Friday, July 24, 2009


Although most of my time spent in the studio recently has been towards completing watercolors, I did manage to almost finish this oil. I say almost since I only really have the foreground to complete. Right now, it is blocked in but will need some reworking along with some slightly darker values added. I'm not totally pleased with the shape of the water either so will probably re-work that too. I kept the clouds in the upper part of the sky soft-edged to hopefully impart some movement. I see them as slowly drifting from right to left in the light evening breeze. Since I love scenes such as this and never tire of painting them, I planning a new series of evening landscapes similar to the one shown here. I'm hoping that I can impart a more local flavor (to me that is) as there are a number of wonderful scenes around where I live that I walk past most evenings. Right now, they are mostly watercolor studies in my sketch book but I'll do the series in oil. I have done a number of plein air oil studies too and all this along with the sketchbook studies will get heaped together as reference for the final paintings.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


To finish off the painting, I gave the shadows another thin wash and darkened the underside of the overhang. This helped solidified the window more securely in the wall. I was careful to keep variation within the shadowed areas as this was very important to the realism of the work. More work was done to the front of the overhand and also to the wooden window frame on the right. Now that it is darker, the edges are more defined helps pull it away from the wall. Now it seems to jut out into space as intended. Then I just went carefully over the painting looking for areas that needed subtle tweaking. That part didn't take long and when couldn't find anything else to do, I declared the painting finished.
When I started Afternoon Sun IV, I was remembering the hot sunny days spent exploring old villages around Hong Kong. I was fascinated by the architecture and style of the older homes and temples that I came across. So the window here is a pleasant reminder of that time and although the main subject is in the center of the painting, it still has a somewhat abstract design caused by the shadows that I like. Sadly this building is no more, razed to make way for new homes. I suppose that is the price of progress, still seems a shame to me. Size is 30" X 22".

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Upon further reflection, I decided that the shadowed areas needed a little more attention so more washes were applied here. I kept quite a bit of variation within each wash as there were lighter areas within the shadows that I wanted to retain - getting a good balance was trickey. I started work also on the bottom of the overhang. The thing about this area and the underside at the top of the window was the reflected light coming up from the ground. I was careful not to go too dark here so it was a case of laying in some colour and seeing how it looked. I spent some time painting the front of the overhang and used drybrush to create some textures. I also added Burnt Sienna washes to the window frame on the right as a way of lifting it off the shadows behind which were a little greyer. This helped some but I realised that I still needed to go darker. All of the elements were in place now though and I could see how they were working together to create interest and depth. I knew that only a few things remained for me to do and these were some of the smaller details along with a few areas that weren't quite finished.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I starting the days work with a final wash over the wall area being careful to keep it from going too dark. I wanted to maintain the feeling of bright sunlight and still have enough tone on the wall to keep it from looking too washed out. Next I applied the first washes to the shadowed areas - I had kept the pencil lines indication them very light as I didn't want them to show through in the final painting. With that area working well and drying, I turned to the bars again and added further washes to the deep shadowed areas inside. I also worked on some of the fine line details here and there but would keep most of this work until the end. Right now, I was basically concentrating of keeping the overall values correct. I added some deeper tones to the ends of the broken window frames as well the bars as a way of defining some of the textures there and yet more blue. Not too much to do now, another couple of days work should see it through.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Here is the result after having laid on a number of washes using mostly Sepia with a touch of Burnt Sienna. There is plenty of texture now along with quite a bit of modulation of the surface. It looks as interesting as I had hoped, some of the lighter areas were left as the bare paper underneath. Now that I had more tone on the painting, it was easier to judge consecutive washes so I darkened the blue using more of the Cerulean that I had started with and darkened the rust on the bars with alternate washes of Sepia and Burnt Sienna. So far the painting was progressing well which is always a relief when working in watercolor! I added a hint of shadow in the upper right below the overhang in a way of getting a better understanding of how dark the shadows need to be. Since I never work directly from a photograph, I do spend quite a bit of time just looking at the painting itself and seeing what it needs instead of just slavishly copying directly from whatever references I may have. My aim is to create something new, something that may just be different and unusual enough to excite others the way that the initial idea excited me.


I was pleased with the work done the day before and was eager to do some more work on the window. So after laying in a few more washes of Aureolin overall and letting them dry, I started on the bars and broken window frames. Several thin washes of color were laid onto these areas slowly building up layers of colour and deepening some of the tonal values as I went. I found that there was quite a bit of time spent looking at the painting in between stages and deciding what to do next. Since I had worked on the back of the paper (Arches 140lb), most of the pigment soaked into the paper making it hard to remove. This would be problematic should I find the need to lighten some areas later on - hence my caution in laying on thinner washes initially. The pigment didn't go on as smoothly as I had expected either, probably due to the fact that it was an old sheet of paper (I always date the paper after I buy it). Not that this would really be a problem as there weren't that many really smooth areas and in fact these irregular washes could help in creating extra texture especially on the wall. At this point it was looking a little bit messy but I knew that the painting would tighten up as I went along so I wasn't too worried. Next, creating interest and texture on the wall around the window.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I have had an image in my mind of a window in sunlight for some time. And it had been slowly growing in intensity during the passing months, so last week I decided to start a large watercolor of this scene. I have painted a few different versions of this particular window before but there is something about it that doesn't want to let go. I find myself being strangely drawn back to the same scene time and time again. I don't usually repeat my paintings but I have given myself the excuse this time that the view is slightly different and I am also working in a different medium from the earlier works.
I decided to limit myself to a narrow palette and concentrate on recording accurate values painted onto an accurately worked out underdrawing. This painting, more so than some others that I have done, depended on careful examination of the facts to allow for the correct illusion of sun and shadow. The drawing itself took some time and I only finished at around 11:00 at night! I had to take special note of the perspective along with the way that the shadows fell on the wall. Once I was happy with it, I laid in washes of Aureolin yellow the next day then when that was dry, washes of Sepia indicating the darkest areas of the interior. Next, the textured wall and those interesting weathered bars.


During a recent trip down to the Eastern Shore, I sketched and painted quite a few scenes like the one shown here. This particular morning was a bit misty and had a hazy sky quite often synonymous with moisture-laden air found along the shoreline and marshes of the Chesapeake. I never tire of this place and try to explore different areas each time. I am planning to start a mini series of images from the region but have to work through the pile of unfinished paintings in my studio first! Fortunately there is not too many as I'm itching to start something new.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Here is the finished painting and although I completed last week, only got around to posting it today. I especially enjoyed working on the water and submerged rocks. The bottom of the river was well illuminated by sunlight and the ripples created interesting abstract patterns which were fun to work on. I'm not completely sure if I will leave the background as it is. I remember there being more highlights within the rocks and bushes but I have a feeling that adding these will distract the eye too much from the rocks and water - I'll have to give it some thought. In the meantime, I have been busy on other paintings, finishing an smaller oil and a large watercolor which I'll get to in my next post.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Not the greatest image I know, but here is an update from my last posting. I had hoped that the painting would have been finished by now but I have been working on a number of different projects, unfortunately not all of them related to creating art! Another few sessions remaining on this one so should be completed soon. I did spend quite a bit of time adding more definition to the rocks along with a few glazes to the shadow areas. I still haven't decided how to finish the background yet but will get to that when the foreground is done. There are still a number of reflections to come along with the clear (but slightly deeper) water in the lower right - should be fun!