I’m not even finished with the underpainting but the figures hung me up for a while. I used my sketches and worked at home using my palette knife. I drew the figures again with charcoal on the canvas paper trying to get them a good size for the painting. Then I had to decide on the colors which is much easier if I have a live model. Drawing small is harder than large to me.
I’m going to try masking fluid on acrylic next. I think it will work. If I block out the figure with masking fluid I can paint sand or water color right over top of the figure and when the paint is dry peel off the masking fluid to show the figures as I painted them here. It might be easier than painting the sand or water color right up to the edge of the figure evenly.
Little boy building a sand castle.
I’ll paint over the figures again but it will be the last step.
The boy is sitting on wet sand. That’s what my charcoal shading represents.
You can still see some of my charcoal outline of the figure but that will go away with water colored paint.
If this works my 3 figures will be focal points. I tried adding a small figure into a scene as the last step one time when I was using oil paints a few years ago and didn’t think the figure showed up enough from the background so this time I’m getting the figures under painted first. Sometimes I stop working on a painting and lean it up next to the wall where I can see it and it might take me a long time to decide on how to proceed but I already have a lot of time in this so I would rather take the time to decide and it will have a better chance to work out.
Finally! I got back to the beach and made some progress on this project!
I’ve been staying home more this summer trying to avoid crowds, save gas, not go out in the heat, etc. so it was great to get to the beach this morning. It was cloudy, windy and not too hot.
This is a challenge because my models don’t stand still.
I have to stare at them for a few seconds and try to memorize the pose then quick block in the torso, arms and legs and try to put the head on top in the right spot. The person moves and I try to finish the sketch after they’re gone. This kind of figure drawing will improve my skill if I continue to practice it.
I might be able to use these sketches and finish my beach painting that I started months ago. It needs people in the scene.
I watched these kids for a while and they were having a lot of fun. A couple guys held a raft in place in the waves and threw water on it then the kid would run into the water and take a dive on it and slide across it like it was a slip and slide. This is the second before the kid goes airborne off the end into the water.
They stopped doing it before I finished my sketch, as usual.
This little kid had a pink flamingo float. That would be real pretty in my painting.
I’m trying to draw them from all sides. I need a few more sketches before I can arrange them on my beach scene.
Tomorrow is going to be sunny and hot so I don’t know if I’ll go back. Then we have a good chance of rain for the rest of the week.
This is watercolor paper with fine line markers. The paper got a little wet so it warped and you can see where I started by blocking in the general shapes with charcoal and erased it but charcoal doesn’t erase as well from watercolor paper as it does from pastel paper. It doesn’t matter. I might try to add some color to this. It’s just figure drawing practice for my beach painting which needs people.
I want to get a lot of figure drawing practice this summer and I’m kind of rusty at it. There were times in the past that I tried to draw moving figures. I think it takes a lot of practice.
I also need moving figures for my baseball game painting. I don’t know how long these paintings will take to finish. It would be better if I had around a hundred figures sketched then I could pick the best ones.
I bought these Crocs at the outlet store in Williamsburg for $42 and I thought, Wow! Crocs have really gone up! I had a pair from long ago and I remember they were cheap. Eventually I lost one in my travels. The last time I checked at the Croc store they were having a sale and it was so crowded I didn’t want to go in. They are very popular! so now I’m all trendy!
You can get them wet and I thought they might hold up well to beach erosion. The sand has ruined my other old Plein air sandals. I don’t know, I still need something else because when I walked over the burning hot sand in my Crocs it was getting in through the holes and burning my feet more than my old ruined beach sandals. But you really have to pick up your feet on that burning sand so I might give them another try because I was tired that day.
I bought this in the camp store at First Landing. They didn’t have umbrellas but I need something like this so I can go out on the beach more and stay longer and draw more. I think this is better than an umbrella because if it gets windy an umbrella might blow away but this won’t if I’m sitting in it. Plus, maybe I can spy on people and draw them without their knowing. I don’t want to worry any nervous people if I draw their kids without asking, because the answer would be no. That’s how it is but I need kid models for my painting.
This makes me tired just thinking about it. I struggled for around 1/2 hour in the hot sun trying to assemble it and took a break or two and tried again but couldn’t get it to go together right. I almost had it but not exactly. Following an instruction sheet isn’t my strong point. I know other people were watching me struggle with it probably waiting to see if I could do it. That happens a lot to your Plein air artist. People watch you struggle. hahaha You get used to it. Maybe they can’t put up the damn thing either. By then I had too much sun and my back was tired so I gave up. I didn’t get any drawing done. I’ll try to assemble it at home.
