The colors look warmer in real life than they do in the photo.
It was more work than I thought it would be. I put about 3 more layers of color on top of my underpainting and completely filled up the tooth of that sanded pastel paper. All together I think I went over the paper 6 times, first to sketch it in charcoal, then the underpainting in complimentary colors, then blend that first layer of pastel down into the paper with my Kneeded eraser. Those layers didn’t make my hand tired but then when I went over it with the last layers I had to press down hard on the pastel because the paper won’t hold any more color.
You can see a lot of the underpainting colors show through.
I don’t know what’s going on with those stick bushes. I’ll call it a design element. It’s not like that in real life but this is abstract, so, whatever. hahaha
I might go back to the beach next and try to paint waves with oils more realistically.
cedar tree and bare tree with water and background sedge behind them and sedge in front,
reflections of background trees and sky in the flooded path,
more sedge with green leaves on a stick bush in the foreground.
Foreground tree on top of cedar with reflections in the creek and background sedge and background trees.
Background tree and sky with top of cedar tree on the bottom right.
I scribbled. It was fun.
I might try this color experiment again in the future with paint instead of pastel and different subject matter.
It was great to get out and draw this today after so many days of bad weather. It’s still cloudy and cool but that’s a big improvement over sunny but too cold and windy or rain and wind. It seems like I’ve been walking past this spot for months thinking of sketching it. The real pretty dead tree got knocked down so it’s not in the picture but it’s right across the path there and I sat on it to take a break. I didn’t draw it because it’s down and the drawing doesn’t need the dead tree laying down. Standing up would be nice, oh well, next time I find a pretty dead tree I’ll work faster.
The path is flooded , the creek is in the middle. They can both reflect the sky a little and there’s lighter ochre colored sedge and some darker reeds which will overlap the water. Some stick bushes with a few leaves, bare trees. The cedar trees are pretty because some orange is showing in the foliage along with green.
I want to do my underpainting in the complimentary colors like my last marsh pastel project. This looks complicated to me.
Now I have to take inventory of my pastel colors because last time I didn’t have the colors I needed. You can buy a big set of pastels and not have what you need. You can buy another set and have a couple hundred pastels but still not have what you need. You keep using the same colors over and over again because those are your favorites and those wear down so you have to replace individual colors from time to time. I still need to do color roughs on a scrap paper to try a few different layers and see if I can mix the color I need. There’s so many variables that no two artists pick the same colors for a scene. You’re making a lot of fast decisions.
I think I can color this at home instead of lugging the pastels out on the path. I tried to make mental notes of the colors when I was sketching but this will be another slightly abstract pastel with the complimentary colors in the first layer. It won’t matter if the colors don’t match nature.
Most people don’t like the king tides but I do because the path is extra pretty when it’s flooded. It’s cool and sunny but the wind is the main thing today. I thought it might be too windy to take the large canvas out but I wanted to sketch. I can hold this 11 x 14 sketchbook in one hand to draw and I don’t need my easel. The wind is pushing the water in causing the king tide with coastal flooding. And there was some rain upstream yesterday.
I stood in the middle of the path at the edge of the water to sketch. Only one guy went past me. There’s a small path on the left. I call those little paths rabbit trails but they are drier. The wind is supposed to continue all weekend but the path probably won’t stay flooded long.
Oct. 30 I walked barefoot through the flooded parts of the path. I knew it would be the last time I do that this year unless I actually buy some waders. I might.
Now I can’t decide which painting to do next. I really like this view. Should I go back to the pretty cypress tree and hog the overlook or should I hog this path? hahahah Nah, I’d move if anyone needed to go through.
I was undecided if I should post this. On the one hand, the painting might work but on the other hand, I don’t know exactly how to proceed and it might be a huge waste of time. But if any bloggers with more water media experience want to give me a tip, it might help
I did my sketch in plein air then started blobbing in some yellow flowers without drawing them on the paper in plein air. I thought I didn’t need to draw the flowers a second time. I painted on dry watercolor paper. I drew in the stems and leaves that day with pencil but came home and put a thin layer of green down on dry paper for the leaves.
I took a few watercolor classes long ago but never mastered it. I remember a few things, like, start out light and go darker.
