Started another painting of some little houses along the back bays here.
I made a tactical error right off the bat, painting the shady side (the light is coming form the right) of the buildings too early; they're too gray, maybe too dark, and maybe confusing. If I had waited till later, I think they'd be more integrated. But I'm going to keep going because 1) maybe I'll come up with a "fix"; or 2) maybe it won't be so noticeable when the painting is done.
I forgot all about my plein air class last week! But I made it this week, if a little late.
I set up and started drawing Burcham's farmhouse.
I was about to start painting when I turned around and looked behind me: there was a tractor path in the grass, hazy trees in the distance, and barn swallows flying everywhere.
I decided to try something I've heard about from several people lately--do a little warmup painting.
It started out so well ... I was trying to think of John Singer Sargent, of his brushwork and color choices--I just added one of his favorite colors, viridian, to my palette, and there's a touch of it here; but I didn't get his values or composition. May try to tweak it and paint it again.
Still have to add the swallows, but I need to do a little research first.
By the way, the warming up did help, I think. It was getting dark so I didn't have much time, but I did put in washes for the sky and distant trees and I think they came out very fresh and unfussy.
I'll post a photo next time--too dark for photos now!
Every day is not a winner, as my mother used to say. I like some things about this painting--the grasses, the muddy shoreline and it's reflection in the shallow water. But there's a stiffness to it--too many hard edges?--that makes me call it a miss. worth trying again, wetter and looser next time!
Another couple of abandoned paintings below ... same problem as the one above, I think: despite a nice passage here and there, too ... too something!
I joined a plein air painting group and when I met them at the Cape May Harbor I was not sure what to paint. Settled on these work boats. I couldn't see them very well--they were far away and backlit, so I thought that would be the challenge: painting something I could barely see with enough detail to make it recognizable.
After I got home, I darkened the lower left a bit because I thought it didn't register as water. Also, I got some advice to that effect--to darken the water or to crop the bottom; both good suggestions--from a Facebook group I recently joined, The Accidental Watercolorist.
The first painting I put on the page was the one below. I like the subject so much, and was pretty happy with the blue-grays, but I was just dissatisfied and couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. I posted it to The Accidental Watercolorist and gota lot of 1) encouragement and 2) good practical advice--about color, atmospheric perspective, etc.--that I will definitely follow when I re-do this one!
My second week painting at Burcham's farm. This is the rear view of the farmhouse, which sits atop a hill. Next week I hope to do the front view...
I painted this on location--being intermittently bit by flies!--but I held off on the shadows until the next day, at home. I masked the tree trunk with tape so I could paint the shadow freely and sweepingly.
I had taken a picture that has a painter sitting by the tree and wanted to include her, but I couldn't find the photo!
Brandywine Shoal Light, a favorite subject of mine.
I drew four lighthouses in the Delaware Bay--two one the Jersey side, this one and Miah Muall, and two on the Delaware side, by Cape Henlopen: the Breakwater Lighthouse and the beautifully named Harbor of Refuge Light. Thought they'd make a nice set for my upcoming art show.
I propped up the drawing so I could look them over for about 24 hours before I started painting; they looked okay to me.
The wonkiness always becomes apparent after painting!
I think I am going to have to work on how I draw lighthouses.
Last Sunday I took a plein air class on the beach in Cape May with Joe Milligan. Joe had the very good idea to have a class from 7:30-10 a.m., 10 a.m. being when the parking meters go on and the beach tag inspectors begin their rounds! Although Cape May was so pleasant I am going to buy a beach tag! (I usually go to the free beaches in the Wildwoods.)
Joe had a great lesson planned; we painted a scene he had painted previously.
I normally paint skies pretty simply, and all prima--all in one go, but after class Sunday, I think my skies are going to get more interesting!