The weather hasn’t been great around here lately. It cooled off a little the past few days but stayed real humid and we had rain. Today was great out there! We have a nice breeze from the Northeast so I faced South. I was getting started on my sketch and two ladies sat right in front of me. They were wearing backpacks that I didn’t want to draw. So, I only got the one figure in the sketch. She was moving around and looking at me but didn’t know what I was doing.
The wind blew my paper half off the drawing board but I had a roll of tape in my bag. When I hurriedly taped it the paper didn’t go down evenly. That’s why there’s a shade in the sky, where the paper is slightly warped.
A man stopped to talk and asked if he could take my picture so I said yes. Then I asked if he could email the pic to me and he said he can’t off this. He was holding an expensive camera. Then he said he didn’t have anything to write my email address on and I said I have something to write on. He obviously didn’t want to do it. He said carry on with what you’re doing and left. Made me kind of mad. It reminds me of some other people I know who don’t mind asking me for what they want and I say ok but when something is important to me, no can do. If I insist they ghost me. The jerks.
Most people that take my pic out there will at least try to send it to me even if I can’t use it for some reason.
I stopped at the Happy Oyster on my way home and got some fried oysters to treat myself. They were delish, as always.
We have more rain coming in this week. I hope I can get out to draw another morning real soon.
The wind was whipping on the beach again yesterday but in town it was only breezy. I heard some cicadas as I was walking back to my car on the road through the campground at First Landing State Park. I don’t know if they are a part of the big bug invasion this year or not.
The water was choppy. This is the Chesapeake Bay. We don’t get big waves there. Some people surf at the ocean front but if I want to paint big waves with sunlight shining through the curl I might have to drive to the West coast because the waves here aren’t that big. I might go down to Back Bay to sketch waves this summer. The waves are a little bigger but you’re not allowed to surf there and there’s less people on the beach because no swimming either.
I watched a kid running up the sand with a boogie board and quick sketched her but then erased it because I knew I drew her too small. Since I was sitting on the sand everyone’s head was above the horizon line except the person sitting under the canopy and the dog. I like the figures from my position sitting on the sand because having them break up the horizon will make a better composition than if I’m standing and all the heads are on the horizon. That’s a little perspective fact I must have forgotten and remembered yesterday, about sitting down or standing up to draw a figure changes where the head will be on the horizon. I really want to practice painting wet sand reflecting a figure and sky with wet sand not reflecting and also waves. All those things will make it a very challenging project for me but I enjoy looking at paintings where an artist can paint waves and reflections convincingly and I didn’t do that yet. I should try to get more sketches this summer and possibly paint it when it cools down and we have less vacationers on the beach in the fall.
2001 was the worst year of my life. I feel much better now but back then I could only get off the sofa to go to open studio figure drawing once or twice a week. I thought the black paper was appropriate for my mood and it makes a dramatic looking drawing. Notice the look on the model’s face. hahahah
Last night I had a dream that I was painting at home because it’s cold and windy out and I spilled paint on the rug. It was some special hand woven antique imported rug, not mine. I wanted to escape before they saw the paint and I had to climb out of there over these timbers that were spanning a huge dark pit. The timbers were burned or rotted so it was dangerous. Finally I managed to haul my butt out of there and it was great!
Now, I’m not really feeling the Christmas spirit this year and that’s ok. Feeling apathetic is a big improvement over the stress of so many Christmases past.
I did buy a poinsettia for myself. That’s my one decoration. That’s all I want. Maybe I can paint it. Every year I want to paint a poinsettia and have never done it.
Nah, it’s an underpainting for the figure I’m planning on putting in the painting. It’s 2.25″.
The texture of the water is showing through. I might try to scrape that off. before adding color on top of this.
I’m a little conflicted about this figure because I’m breaking one of the few rules I remember from my art school days back in the 1970s. That rule of the academy was never copy a photo. I see more successful artists than me are copying photos. No one cares anyway. It’s not as much fun breaking a rule that no one cares about. The photo isn’t really making it easy to do. Why not copy a figure?
I was undecided about how to proceed with putting a figure into my painting but I wanted to try and I don’t have a model. As I was reading other blogs I saw a photo with a dark figure and thought it looked great! Check it out! George writes great poetry and songs too!
I walked around the pond and tried to see if any light would be seen on the figure from the opposite side of the pond where I’m working on the painting. There will be only two little spots of sun on my guy. The top of his hat and his left shoe. All the rest is shadow because it’s backlit.
This wasn’t easy for me to get a plan worked out but now that I got past this one hang up I’ll go back to Pleasure House Point and finish this soon.
