Our model today was sleepy and kept dozing off so I started her head three times in the three positions she kept ending up in. Eventually she spent enough time in one general spot for me to get one face relatively finished.


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This morning was my first morning of the season painting below freezing. I took watercolors to see what would happen. Obviously water freezes. I brought some vodka along in case I had trouble with ice as others had recommended. I also brought a thermos filled with warm water. I only needed the warm water. Maybe when it’s colder I’ll need the vodka so I’ll keep it in my bag. I also brought my oils just in case nothing worked with watercolors. I expected the biggest struggle to be with my brush freezing. It was actually trying to hold a little watercolor brush with mittens on. Oil brushes have longer handles. 10×15″


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Hard Lesson

It’s not unusual for me to paint over old paintings. A little bit of sanding and an old painting is ready. I actually prefer it with oils because I use them opaquely. The paint handles nicely on the surface and I like the colors underneath peeking through here and there. Painting on a new white canvas is a completely different experience.

The painting I painted last weekend was painted on an old panel from art school. I didn’t notice before painting on it that I had used a Sharpie marker to draw some abstract lines (art school is a time for exploration). Within an hour or two of finishing the painting the lines began bleeding through the oil paint. They show through nearly 100% like they were drawn on top of the paint.

Lesson learned. I repainted the painting in my basement partly as punishment for my mistake but also to try to bridge the gap between field sketches and studio paintings. The plein air took about an hour but the repaint took several hours. The plein air has a spontaneity to it, as they typically do, that was smoothed out in the more careful approach with the studio version. In hindsight I wish I had painted the studio version larger.

11-20-16-oops1 11-20-16-oops2

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Nice Outside

I had a little time after lunch today so I stopped at a park near my home for a quick painting. I wanted to find a subject that seemed unpaintable to see if/how I could handle it. Since I don’t find twigs in the woods to be very exciting I thought this scene would do nicely. It was fun and educational to let the specific elements break into abstract shapes. I couldn’t possibly stand there and paint all the little branches. I’m not used to painting this time of day and the shadows moved more than I expected. More of this to come. More simplification and distilling of overly complex subjects. watercolor, 10×15″ 


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Morning Rush

After the school bus picked up the last of my kids this morning I rushed down to the river to get a quick watercolor done. The fall color is nearly gone. 10×15″


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End of Color

Our fall color is coming to an end. I painted over an old painting from art school. This is all painted with a knife because I forgot my mittens and my fingers were freezing. oils, 9×12″


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Post Election

Had to get out of the house today and away from the computer and the TV.

watercolor, plein air, hot press paper, 12×18″ 


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Autumn River Again

Back to the river for more fall color this morning. 10×14″


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It was in the 30’s this morning when I went down to the river. I’ve been told that the colder air slows the paper from drying so that’s what I was expecting. I certainly experienced that this morning. I’m going to ask some more experienced watercolorists if adding alcohol to my water will help. 11×15″


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Figure Friday

Watercolors with my figure group today. This is with a limited palette of lemon yellow hue, alizarin crimson hue, and cerulean blue hue. All W&N Cotman colors from one of my first watercolor kits. Her right arm is embarrassingly too long.



I also tried a new setup instead of my usual french half box. It’s a plywood panel with an insert nut for a tripod mounting plate. I taped a loose sheet of paper to it to avoid the weight of a block. It had some advantages over my half box. I still need to test it outside. This tape did not hold well.


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