This is close to the size I need. I have 2 more figures that are too large but I can draw them smaller then I’ll have 4 for the painting.
I should probably paint them before I paint the sand so they don’t look weak. A couple years ago I tried to paint a man on top of an already painted background in a scene and I thought the man didn’t look strong enough, like he was an after thought.
Boy throwing sand
Yesterday it was windy and rainy all day from the left overs of the latest hurricane / tropical storm. Today it’s so nice out! Kids were playing in the water! Tonight rain. Tomorrow will be cloudy in the morning and cooler. they say. I might go back to First Landing and work on my painting again if it clears up early enough.
This is a popular dead tree. I sat on it to do my drawings for the painting I’m working on. I was about 5 feet down from the root and leaned my drawing board on that second broken branch. It wasn’t too bad for balancing the drawing board and sitting there.
I knew it would be crowded today and I didn’t take my painting and supplies but I walked on the path with my camera a little. Lucky I found a parking spot. A lot of people were on the beach.
A boy around 6 climbed onto the trunk and walked all the way up to the roots and then climbed through the roots to the top and had his own recliner up there on top. He was talking to his Dad the whole time. I didn’t ask if I could take his picture up there because I was afraid the answer would be no.
When I was there working on my painting it was sunny and I sat on the sand under the big pine on the right of this photo in the shade. Big black ants were crawling on my legs. The kind of ants that eat wood. They don’t bite and I kept brushing them off but I must have been right on the ant trail. Then the shade moved so I moved around the tree to stay in the shade and the ants didn’t follow me. Ants, a problem for your Plein air artist.
This is the scene I’m trying to paint. My drawing doesn’t look like this. Oh well. My photo doesn’t do the scene justice. If I worked from a boring photo to start with my painting might be boring too. A pro photographer might be able to get a better shot.
I was thinking of painting some kids in the scene but didn’t sketch any so far. Except I have some sketches of kids I did over the summer at the beach I might use. They’re so tiny in this pic I don’t know if I can use these kids.
The water is warm because it’s flowing out of the marsh which is on the left out of the picture.
This canvas paper is tinted with acrylic from some time ago when I mixed paint colors together that were left over from another project. It’s uneven but that will be ok. You might not see it when the paint goes on top of this.
A bunch of little kids were playing in the water. It’s November! but nice and warm. I was getting too much sun so I didn’t start painting. This took me a couple hours to draw again. I wished I had my sketchbook so I could sketch the kids. Maybe they’ll go back tomorrow. Kids in the water and I’m getting sunburned in Nov! Tomorrow I’ll wear shorts and sandals!
It is a slow process. This is the third time I’m sketching with charcoal. Third time I drove over there for this painting and walked down a trail with my art supplies. I need to do all the preliminary steps and not skip the sketching because it gives me a better chance of making a good composition for my painting. Most Plein air artists take a small canvas and start painting right away. It will take me a half hour or more to mix a few colors for my underpainting. Then when that dries mix more and more colors and build up some layers of paint. I don’t think I can do the whole underpainting in one trip since I usually stay for two hours or so, sometimes less than two and sometimes more, but after that my concentration ends and it’s time to go. A little at a time gets ‘er done when it’s a big complicated plan.
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.
Last year I picked up a couple lotus pods at a little lotus park on Sandbridge Rd. I think they’re spooky. Today after my dentist appointment I was already half way down there so I went back and got a few new ones and this leaf. They need to dry a few days on my balcony.
The guy upstairs has a bird feeder on his balcony so some seeds fall on my balcony and some birds come down to eat. I need to sweep it again. I don’t mind the extra dirt from his feeder. If it draws mice someone else will complain but I didn’t see signs of any so far. I think that guy is military and I like those guys.
The weather forecast said we’re in for a king tide this week and maybe some rain for Halloween. I like a neap tide more because my paths aren’t flooded and I can see oysters when the tide is out. The lotus garden park has more water than I saw last year. Most of the pods are underwater today. I climbed down to the mud to get these.
I was thinking of doing the still life with the subjects arranged at random and not on a flat table but to look like they’re floating in air, kind of an antigravity feel, if I can. Gathering subjects is the first step. I’ll sketch and decide how to arrange them later. I might not use all of ones I collected.
My daughter and granddaughter gave me the gourds. The one with green and white reminds me of a flying saucer and the orange one is alien looking too. I was thinking of drawing the orange one larger than life for a background.
Today I walked at First Landing State Park and took my sketchbook but was too tired to sketch anything after walking but I found some good places to draw where I could get off the main path. I might go back tomorrow. Hopefully the sun will come out because it’s more beautiful then. That red marsh weed would be so bright with the sun on it. The Spanish moss is all over the place and on the ground where it fell off branches. That stuff is spooky all year long.
