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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the real Lotus flower / charcoal

real lotus

This morning I went back to the white Lotus I was trying to draw for 2 days and started again. That’s it in the center here. It closed up a little since yesterday, except one petal is drooping. It’s cloudy today,but it was sunny yesterday.

I watched Marco Polo on Netflix and saw a lot of Lotuses and Lotus imagery. It didn’t look like the one I was drawing. Then today, a lady from India stopped to talk to me. She told me where the Lotuses from her country are. They’re not on the path, so I overlooked them. They’re pink on the edges, very delicate pink lines going into  white with the lower petals a little greenish. She told me the petals are perfect architecture. I agreed and thanked her for the info. This is the Lotus people know and love.

She told me they don’t last long, but there are a lot of buds. The giant leaves look the same. The 2 flowers on the outside here are the pink Lotuses. The one on the left is all the way open and the one on the right is closer to traditional Lotuses that you see in art.

I still need more practice drawing Lotuses before I paint one. One nice thing about drawing in plein air is that people tell me things about the subject.

Lotus Flower 2nd try / charcoal

What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

It was much easier to draw the Lotus this morning than it was yesterday afternoon because I was standing in the shade! Now I know I have to do this painting in the morning.

The flower is tilted away from me in the morning. Also, it’s wide open today. I think it will look better this size on the canvas. ( close to life size)

A lady told me she heard they only bloom for one day. I guess they change so fast, one day they’re opening, the next day they’re in full bloom, and if I go back tomorrow the petals might be drooping.

You should see how the leaves blow around in the wind. They’re moving models! They wave like flags, even folding in half and unfolding again and again.  In the short time I was there doing this sketch the flower moved a lot too.

I can use this sketch for my painting but I’ll make some changes.

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.

Fearless in Poe’s Garden / oil

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The opening of the upcoming art show “Poe’s Enchanted Garden” happens with their “Unhappy Hour” on May 26. You should go, it will be good.

Chris S. at the Poe museum told me the cats worked together and caught a squirrel. They had it cornered. The garden was set up for an event with a huge white canopy and tables with black tablecloths. The cats dragged their victim into the formal set up!  Later, I wondered if it was a wedding, and if the bride fainted at the sight of the squirrel’s murder. It seemed somehow appropriate for the Poe Museum.

The Redbud trees and Tulips are from my memory. Redbuds are bushy little trees, and there’s no room for one, but I put them in the scene, because I think Poe might have liked them. Just imagine they’re espaliered. hahaha, yeah, I espaliered them for Poe with the magic of art.

I  tried to draw that planter  4 or 5 times on paper. Every time, when I got home, I’d look at it and think, that’s close, but not right. So I traced my sketch and tried again on another paper. Finally, I got it to look  symmetrical and right proportionally, then drew it again on the canvas. I was still making corrections with paint, until I decided it was close enough. The planter has a little green bush and some pansies, not Tulips. I wanted to put Tulips in so the painting could have a line of bright red flowers.

It’s a great thing about art, you can make changes to a scene if you want to. A plein air artist doesn’t have to record the scene as it is in real life. I’m using naturalistic colors and values by mixing my paint outside in natural light and trying to match my colors to what’s there. That’s what makes it look like “Realism”.  If you go to the Poe Museum, you will be able to see how much this differs from reality.

 

 

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.

Amazing Illustrations of Edgar Allen Poe Stories / Clark and Dore

Harry-Clarke-Poe-Tales-of-Mystery-and-Imagination-8_900Harry-Clarke-Poe-Tales-of-Mystery-and-Imagination-6_900

dore illustration of poe

The 1st two illustrations here are by Harry Clarke. The one below is by Gustave Dore.

See the whole post with more great drawings at

http://www.openculture.com

Harry Clarke’s Hallucinatory Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories 1923

Gustave Dore’s Splendid Illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” 1884

 

 

 

 

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