This was going to be my entry in an online painting challenge, run by James Gurney on his blog Gurney Journey, titled “Dead Vehicle Challenge”. But I cheated – the rules were that it had to be a plein air painting; mine was done in the studio from a photo, so I couldn’t submit it for the contest, but I can display it here. It’s actually my next door neighbor’s car, and it hasn’t run for quite a few years. Every year the blue tarp seems to uncover just a bit more, which accounts for the brick on the windshield.
Watercolors, goauche and watercolor pencils.
This was the view from the Second Street dock in Beach Haven, New Jersey, at sunset, right after a short but intense rainstorm blew through the area. The evening subsequently turned cool and beautiful – great vacation weather.
This is a glazed watercolor on stretched Arches paper. I worked light to dark, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before adding the next one.
I should probably move on to oil paints.
Another installment in the mirror series. This time, we go back a few years, when we were gifted with another model who could really lock in a pose and hardly bat an eyelash for 45 minutes at a time. This gave me enough time to do a gesture sketch, and also to “ghost” her reflection. We’re still hoping she’ll return some day.
This is watercolor wash on rough paper.
I’m not sure if they are regular visitors to the mid-New Jersey coastline, but I have rarely seen a pelican there, much less three at once. They flew over us, heading north. Later, while on a walk, we saw six of them floating among the breakers. They may have been resting, enjoying the fine weather, or perhaps bickering over their dinner choices.
Watercolors on Arches paper.
Right after college, I was employed by a brick maker located in the suburbs of Reading, Pa., but their headquarters was in a fine old building in a downtown historic district. That was several decades ago, and when I last checked, it had fallen into disrepair. The adaptive re-use of old buildings vs demolition for more modern ones is a peeve of mine. In Europe, old architecture in cities is prime real estate, and in most cases, is a lot more interesting and fun to look at and live in. It’s value as art is incalculable.
Watercolors over a Staedtler pen.
Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US territory of Midway found itself threatened by a powerful Japanese naval force. The marines garrisoned on the island were ill-equipped to fend off this challenge. Among their weapons was the outdated Brewster F2A Buffalo, an overweight, underpowered Navy cast-off fighter plane, derisively nicknamed the “Flying Coffin” by the pilots that flew them. Nevertheless, on June 4th, 1942, the pilots of VMF-221, warriors to the core, took to the skies to repel the invaders, knowing full well they were flying inferior planes. Vectored out by radar to a distance of 72 miles, well beyond the horizon, the pilots immediately found and engaged the enemy. Their planes were no match for the more modern Zero. Many of these men had no eyewitnesses to their courage as they took on a superior enemy. They gave everything they had in a fight to the finish, and then disappeared.
Watercolors on Arches paper.
This is an acrylic painting. I made it last year from a photo that I took along the Wyomissing trail. Everything had just started turning Spring green, and I felt the urge to put the watercolors aside and record this one with a more forgiving medium. Two nice features of acrylics are their fast drying time; and the ability to scrape off and reapply paint until you’re satisfied with the result.
Acrylic on illustration board.
It’s not hard to get possessive of a stretch of beach when you are on a mini-vacation and just want a break from a work schedule for a couple of days. So it was on a chilly day in September that we took possession of a narrow, windswept and mostly empty stretch of beach. Loki helped run security while we relaxed and let the waves mesmerize us.
Watercolor and pencil on Arches paper. To leave a comment, click on the post date or title and scroll down.
Our group doesn’t get to see this lovely model too often, but we like the poses she throws at us. This one ranks up there with the child’s pose as one of the most challenging to draw in the span of ten minutes. Closed up studies like this are always great fun to draw. Much of her figure is hidden from view, but the anatomy is still there, and needs to be described in a way that looks believable on paper. Indeed, that’s the challenge for all visual artists – making our 3-D world look believable in 2-D.
Pencil and watercolor wash on rough paper.
To leave a comment, click on the post date or title and scroll down.
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.