This is another one of my favorites that didn’t get stolen. Now it represents my angels on wordpress who I never met but actually care. Thanks everyone for your understanding and support. It means so much to me.
About the drawing: When I first started drawing in Plein air, 2006 I think, I went into Hollywood cemetery looking for a good view and the sad stone angels grabbed me! Hollywood Cemetery is still burying people but it’s a tourist attraction in Richmond because of all the famous dead guys there. It was a real rough time in my life and the cemetery was my refuge. I practiced figure drawing there for a few years. The grave diggers called me the angel lady.
This statue is missing the hand holding the wreath. Vandals took it. After I improved on figure drawing I was able to draw the missing hand. I considered it a major accomplishment.
I have so much to do today and tomorrow that I might not keep up as well with likes and comments, so don’t worry if I miss something.
Thanks again my friends. This angel is you.
You can find all of my cypress knee models in the photos below.
This is my latest place to hang around sketching. Look how tiny the knees are in this picture. I could never see them well enough to draw them if I had to copy a photo. Maybe if I was a better photographer…
You can see the pollen on the water but it’s not swirling so nicely any more since it rained. A slight breeze is keeping the pollen moving and changing designs all the time.
. This is the tree I drew last but it was cloudy that day. If you compare this photo to my sketch you’ll see I didn’t draw all of the sticks around the base of the tree.
I think this tree is pretty because it has Spanish moss in the branches and another kind of moss is going up the trunk.
This photo shows a knee I didn’t sketch and pollen clumping up at the water’s edge.
Next week I might go back to the botanical garden to draw. I’m missing some spring flowers. The knees will be the same all year.
This spring I have a new attitude. Every day I feel so lucky. I’m so thankful for my good health and every day I’m glad I ain’t dead yet. I used to take it all for granted. Does that mean I’m getting old or is this the new “normal”?
It seems so ironic to me that I’ve lived like a hermit for years and finally got used to it. Now, I wish I could help the society that rejected me. I can’t hurt it because there’s no one around for me to infect even if I was an unknowing carrier of a deadly virus, but I’m sure I’m not. Society rejected me. We don’t need to go into all that. That’s why I’m an artist. It’s ironic because once I took a personality test that said I’m an extrovert and here I am reclusive. I don’t see myself as an introvert or an extrovert but dead center between the two. I like people, I’m just not trying to be with them. That’s working out for me now.
ok. enough philosophizing, back to the important job of moving.
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.
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.
They make spooky moody subjects. One of my good blogging friends, Nadine, who writes on Bloomwords. WordPress, told me they represent the underworld in Greek myth, which does seem appropriate. I can picture them on the river Styx. And now streams of yellow pollen are swirling in the wind on the surface of the water making it look even weirder. It’s a good day for a photographer out there too.
I imagine if I tried to walk in the swamp the fingers would grab me and might KILL me. hahahah
It was fun to draw them with pastel. I can represent the lichens better with pastel than I can with charcoal and chalk. They’re tinted light green.
I’m so thankful they’re keeping the state parks open in spite of the current Corona apocalypse. It seems like many more people than average are there walking, running and biking. If they couldn’t go there they’d be out on the street, including me. I’m not sick. They’re not sick. Why stay home? I’m not worried someone I pass on the trail will give me the virus. Sick people are staying home.
I didn’t hoard supplies or toilet paper but as soon as this is over I think I’ll start slowly stocking up for the next apocalypse.
What I’m really looking for is Redbud trees. I thought it’s too early, then I saw a couple on my way home starting to bloom. They’re hard to spot if they’re not blooming because they’re small twisty trees. I’ll keep looking for the Redbuds but if I can’t find them I’ll draw other flowers.
This paper isn’t great for pastel. It has no tooth, meaning it’s too smooth. I can’t build up layers of pastel as well as on better pastel paper. It’s ok for sketches though, because I can save these and use them as reference sketches in a painting next spring if I get a good idea worked out by then for daffodils or azaleas. I also need to find the best view of the flowers, see what would work for a background, etc.
Meanwhile, this is drawing practice. It doesn’t matter what the subject is for practice. The more you keep at it the better your eye gets for things like color and contrast, directions of lines or shapes, sizes of subjects for a finished painting and another million things an artist decides while working on a project. You make a lot of decisions without much thought, but other things take more and more sketching to come to a good plan. The more flower studies I do in advance the better. Or I could just put these in the file and never use them. I don’t know for sure. It could be the first step of a painting or it could be nothing more than another sketch.
This gray branch is an underpainting for the magnolia with the bright pink and white petals, on top of the Southern magnolia background. I’ll underpaint the flowers in gray next. There’s no avoiding this step because the pink for the flowers is alizarin crimson which is a transparent red and I need the flowers to be opaque on top of the background. One coat of paint won’t do it. First I have to paint it in gray then the red will show up brighter.
