Patience (continued) – Part 2

I started working on the right hand side of the paper next. I stayed aware of what objects go “on top” of other objects. Meaning that I painted background details in layers, then covered edges of them with objects in the foreground. Gradually I built up the color, patterns and textures on the right side of the painting. I reserved some objects, such as the light poles and trees for example, for later… so they go “on top” of the buildings.

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The color reflections in the Canton Bazaar sign didn’t make much sense to me, but I stuck to the photo and I’m glad I did. It looks much more realistic with the reflection being green, red and black squiggles. This is an example of where it’s important to pay close attention to the details.

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At this point I was a nervous wreck over my painting. I had spent so many hours on it already, making a mistake was always in the back of my mind. Watercolor is not the most forgiving medium. In fact it’s very difficult to change things once the paint is down. About this time, I managed to flick a big spray of green paint into the middle of my sky. These things happen despite your best efforts to control your paint! Over the span of a couple of days, I was able to slowly and carefully remove the paint and touch up my sky. My success gave me confidence that I could fix any other “boo-boos” that occurred. (And yes, there were a few!)

Next, I began to paint the intricate light posts. The sunlight varied the colors a little, but for the most part I was able to use the same greens and reds for all 12 light posts. I also started tying all the areas together by painting in the sidewalks, trees and other miscellaneous objects and people throughout the painting.

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To be continued…

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Patience – Part 1

Over the past three months, I have been working on just one painting. My daughter took a great photograph of Chinatown, in San Francisco, last summer. The image shows the intersection of California Street and Sacramento Street, looking down many blocks to the ocean. Tons of color and details create this cool image. She challenged me to paint it in watercolors. It was quite a daunting task and I was well out of my comfort zone. But I always like a challenge and I think during the past 3 months I have learned quite a lot. The creation of this painting has improved my technique. With all the tiny details I had to paint, I completely destroyed my 00 brush and had to go buy a new one mid-way through the painting. With a project like this one, patience was my biggest hurtle. I knew this would take me a long time to paint. I decided to take photos of the painting while in progress. Over the next few blogs, I will post my painting’s progression.

Here is the photo that I was working from:

photo

First part of any painting is the sketch. Working from my daughter’s photo, I drew an outline drawing of the scene. Already I had to make decisions on what to include. As you know, I love details and constraining myself is always a challenge when my instinct is to include everything I see. My sketch shows the basic outline of shapes and how I want the composition to lay out. The image has a natural X right through the center of it. In a complicated image such as this one, I wanted my center of interest to literally be the center of the painting. The sky and the road lead you right to the heart of the painting. Once I had my sketch, I carefully transferred it to tracing paper, then to watercolor paper. This process alone took me 4 hours of drawing to complete the transfer.

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I almost always work on my paintings, top to bottom, left to right. There is nothing worse when painting, then having your hand or arm brush through the wet paint, smearing it along your painting. I began by painting a gradated wash for the sky. The sky has 4 washes on it, moving from an intense bright blue to a soft, pale, almost white horizon. I then painted all the lanterns. They seemed one of the most important parts of the painting and I wanted to make sure they claimed their space, especially in the far background.

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Next, I laid down broad light washes of color. I always work from light to dark, gradually building up color. As you can see, I worked on one section at a time, building up color and adding more and more detail. I continued to move from left to right across the paper. First with washes, then details. A few objects I reserved for later, such as the green light posts. I knew I wanted to match the greens, so I saved them until I got to the large light post on the right side many weeks later.

The colors in this scene are very intense. The yellows, reds and greens on the buildings are very vibrant and I tried to mimic the colors as best as I could to convene the startling contrast.

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As I reached the far distance of the painting, I had to make more and more decisions about what to include, what to ignore, and what to blur. I wanted the far distance to be hazy and out of focus. The signage in this painting was truly one of the biggest challenges. Some of the signs, such as the “Far East” sign were hand painted, so it was easier to replicate them. Others, such as the “Bank of America” sign and later the “Canton Bazaar” signage, were not, making them much more difficult to reproduce.

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To be continued…

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North East Watercolor Society 2019 Annual Juried Show

The North East Watercolor Society (NEWS) is having its annual juried show beginning today at Orange Hall Gallery and Loft. The gallery is located at 24 Grandview Avenue, Middletown, NY. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 8 pm, and Friday 9 am – 6 pm. The opening reception will be on March 3rd, 1 pm – 4 pm. Two of my paintings, Along the Battenkill and Garden Wall, will be on display along with 116 other selected watercolor paintings by 65 North East Region artists. There are some beautiful paintings in this exhibit! The show will be on display until March 18.

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Stockbridge Show

Beginning today, I have 14 paintings displayed at the Stockbridge Library Museum and Archives. It is an absolutely lovely, restored building (founded in 1862), located at 46 Main Street, Stockbridge, Massachusetts (down the block from the Red Lion Inn). Please view their website for hours (closed Sundays and Mondays). Many thanks to Jenney, Terry and Mark for helping me set up the show. The show consists of a few colored pencil paintings, as well as many of my watercolors. My paintings will be on display until February 28th.

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Lone Pine

I’ve just completed my last watercolor painting for 2018. Entitled Lone Pine, this painting is based on a photograph I took in Kings Canyon National Park, in California. The pine on the edge of the cliff, as well as the trees on the far right, have been burned black by fire. In fact, the distant mountains are in a haze created by the fires that were ongoing in Yosemite when we were there. I thought the contrast between the stark, burnt trees and the soft, hazy mountains made a striking image.

Lone Pine

Lone Pine

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Saratoga Arts Annual Show

Tomorrow is the opening of the Saratoga Arts Annual Member’s Show. My painting, Winter Woods, will be on display, along with over 200 other local artists. The show runs November 10 – January 4 at the Arts Center Gallery, in Saratoga Springs, NY. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday; 9-5, and Saturday; 11-5. The Gallery will be open late for the Victorian Streetwalk on November 29 and on First Night, December 31. Check out this great display of local upstate artists!

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End of the Road

This watercolor painting is entitled End of the Road. It’s based on a photograph I took along the coast of Monterey in California, while vacationing there this past summer. The Monterey Cypress is well known for its unique shape bent by the Pacific Ocean winds. At the time I took the photograph, it was quite foggy and the ocean was not visible, silhouetting the Cypress tree at the edge of the road.

End of the Road

End of the Road

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42nd Annual International Exhibition of Watercolors Opens

I got a sneak peak at the 42nd Annual International Exhibition of Watercolors yesterday and the paintings are amazing! I’m so honored to have been accepted into this show. The opening will be this Sunday, October 14th, from 2-4 pm at the Gallery at Kent Art Association, 21 South Main Street, Kent, CT. The Kent Gallery will be open Thursdays – Sundays (12-4 pm), through October 28th.

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Many Thanks!

Thank you to all the wonderful people that attended my opening yesterday, especially those that traveled a long way to attend. The opening was a great success! My thanks to Jan, Daphne, the Widlund Gallery committee and the artists’ community of North Creek. You guys were great. And many thanks to Jill, Madeline and Ken for helping set everything up for the show. I really appreciate your support. The show will continue to be on display until October 30th.

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Art Show Reception

Please join me tomorrow evening for my artist reception at the Widlund Gallery. I have 34 of my watercolor paintings on display! My art show will be on display for the month of October.

Friday, October 5th
5-7 pm
Widlund Gallery
Tannery Pond Center
228 Main Street
North Creek, NY 12853

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