Tag Archives: Virginia Beach

tiny happy people on the beach sketch

fine point pen and charcoal

The people are far away and they have to be small for the painting I’m working on. If I put closer people and umbrellas in the picture the background guys will be totally hidden. I still need to sketch some kids doing their sand excavations then I’ll have enough people sketched for the painting. At this point I’m still comparing the sizes of figures that will fit in the scene, where their heads fall compared to the horizon and where their feet are on the sand. A lot of the people are tiny tiny, as small as I can draw. The painting might be ok without any people. All it really needs is the brightly colored umbrellas and tents and a few dots for people in the water far away but I’ll sketch more and decide later. Some sand castle builders in the foreground might be nice.

This close up is larger than I drew it.

How do you like that dog? You knew that was a dog, right? Ok my job is done. hahahaha

beach sketch / charcoal

The weather has been great lately and I finally got back out to sketch at First Landing. It was crowded and I sat behind the people on the edge of a dune. They didn’t know I was sketching them. Since I was slightly uphill from them the tops of the umbrellas were below the horizon and their heads were close to the water line. This isn’t the view I need for my painting but I might be able to use it somehow for my big beach painting which is on hold until I decide how to paint people in the scene.

A cargo ship went out to sea and I hurried to sketch it. The ships look so huge right there you think they will run aground because they are so big and close up but I think that might be an optical illusion caused by the sea. I’m not sure. The way the sand juts out right there might add to an illusion. Next to First Landing State Park we have Fort Story at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and they would let me go in to see the lighthouse. I might go in some day and see if the ships look too close but if I do go in they will check me at the guard house and do I really want to go on a military base? I saw the lighthouse long ago.

acrylic abstract and true story of my amazing good luck

You might hear me say that my life has been weird. Not only did I suffer which made me into the great artist I am today, (The suffering is over and I ain’t dead yet, thank God,) but I also have had a lot of unexpected good luck when I needed it. I have beat million to one odds in the past without even trying, but I can’t tell all my stories on the blog.

A couple days ago I drove out and a light came on that said “Low tire pressure” so I pulled into the first place to park which just happened to be a whole line of car care places. I got out to look at my tires and they didn’t look too bad but one was slightly flat. A man was standing outside of a used tire store and I asked him if I could use the air pump and he told me to pull forward and he put air in the tire for me and there was no charge. He didn’t see why the air leaked out except that there are some small cracks but the tires aren’t too bad. So I went home and looked up tire stores. Discount Tire is only a few blocks away so I called them and said I might need to buy tires and the man said come on over.

He looked at all my tires. The one leaking had a screw in it and he said he’d patch it but I said no, I’ll buy new tires because I had a patch once before and it blew out on the highway which was very scary. He asked me what kind of patch it was and I didn’t know because it was so long ago. Now they have new patches that are recommended by the manufacturer where they bore out an exact size hole for an exact size plug and they triple glue the plug in with a patch and it won’t blow out. The small cracks are normal wear, probably no problem.

The man said I can drive 8000 more miles on these tires and they still won’t be dangerous. So I said I’d come back for new tires in Nov or Dec because I’m going to DC or PA and Maine but all that won’t add up to 8000 miles. Which is good to know because there’s no man around here checking on my tires for me and if I had a flat it could be disastrous.

He didn’t charge me for the patch for which I thanked him and said I’d buy my tires there. I’m always so happy when a business owner cuts me slack like that. He could have got $900 out of me this week, because when these tires are expired I’ll buy 4 new ones.

When I was younger I chalked up my good luck to my last name Ludke sounding like lucky with a d in the middle.

The thing about it is that I’ll never push my luck too far. Like, I’ll never gamble. Then when I need luck it’s there waiting to be used, if you can believe in luck or coincidence.

I mean, remember old cars with no sensors when you had a flat and it was a surprise? That’s not luck that the newer cars have sensors, but that I pulled in to two guys who wanted to help me without getting paid today.

beach sketch and recent purchases for Plein air painting

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.

honeysuckle / acrylic and palette knife

It was warm, sunny and humid today, some clouds , light breeze, I knew it would be crowded at the botanical garden and it was slam packed today but I wanted to check on some buds not open yet and not tomorrow either but soon, some day lilies.

I decided to try to paint honeysuckle on a path at Pleasure House Point. That path also has some pretty purple wild flowers and a tree with white flowers along with a ton of honeysuckle. It smells great! I didn’t know so many people would be on that path. I moved off the path a bunch of times for people walking through then I went to another spot where there’s more room to pass another person. A lot of people still went by me. So I finished this at home.

I’d like to do another painting of honeysuckle (my old favorite scent) but I need to find a better spot to paint. At least I got an idea of the shapes I want to make.

I really like this little black sketchbook, 5.5″ x 8″ for sketching flowers with acrylics and a palette knife. I can hold the sketchbook and my palette, which is a plastic lid, in my right hand and I’m left handed so I hold the palette knife in my left. It’s not tiring and I don’t need an easel or taboret. That makes it easier to move off the path if I want to. And I’m traveling light only taking a few colors. I’ll look for another sketchbook this size with different colored paper.

bay painting update

This is a 24 x 30 canvas. Now I wish I had a 24 x 36 so I could paint more ships out there. They look huge when they come into the picture on the right but you can see them far away too. Sometimes if you hang around there for a couple hours you can see 12 or more boats of different kinds.

I’ll go back tomorrow and paint the sky when we get some nice clouds. Today it’s sunny and only a little haze. I’ll paint the fence when I get the clouds in then I’ll have to go back with my sketchbook and do some ship sketches. I want to paint people in the scene too. The water’s still too cold to get in but the kids are working on their sand excavations in the afternoon.

It was cool with a strong breeze out of the Southeast this morning. I had to keep a hand or foot on the canvas or it would blow down. Sand got all over it and into the paint on my palette.

wave close up with sandbar

A man came over to check my progress and he said he didn’t notice the sand bar until he saw it in my painting.

OH NO! Look at all those little lines I painted! Yikes! The jurors would h8 it! You’re supposed to use big brushes and simplify! Not spend hours painting lines!! hahahaha When some well meaning person tells me to use bigger brushes I say, “Yeah, I should use big brushes.” Then I use whatever brush I want to use.

beach scene underpainting / oils

It was great to get out on the beach today, cool, (45*F.) sunny and windy at around 10mph out of the West. I faced East so the wind was on my back and not blowing my canvas down, which was standing on the sand leaning on my beach cart. I sat on a washed up board and felt fine out there but not a lot of people were on the beach.

I have big plans for this painting. It could take a while. I’d like paint pilings, dune grass, people and a ship. I’ll have to take my sketchbook and try to get sketches of people and a ship. The waves looked like they will be easy because they’re small. This is close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The Atlantic is 5 miles or so East.

sketch of a lotus pod / the last time this painting will ever be seen

I scouted a little park on Sandbridge Rd. where a little bridge goes over some backwater and there’s only a few places to park, which are always used when the flowers bloom. These pods were all around in the mud.

I like to look at dry sticks, pods, trees without leaves, wilted leaves and flowers, etc. Decay is beautiful. Long ago I liked to make stick arrangements. hahaha I guess a flower painting would be more marketable than a still life of sticks and pods but I’d really like to paint a stick and dead plant still life. I could take my time with that too, where with live flowers they die before I finish the painting and I have to buy more, or hurry up and paint the ones in the garden as soon as they start to bloom.

This is the painting I did a few years ago at First Landing State Park of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in the background. I was going to redo the waves on the bottom of the canvas but I just decided to throw it away and start again. Next time I’ll do better and maybe put a ship way out there or a wind surfer.

This is one of the paintings that I almost lost. Someone was planning to steal it from an art supply store that had paintings in the windows including this one. I just happened to go to the store and noticed the painting wasn’t in the window and the store manager searched and searched for it and finally found it hidden behind carts so I took it home. It was right at the door.

When I got home I noticed someone had priced it with a red marker then scribbled out the first price and wrote $40. I never priced it but I would have asked more than that for it even if the waves aren’t finished.

I’d throw it away or give it away before I’d sell it for $40. I had it behind some stuff but sometimes I thought about reworking the waves. Now it’s going in the dumpster because every once in a while I throw away art and try again.

I’m pretty sure it almost got stolen and I was happy to have it back but I can do better on another canvas.I need to buy another big canvas and get it primed and tinted.

post update / I stood the painting in front of the dumpster with a sign taped on it that said, free. I was gone for a few hours and someone took it. It was unsigned but they will know who did it. I hope it spreads good vibes to a neighbor.

Tiny Happy People Walking on the Beach / oils

This is a very long beach. Back Bay extends about 3 miles then you come to False Cape which goes on for even more miles. I think I can see over 1 mile, maybe 2.

I’m calling this one finished for now. I have a painting I worked on about 4 years ago that I’d like to rework. It’s another wave painting from First Landing State Park on the bay side. Since I have some of the colors left over from this one, I might go back to that dune on the bay and try to redo the old painting the next time weather permits.

That’s the closest my camera will zoom in. I painted these tiny people with the edge of my palette knife instead of a brush to try to make them fuzzy, out of focus, to give the illusion of aerial perspective. I think it’s working out, like, you would know those are people and not pilings. At 1/2″ these are the tiniest people I ever painted.

oops, this isn’t a good photo.

Darn it, the shine on the wet paint is showing. Oh well, you get the idea.

I went fast and loose on the sea today. It was fun.

All wave paintings I do are just one more step closer to the day I paint my wave masterpiece.