I wanted to paint dune grass around the goldenrod but that took some time since I went over the whole background one section at a time between the leaves. I first made the paper wet in a few areas at a time, then drew lines with the Inktense pencils to make grass. Then I rewet the grass areas to blend the Inktense lines down a little. That’s 3 times over each little area. I broke that job up over a day and took frequent breaks to do other things.
Last time I was there, a bunch of guys were fishing and people were walking past me. I was sitting on the sand next to the path. I’d like to continue working on this in plein air but it might be busy there today because the weather is so nice. I picked some goldenrod to help me visualize the next step so I can finish this at home.
On the painting above, I left some blank lighter areas in the flowers. Those spaces are going to be the shaded parts of the flowers if it works. I need to go darker there. I tried to pick some colors with my color charts when I was there, but I don’t know… And I think the leaves need to go darker. Then, last but not least, I want to go over the yellow flowers in the sun again and try to define them a little. You can see from the photo, my flowers in the painting don’t look like the ones in the glass.
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.
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.
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.
I was there early on 4 mornings to get this. A week or so ago for the sketch then 3 times I took my Inktense pencils. The charcoal sketch helped me decide how to draw it and it was a simple plan so I didn’t have to draw it again on the watercolor paper, I just went straight in with the Inktense pencils. It was hot and humid but I was in the shade up on the deck at the Brock Environmental Center and there was a little breeze. By 10 it was too hot to enjoy being outside.
One thing I like about the Inktense pencils is that they’re a little grainy. I draw on the dry paper then paint water on top of the Inktense and it blends out like watercolor but some of my lines don’t blend out which gives it a texture. Then I also draw with the Inktense on wet paper and that makes a darker line.
You can see a little oopsie in this close up. At the water’s edge on the sedge on the left a little blip happened. I tried to lift it but some stayed. That’s ok. Things like that show the art viewer this is done by hand. You’d never see a blip like that in a photo.
This close up lets you see my scribbles making different textures. Even the sand has texture. First I painted it solid light burnt umber but when I compared my painting to the sand I noticed the sand is soft and full of footprints which give it texture so I wanted to draw the footprints. That’s the gray circles in the sand. Am I nuts to draw the footprints? It didn’t take too long to do it.
Every day when I was there the sky was clear and hazy with only the occasional cloud. I thought it would be impossible to paint the sky hazy with the Inktense so I waited for clouds. When I got home clouds were in the sky so eventually I did the sky at home, last. It was the hardest part of the painting because I faked it. I ripped up a paper towel and tried to arrange it on the paper to decide where to put the clouds. Then I went around the paper towel clouds with blue to save white areas. I tried to smear some of the edges of the clouds and have some edges showing as more defined, then added some gray.
You can see another oopsie in the blue sky where it didn’t blend evenly. Maybe I should have worked faster. If I didn’t tell you where the mistakes are would you have noticed? It isn’t as easy to correct a mistake with watercolor media as it is to fix something with oil paint.
A few people talked to me today when I was sketching up on the deck at the Brock Center. First the skipper of the Jenny which is docked there. He told me to draw his boat. I said I might. It’s behind a barge right now. He works there. He said they’re closed because of covid. I think that’s the boat they use to reseed the area with oysters.
Two ladies were sitting on the deck in the big chairs talking and when they moved on they stopped and talked to me. They invited me to go to their church. I don’t know if I will. I gave them my phone number cause they wanted to hang out some time. That would be nice to find friends but I don’t really want to sit through church.
It was nice out again this morning. Tomorrow we have rain coming in again. I have a painting of waves that I started at home when it rained a few days ago. I’ll try to finish it at home and I have another idea for a wave painting that I’ll try to do at home if it gets too hot and humid again, which it will for sure in Aug. I want to paint waves in plein air but I might wait till fall so the bugs don’t get me on the beach at Back Bay. Meanwhile, there’s this nice view and it would be a good spot to use my Inktense pencils up on the deck where I was today. If I took my oil paints the skipper might not allow me to paint up there, but no one would object to the Inktense pencils because they’re dry. And if I use water it won’t do any damage if I drop some on the deck.