Agecroft Hall and Sunken Garden / underpainting / oil

on a violet tinted canvas

on a violet tinted canvas

I mixed up 3 shades of blue gray for my underpainting, so I could plan my lights and shadows. I decided to use cool grays for this because when I go over it with layers of warm glazes, they will visually lift off the underpainting. It’s fun to work on a violet tint. If you want to experience”lift” you should try it. The violet is kind of transparent and seems to rub off on your hands, even if it’s dry. You can tell when you paint on top of it that it’s coming right through the underpainting colors. That’s ok, because as I’m building up layers on top of the violet, I can totally kill the violet if I want to, or I can let it show through in places. I like when it shows through. I don’t know if others can see it in the end, or if I’m the only one who sees it because I put it there. But the violet continues to influence the glazes on top. If I let it show through in the shadows, it will be muted violet, not VIOLET!! haha. You know what I mean.

It’s a fun color theory experiment, and it works.

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Snowy Scenes by Kawase Hasui / woodblock prints with ink and color on paper

Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto

Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto

It’s nice to see these cool scenes in this hot muggy summer. They’re at the VMFA.

Kawase Hasui was Japanese. 1883 – 1957.

Snow at Benten Shrine, Shinobazu

Snow at Benten Shrine, Shinobazu

Snow at Godaido Temple, Matushima

Snow at Godaido Temple, Matushima

Clear Sky After Snow at Mt. Fuji, Tagonoura Beach

Clear Sky After Snow at Mt. Fuji, Tagonoura Beach

Snow at Kiyosumi Garden

Snow at Kiyosumi Garden

Ishinomaki in Snow

Ishinomaki in Snow

Sacred Bridge, Nikko

Sacred Bridge, Nikko

This one of the sacred Bridge is my favorite because you can see the wind is blowing the snow! Amazing!

Snow at Miyajima

Snow at Miyajima

Snow at Zojo Temple

Snow at Zojo Temple

Clear Sky After Snow, Asakusa Kannon Temple

Clear Sky After Snow, Asakusa Kannon Temple

Evening Snow, Edo River

Evening Snow, Edo River

Clear Sky After Snow, Yoshida

Clear Sky After Snow, Yoshida

I posted the whole show so you can pick your own favorites.

Lucky Strike / oil

Metaphorically speaking, this painting talks too much.

Metaphorically speaking, this painting talks too much.

I painted it in the winter, but saved it till now for my show at the Glen Allen Cultural Art Center in June. I want to invite everyone to come out on June 2 from 6 to 9. They will have a lot of art and performances, food and drinks. It will be fun!

OK. What is it this painting won’t shut up about? The list goes on and on. I’ll tell you some of it. First it was about male and female, earth and sky, what’s timeless. It was about a beautiful view in a historic neighborhood that might be blocked by condos. The condo plan is scrapped for now, as far as I know.

Then it talked about Richmond’s history, the tobacco industry, and now, warehouses being converted into offices and condos. It told me, Richmond will never be invaded from that direction again, because the Indian Cincinnati

This is Cincinnati by Paul Di Pasquale

This is Cincinnati by Paul Di Pasquale

is on the roof guarding us. My view from the hill was to his back.

And before I was finished with the painting, it got on the subject of good guys and bad guys, and the strange conversations I had with them when I was up there working on the painting. Funny, the cop didn’t ask me if I saw the perp, and the perp didn’t ask me if I saw the cop, so I didn’t tell either that the other one was there. It’s too much to type, but if you have the time, I’ll tell the story.

About the Indian, Richmonders will remember seeing him glaring down from the eaves of the Diamond and striking terror into the other teams. Now you can see him from Dock St. I think he looks great up there, but he’s out in the weather.

This is what I remember from high school. Cincinnati was an ancient Greek who got drafted into the army and had to leave home to fight. He was so outstanding in battle that they won every time, and then they wanted to make him king. He said, “No thanks, I’ll go back to my farm.”

Richmond skyline / charcoal sketch

My pretty city as seen from Legend Brewing Co.

My pretty city as seen from Legend Brewing Co.

Legend put out a call to artists for their participation in James River Days, scheduled for this summer. The city has a lot of events planned along the river. This art show isn’t until Aug. at Artworks, but I need to get started. We’ve had a lot of rainy dreary weather lately, which isn’t good news for your plein air artist. It seems like we only see the sun twice a week and not for long.  This weather pattern can’t last much longer.

I’m excited for the chance to draw at Legend! It’s a great view of the city, and it’s friendly and safe. They have a good reputation for their craft beers too.

My plan is to transfer this sketch onto three 12 x 12 canvases and paint a triptych. I’ll have to draw it again with charcoal on the canvases and make more corrections before I start on the underpainting.  You can see the smeary places where I made corrections and the charcoal didn’t erase very well. And I taped four pieces of paper together to get the drawing up to 36″. I tried twice to get a start on the sketch and didn’t get anything I could work with until the 3rd try. Then I used the width of the Federal Reserve building (the tallest one) as a unit of measure to check the scale as I went along from West to East adding the buildings. It might not be exactly accurate, but it’s not too far off. The temptation when I’m trying to draw buildings is that they keep getting bigger as I go along. That tells me my drawing is out of control, stop and check the proportions again. So, sometimes I check the proportions by measuring with a pencil held out at arm’s length, and sometimes I just eyeball the scale.

It’s going to be a challenge to paint this.

Sky High Flowers / oil

I used my artistic license-a lot.

I used my artistic license-a lot.

