This post is actually about value as it relates to color, but is also something of an In Memoriam. Here’s a gouache painting of the cherry tree that once graced the left side of the Reading Public Museum’s main entrance, and has just recently been removed. The tree stood for generations and was a favorite subject of mine. I’ve drawn, photographed or painted it many times over the decades. This painting was made from a photo that is about 20 years old.
Color is a challenge for me, especially as it relates to value. Fortunately, I have Photoshop, and within that very powerful program is a feature that allows one to convert a color scan to black and white. So, when I’m struggling with a painting, I scan and convert it. The grayscale version will immediately show any value mistakes, and I can correct it from there.
I reached for the gouache this time. The fast, rough motion of waves battering rocks on the New Jersey coast needed a medium that is also fast and energetic to describe the action. I used quick, swirly brush strokes for the crashing water; short, blocky strokes to describe the flat, stubbornness of the rocks as they so insolently resisted the onslaught. It was a bleak, February day in Spring Lake. The medium seemed to fit the scene. This is one color – Prussian blue and white on illustration board, and is currently in my older brother’s collection.
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This is the second installment of my mirror series. I use workshop time to draw the pose, then, in my studio, I modify it, transfer it to a good piece of paper and finish it. This is yet another of our talented models with the ability to lock-in and stay still for long poses.
Watercolors on Arches paper.
This lovely lady was (if memory serves me) a writer by day, but she also had a short-lived career as a figure model. She posed for us a few times, and even wrote about her experience as a live model in a blog called The Yellow Robe. She was talented, and I managed to get a few good drawings from her poses. This is one, a ten minute drawing, using watercolor pencil and wash on Bristol board. We were disappointed when she retired.
This is one of my sisters-in-law, contemplating the sea and the moon and whatever nature put on display one afternoon at the shore. It’s drawn from a photo, and is currently part of her collection.
Watercolor on Stonehenge paper.
Here’s a portrait of the same lovely model that readers of this blog are getting to recognize. It’s drawn from a smartphone picture of her that was taken while she was on her break. Her exotic looks are the inspiration for the title of this piece, named after the legendary queen and storyteller of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, who tricked a murderous sultan into keeping her alive by spinning cliff hangers, then refusing to finish the story until the following evening, after which she would begin a new one. Wikipedia explains that after one thousand and one nights, the sultan was so impressed that he allowed her to live. Nice guy.
Watercolors on Arches paper
This is a quick sketch of a few guys engaging in some snow throwing fun. We finally had a snow-fall accumulation last week, and it hung around long enough to inspire some quick figure studies in preparation for a larger painting on the subject. I still need to work out a few details, like layout, figure poses, etc. I’ll be updating this subject in a future post.
Watercolor wash on Bristol board.
February 13th happens to be the one year anniversary of this blog, so whoooopie!
The room that we use for our figure drawing workshop has a large mirror mounted on the wall behind the model stand. It’s been covered up for some time, but when it wasn’t I was able to see both sides of the model’s pose from my sketching spot. On days that I drew fast I had enough time to sketch both views. Over time, I accumulated about two dozen drawings that I refer to as The Mirror Series. This is one that I was able to create from a forty five minute pose. Sadly for our group, this lovely model’s work schedule prevents her from posing for us any longer. She was a gifted model, and we miss her.
Watercolor wash on Bristol board.
is better than (fill in the blank). Here’s a quick sketch of the fishing pier in Avalon New Jersey. The day was windy and chilly; the surf was rough, so I made a pencil sketch of the scene while on the beach, and then washed in my impression when we got back to our shore rental. My watercolor professor in college had a mantra – “Never lose your whites”. Thanks, Mr. Grossman!
This is watercolor wash on a piece of bristol board.
So there was a lone, home grown tomato sitting on the kitchen table, innocently reflecting the daylight from two windows while simultaneously picking up the warm color of the tablecloth it was resting on. I did my best to immortalize it, because tomatoes don’t last too long in this home. Especially when there’s bacon in the ‘fridge.
Watercolor wash on a corner of a piece of Arches paper.