Stonington Sunset

Stonington Sunset, 20 x 16, Pastel Premiere, 400 white

Stonington Sunset, 20 x 16, Pastel Premiere, 400 white

I am back from a 2.5 week trip to the West with John, driving from Utah to Idaho, Montana, Canada (Waterton Lakes), Wyoming, and Colorado.  It was a great trip with good weather, interesting scenes, and lots to paint from!  But today I went to the studio to finish the painting of Stonington, Maine at sunset that I began before I left.  I did the underpainting with watercolor and probably filmed it, but at this point, I have no idea where the image is!  So I’m just sharing the finished product.

This was a pretty straightforward painting with not a lot of changes made from the photo. I loved combining the trucks and pilings from the dock with the beauty of the sunset and water. I love Stonington because it is a working harbor and not completely a tourist destination. There is no beach!

I pretty much used the colors I was seeing in the photo: dark violets for the darkest areas, blues, violets, and grayed greens for the sky and water, with the addition of pinks and oranges.  I went back and forth with violets and blues and used my new Blue Earth blue violets a lot.  And I used my fingers a lot in the water!

I have another painting of this that I did in 2015 from a mid-day photo. It has the same truck in it!  I think that they use this as a storage facility.  Anyone who has been to Stonington, Maine, will know this view immediately.

I’ll be focusing on the West for awhile, but also have to get some new images for next year’s Insider’s Washington show in Rockville.  Meanwhile, I’ll be doing a lot of workshops in Aug. and Sept. before beginning the regular class schedule in Oct.  I want to enjoy August. We were very fortunate to miss the hottest weather and this past weekend’s deluge!  Looking forward to corn and peaches and dinners on the screen porch.  Hope you are all having an enjoyable summer.

Paintings from Massachusetts

Marion Sunrise, 12 x 12, UART 400

Marion Sunrise, 12 x 12, UART 400

As promised, here are the three paintings that I did in Sarah Brown’s studio in Marion, MA.  The first one was painted from a photo I took that morning of light over Marion harbor. It was pouring rain when I painted it.  The underpainting was in three values: 2 shades of brown and a dark.  The photo was completely gray, black and white with no color. I used a variety of grayed blues, violets and greens in the sky, with yellow, and did a certain amount of smudging.  It was really fun and took about 1 hour to do!  A great way to spend time while it’s raining outside.

Then I worked on the painting that I originally was going to do as the demo–Houses on Lake.  I had decided I didn’t want to do it for that purpose, but brought it along. I did an underpainting with hard pastel and alcohol. The major change from the photo is the background mountain (or hillside). In the photo, it was all green with a lot of different trees sticking up.  I decided to simplify it with the violet, and added an additional large tree behind the house. I thought it worked much better.  But I don’t think this is a particularly great painting!

Wash Day, Madrid, 16" x 12", UART 400

Wash Day, Madrid, 16″ x 12″, UART 400

And finally, the demo, which was done from a picture I took in Madrid, New Mexico, on the way to Santa Fe.  By far, the most interesting part of this town is the backs of the houses!  I found wash on the line and decided that this might make a good demo. My goal was to do a “center of interest” painting with the emphasis being on the wash and leaving the foliage rather loose. I did a watercolor underpainting to facilitate leaving some of it uncovered. I began the underpainting with no drawing at all, focusing only on the shapes of the dark and light.   I added charcoal lines on top of the watercolor to lay out the position of the buildings and wash.  I wasn’t pleased with the wash–a little too heavy looking, I think.  I added some sky at top, which really opened up the painting.  I think that this was successful as a demo, but again, probably not a great painting!

Houses on Lake

Early Morning, Stonington Harbor

Early Morning, Stonington Harbor, 16" x 12", Pastel Premiere white 400 (mounted)

Early Morning, Stonington Harbor, 16″ x 12″, Pastel Premiere white 400 (mounted)

Watercolor underpainting

Watercolor underpainting

I just spent a hot day in the DC area reliving my time in Stonington, Maine!  We only had one free day there, but it was a wonderful day. And the sun came up at 5:00 and I was up by 5:15!  I walked all over the town, long the harbor, and then up the hill where I could look down on the houses with the harbor above. It was quite glorious!  Of a number of good pictures, this one was my favorite by far and I just had to paint it today.  I used watercolor as an underpainting, per instructions from the people making the paper (they plan to change this).  I really enjoyed putting the watercolor on the surface, particularly in the background. I applied it on the easel, so it did run, but not too much. And I was able to get a good rich dark, as you can see.

My main concern with the photo was the extremes of light and dark in the foreground.  So I kept the underpainting fairly close in value so as not to go to extreme too fast.

One of the things I liked the most of this scene is the composition, with the shape of the darks leading from the foreground back to the house with light hitting the roof.  I also liked the fact that there were other houses, and I could carry the warm in the roof on left into the shape of rocks to the right of the house.

The sky doesn’t look like much in the photo. I started with light red watercolor. Then used a light violet Girault, along with some pale green and a yellow Ludwig on the left side. The water began with a blue green Girault, with a very light blue green Unison and some of the same yellow Ludwig added to it. I put the boats in carefully, trying to get some of them to reflect the light (I hate painting little boats in a harbor!!!)  They came out OK.

I used a lot of Blue Earth pastels in the greenery, which is a combination of violets, greens, and a few oranges. My brand new blue violets were quite nice!

While in Massachusetts, I did a one day workshop and will share the demo, along with two other paintings with you in the next post.

Next Wed. we leave for the west–Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, with a trip to Waterton Lakes in Canada (thinking of staying there …well, maybe not!) Will be gone for the rest of July.  So expect to see more paintings from New England and the West — two VERY different places!

Happy 4th