Small and Large

Watercolors at figure group again today. First, a small one to warm up. I used a yellow underpainting that I’ve been playing with. Then I tried to control a bigger one with more time.

5 1/2 x 8 1/2″ 


9 x 12″ 


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One Last Time

“Once more unto the breach…” I didn’t wanna go back, but I had to. I think this is the sixth time I hiked this painting through the woods. I lost count. I think it’s finally done.

This was actually pretty fun. It was hard trying to make a conglomerate image of lighting patterns throughout the morning by resisting the urge to repaint the entire scene every time I went out. I enjoyed the scale and not feeling rushed to get everything done in one shot like a typical plein air painting. I’d like to muster the courage to try this in the city but first I’ll do a couple more in less traveled locations, as long as I can suppress my fear of ticks.

acrylic on canvas, 36×48″ 

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I also revised this old painting in the studio.

acrylic on canvas, 15×30″


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White Cliffs

There are some limestone cliffs along the river and today I rode my bike to paint them. I think I’d like to do a large painting from here but I’m not sure how big I can go if I’m riding my bike.

acrylic, 8×10″ 

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I used a pochade today. I still don’t like it. If I have the painting at eye level the palette is right under my chin. This keeps me very close to the painting. It was convenient for riding my bike though.

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Watercolor Figure Again


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This is very slowly nearing completion.


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Today our figure group painted from a clothed model. She wanted to pose as a pin-up girl. The white stockings were interesting to paint.

acrylic, 16×20″ 


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Back again. Not sure about that blue sky. Still gonna need more visits. 36×48″


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New Glasses

I just got new glasses so I thought it would be a good opportunity to paint another self portrait. I’m still not used to seeing my face with these so it made it a little harder to judge my accuracy this morning. I always have trouble with the mouth. I have a hard time believing Sargent ever had trouble with anything but this offers me comfort:

“A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.” – John Singer Sargent

watercolor, 14×11″ 


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Watercolor Figure Again

Another figure session with watercolors. First a quick sketch (maybe 15 minutes), then a longer painting. Not such great drawing but I think I’m improving or at least getting more comfortable with watercolors.


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This seemed a bit futile but a bit fun also. I took a big 36×48″ canvas that I’ve been working on back to the location where I did the sketch last fall (or maybe the year before?). I’ve been using the sketch to make this painting and when I felt like I got as far as I could using its limited information I decided to drag this out into the woods. Since the big painting was relying heavily on the sketch it just ended up looking like a larger version of the sketch but without the nuances that make sketches so appealing.

Part of me thought I’d be able to work several hours on this through the middle of the day changing as the light changed. I stopped when I realized I was trying to change everything in the painting constantly to keep up. Plein air painters call this “chasing the light”. When I set up this morning the sky was white, and by the time I stopped it was very blue. Everything had changed in less than 2 hours. It was hard looking over that big canvas to see the scene. Also, stepping back far enough for a painting this large was very difficult. I kept stumbling on rocks and logs.

Standing there I noticed how the sketch was “not wrong” really but it was just not “right”. I realized how much I changed and abbreviated to make the sketch work. Those edits were not going to work for this larger one. This one is going to need edits of its own to work.

For the underpainting I did at home I only used orange, purple, and green (and white of course). But I don’t use those colors for my field work so today I painted over that with my usual red, yellow, blue, and black.

I probably won’t be able to work on this again on location until next week. By then more leaves will be out and the scene will be more green. The tree trunks should be the same and the rocks, though some rocks had moved since my sketch. I wish this were closer to my house. I’m tempted to just finish this up from photos.


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