Strada Challenge (week 3)

These are really starting to pile up on my dining room table. My wife is wonderfully tolerant of me. I’m sure it must be hard to be married to an artist.

I started the week on Sunday with a big one. This was a lot of fun!

Then a little one at a place called Hanging Rock in the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

On Tuesday I went to visit my alma mater RISD and stopped at the school store. I picked up a small pad of Yupo paper. Yupo is a synthetic paper and watercolor slides around all over it. This is a view of Narragansett Bay from India Point Park in Providence. When I was a student I used to jog through this park regularly. It’s much improved now.

I tried to get some of the atmospheric perspective at Surfer’s End using a bit of white to gray those cliffs. It didn’t quite work so when I got home I painted a smaller one from memory (below) using just transparents. Not too happy with my made up waves on that one.

We had some great fog this week so I tried to capture it.

And I tried again. This day I tried to think more of Winslow Homer’s waves.

And finally some black and white watercolor (with a couple touches of color) on toned paper.

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Strada Challenge (week 2)

I’m still painting every day for the Strada easel challenge. Here are this week’s paintings.

I worked on this one for two days. Painting in the middle of the day makes me feel less rushed as the light doesn’t change as quickly. When I paint around lunch I always feel like slowing down and painting tight. I think I’ll adjust the wave on the left. The angle isn’t quite right yet. I could sit and watch waves all day.

Another rainy day last week meant another still life. I had a lot of domestic responsibilities that day anyway so going outside would’ve been hard, but that also limited my time to paint. This was only about an hour. I would’ve skipped painting altogether that day except for participating in this challenge. I’m not often inspired by something lifeless, sitting still and unchanging.

Back outside and back to watercolor.

The state of Rhode Island was giving away some free trees so I had to drive to a state park to pick them up. I thought painting with a big mop would help me loosen up. It might have helped a little. I used a big flat for the water. I wasn’t finished with this one yet but the tide came in and soaked my feet. Done enough. Got my trees and headed home.

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STRADA Easel Challenge

I’m participating in the Strada Easel Challenge this month. I have to paint a painting a day, every day for the entire month of September. Now that my kids are back in school that should be easy enough to accomplish. These are my paintings so far. I’m not too proud of the watercolors but that’s what I got done those days. All paintings must be done from life so on rainy days I can paint a bowl of fruit.

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Sachuest Point

I switched to watercolors this morning. They never turn out how I want them to. It was fun anyway. 9×12″

While I was working I heard something behind me and turned around to find these girls watching me.

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Lost It

I lost interest in this one this morning. You win some, you lose some.

This one was 16×20″. Not sure whether to wipe it off or not.

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Nibble Nibble Nibble

I wanted to try something different so this morning I tried to slow down and approach the process of building a painting differently. I used little brushes and just sort of nibbled away at the scene rather than building it up with big shapes and gradually whittling them down to more refined specifics. I even used an under painting on a white ground.

acrylic, 8×10″ 

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The Point

This is looking towards the point at Sachuest Point NWR. It was really foggy when I left my house this morning so I left my watercolors at home. I was afraid all the moisture in the air was just going to saturate my paper and frustrate me. It burned off by the time I got to this spot to paint anyway.

acrylic, 8×10″ 


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We went back to New Jersey last week to visit our families. I took watercolors just to keep things simple. First we sat on the beach and I sketched waves while our kids played.

This was another attempt at watercolor on toned paper.

Discouraged a little by the need for white gouache and the opacity of the whole painting I went back to white paper.

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Sachuest Point NWR

Another morning with the rocks at Sachuest Point NWR.

acrylic, 12×16″ 

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Long Time No Acrylic

I hadn’t painted a plein air painting with acrylics since New Year’s of 2016. I think that’s about 19 months! I don’t remember why I switched over to oils (maybe it was windy that winter?) but I never switched back. I’ve always felt there’s a different feeling between painting with oils and painting with acrylics. After this morning I still think so.

acrylic, 8×10″ 

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