Disaster at the Jersey shore

This time it wasn’t hurricane Sandy. It was my efforts with watercolors. I decided to take watercolors with me for a weekend at the shore instead of acrylics. What a challenge!

First, here are a couple of my continuing scribbles in the studio to get a handle on the medium and a better understanding of what I want to do with them and what I expect from them. The pencil drawing prior to painting is adding a layer I like. It’s also providing some information to the image that frees my painting from needing to be too specific. And I think it also helps keep that feeling of it being a sketch. I really don’t want these to become tight, rendered paintings.

My first morning on the beach I tried to focus on the color in the sky and avoid too much activity in the waves. That should be easy enough, right? Disaster!

After that mess I had to leave the beach. This is a greasy boardwalk eatery that I’ve painted before. This one is on gessoed paper. I struggled a lot with this and clearly it would’ve benefited from drawing first. Obviously I will never learn. Should’ve pushed it even looser too.

The next morning was delightfully foggy and I was craving my acrylics. But, that is why I brought watercolors. I’m determined to make them work for me too.

Had difficulty approaching this image as an event in motion over time because of the nature of the watercolors. Acrylics or oils would’ve had repeated layers and scrapes and wipes and more layers building up over time. This is something entirely different now for me with watercolors and I’ll have to figure out how to solve the problem as I try this again (and again and again).

My doggy keeping me company. She had never been to the beach before so this was a rare photo of her not sniffing everything or at attention watching the birds and joggers.

The fog was really just fantastic. It’s wonderful to try and paint.

The Ferris Wheel and amusements in the fog.

I’m already feeling a need for alcohol when doing these. I’d like them to dry just a bit faster, especially when it starts getting colder. I may try a 50/50 mix this weekend. I was surprised that I preferred the regular (cheapo) watercolor paper over the gessoed bristol.  The biggest pain in the neck was probably my french easel. With acrylics I plunk myself down in one spot and I’m there for 2 hours. With these quick watercolor sketches I need to be a little more mobile. Investigating other easel options….

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2 Responses to Disaster at the Jersey shore

  1. Graham T says:

    Nice work with the monochrome sketches Hank. I often feel the need for alcohol when I’m painting too – but perhaps for a different reason!

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