Tag Archives: Virginia Beach

Chinese Paperbush / unfinished

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The bush will bloom soon. I saw it last year at the VA. Tech Arboretum right across the parking lot from my apartment, but I had another painting started at the time, so I planned to paint it this winter. The arboretum is convenient  now, but I’m planning on moving again. I’m excited to try capturing this pretty bush while I have the opportunity.

There’s not many people walking in the arboretum. I  took my yard sticks along and taped my paint brushes to the sticks so I could stand back and paint ala Matisse. If anyone saw me do that they might think I was crazy. It actually made it a little easier to paint that way than it was to sketch it with charcoal from a normal  distance . I felt secluded from view between trees, too.

I need to go back tomorrow if it’s sunny and work on the bush again. The light didn’t last long but it was brightly lit for an hour.

To do the background, I went to the arboretum with my paints, pallet and pallet knife and mixed the colors in Plein air then came home and painted it from memory, with my paint brushes taped to yard sticks. I really am starting to enjoy the extended brushes.

It only took a couple days for my background  to dry. This is the traditional way of painting except for the extended brushes and thick paint in the background. I used my Maroger medium today, covering the whole canvas with plain medium and painting my branches into the medium, which is called, “painting in the couch”. The medium “couches” the paint. The old masters used some variation of Maroger medium and they also painted in the couch. It makes the canvas slick, so the paint flows nicely.

If you like the smell of oil paint you will love the smell of Maroger medium. If the idea of inhaling toxic fumes scares you, then Maroger medium is not for you. It has lead when properly made but there are different recipes. The lead in the medium won’t hurt you unless you eat it. Cooking up a batch of Maroger medium indoors could poison you. I love the stuff. It’s great for painting in plein air. When I paint at home I run my can fan, which is an industrial strength air scrubber. If my hands get sticky I just stop and wash my hands. I remember hearing stories about a guy who got lead poisoning in PA. cooking Maroger medium but mainly people at the Adamstown hat factory. That’s where the saying, “mad as a hatter” came from, lead poisoning. I feel saner than ever before in my life, so, it won’t make you sick if you use it safely.

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Red Fox on Alert / charcoal / after David Turner

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My model is a sculpture by David Turner at First Landing State Park. I didn’t finish the sketch. The temp dropped and it started to sprinkle so I quit drawing. I might transfer this to another paper and go back with a few pastels and try to do a drawing with color another time.

another beautiful view of the marsh at False Cape State Park / charcoal and chalk

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This spot is good because I can get off the road without stepping in the tall grass which is home to ticks chiggers and snakes. They have benches and overlooks where you can be safe out of the grass. The marsh is on both sides of the road for miles and it’s beautiful all the way, especially with the Fall colors.  This is the best time of year to see it but they close the road for 6 months so the humans don’t scare the migrating birds.

I’m getting better at riding my bike on the gravel road. I can avoid the bumpy parts. But I’m trying to think of a way to take paint in there on my bike so I can do it in color next year. I might fill up a book with charcoal sketches  before I decide what to paint. I could take my plein air gear and paint at the Back Bay visitor center when the roads are closed because it’s real pretty right there at the parking lot too.

You have two ways to get into False Cape from Virginia Beach. First, is the road through Back Bay which is closing Nov.1, then there’s the beach. You can get there by boat, but a 3 mile walk on sand then the 3 mile walk back out would be too much beach walking for me to enjoy. Plus, the cape is around 10 miles long, so I’ll never get to the end of it on foot. I’ll go back down the East Dike Rd. on my bike in the spring. Then the West Dike Rd. will be open too. I’ve only lived at the beach for one year, so I haven’t finished scouting the whole area. There might be roads I can find leading in from North Carolina. It’s not very far.

And this isn’t the only beautiful marsh here. I’ll ride my bike down the Cape Charles trail  as long as the weather stays mild. First Landing State Park with the Cape Charles trail is closer to home than Back Bay and False Cape, and open all year. There’s a pretty marsh at the end of that trail at 84th St. It goes on for a mile or so. I’ll never get tired of looking at the wetlands.

a beautiful marsh at False Cape St. Park / charcoal and chalk

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Twice when I was riding my bike down the east dike road, a flock of small birds with light colored bellies, maybe finches, I don’t know for sure, was flying back and forth over the road and marsh back and forth swooping and dipping or kind of zipping all around me. It was CRAZY! Almost like the Birds movie! I couldn’t see whatever bugs they were after, if they were going for bugs.

I think the road closes in Nov. so I want to go back this week.

Bay Scape / oil

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Should I call this finished or should I paint a ship coming in? I have the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in the painting. Should I add some pelicans on pilings? Maybe some happy little pelicans flying away in the sky?  Or a guy wind surfing?

I tried three times on the sky till I finally got something I can live with. The first time I tried to make a blend of lighter blue on the horizon to slightly darker blue over head without using glazes. I tried to make my blend with thick paint, blending the values wet instead of letting it dry and going over it a few times with glazes to get my blend. That didn’t work. I think blends are difficult.

Then I tried to do the sky with dots like Pointillism. That didn’t work either. I want to try Pointillism but I’m not sure about the proper technique. I’ll try Pointillism on an easier subject some time soon.

So then I tried to do clouds with some blue sky showing through and that looks better.  I used my Maroget medium and glazes on the sky. I like my clouds to look light and fluffy without hard edges. Now, how about that water? I don’t know, I might try again. I’m open to suggestions on it.

