Still Trying

I’m still trying to draw first before applying watercolors at figure group. Here are a couple from today. 20 minute poses.


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Bird Sanctuary

I spent seven days painting this on site at the bird sanctuary. I’m not sure I’m completely done with it yet. I want to live with it for a while and spend more time looking at it before I sign it and declare it finished. There might be a few more minor adjustments.

Todd McGrain, the sculptor, has several wonderful sculptures of birds around the sanctuary on temporary installation. When it snows I’m going to do a painting of his Labrador Duck. I doubt I’ll get seven days on it though.

Todd McGrain’s Carolina Parakeet In The Orchard At The Norman Bird Sanctuary In December, acrylic on canvas, 24×36” 

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Today at figure group we did 20 minute poses rather than one long pose, and I drew first before applying watercolors. This slowed me down so they weren’t as “complete” as they usually are. It was a fun experiment though and I think I learned a bit. I’ll probably continue to draw first even though I don’t really like being locked into an established drawing when I paint.

The first page of short warm up drawings done one on top of another.

For my final attempt of the day I cleaned my palette and just used the gray color from all the prior mixtures mixed together.

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Below Freezing

It was below freezing this morning. I started out chasing ducks with my scope trying to draw them. That didn’t go so well. Switched to painting the landscape instead.

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Not my best day at figure group today. When we begin we do a bunch of short poses to warm up. I usually just do them all on one page, one on top of another. This was today’s first page.

I liked one of her short poses so I did it on a separate page rather than in the heap of the previous page.

For the long pose I tried to deliberately paint just a mess. I am definitely not a delicate and careful watercolor painter. Also, I find I don’t usually have very much interest in the tight specifics of the model. I used to think I was just lazy or in a hurry. Really I’m just interested in the color, the light defining the form/space, and the interesting shapes, not unlike landscape. A people painter I am not. A detail painter I am not. When I was about to curse and throw this across the room I quit.

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Day 1, Bird Sanctuary

Today I started a new large plein air painting at the bird sanctuary. I really like the sculptures they have installed (temporarily) around the property. I’d love to have one in my yard. It was warm enough here today that I could use water to thin my paint to block this in.

And these are some drawings from figure group last Saturday morning.

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Another day of struggling through a figure. First, I did 20 minutes on the lights and 20 minutes on the darks. This shows why I don’t like to draw before I start painting. My drawing isn’t always strong enough and when I try to correct it during the painting process I can’t always lift it (the line through her breast).

Next I focused on her head. I tried tiptoeing up to what I thought was my goal. It was a complete failure, but failure always pushes me beyond where I thought I wanted to go. With nothing left to lose I just start going full throttle at it. I’m not completely happy with it but I’m happier with it than I would’ve been if I didn’t fail. By the way, it looks nothing like her.

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Beautifully Miserable

It was sunny when I left my house this morning. I had planned on painting a very different painting. When I got to the refuge it quickly clouded up and threatened rain. I’d wished I’d brought watercolors instead.

11/25/18, plein air, acrylic, 8×10” 

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At figure group today I tried to push things a little further away from the literal. First, a looser beginning that I ended before I ruined it. Second, the same loose beginning but I tried to push a longer effort beyond where I would’ve thought was a stopping point.

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A Rare Oil

I don’t paint with oil paints very often. I’d have to check back through my blog to find the last time (March 11). 8×10”

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