To paint these branches I had to put a coat of Maroger medium over the dry canvas first, then paint the gray on top of the medium. That’s what they call “painting in the couch”. The medium couches the paint. I almost skipped the medium but then was glad I used it because I had to redraw my branches with paint a few times to make them graceful. With the Maroger medium on there I could easily wipe off the lines that didn’t go right. It’s easy to make corrections with Maroger medium. You don’t destroy the layers of paint underneath the medium when you wipe some of it off because those layers are dry. And the medium dries enough over night that you can paint on top of it the next day. Plus, it smells great! (Not everyone likes the smell, it’s kind of strong for indoors, but I have a good air filter running and it’s ok for me.)
This little section could be a secondary focal point because the leaves and branches make a window for the viewer’s eye to go into the more heavily textured paint which is the mulch under the tree with sunlight and shadow. The eye will compare that texture to the smoother leaves and the brush strokes of the tree. This area shows contrast from black to white which helps make it a focal point. A couple red buds will be coming in on the little branches, so the eye will also have the contrast of red and green in this spot.
The weather hasn’t been good to paint outside. I’m doing this at home, but that’s ok, I did my sketches and mixed my colors in Plein air so I think it will work.
This shot looks a little fuzzy. It’s hard to photograph because my Maroger medium makes it shiny, so I took this shot in the dark of my dining room without a flash. The shutter was open a long time. The other photos had a glare. This painting could be a challenge to get a good photo even for a pro photographer.
The background is finished but not the Southern magnolia in the middle ground. I worked on it at home a couple days since the weather wasn’t good to paint outside, but wasn’t happy with the green leaves. I knew I had to go back to the tree and do leaf studies. Today it’s nice out so I got some leaf practice in and mixed up a few leaf colors. I think I can improve on it before I put the bright pink flowers on top of this.
Today’s leaf studies, oil paint on watercolor paper.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is good then 3 days of rain. This might be enough leaf studies so that I can paint at home again, but I could go over to the garden tomorrow and do a few more leaves and mix up my pink flower colors to save for next week.
The cold took a toll on the flowers. They’re turning an orange brown and drooping. A few buds still look ok. The orange brown petals are pretty too. I’m undecided if I should paint some of the fading blooms or make all my flowers fresh and pink.
My tree needs a lot more leaves before I paint the branch with the pink flowers. And I need to make my leaves better defined, more like this study.
I think my pink flowers will show up real bright on top of this dark background but I might have to go over them 3 times, the first time as a gray underpainting on top of this then 2 coats of pink and white.
This is the shirt I wore the day I didn’t get shot. Isn’t that kind of ironic? The song illustrated on this shirt is about a guy who shoots another guy. My daughter gave it to me for Christmas, now it’s my favorite shirt. I’d like to call it my lucky shirt but I know it wasn’t the shirt that kept the bullet from hitting me, but the long odds of that happening.
Sing it Freddy! Meme stolen from somewhere else.
This ET / Abbey Road decal is on a tee shirt I bought when I had a vacation in New Mexico. It’s great to wear fun shirts when out painting in plein air.
This is another shirt my daughter gave me. Isn’t that a scream?! That crab isn’t from around here. Chesapeake Bay Blue crabs have big sharp points on each side. He has so much personality!
This is the recommended accessory for the plein air artist this season, the famous Ikea art cart. If you want to buy one, I should warn you, I only used it a few times and the retractable handle got stuck in the down position which would make it impossible to use. But I got the handle back up and now it’s staying up. I’ve been using it for years. It’s great because I can take as much stuff out there as I want to. Also it’s better than a pochade box for lugging your supplies down a path because pochade boxes don’t have wheels. It would make my back too tired if I had to carry any weight. I lay it down on it’s side to use as a taboret in Plein air, putting my palette on the wheel where it’s best balanced. I’ll get a photo of the way to use it as a taboret some time.
I have a beach cart with wide wheels for painting in plein air on sand dunes. The beach cart is an accessory for warmer weather though.
It’s called a Todd Gresham Magnolia. This is my last study, time to start painting.
This is the whole plan taped to the wall. The magnolia pastels on the navy blue paper are life sized from last year. The pastel buds on the green paper are from yesterday and a few days ago. The big tree in charcoal on light blue paper is the background tree, a Southern magnolia. And the branch drawn in charcoal on tan paper is the branch of the Todd Gresham magnolia which is the main subject of the painting.
I can’t say for sure if it’s possible for art to be spontaneous or from the subconscious or accidental, all I know is that if I’m going to try to paint something I like to have a plan worked out down to the details.
Now I feel like I’ve done the preliminary part. If I need more flowers I can turn these on their sides or upside down. But this might be enough sketches. It’s crazy how fast the flowers change. They move in every breeze and by the hour they open up more. If I tried to start a flower one day and finish it the next with another coat of paint I’d never be able to find the same flower. This is why I couldn’t avoid doing the sketches. They’ll need two glazes on two different days.
I can work on this painting at home but I’ll probably take my canvas over to the garden and make corrections at some point. And I’ll have to mix my flower colors in Plein air because I didn’t have the right pastel colors. Even if you have a couple hundred pastels you still don’t have the exact color you want.
My computer was acting weird for a day or so. Flashing horizontal line were freaking me out, then it seemed to go away, but if I close my laptop they come back. If I let it open they’re not there. If I have to take this thing over to Best Buy and can’t look at WordPress, don’t worry. But maybe it’ll be ok now.