Thursday, September 9, 2021

SKETCHBOOK STUDIES

 









These studies are all around 4" or so and represent some of the more interesting things I have seen during the latter half of 2020 and into 2021 while living on the Eastern Shore. Each day I would try and find something new to study and often this led to various sketches of them - either in graphite or watercolor. Occasionally this work would lead to new ideas for paintings.










As you can see, subjects vary ranging from a late-form Common Buckeye butterfly to a Coopers' Hawk flying overhead at dusk! The shells and mermaid's purse were found during some of the many long walks we took along the beach.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

THE SKIMMER

 



Owing to the fact that we are living next to a busy harbor, it's not surprising that my first watercolor of the area was of a boat. This surface skimmer shown here has been specially adapted to scoop up all the floating debris found around the inner harbor. I saw it early one morning heading south towards the marina next to the Industrial Museum so decided to paint it almost as I saw it with strong back-lighting. Like most of my work though, I seldom stick to my references and the painting usually develops in its own way. Size of this study is 5.5" x 7.5". Painted on Strathmore paper.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT STUDIES

 



Having recently moved, I now have a completely different view out of my studio window. Our apartment overlooking Baltimore harbor is a completely new and exciting place for us! Gone are the fields and trees of our last home along the Eastern Shore, now we have water, boats and birds! The empty dock just next to our building is used by quite a few different birds during the day, a place off the water where they can rest, preen and loaf in safety. I did these studies in my sketchbook while looking through my telescope - there is always plenty to see and draw out there.



















Sunday, August 15, 2021

CHURCH CANDLE

 



Touring Germany a few years ago, we walked into an ancient church in a quiet town street. It was dim inside with a rare kind of peacefulness that is hard to find. Darkened and shadowed corners held mysteries I was unable to decipher - other features of the interior were hazy and now just a blur in my memory. But this single candle burning near the alter seemed to sum up the whole experience of my visit. Looking carefully, I took note of the tall slim flame and the translucency of the candle. And how melted wax had pooled around the iron base. The small reflected highlights. All that I have left now is this painting which serves as a reminder of that day. I wished I had had more time to explore and discover other wonders there but for now, this will have to suffice. Size is 11" x 7.5", watercolor on Strathmore paper.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

PURPLE ALSTROEMERIAS

 





These Lily of the Incas flowers were a birthday gift to my wife from her friends. One evening while at work on something or another, I happened to look up and I noticed how most of the flowers and leaves were cast into shadow while the uppermost ones were lit up. I think I decided right there and then to try and do a painting of them. Since I wanted a dark background onto which I would paint the flowers, I first painted the whole canvas almost pure black (mixed from Ultramarine blue and Burnt Umber). I let more of the burnt umber show near the top indicating where there would be a bit more light. When that had dried for a few days, I started from the top slowly working my way down until I reached the glass vase which was only lightly indicated in greys going slight lighter on the rim where there were a few highlights. After working on and off for a few more days, the painting was complete. My initial concern was that the purplish shades that I would be using for the petals would be absorbed into the black background but the pigments were sufficiently strong enough to counter that. This was a fun one to do and I have more similar ideas to work on in the future. Size is 11" x 14" - oil on canvas panel.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

ALASKAN MOUNTAIN STUDY

 



I completed this small study recently from sketchbook reference that I did a few years ago. I remember that there wasn't much color in the landscape since it was a cloudy day and we were way up in the mountains. But what really attracted me to the scene was the way that the top of the mountain disappeared into mist. While it wasn't the easiest watercolor that I have done, this small study has captured something of the essence of that day. I feel though that I haven't fully reached into the heart of what Alaska is really about. I think that everything just overwhelmed me while I was there as there was so much to see and experience in a completely new way. Probably this is why I am still keeping these studies smallish for the time being, hopefully I'll be able to do some larger more serious paintings soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

IN ALASKA

 





While in Alaska, we saw many such landscapes like this. The size of some of the incredible mountains towering above often made one feel small and insignificant. I did this study as a kind of experiment to see if it would work as a larger painting. I'm still thinking about it - perhaps in oil. Size is 7" x 5", watercolor on Strathmore paper.