Uncategorized, Watercolor Painting

Spring greens in a rainy season

There’s been so much rain lately, followed by intermittent mugginess and flood watches, that some plein air-type painting has had to be done inside.  With plenty of models done in the open air to go by, I recently recreated some familiar scenes and, in the process, tried out watercolors on the Langton Prestige watercolor paper made in the UK by Daler Rowney.

Paddleboaters

Illustration: “Paddleboarders” in watercolor on Daler Rowney cold press 7″ x 10″ watercolor paper by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

My impression of this paper is that the watercolors do stay moist longer and naturally exhibit a more transparent sheen than is typical on Arches paper.  I had underestimated this paper originally when I bought it nearly 10 months ago.  For different effects, trying various papers is fun.

spring greens

Illustration: “Spring Greens”, watercolor and pen-and-ink on Daler Rowney cold press 7″ x 10″ watercolor paper by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

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oil painting, Uncategorized

Memorial Day Weekend

Lazy Sunday

Illustration: “Lazy Sunday”, oil on canvas approximately 12″ x 20″ (2018)

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.

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Uncategorized, urban sketching, Watercolor Painting

Capturing Spring Greens in Hideaway Places

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!

colvin garden

Illustration: “Secret Garden,” Watercolor and gouache in a Stillman & Birn “Beta” sketchbook (2018)

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.

colvin mill

Illustration: “Colvin Run Mill,” Watercolor, gouache, and pen-and-ink on Arches rough paper (2018)

Many of us hurry by without much choice, for years, without noticing therefore our surroundings.

lake edge final

Illusration: “Lake edge”, Watercolor in Stillman &Birn “Beta” sketchbook (2018)

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.

Colvin Run

Illustration: “Colvin Run,” watercolor and gouache on Arches rough paper (2018)

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!

plaza final

Illustration: “Secret Beachview”, Watercolor and pen-and-ink in a Stillman & Birn “Beta” sketchbook (2018)

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oil painting, Uncategorized

Studio Practice in Oil 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.

Stack of Books

Illustration: “Studio practice,” Oil on canvas by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

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).

Studio setup

Illustration:  Studio still life setup

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.

Books4

Illustration: “Stack of Books”, oil on canvas by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

 

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Uncategorized, Watercolor Painting

Spring in the Park

Spring is struggling to make itself known this year. There’s a chill in the air. Cold breezes vied with bright sunshine in Central Park this weekend.  Color and light caught your eye after taking in some artworks inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   From the top of the museum, the Manhattan skyline edged the tops of the furthest trees.  One can imagine spring settling in here soon.

Spring1

Illustration: “Spring in the Park”, watercolor, pastel, gouache and burnt sienna drawing ink on 10″ X 7″ Arches rough paper by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

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Uncategorized, Uncertainty

Spring Cleaning & Unfinished Projects

As the weather improves, the spring cleaning bug hits many of us.  Eventually the “art room” must be tackled, always a hazardous undertaking because of the many unexpected finds tucked here and there.  So many unfinished pieces of work, and so many memories about what was going on in my life when the work was undertaken. It is difficult to complete cleaning tasks because so many projects (pastels, watercolors, and even an oil painting) still beckon to be completed  now or, at least, that a decision be made about them.  Doodles and sketches abound, mostly made during embarrassingly many hours ‘wasted’ watching the evening news over the past nail-biting sort of year.  Frames and matts need to be sorted through…and books continue to pile up despite mostly having no connection to the art efforts at least not so far.  (How to connect democracy, climate change and other readings to art…that is another unfinished project?)

Doodles2

Illustration: “News-time Doodles,” gel pens on black paper, by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

The vision of more space in the room–still just a vision–and the notion that greater work can be done with less clutter spurs me on.  It helps that the weather outside is glorious and beckons…  and it will be possible to go enjoy it once this is done.

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oil painting, Uncategorized

Rooftops of Tübingen

Practicing with a limited palette of Raw Umber, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White, my subject for this oil painting exercise are the rooftops–which actually are various shades of orange and red–of Tübingen, as seen from the window of a fourth floor walkup attic apartment in a house dating from the 1500s.  Far below in the thicket of roofs and small balconies are narrow streets that wind their way through this ancient university town on the Neckar River in Germany.  I will attempt to do a wider landscape scene of the rooftops in a more realistic palette quite soon.  There is a great view of the city from the castle just up the street from this house–a castle which houses the humanities department of the University of  Tübingen, which itself was founded in 1477.

Illustration: “Rooftops of Tübingen”, oil on canvas by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

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