As I mentioned after my last trip to the Outer Banks, I enjoy seeing the above ground power lines connecting the houses. The birds like them too. Here’s one that settled across the way.
I also got a nice picture of my almost five-year-old daughter enjoying a little freedom on the beach this evening. There was an incredible sky, and so many birds were out fishing. I took a bunch of pictures. When I get home I will try to work out how to paint it.
This morning’s sketch. As I type this the sun is burning off the clouds. I sketched a little too early full the effect of the cloud illumination, but at least I got it in before the clouds went away.
There’s nothing like sketching on vacation. I can relax fully and get into the sketch. I am hoping to fit in one a day along with running, Proust, and most importantly hanging with my wife and kids.
Here’s what I did today in my moleskine pocket watercolor notebook, which is also great for pen sketching. This is my favorite sketchbook.
Thanks for reading.
Over the past few days I have been studying this painting. Something wasn’t quite right about it. I realized that there wasn’t enough differentiation between the front of the house and the side. Since the sun was behind the clouds, I couldn’t really use a shadow side and light side approach. I needed to find something else, so I studied the lines where the front and side join. These were too neutral, so disappeared unless closely inspected. It also seemed that in too many places the siding wasn’t drawn out at the roof, again allowing the front and side to appear merged.
To fix these issues, I did the following:
1. Added a few more lines for siding shadow
2. Darkened the lines framing the windows and the trim
3. Added a small line of cobalt blue under the deck trim on the left
4. Darkened some of the set back windows
5. Brought the cloud closer to the right side of the house to give some framing for the extension of the deck.
Did these fixes work, or is there more to do here? I am not sure yet, but I am looking forward to putting this one behind me. I got a lot out of it, and feel like I took a pretty good leap forward since my last 11×14 work, the white house painting. I am comfortable with these more involved works, and feel ready to take one some new challenges. I have three directions I want to take at once for new paintings, and a bunch of new and old ideas coming together that I am anxious to get down. I will post these thoughts over the next few days as I start to bring them together and start a few new paintings.
Thanks for reading.
Some things can only be seen in the shadows.
– Carlos Ruiz Zafon from The Shadow of the Wind
I started reading The Shadow of the Wind a few days ago, and this quote jumped out at me. The timing was perfect because I had just laid down the shadow across the front of the yellow house (shown in my last post and mixed with ultramarine, primary yellow, and burnt umber) and I was intrigued by the interesting look achieved because of the granulating ultramarine pigment. This is more than just a shadow. There’s some luminescence to it, and its presence gave the house an identity.
With this painting I have become very interested in the colors of shadows. I have been noticing how blue John Singer Sargent’s shadows often are, and how compelling they can be as a result. I wanted to borrow from that with the color of the white trim on the house, which, because of the strange cloudy and blue sky should reflect some interesting colors, and even on the fence. While the spaces are small, I tried to work in a few splashes of light cobalt, cerulean, and even a little viridian as another nod to Singer Sargent, as it was a favorite color of his. I also used it in the little power box at the base of the pole. Certainly not as compelling as his shadows (mine are actually quite bland in comparison), but what I did seems to fit, at least at this hour.
I think I am about done with this one, so I am showing it in a mat. I will hold on it for a few days to see what else, if anything, needs to be done and get a better photo with my Nikon and repost later, but for now here’s one last iPhone shot.
Thanks for reading.
Far and away my favorite place to get breakfast on the Outer Banks is the First Light Cafe. Great food (especially the French Toast), and a great laid back oceanside atmosphere. Eating there always makes me want to open up an oceanside cafe of my own with some small batch coffee, good books, and good art. Making pancakes and listening to The Lovely Sparrows, Peter and the Wolf, Andrew Bird, and the other mellow indie bands in my morning mix with a warm breeze coming in through the open windows is a pretty good substitute.
I made some good progress last night, to the point where I am starting to get to the mood of the place. I think that might have something to do with the telephone pole. They are all over down there breaking up the view. They stick in my memory too. Plus, because so many of Hopper paintings feature them, the presence of the pole here seems to give the painting a little something extra. Next up will be working the sky some more, removing the masking and painting the trim on the house and finishing the power lines, then finishing the road. I am not happy with the two masses of foliage right now, but I will deal with them last. I want to see what the rest of the painting tells me about what to do there.
Thanks for reading.
Not much new to say tonight since I just posted a few hours ago, but I want to post where I am now.
I put in the bushes, dry-brushed the grasses, and put on another yellow glaze and a roof on the house. I think I might have overdone the bushes, but they’re really there as framing, so I am not going to worry too much about them tonight. Next up will be the windows and siding on the house, then the telephone pole. After that I will lay in the shadows on the house, and look at the sky again before removing the masking fluid and painting the wooden beams. Thanks for reading.