I took my painting supplies out to the beach at First Landing State Park a few times when it wasn’t too hot and not too crowded and mixed my colors there, but mainly painted it at home from sketches. Sand got on my painting but I got most of it off when the paint dried.

sand sculptures from the Neptune Festival

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This one won two first prizes. It’s called “Worshippers of the Point” by Karlise Ile from Latvia.IMG_2113

In this photo you can see the little worshippers and one is going up the ramp to the goddess.IMG_2115

This one is a team effort by Sue McGrew and Kirk Rademaker  from Washington and California titled “Blackberry Blossom”. How did they do that multi layered intricate carving? IMG_2121

This is the other side of Blackberry Blossom. IMG_2116

This one is titled “150 % Organic” by Jakob Zimacek  and Jan Zelinka from the Czech Republic. It looks like the broccoli is going to eat the people.IMG_2117

This one is “Emerge” by Jonathan Bouchard and Jacinthe Trudel from Canada.IMG_2120

The other side of Emerge.

This is only a few of my favorites. They have 22 in all. What an inspiration! I always wished I could do sand castles like that!

sketching on the beach with charcoal and chalk

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Can you see those two pelicans flying away? I had my Bob Ross moment there, drawing those happy little birds.

I think that guy knew I was sketching him. He kept turning in my direction. I was almost finished with my sketch and he left. Then some foreigners came out with a giant arch shaped kite. The guy had a harness strapped on his body holding the kite strings. It looked like the girl was doing most of the work trying to lift the kite up to catch the wind then going after it every time it came down. He was yelling instructions at her in Russian or something.

The kite was coming down a little too close for comfort to me so I packed up and left. That happens sometimes when you go out sketching in plein air, you gotta move for some reason.

 

Look what I bought!

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Normally I pooh pooh the zodiac because they often describe Capricorns as social climbers and I have no interest in society, but once I read that Capricorns can have a second childhood and I thought that sounds like fun. I’ll do it.

When I was a kid I had a hand me down bike that was my brothers news paper delivery bike. It had coaster breaks and no gears. I was all over town on it. This is the most popular kind of bike at Virginia Beach because who needs gears on flat land?

I should have bought some training wheels. (nah) It’s been a long time since I was on a bike, but they say you never forget how to ride. I did ok going around the parking lot at the bike shop but when I took it on the gravel road at Back Bay I couldn’t control  it. I was all over the place on the bumpy road. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of people that afternoon and when a car or hikers or other bikers came down my path I stopped so I wouldn’t cause an accident with my zig zagging. I rode about 2.5 miles in then turned around and on the way back out I did a little better steering. Before I went home I stopped back in at Conte’s where I bought it and asked the helpful sales guy to adjust the handle bars down a little cause I’m kind of short. Maybe that will make it a little easier next time I go out.

It looks like they’re calling for more hot weather and chance of rain this week, but next Thurs. it’s supposed to cool down again, and after Labor Day it will be less crowded so I’ll get in some riding practice in Sept.

My goal is to go to the end of the Back Bay road to False Cape. I’ve never seen False Cape. They have already closed the one side of Back Bay for the migrating birds. They could have left the trail open until the birds get here, but oh well. I hope they let the other trail open all year and I also hope I will be able to see the Snow Geese and Tundra Swans because they are so beautiful. And I will eventually capture the beauty of Back Bay in drawings and paintings.

 

Ghost crabs / charcoal/ with unscientific observations

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I can’t decide. Are they like heads with legs coming out the sides and no bodies? Or are they like bodies with no heads and eyes on top? Anyway, they have a ton of personality.

Last week I walked barefoot on the beach at First Landing State Park a lot, maybe too much because my right foot got stiff. I soaked my foot in water with epsom salt and it’s ok now but I’ll probably stay off the sand for a few more days.

One day I took my sketchbook along and at the end of the beach close to the Fort Story fence I saw a bunch of holes the crabs made. Some were large holes for big crabs. I sat still on the sand for a while and a few crabs came out of their holes pushing sand out and making piles next to their holes. They looked at me. They must have 360* vision with their eyes on top. When I moved they were in their holes like a flash. I saw a couple big ones. They were probably 3 or 4 inches from tip to tip, running back and forth at the edge of the gently lapping waves of the bay. I wished I had a sardine to lure the others out of their holes to pose for me. They don’t stand still long so I did a couple sketches from memory. I think it might be a good drawing exercise to observe them then sketch them from memory.

I sat there for about 1/2 hour and got these sketches then a lady walking on the sand scared them all back into their holes, so I gave up on sketching. I’ll go back another time soon because I want to do a painting of the bay with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the horizon.

wind surfer on the bay / charcoal

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I went to First Landing State Park to sketch on the beach and saw this guy learning how to wind surf. He was going back and forth in the shallow water close to shore flipping the sail back and stepping over the lower corner of it, so first he was facing the shore then he was facing open water. A few times he tipped over and went in the drink. As he was moving around a lot, I tried to remember the pose, sketch a little and wait for him to go back to a similar pose.

Now I want to enlarge it to around six feet and make a stencil like Banksy and spray paint it on a building. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I could rebrand myself and do graffiti. I could call myself “Momsy” hahahahahah . nah.

As an artist, I get a lot of brilliant ideas that I never do. 😉