvement over my first try.

To me architecture is as hard to draw as the figure.

I’m planning a nocturn. Tonight I’ll mark in the lights with chalk and pastel then make my sky dark. There’s too much light from the city to see stars but the moon was big and bright before sun up the past few days. I’m undecided if I should put the moon in the picture or not.

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This is my first rough. I worked on it for a couple hours and stopped. At first I wanted to draw the whole bridge but when I got this far I could see it wasn’t working out. This rough helped me decide to start on the left so I could draw the narrow inlet where boats go through. I had these lines so I transferred this to the bigger better pastel paper and it was easier to draw the second time making corrections as I went.

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This is what it looks like to my camera during the daytime with clouds rolling in.

Tomorrow I can get the keys to my new apartment and put some thing in it. Then Sat some moving guys are coming to unload my mini storage and put my stuff in the new place. I don’t know if I’ll finish this pastel nocturn. I’m tempted to stay at this hotel until I do but on the other hand, I want to sew masks for nurses. As soon as I get my sewing machine plugged in I’m going to get with the mask sewers group and sew for the hospital for free. A lady told me Joanne Fabrics is donating the materials to the group. I think it would do me some good to make myself useful in the emergency.

Also, I bought a nice souvenir of my week at the oceanfront, a mermaid statue, on sale. She can hold a small potted plant. So she’s my model when I move away from the beach inland a few miles if the state park is closed and I have to pay to park at the beach.

I’ll miss walking on the beach. (sigh) I won’t be bored though.

wild wisteria rainy day

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The wisteria is growing on the trees next to the end of the highway. One side of the parking lot has a few spaces where you can see it so I sat in my car to sketch this. It’s raining but I had to get out of here for a few minutes. Plus, these are my last few days here and I might not get another chance to sketch this clump of wisteria.

Now I can’t wait to get out of here. This morning there was a fire in one of the apartments undergoing renovations. The renovations are loud, then the smoke alarm will wake the dead, sirens and fire trucks.

Some guys were coming over to get a sofa I’m giving away and couldn’t get in for a little while. So now that’s gone and I have room for more boxes.

Normally I’m as cool as a cucumber but I think a little case of nerves in showing up in this sketch. Good thing I did the sketch. I got the nerves on the paper, now I can get back to packing. That’s how art therapy works for me.

cypress tree w. pollen swirling on water

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If I hadn’t told you that was pollen you might not guess. I’ll try to remember to take my camera along next time I sketch there. The pollen is making some interesting designs on top of the black water.

I think the swirly shapes on still water with the tree represents uncertain times and something not being affected. (me) And nature isn’t affected either but unlike the tree, I can easily uproot myself and getthehelloutofdodge if a situation becomes intolerable.  Since the crisis started my life hasn’t changed. I’m not joining the mass hysteria.  I’m not afraid to go out and last night on the news they showed some surfers and the anchor talked about how getting out and getting some exercise is a great stress buster. So that was encouraging. The state parks are open and busy. They’re not talking about martial law. It’ll never happen here. And I’m not going to catch corona. Stay tuned, you’ll see.

Redbud tree / pastel and charcoal

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Redbuds are native here and I love to see them in the woods when I’m driving. Suddenly you see a slash of purple by the road and the other trees aren’t leafed out yet. Then they go back into hiding and are indistinguishable from the underbrush until they bloom again.

This one is in the botanical garden and I saw a couple more over there. As soon as the weather clears up I’ll go back and get another sketch. Last year I got an ok  sketch, if I can find it. I need one more and I can start planning a painting.

I’ll need another big canvas so they’re not crowded. This paper is 11 x 14 and too small. I haven’t decided on what to use as the background or if I want to put other spring flowers in the painting. This painting might not happen until next year, I don’t know. I’m kind of distracted this week and it’s cloudy and rainy too, so, maybe in a couple weeks after I get settled in my next apartment, and some other things are settled… By then they’ll be done blooming though.

That’s one problem of this artist, life’s distractions can stop me from drawing and painting.  (temporarily) The simpler my life is, the easier it is to concentrate on art. When things get complicated it isn’t as easy to do. I can still get out and sketch for a few hours on nice days but working on a finished painting won’t happen for a few weeks.

Spanish moss

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How’s this working as an abstract?

From far away it looks soft. Long ago I heard or read, I forget which, that one of the original British invaders of VA. saw this and thought it might make good stuffing for a mattress. That guy got a lot of bug bites. After that, no one tried to use it for mattress stuffing and they all headed upstream.

I used the magic of art and drew the invisible bugs. What are the bugs and how many are in this sketch?

A – 0

B – 1 to 10

C – 10 to 100

D – 100 to 1000

cypress knee / good news in the art world

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I’m on the Plein air email list put out by Eric Rhodes and I’m getting the info for plein air camps and contests, figure drawing seminars and practice etc. It’s all related to the Plein Air magazine founded by Eric Rhodes. This guy is a genius. I know the email gets sent to hundreds of people, but it seems like he’s talking to me.  Once I got an email headed “Chris, your paintings are good enough.” It was to enter the Plein air mag contest.

