As a beautiful week weather-wise glides into the holiday weekend, I am finishing up several canvases and, in some cases, deciding whether to paint over them to start something else. In the painting above, I set out to capture the look of some people remote-control sailing their little boats, as they do every Sunday morning at this spot in northern Virginia.
It’s amazing to me that, even around the busiest metropolitan centers, wonderful hideaways still exist that transport you far away from the strip malls, busy intersections and shopping centers that dominate our modern landscape. These days you can get a news update almost anywhere, but in these little hideaways you’ll find that the natural beauty captures your attention, and you won’t be checking your phone!
Sometimes these jewels are right in our own neighborhood, or at least not far as the crow flies. One such place in Northern Virginia is a small state park, Colvin Run Mill, which has a still-functioning circa-1900 General Store and still working mill grinding wheat and corn today. I have driven past this very spot for more than 20 years without stopping–until now.
Many of us hurry by without much choice, for years, without noticing therefore our surroundings.
These days, however, the new greens of spring make one want to take one’s paint kit outside more often—how to capture that beautiful light? What greens work best? I’ve been finding that Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow helps to give some bright greens.
Indanthrone Blue and Quinacridone Gold (either the old or the new) gives some great, more olive, shades of green. And you can always use a sap green, which comes in many different colors, actually. Happy painting!
While something self-induced and self-defeating (where have we seen this before?) hurtles toward this nation, it’s been an escape to join others to learn how to paint with oils.
We tackle with brushes and paints all kinds of planes, or surfaces, under all kinds of light with usually limited palettes. For the unfinished painting here the colors were titanium white, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna (on a raw umber underpainting).
It’s great to lose oneself in such challenges if only for an evening. It’s also great to be with 15 other people similarly motivated to learn oil painting under the guidance of a great teacher.
Later with a drizzly day providing an excuse to stay inside, I touched up the painting done originally in class. In the process, I used some linseed oil for the first time, to help draw some narrow lines and also to experiment with creating a sheen.