Finished Leesburg Street

Finished, or at least finished enough for a sketchbook. I laid in some more watercolor washes then switched over to casein for the leaf pile, stray leaves, and to add some interest to the big bright tree. Casein is still very new to me, so I was just using it to add opaqueness. Looking forward to trying it exclusively on another scene.


Potomac River

There’s a place in the Potomac River not far from my house that’s really peaceful. Not too many people go there. I tried to capture that sense of calm with an earth color palette of Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, and Yellow Ochre. I think I’d do this a little differently again with the hanging branch left of center. The even split of the picture feels a little jarring. 

More snow, more painting

  I started this earlier today before shoveling. Those lumps behind the street lamp are our cars. They still look like that. I’ve never seen a snow storm like this.  

I painted this on a light blue Fabriano Tiziano pastel paper. The blue comes through a little on the snow. My colors were Prussian blue, Brown Madder, and titanium white. There is a minuscule touch of lemon yellow mixed with those colors to get the light bulb.

I wish I had deviated from reality more and positioned the street lamp a little further left and the tree further right. Anyway, here’s a closeup:


Moonlight over Casco Bay–an experiment

I haven’t worked much with nighttime paintings, but have been inclined to give them a try considering I’ve spent so much time driving home in the dark this winter and observing the light (what little of it there is) around the trees and houses.

I’ve also been thinking back to a trip we took to Maine a few years ago. Trying some of Turner’s techniques I constructed this scene from an evening photo I took out on Casco Bay. I used the photo for reference but manufactured the nighttime effects based on imagination and reference to other paintings. I was interested in showing the two light sources–the cool light of the moon and the warm light of the town–coming together on the water. To do this I used a blue pastel paper, with ultramarine and sepia to get the darks, mixing in a little permanent green olive on the near island. Titanium white and yellow ochre provided the light sources. More to come along these lines, I think.  Thanks for reading.


Is it summer?

It must be the unseasonably warm winter weather that got me thinking about summer and prompted me to work up this small study of a father and son canoeing on the Potomac. 

My parents were very generous in gifting me the small set of Schmincke watercolors shown below and some Da Vinci Maestro travel brushes, which are phenomenal.   

I love the Schmincke paints and the smart color selection in the kit. Because there was some space, I added some titanium white, cerulean blue (which granulates nicely with yellow ochre), brown madder to work up a great range of greys with Prussian blue, and indigo. I intend to use this kit for small quick color and value studies. The colors the set came with are very efficient and allow for good range and good tonal painting with some pop. This is what the set came with:   

For the painting above I used yellow ochre, sepia, permanent green olive, and Prussian blue, with accents of white and cadmium red light.

I have been watching Tom Keating on Painters on YouTube–someone recently posted season 2, which focuses on the Impressionists. This got me rethinking my painting approach a little, or maybe confirmed the direction I have been going in. Hopefully my own style is developing. More to come on this.

Thanks for reading.

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.

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.


Birthday portrait

I finished the portrait of my daughter I started a few weeks ago as a birthday gift for my mom. She had taken a photo a long time ago and asked for a painting, and this is it. Happy birthday mom!

This is the first proper human portrait I have tried, and I think it came out pretty well. It’s 22×30 and I painted it with a #6 Princetone Neptune quill and a #12 sable round  
I am sure there is a lot I could correct if I fuss with it more, but I think I will leave it here and take the lessons for the next one.