Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring at the Audubon

Daniel Webster Audubon Wide View
The Daniel Webster Audubon is a favorite spot for painting and it's almost guaranteed that some interesting wildlife will visit.   There were plenty of geese walking around, and in their midst, also strolling harmoniously with them were wild turkeys.  

Daniel Webster Audubon
The sky was milky white and most trees were bright spring green.  The exception was the pale pink and white blossoms of the cherry and apple trees.  The grove of trees and shrubs in the middle of the painting hide the duck blind and turtle pond.   The gravel path curves around the trees and continues all the way to the back of the preservation.   The gravel looks more like a stream right now so I will probably adjust it by bringing it down a value and also warming it up!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Brant Rock Outcropping

It was an extra low tide exposing lots of interesting rocks at the area just south of Brant Rock in Marshfield, MA.  I was parked across from the Fairview Restaurant, a spectacular spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.   I'm gearing up for the quick paint events next week, so one of my goals was a speedy rendering.   It sometimes helps to limit the time which tends to eliminate the overworking.
Brant Rock Outcropping

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chicken University

Chicken House Stage One
Little did I know when I set up to paint toward the back of a property near Bluefish Cove that the "shed" I was painting was actually an elaborate chicken house, or as the owner called it, "Chicken University."

Chicken House Stage Two
As I painted I could hear chickens and still didn't know they were in and just beyond the white garden structure I was putting into my scene.   It wasn't until I saw the owner walk to the double doors and say "hello girls" that I made the connection.   I was looking uphill so the sky was nice and blue and the light on the grass was just catching the tips of the blades from where I was standing.  From my angle there were no visible chickens.  The white chicken house had no light on the walls (so they were painted a dark bluish gray), but the roof had some dappled light.  A border of tulips stood out brightly against the dark shaded backdrop.

After completing the painting, I made a visit to the property to buy eggs and the owner was nice enough to let me see the 32 chicken operation.   Fascinating to me - having never lived on or near a farm.  The photo shows the inside of the chicken house with its roosting compartments - like a chest of draws.   These are some pampered chickens, each one with a name by the way.   Oh, and the eggs were outstanding!

Chicken House Stage Three

Inside Chicken University

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Boston Common Carousel

Boston Common Carousel Scene
Two hours on the meter - go!  I like the new lightweight easel and palette, but I still dragged the large tote on wheels.  Too cumbersome but good for a wind weight anyway.  I stood downwind from the Charles Street T station in the Boston Common where I had partial sun.  There was a walking path entering from the right of the scene and it led directly to the small carousel.   Beacon Street buildings including the old brick faced buildings and the State House formed the backdrop, and took the most time to sketch in.

Boston Common Carousel - Stage One
Boston Common Carousel - Stage Two
It's not easy to keep it simple when a scene is this complicated.   I decided to spend time ensuring the angles of the roof lines against the sky were accurate, and since the trees along Beacon Street were budding, they formed a muted backdrop of pinkish  green hues - no detail needed there. 

I had three favorite elements in this scene.    1) The brick buildings in the background with "played up" red and weathered green copper trim, 2) the carousel with the blue and white striped top.  3) The State House dome.  I hadn't established the priority of the three, but I shall before the painting goes out to the website and shop.

 There was no shortage of visitors and tourists stopping by.   I love when children stop and look.   To them the most attractive part of my set up seems to be the palette itself with all the pure tube color.

Gold Leaf for State House Dome

A giant Frisbee game got started immediately to my left with at least a dozen players.   Two near misses got me packing and it was a good thing because I returned to the car with two minutes left on the meter.   I hadn't finished the Massachusetts State House gold dome.   It was the biggest issue I needed to correct back in the studio.   The photo of the gold dome as a color reference was virtually unusable.   It looked white yet my memory of the dome color was bright cadmium yellow with a green yellow highlight.   My resolution to this dilemma involved a little book of gold leaf.   But how to apply a highlight?  More experimenting...

Boston Common Carousel

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Horse Barn Harrison St Duxbury

Stage One
Last year I noticed a beautiful farm on Harrison Street in Duxbury where two horses were enjoying a large grassy area that was located just below an old farmhouse and barn.   On this day I set up hoping that the horses would appear at some point (they never did - unfortunately).  

It is the first week of May and there is no green brighter than the initial buds and blades this time of year.  In fact it was so green that I hesitated to paint it as (fluorescent) green as it was;  it would not even seem quite right -I think. 

Stage Two
Another thing I did today was to time myself (executing a typical 9x12 painting) in preparation for the "quick draw" competition I'll be doing in a couple of weeks.  I seldom think about time when I paint; in fact everything drops away while in the trance. :)

Stage Three
For the quick draw I'll have 120 minutes to paint and frame my painting.  This painting took between 90 and 100 minutes to get it to a presentable point.

Here are the times in case anyone is interested:

Unload gear and set up easel:                                         4 Min
Line sketch:                                                                  10 Min
Refine Drawing (paper towel wipe out                              11 Min
First layer  (cover sky, treeline, barn, foreground)            42 Min
Second Layer (thick lights, middle tree, grassy brushwork)  26 Min

The total time then was 92 minutes.  That leaves 28 minutes for framing so I am more comfortable than I was!   I spent another ten minutes on it in the studio.

Horse Barn Harrison St Duxubury