I don’t feel like entering. I entered a bunch of times over the years. I saw the winners in the magazine and knew I didn’t stand a chance because all the paintings were fuzzy and mine are sharp.

The first time the plein air week happened in Richmond I entered but didn’t get accepted. I was doing figure drawings back then from the sad stone angels in Hollywood Cemetery. I didn’t know why I didn’t get in. I could only guess.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of reasons why I gave up on spending money on the art world. I go alone to draw in plein air any time. My apathy gives me a feeling of freedom from the art world which I think is corrupt. This is all beside the point.

The money I spent was worth it for plein air camp at the Ghost Ranch. So I’m glad I’m getting the emails because I might go to another event like that. No teachers to follow, no contest, no drama.

Today I was happy to read the email from Streamline. It was addressed to plein air event planners. It talked about how the plein air movement has grown and needs to adapt. The seminar they’re organizing is to plan better  plein air events in the future. Eric said we shouldn’t sacrifice quality for speed. I was happy to read that because I’ve been complaining for years how plein air painters rush rush rush and I don’t want to paint like they do.  He also said that’s one reason why some good artists don’t go to the events.  Did he mean me?

I hope this is a sign of a change in the art world for the better. I could never make it happen. Eric Rhodes could do it.

I wonder if Eric or someone on his staff read my blog. I told my daughter I’m an influencer now. That’s funny because I don’t want anything to do with the real art world. Sarah said that’s the best kind of influencer, the apathetic kind. hahaha She would know, she’s the social media guru.

Yeah, I’m famous. I’ll be dead before the art world figures it out.

The sketch is my plan for a swamp painting. It’s real nice out today and cool. The fall colors look good over there. I might start the painting now instead of waiting for the freeze.  This is my favorite cypress knee from when I was in the swamp last year. I need to transfer this to a larger paper and draw the background trees with Spanish moss on both sides of this knee. I need a big canvas. This sketch will help me figure out what size canvas to buy.

That’s my composition method, find something beautiful, draw it, draw what’s around it.

 

a plan for a watercolor / charcoal

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I didn’t finish this sketch because it started to rain. That’s one of the problems  of your plein air painter. There was a 10% chance of rain. I don’t know if you can make this out, but it’s a path through wildflowers with a few trees. All the little dots are bright yellow and orange flowers. There will be hundreds of them in the painting.

I need to do roughs like this before starting my painting so I can work out a good composition first. This helps me to decide things like, should I use a horizontal or vertical format for my painting. How many trees can I fit into the picture, how much of the sky and background trees will be seen, what part of the painting to start on first, if I need to eliminate trees, and so on.

If I want to get a finished looking painting I need to get a good plan for how to do the background, middle ground and foreground. When you don’t do a finished background it’s a less finished and more sketchy looking painting. If you figure out in advance things like where to make different textures or focal points there’s a better chance the painting will come out like you want it to. It’s a good idea to have less complicated areas in the painting too so the viewers eye has a place to rest, and to work on shadows so they’re interesting to the viewer.

This is the old school process that I learned long ago. Take the time, follow the steps and it will work out much better. It’s not a waste of time to figure out a good plan first.

Now I have to stretch a piece of watercolor paper and draw it again. Then I can start painting the bright flowers on the white paper and block them out with masking fluid so I can paint green foliage right over top of them and when I take the masking fluid off later the yellows and oranges will still be bright spots.

It’s warm here but it will cool down soon. We might not have any frost for a few more weeks though, so I have time to try another watercolor before I get into my big plan to paint the swamp this winter. I was happy to see the wildflowers in full bloom. I’ve wanted to do a painting of them for a couple years but missed the  chance  because I was into painting another scene at the time they were blooming.

cypress knees / charcoal and chalk

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When I was a young girl I fell in love with a beautiful swamp. I wished I could capture it and take it home. I took photos but they didn’t do it justice. Eventually I went through my boxes of photos and threw away the ones that didn’t have people in them. Over the years, I visited the swamp when I had a vacation at Virginia Beach.

When I started drawing in Plein air I thought about the swamp but it’s kind of a haul from Richmond, so I drew at other beautiful places. I never planned to retire to the beach until my daughter moved to Norfolk and told me she’s settling down. I’ve been here two years now and I often go to First Landing State Park to walk on the trails. I sketched there a few times and once tried to do a painting of the swamp but it didn’t work. I need a big canvas then I’m sure I can get it.

The swamp looks best in the dead of winter. Those tiny branches get a bright red glow in the winter sun. After a good frost the water looks clearer. It’s more reflective then. The black water will be a challenge to paint. I’m starting  to work out my plan now.  I’d like to get a big canvas and tape my brushes to a yard stick and stand back to paint it, like Matisse, because that’s fun, so I should probably do that at home. People would think I was really nuts if I took a big canvas out there and taped my brushes to a yardstick, when I am actually quite sane, hahahahaha. Not that I care what people think…..