I spent today in the studio doing the painting I had originally planned to do during the Open Studios weekend. It’s the beginning of a new series of paintings on Spring in Washington. I have no idea what else I’ll do, but I think it’s a good topic. However, those who know me know that spring is NOT my favorite time to paint. Too much pink and yellow! And everything is rather sweet-looking! I much prefer autumn and winter, thank you! BUT–spring is our premiere season here and I can well understand why people like it. My thinking is to feature the different flowering trees in different paintings–cherries, magnolia, redbud, dogwood, etc. By combining with houses or other buildings, perhaps it won’t get too gooey? (Might take several years to complete, however!)
Anyway, the painting I did today is from a walk in the neighborhood of Cleveland Park in NW DC. John and I spent several lovely hours walking around looking for alleys. And we found them. However, this is a street scene rather featuring the wonderful architecture. I loved the shapes and colors of the houses and their roofs, the light hitting from the right, and the arbor of cherry blossoms at the top. But I wasn’t sure about the fence and deck on the left. And the house with orange roof had three separate porch roofs! (See source photo) So I knew that I had to do some simplifying. I particularly wanted to simplify the white fence, which had too many dips and fancy lintels on the posts. My initial thought was that the painting would be about the house with the green roof and the light and shadow hitting it (and that great round window to the right!). What I like about the white fence is that it leads the eye into the rest of the picture and hopefully the pieces of light hitting the building help carry it through.
I began the underpainting a week ago and started by laying in the darks with a very dark blue. I used some varying colors and some that are quite close to the final color (see the green roof!). I put hot pink under the orange roof and rather liked it. For the cherry blossoms, I used a combination of blue and pink hard pastels to roughly lay in the blossoms and a green for the sky. When I began painting the cherry blossoms today, I began with a red violet, and then added some blue violet over it in the shadowed areas. I used a cool pink and a very light pinkish white for the areas where the light was hitting.
The road was a challenge. I gave it a twist on the right to try to make it more interesting, but there is too much of it, I think. I left out the telephone pole that was going right up the middle of the picture, so I couldn’t add the shadow of it or it’s wires. So I tried to do by layering a number of colors: red violet, blue violet, and then a cool green. The green really did it, I think and helped tied the color of the road to the rest of the painting (I hope).
This is a fairly well-known street due to the architecture of the houses. I just stumbled upon it and was happy to find such interesting subject matter!
I will be away for the rest of the month–visiting my mother this week in Mass. Then going to Portugal and a Viking river cruise of the Douro river. Have never been there and look forward to seeing Lisbon and the countryside. Hopefully in May it will warm up enough for some plein air painting at last!