Old barn


There are a bunch of old barns in the area where I live. I liked the width of this one contrasted with the verticality of the deteriorating silo and utility pole. Mainly three colors-Prussian blue, brown madder, and nickel azo yellow, though I mixed cerulean blue and brown madder for a subtle late day sky.

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Messing around with some sunset colors


For a while when I didn’t know what to paint I would play around mixing colors in a sketchbook. I’ve found it’s more fun to experiment in the context of loosely structured studies, especially with skies. I observe a lot when driving or waking the dog, but can’t sit out and paint them during those times, so am trying to transfer those observations into experiments–not so much for accuracy as for impression. Tonight I had a few minutes, and wanted to do some more wet into wet practice, seeing what could be done with a really cheap 3/4 inch flat brush and a few colors– yellow ochre, permanent alizarin crimaon, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, and hookers green. I just played around with the sky then added what seemed like a reasonable ground and horizon. This one is really about the sky.

Salvage work

On my way home I saw some incredible clouds that I tried to capture and fantastically messed up, so I coated the whole painting with a mix of Prussian blue and brown madder, dropped in some deep red clouds and lifted out  some moonlight and put in shapes on the horizon and foreground to convey some nighttime activity on the beach and ended up with this moody wreck. Seemed worth sharing what can be done to salvage a sketchbook page.

Some experiments

One intimidating thing about sketchbooks is the chance of having something bad preserved in a book with other good sketches. For the most part, I am filling up my 3×5 pentalic watercolor sketchbook with good sketches, but there are some duds. I painted over one of them with a layer of pink casein because I didn’t want to see it any more and I thought it would be good to have some toned pages. I wasn’t sure how painting watercolor over it would work, though. This is the result of a test this morning:


The paint really just sits on the surface and takes awhile to dry, but it’s certainly workable. I don’t think I’d do this normally–probably better to tone the paper with watercolor instead–but it’s a good way to cover up mistakes.

While waiting for that one to dry, I also wanted to test my old 3×5 watercolor moleskine. Just messing around with some colors, this is what I came up with:

Both paintings were done largely with a connoisseur travel round (thee tree was done with a small flat). I wanted to see how big a brush would work in these little books, as I’d previously been using smaller brushes that don’t allow for working as wet and loosely. If I were to go in for some finer work, a smaller brush would be useful just to work drier, but sticking with one, I think the larger brush is the way to go.