The good drawing spot has a couple bushes that are blooming with tiny white flowers. I hope they last a while. We might not get a freeze for weeks. The frost warning came close the other night but not all the way to the oceanfront. Some fall color is showing but it won’t go all out big time like it does farther North.
I did this color rough full size because I already have my subjects drawn this size and this helped me arrange them and make some executive decisions on how to paint this.
I’ll stand this up against the wall and try to make more decisions before I can paint, like, do I really want to use the checkered tablecloth or is it too busy? Because I could just paint it to look like my white plastic work table which is under the tablecloth.
Is that crab falling off the edge of the table too far gone? Maybe I should move the edge down 1/2 inch.
Is that flower going to work for the background? Is this arrangement working with my subjects this size? Do I need to try another arrangement? Do I really want to paint this? etc.
Considering the amount of time I already have in it starting with a few tries to draw the horse, the time spent on sketching the crabs, The time spent on sketching the tablecloth and flower, it all comes out to possibly 20 hours so far and it might take another 20 to paint it because I’m planning on trying pointillism again. After I spend that much time on it will I like it?
Having to make a lot of decisions for a painting can slow me down sometimes. I’m not one of those artists that can whip out a finished painting. Abstract mono prints, those I can whip out.
Any advice will be appreciated. More contrast? Composition ok? etc.
I hope this picture gives you an idea how I’m trying to arrange a composition, which isn’t my strongest point in art. I’ll have to change this around to decide. The model horse is out of its element with the giant crabs. I was thinking of not using it, but didn’t decide yet. Maybe it should be there to represent a person who doesn’t fit in with society. If you have any suggestions I’d like to hear. I could replace it with a beer but I don’t drink beer.
The blue check paper is from another still life from years ago and I saved the paper. I think blue checks would look better with the crabs than red checks.
I hung some crab claws on the plant for fun. In my mind they would make good Christmas tree ornaments but not in reality. This is why I had to sketch the crabs with pastel first and trace them to arrange them. They’d start to go bad before I had an arrangement worked out, much less paint them. Are the ornament claws in the flower good or not? So many decisions! But I want it to work out so I need to plan it.
The plant was full of flowers last week. All I need is a few to go by and I can fake them. They are bright pink and purple. Since I knocked off the dead flowers maybe it will bloom again.
The first step is to eliminate the bots, lurkers and dead blogs. I’m working on it. So far I identified and erased over 200 from my follower list. Why? Well, I don’t like bots and I know my stats are fake. If I really had close to 1500 followers a couple days ago but when I make a post it gets less than 50 views the first day that doesn’t sound right. I thought it’s possible that most of my followers were either bots or dead blogs. By dead blogs I mean the blogger quit and isn’t coming back to make another post. I erased a lot that haven’t posted since 2018. I noticed a lot of bloggers gave up in 2020 but they might come back. I didn’t get the whole way through the list but I might erase another 100 or more before that part is done.
Also, I don’t like lurkers. As far as I know they are takers but not givers. It makes no sense to me that someone would have a blog and keep it private. You don’t need a blog to write down your most private inner thoughts. If that blogger has monetized their blog and you have to pay or put your name on their email list, (which they might be selling email addresses to someone else, I don’t know) those guys got the ax too. Lurkers are easy to identify on your followers list. They show up in black but the open blogs show up in blue.
You can tell who are the bots because they don’t make any posts. Their blogs don’t go any farther than “hello world”. Or they might make 4 posts (in one day) just to get you to think they’re real. Then they stop with the facade but put follows on other blogs for their own reasons.
The second step in my plan to make a more efficient blog with truer stats is to start going through my real followers and give them comments and likes to get them to come back to my blog and talk to me. A bot won’t give you a comment but maybe a like. If I spend more time looking at real blogs and less time looking at “freshly pressed” I think it might be a good move. The goal is to get farther with less work and find real people and get rid of the bots, lurkers and zombies.
These are color roughs in pastel so I have something to go by to match colors for my painting, since they don’t last long out of the fridge. Yesterday I drew these 3 then ate them. I still have 3 more and some claws that I want to sketch today. Then I’ll trace the shapes and try to arrange them with the horse on a piece of canvas paper.
A lot of the legs come off when they get steamed.
When I went back to the seafood store I asked for a dozen the price was $45 but he gave me 16. The bag was heavy. I haven’t had any empty ones so far this year. They were all delicious! He doesn’t have the price posted up on the wall with the other prices so I guess it could change depending on supply and demand.
I Googled crabs last week and was shocked to see jumbo ones for sale for $144 a dozen which you can get shipped to you from MD. !!
I should have never given up my childhood fantasy which was to buy some salt marsh and put a barge on it and a house trailer on the barge and build giant crab traps to collect them, feed them and grow them to their maximum size, which was as big as a handspan from point to point, a man’s hand spread out from the tip of their pinky finger to the tip of their thumb, according to accounts by English colonists a few hundred years ago.