Man this new block editor is driving me nuts. Blocks show up on top of my text and I don’t know how to make them go away. If anything shows up on the post, I don’t care.
This is my second dancer. I’ll transfer this and the first one to a larger paper later. I might draw the dancers from the other side or I might draw a flower that’s blooming and I liked it last year. The finished dancer painting won’t happen for a while. I haven’t made a definite plan yet, like which medium to use. And there’s another drawing I started a couple years ago at Fort Monroe that I’d really like to finish if I can get through that tunnel traffic. If I run into a traffic jam I give up. I’ll go somewhere else. The dancers would be best completed in the winter so my easel isn’t blocking the path. I can hold this size sketchbook in my one hand and draw with the other but a large piece of paper would need my drawing board and easel.
That’s only one decision out of hundreds. I’m also thinking of the background. My models are on a pedestal so they’re no where near the ground. If I draw them on the garden path will it look like they’re floating? I guess it will if I don’t connect the figures to their shadows. It seems to me like their breasts defy gravity pointing to the sky like that. I didn’t make the sculptures. I just draw them as I see them. hahaha They could be nymphs. I guess nymphs could float off the ground. I might go with the antigravity idea.
My models are made of bronze and I’d like to paint them in bronze colors. I’m not sure exactly how yet, Which media to use, probably not oil paint. I still have to sketch the second dancing girl and she’s in a more difficult pose to draw. She’s leaning back. I’ll do it next week.
The back of the sculpture looks good too, so I might draw both sides. I’ll have to transfer the sketches to a larger paper. They’re holding hands while dancing.
It doesn’t make any difference how long it takes me to come up with a plan for my dancing girls. They’re not going anywhere. I might even wait till winter to do it so there will be less people at the garden and I won’t be in the way on the path.
ok, I'll try to use it.
Twice I was heading over to Fort Monroe to work on a drawing that I started a couple years ago when the strange atmosphere of the place freaked me out and I gave up on the drawing. It's an old fort and was under Union control in the Civil War. The battery I was drawing is freakin spooky. Yesterday and today I wanted to go there but it's on the north side of the Hampton Roads Tunnel and there was a big traffic jam both times. It wasn't rush hour. I didn't want to sit in the jam so I went to Norfolk Botanical Garden and walked a little since it's close to where I abandoned the highway traffic mess. I'll try for Fort Monroe after Labor Day some time in Sept. Hopefully the traffic jam will be gone by then. I don't know why there's so often a jam up there on 64W but it's enough to keep me on Southside.
I remembered Norfolk Botanical has a great sculpture of these two beautiful girls dancing so I started a sketch. My luck in the garden wasn't much better than the highway. As you can see, I didn't get very far with the sketch. I saw a mosquito on my arm. At first I was in the shade then 10 minutes later the sun was beating down on me. I almost went back to the car for my bug spray then I thought, oh well, I'll try to get over there earlier tomorrow and remember to use the bug spray. These are the problems of your plein air artist. It doesn't always go as you hoped with the weather and the bugs.
Well, if you're interested in this drawing technique here's the start. First I decided to draw the head 1.5" because that's about the smallest I can draw it, so I marked 1.5" sections down the paper. This way of measuring the figure using the head as a unit of measure keeps the figure in proportion as you're working on it. The ideal figure has 7 heads. The foot holding the weight is below the chin. The nipples are at the second head, except not this figure because I'm looking up at her so they're above the second head. The pubic mound is at the 3.5 mark on the figure as indicated on my sketch by the v. I put it approximately where it needs to be in line at the back of the head. To get that placing I held my pencil straight up and down and lined it up with the head. I hope you can visualize what I'm saying. To measure the proportions of the figure you have to hold your pencil out at an arms length. Rest your arm on the sketchbook. Rest the sketchbook against your body. If you take an easel out to draw, rest your arm on the easel. Close one eye and put your thumb on the pencil at the bottom of the chin. Then lower the pencil and check the proportions. Live models vary from the ideal. Don't feel self conscious about standing there holding a pencil out at arms length and closing one eye. It's the best way to start a figure drawing. I often was in open studio figure drawing groups and most artists don't use this technique to draw the figure. But if you want to be accurate it helps. Then start blobbing in the general shape with charcoal. Get all the figure roughed in before starting to refine it with line work.
I didn't get the first steps finished today because of the mosquitoes. So far I'm not itchy.
Baby, these are some beautiful girls dancing. And the poetry on the base is uplifting. This is what it says.
so many gods
so many creeds
so many paths
that wind and wind
just the act of being kind
is all this sad world needs.
Arther Morris 1862 - 1920