First, I eliminated a few trees that didn’t seem necessary  to paint. A tree on the left was blocking my view of the door, and a couple other trees were filling up the sky too much. Then I moved those big flower pots off the stage and put them in the grass there ( with the magic of art). The Daffodils aren’t really there, either. I faked in the shadows on the walk.

See the photos below stripping off the layers of paint all the way back to my underpainting, and photos of the scene as my camera sees it. You can compare my naked eye’s perspective to the camera’s perspective.sky high flowers glazes

This photo shows the background and wall finished with the tree and flower pots still in the underpainting stage. I did my underpainting in the complimentary colors. The flower pots are blue green in real life, so I underpainted them in orange. The tree is a warm color, so I underpainted it in cool gray.sky high flowers underpainting

This photo shows my underpainting in complimentary colors. The green grass is red at this stage, and the pink sidewalk is green. The blue sky is underpainted in a peachy colored gray. all on top of my violet tinted canvas.

If you compare these photos, you can see how I changed the color of the stone wall from warm to cool and back to warm again. That’s something you can do with oil paint if you use glazes, that you can’t do with another kind of paint, or process. all the layers and changes the painting goes through help to give the illusion of depth. The last stages of adding color are close to what I see in nature, and some of the complimentary colors still show through. It looks like the violet is showing through, to me. I don’t know if you can see it on your computer, but it’s under all the layers influencing everything. The violet is a hard color to kill. I like the way it shows through so many layers, but it’s not VIOLET anymore. Do you know what I mean?

I used Alvi’s Maroger Medium, and painted my glazes in the couch. If you want to paint like a master, (hey, why not try?) You neeeeeeed Maroger medium, and paint in the couch, like the old masters. Start with thin glazes and build up more opaque layers on top. Start in the background, and get that to look right with the middle ground before painting the foreground. If you want your light areas to come forward, you have to take the time to work on the shadows first.IMG_1666

The tree on the right is my Magnolia. The flowers were gone by the time I took this photo.  This is how the scene looks to the camera. If I painted from a photo, my painting wouldn’t look up close and personal. It would give the painting a cold distant feel.

Can you see in the photo, rings going around the bark of the Magnolia? That’s a detail I overlooked. I was talking to a gardener, and she told me the rings are made by Sapsuckers!! It looks like the rings belong there. The gardening lady told me the tree is still healthy.IMG_1657

Here’s a photo of a few flower pots on the stage. I put the Tulips and Daffodils into my painting at home on a rainy day, from memory.

Under the Weeping Cherry / oil

weeping cherry

Welcome to my secret hideout!

I’m not the only kid who likes this tree. I was sitting on a root mixing up my colors and saw a boy come over to the outside of the tree. He was probably around 8, I guess. He stuck his face in a big clump of flowers and shook his head around in it. A lot of petals fell and he watched them come down. Then he left and rejoined his group. I don’t know if he saw me through the branches, or not.

I thought it was pretty cool, the kid loves nature too.

This painting went through a lot of changes. You can see the process in the photos below, stripping off the layers all the way back to my underpainting, with some talk about the old school ways of  painting, which is glazes painted in the couch, with Maroger Medium.  I’ve looked at this painting for weeks now, and can’t decide about it. I need fresh eyes to tell me what you see. IMG_1641

This photo shows the white flowers painted on, with the tree and branches still in the underpainting phase. I had to finish the background before the tree bloomed, because the white flowers should be on top of the background colors. And then the branches are on top of the flowers.  I started weeks ago, because this tree blooms fast, then it’s over in a few days and covered with green leaves. So my background was dry before I put the white flower glazes on top of it.IMG_1639

This photo shows the background finished with some lines painted in to plan my branches coming down. I wanted the viewer to be able to see some of the background through the branches. That’s why I need fresh eyes to look at this. I know what’s in the background, because I painted it. Can the viewer see the steps, pink trees and Daffodils? This painting is all about the Weeping Cherry, though, so, I planned to cover a lot of  the background. IMG_1635

This is my underpainting in the complimentary colors of what I planned to use. It’s on a violet tinted canvas, which is influencing the colors. The part I wanted to be green grass, I underpainted in green’s complimentary color, which is red. I used a brownish red. And the ground under the tree, I wanted to make  a warm brown in the light and gray in the shadows, so I underpainted in with green. I underpainted the sky in a peachy orange. The violet is showing through. You can see where I scribbled some shadows under the tree with charcoal, but I wasn’t happy with that, at this stage, and changed my shadows later.

Are You Consumed by the Ecstasy of Wandering?

COLOUR WANDERLUST

As the year comes rapidly to a close, I look ahead with joyful anticipation. It is comforting to wistfully look back on 2015. But the dream of an unbounded new year stirs my soul and elevates my imagination. Oh the curiosities to be discovered! All I need to do is take that first step!

Rather than making resolutions, I chose a mantra for 2016. It is WANDERLUST.

Wanderlust. Noun. A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel. But doesn’t this definition just scratch the surface of what Wanderlust really means?

I am captivated by the mellifluous flow of the word. Each syllable rolls on to the next in flawless synchronization. Wanderlust. I visualize vast panoramas of exquisite beauty. Wanderlust. I visualize dreaming beneath the open sky with new friends and old, all with fresh tales to share. But above all, I hear the voice of my spirit yearning to experience the ecstasy of wandering…of exploring my inner reality and rediscovering the essence of the story of my soul.

I thank you for traveling with me via this Blog. While wishing you all you wish for yourselves in the New Year, I hope you will take that first step and join me in 2016. Allow yourself to be consumed by the ecstasy of wandering.

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