Here are two more pictures from the C&O Canal series. The left picture was done in Massachusetts as a demo for an old friend who has taken up pastel. It’s from the same photo as the earlier painting. I changed the orientation and the color scheme. I also got rid of the rock (actually a piece of cement, I think). I like the colors and flow of this one. The blue violet seemed a little too bright, and I layered a dark brown over it. It’s still more vivid than the dark grayed red violet that I used in the earlier version, but I like the contrast with the yellow oranges. The second painting was one I’ve been wanting to do since taking the picture. I really liked the abstract shapes in the lock and its reflections. I did an underpainting of primarily local color. The most successful think was adding some blue greens into the upper part of the painting to push it back and give the sense of distance. This is it! I’ll have these paintings in my studio for the Friday night opening of the December show. Now, on to snow–which is promised for tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
So here is the picture I originally planned to do as a demo for the university women last Saturday. Boy–was I NUTS!!! Given the way I ended up painting this, there is NO way I could have done this as a demo. So thanks to all of my students who kept telling me to just frame the charcoal and do something else! Anyway, this painting is a departure from other pictures. It’s not a big shape picture–it’s a really DETAILED center of interest picture. I decided to start it out with charcoal and water to get the dark pattern set. Everyone loved it! However, I really didn’t want to frame a charcoal drawing, so I spent Monday and this afternoons painting it. I didn’t do an underpainting–just went directly from the charcoal to Giraults. I used a lot of grayed violets in the rocks. I really didn’t want these to appear too purple. So the color is pretty much what I call “observed”. The highlights in the rocks were done with warm neutrals in soft pastel. The only real color is the greens and oranges of the grasses and bushes. I really do love doing paintings like this from time-to-time. It’s close to doing a still life. And I love working with reflections. I wanted to get more on my recent trip to the canal but there wasn’t much.
Just registered for IAPS. My workshop is full!!! Can’t believe it. Most everything is already full. It’s going to be the biggest convention yet, I’m sure. If you aren’t going and live in Massachusetts, I’ll be doing a similar one day workshop on Cape Cod some Saturday in April. We haven’t set the date yet. It’s for the Pastel Painter’s Society of Cape Cod. And I’ve been invited to give aworkshop next October in Marlborough, MA, so I might be back then.
I go to Massachusetts tomorrow for a quick trip and private demo/lesson. May report back.
This painting began as a demonstration for the Chevy Chase chapter of the American Association of University Women. Some of you will have seen the post on Facebook. However, I did more work on the picture so the second image here is different! When I went to post it, I wasn’t happy with the water and the amount of darkness in the painting. The painting was begun from a black and white photo but I used the color image at home. I did two small color studies, playing with green grass (what was actually there) and red violets in the first, and yellow orange grasses with blue violets in the lock and dark areas. I really liked the red violet best and went with it. The initial painting was done very quickly while talking a lot! I used opposite colors in the underpaintings–orange in the sky, dark greens in the lock, and red violets in the grasses. Not sure what I used in the water! Probably a darker aqua. My enhancements at home included adding an additional post of the lock (on the right), adding brighter greens to the grasses, as well as some orange grasses on the far right, improving the rock, and doing a lot more with the background and water. I’m still not completely happy with the water! I think the light color in the initial picture looks better than the brighter, but darker greens in the finished image. However, I have to go off to class and have decided to call this one quits! Will be doing another version of it (horizontal) for a demo on Friday in Massachusetts. We’ll see how that one comes out!
I decided to do a series of 11 x 14 paintings of the canal at Great Falls as I think they make nice studies of an area that people here really love. In the past, I did not paint the river or the canal, feeling it was overdone. But I like the challenge of finding new views and small details to bring out. There is another on the easel now, that I hope to finish today.
And–I see that the IAPS site is finally up for registration! I hope that some of you who are going will consider taking my Sunday workshop. This is my first workshop at IAPS and I’m excited, but a little nervous too!!!
I did this 20 x 24 painting over the course of our open studios weekend, which began on Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon. I finished it in the studio today. It was a VERY busy weekend (I’m happy to say!). I began with a charcoal wash, which was very useful in setting the overall shapes and placement of the rocks and tree shapes. I then moved on to hard pastels, using pretty much local color, as this was a fairly complicated picture. The addition of alcohol darkened the shapes and solidified them. I then worked primarily with Giraults for a first pass of color and went back with some softer pastels and more Giraults. I began the rocks with a dark blue violet, which was too prevalent. Today, I used grayed violets and browns to lighten and diversify them. I also added dark blue violet into the trees and added some of the blue from the background land shape to the rocks and foliage on the left. Yesterday we went back to this site and it was altogether different, being a month or so later. The water was much lower and darker and there were no greens. I may do another vertical picture from the same vantage point. I decided that what I was seeing yesterday could not be integrated into this painting, given the month difference in foliage and water levels. I changed the background piece of land by simplifying it and making it much bluer than it was in the photo. This is an oxbow of the Potomac, visible from the C&O Canal towpath at Great Falls, MD. It’s a very popular site. Yesterday, being beautiful and a federal holiday, it was mobbed! It was fun doing it and explaining the process to so many people who visited the studio over the weekend.
This is another Pennsylvania painting–you can tell by the overcast sky. The original photo had a very uninteresting building to the right and a lot more road. When I cropped it, it became something much more interesting. My primary challenge was that in the photo the only reds were on the barn in back. I tried to make up for this with some pink flowers in foreground (there actually was some pink clover in the photo). But it wasn’t enough. So I added some more of the creeper vine to the post at left. This seemed to balance the heavy concentration of red on the open building. There is a distance hill, visible above the corn field–just a little darker than the sky. I did an underpainting, using mainly warm colors–browns under the violet and pinks under the roof at left. Used siennas under the foreground grasses. I’ve just found another image to paint from tomorrow from the view right across the street from this!