Historic Church on Blue Paper

I saw this church a few weeks ago in Harper’s Ferry and was struck by how bright the white was in the afternoon light. I took some inspiration from Turner and his contemporaries for subject and method and set this small study on blue paper to keep the rest of the image muted and mid-toned and draw all the focus to the accents. There’s something very satisfying about using titanium white on toned paper.

Thanks for reading.


Sketching like the masters

I have been looking back through a book on British watercolors so I can learn from the masters and improve my plein air sketching skills. Too often I get caught up in working too fast without a proper plan when I use a sketchbook. I want to correct that. I want to sketch more and use sketches for inspiration or components for larger paintings. I feel like I am running out of good reference photos, but if I would do more quick sketches, I would have a better feel for the scene anyway so things that might make a dud photo would make a good painting if I edited (through sketching) on the spot. Sounds good, now I need to put in the time. And get over the fear of wrecking sketchbooks with false starts.  

toad in gloomy weather

It’s been a week of gloomy rainy weather, perfect for painting a toad. I found this proud one up in Lakeville.  have been meaning to paint it on pink Canson Mi-Teintes paper for a while. It seems to go well, conveying a late evening hop-about. Having studied this toad for this small sketch, I understand the proud, stubborn, silliness of Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows.