Agecroft Hall / sketch and photos

Parts of the house are 500 years old.

Parts of the house are 500 years old.

It’s an English Tudor Manor house, bought in 1925 by a Richmonder, Thomas Williams Jr., disassembled in Lancashire England and shipped to Richmond VA, and reassembled here. Some of it is modern construction materials, but I can’t tell where the old part ends and the modern part joins to it.

This sketch is the side view, seen from across the sunken garden. I have to redraw this, and make some corrections before I can transfer it to canvas.

The shady side of the house has the most ornamental woodwork.

The shady side of the house has the most ornamental woodwork.

This photo shows what they call Wattle and Daub.

This photo shows what they call Wattle and Daub.

There’s a bit of glare on the plexiglass display here, but you can see what was inside the walls in the old country.

They made a weaving of sticks and then filled it in with a combination of mud, manure, clay and straw. to build walls. The dark parts of the wall seen in the photo above are Oak beams and Oak decorative pieces in a more smooth looking modern stucco type wall.

It’s so beautiful there. It’s great to take the tour and see the inside of the house, but they don’t allow photography inside. I plan to do a couple paintings at Agecroft Hall as soon as the weather cools down a little.

 

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Richmond From Legend / underpainting and photos

Camera perspective V the naked eye perspective

Camera perspective V the naked eye perspective

I drew it on paper, standing on the deck at Legend Brewery a few weeks ago in the morning before they opened, and left when the customers started to come in for lunch. It took me a few weeks to get my charcoal sketch, as seen on a post below, then more time to draw it on the canvas with charcoal. I didn’t use a photo, but measured the perspective by holding my charcoal out at an arm’s length and using the Federal Reserve building as a unit of measure. I thought I had the perspective close enough to real, then I ran into a stopping point when I started on the underpainting one morning.

The light is better in the afternoon on the city, but Legend gets crowded some afternoons, and the weather is still iffy a lot of days, which stopped me and was a problem I needed to work out before painting.

This painting is complicated, and after years of drawing from life outside in nature, I don’t enjoy painting from a photo. When you get used to seeing the subject life size, then have to look at a photo, it’s like the photo is so small and the perspective is smushed and the colors are flat. It was just more practical to use photos at this step. I had my camera set on automatic for the shots  printed out here, and taped them together, so I could get the afternoon light in my underpainting. I took these shots from the floodwall, which is a little lower and closer to the river than Legend. The skyline looks like 36 inches to my naked eye and looks like 18 inches to my camera. I did the underpainting at home. I’d rather have been at Legend.

I had to get a different  state of mind to paint using the photos. I hear other artists get stuck with a painting too. I went over to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and drew some Lotus flowers, meanwhile. And I need to draw more Lotuses before I can get a plan worked out for the Lotus painting. The Lotuses are a good distraction from the difficult city painting.

Our teachers at York Academy of Art told us to do a detailed underpainting. It wasn’t easy, but I got it, finally. At this rate, I’ll probably have the painting finished by Aug. for the show I entered at Artworks. Now I have to go to Legend in the afternoon to mix my colors. Building up layers of color on top of my dark underpainting with the lightest and brightest colors the most opaque, I hope to get the illusion of depth in the painting, and make my city POP!!

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.

Dali signing Picasso’s name / photo

image lifted from imgur.com

image lifted from imgur.com

hahahah I think Picasso is overrated too.

Is Picasso the Daddy of Modern art? Why does the art world love him so much? His paintings show his hate of women. Hey, I’m as smart as freaking Picasso and I can draw better than he could. But there’s no chance the art world will ever recognize my genius. Why not? because I’m a girl. So, because the art world discriminates against women, I’m doomed to never be known as long as I’m alive. The art world does definitely discriminate against women. Look at the work of their hero, Picasso. How many famous female artists can you name? I can only think of a few. Now try to think of the names of famous male artists. You can go on listing them all day. All through history, it’s been that way, with women being ignored and men with overblown egos getting recognized. Now the modern art world thinks what you have to do to be the next great artist is to be more crazy than the next guy. and young artists don’t learn the basic skill of drawing, because their guy Picasso led them to believe it’s not necessary.

I’ll give you some inside information. My brilliant daughter, Sarah Hill, knows how the art world works, and she has a genius marketing plan to put in place when I die. If you like any of my paintings, you should buy them when I’m still alive, because after I die, Sarah will add zeroes to the price I’m asking. And she will sell them. I’ll just have to be happy that I have the opportunity to concentrate on painting, which a lot of talented women don’t ever get the time to do.

The Poe Museum / photo

one of my favorite places to hang around and paint

one of my favorite places to hang around and paint

It’s at 20th and Main in Richmond VA.

They have a call to artists to paint for a show opening in the end of April titled “Poe’s Enchanted Garden”. They’ll have “unhappy hour” on opening night.  It’s great for me because they let me in free to paint! hahaha I wonder why more plein air artists aren’t taking advantage of it.

This is the scene I’m working on. I drew it without the use of a photo. Now, looking at this photo compared to the painting, I can see my perspective is way off. Maybe it’s the camera perspective that’s off. Or even scarier is, maybe neither my perspective or the camera is correct, and true perspective is something else. How’s that for philosophy?

I still need another week to finish the painting because of the weather.

James River with 295 Bridge / oil paint and photo

One day in the swamp / a plein air story

One day in the swamp / a plein air story

Does Realism show reality? Is my work Realism?

Does Realism show reality? Is my work Realism?

I wish I could answer yes or no but I can’t decide.

On one hand I’d say no because reality changes so fast and I work slowly. I think of a photo of being closer to reality than my painting but the camera lies. My naked eyes lie too. The camera can’t show depth as well as my naked eye sees it and flattens the colors too. Then on the other hand, as I’m trying to paint what I see, I’m making decisions and changes every step of the way that take the painting away from reality.

When weather permits, I go to the same place at the same time of day and work on my painting for a few hours. Some times the tide is out at noon and some times it’s in at noon. I have to decide which tide I want to paint. I wind up painting over what I did the time before, or faking the water when it’s all different. It’s an experiment. If it looks convincing I’ll try to do that again and if it’s not good I give up on that one and try something else.

ok, here’s the story.

I was walking down the trail towing my art supplies and a man who was walking back out stopped and said to me, “It’s not a good day for painting down there. The tide is out. Way out. I’ve never seen it so low. It’s a mud flat.” He wondered what phase the moon was in. I didn’t know about the moon. I said, “That’s ok. I’m not working on the water today. I have to do the background trees first.”

It was windy and cold that day and I had to mix some colors before painting. I took the lid off my palette and put it on the ground. Right away the wind blew the lid down on the mud about 10 ft. out. I had to climb down a steep slippery muddy hill about 5 ft. then step on two logs that are usually submerged to reach the lid. I was glad I was wearing my hiking boots. I didn’t fall into the muck. Then I used vines to pull myself up the hill again.

We had a lot of wind and that makes it difficult, but if the sun’s out I want to try to make some progress on the painting. It’s not only that the wind blows your supplies away, it knocks down your easel and painting if you forget to hold on. It blows all kinds of debris into your paint and onto your wet painting. Most of it comes off easily when the paint dries. Mother Nature doesn’t make it easy for the plein air painter.

Pond at Cold Harbor / oil

Here's a camera shot so you can see what it really looks like.

Here’s a camera shot so you can see what it really looks like.


When I started to work on this painting a couple people who live there stopped and asked me why I was painting the pond when the water’s 4′ low. They think it looks bad. It’s fed by rain and been mostly dry for a while. I said, “It’s still beautiful.” I think they stopped worrying about it after I said the water won’t look like that anyway. Maybe I can make it deeper.

If I worked from a photo instead of painting in plein air my painting might have come out looking far away and browner. When I started the background trees last week there was still some green showing but now a lot more leaves have fallen.

This is my underpainting with glazes started on the background.

This is my underpainting with glazes started on the background.

This is how they wanted the art students to paint at York Academy of Art. Start with the background and work to the foreground. Start dark and build up your lights on top with more opaque paint. First do a detailed underpainting, but you can change it later if you want to with this way of painting by building up layers of glazes. I may as well stick to this method of painting. I think I’m still seeing an improvement in my paintings

about those trees standing in the water -

about those trees standing in the water –

but I always think I can do better next time

Can you see the texture of the bark on your computer? The computer doesn’t show the painting like the naked eye sees it. The background is loud so I had to make the foreground trees loud too. First I blocked them in with a black that I mixed some red into. Yes, I like to mix black in. Make black by mixing Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue. If you need a warm black use more brown. If you need a cool black use more blue. This makes a black that isn’t dead to start with. You can mix black into any color on your palette then use it in your glazes and you won’t get a muddy color. If you ever see muddy colors in my paintings , please circle it and send it back to me. Sometimes I put glazes of green and red in on the same day over top of each other. I’m not mixing the paint on the canvas but on my palette. Your eye blends the colors without mud showing.

After the red / black dried I mixed my grays for the bark and painted over the dark glaze. Then scratched through it with my palette knife to show lines of the dark color showing through. It’s fun to scratch off paint to make skinny lines. It shows up best if you use the right values of your colors. That is dark to light.

Barbara told me those dead trees standing in the water are Gum trees. They live a long time standing in water then take forever to fall down when they finally die. Strong trees!

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