Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day -- Sept 7, 2009

Beautiful weather today! I decided to work around the house and on a large Still Life painting and to go out somewhere this afternoon and work on location on what I call a Sketch -- with pencil and paint.

I like to spend an hour or two challenging my mind to create a way to get down what I think I want. This is a discipline of mine, to take time off from my regular day and work on a sketch for whatever information and adventure it may bring.

For today’s painting I used Ultramarine Blue (UB), Cadmium Red (CR) and Cadmium Yellow (CY).

I brought my sketch pad with the toned ground, paper toweling, paint in folding paint box, water jug and two bowls, (one for painting, one for cleaning brushes) and paintbrushes in former Pringle’s Potato Chip Container.

I decided to work in my Canson Biggie pad today. A few hours before I went out, I prepared my painting surface (toned ground) with a thin and watery mix of CR and CY. I applied the paint with the flat and wide brush shown on top. The middle brush is a #10 red sable. It’s my oldest brush and I call it 'Grandpa.' The smallest brush is a Sennelier Quill brush that’s excellent for drawing. The pencil is a BIC mechanical pencil with .07ml lead, my favorite kind of pencil.

I packed all the things shown above into my wheelie bag/back pack. The painting on the back pack is mine; I bought the back pack in the spring-time and decided to cover it with pussywillow and a red wing blackbird to celebrate. I also packed my camera and a plastic grocery bag for trash. For my painting location today I chose downtown Torrington from a vantage point in a parking lot behind the library. As you can see, the weather is looking a little ‘iffy’ with the clouds banking up the way they do when a storm is coming. That’s why I chose to stay close to home. I also am very fond of the views from this location. One of the things I love are the windows on the side where the outlines of the front windows can be seen.

I spent ten minutes (more or less) on the thumbnail sketch in lower left corner of the watercolor paper. When I do a thumbnail, I get an idea of what I want, how things go together, where the darks and lights are located, the angle of the sun and time to think about how I’m going to do the drawing for the painting.

The thumbnail sketch part is very important, to me, a step not to be skipped.

When I finished the thumbnail, I moved onto the basic drawing for the painting. This probably took another 10 minutes.

I mixed UB, CR & CY together until I reached a satisfactory neutral gray. I used the mix to begin the painting, starting at the horizon – the treeline behind the buildings – with the #10 Sable. I then did the background buildings and behind the front windows of the building, working from dark (the treeline), lighter (the middle ground buildings), lighter, the middle ground buildings closest to the viewer, lighter, behind the window frame on the nearest building and a very light application of the neutral gray to the nearest building. While the paint was still wet, I added in a thin, light application of CR, CR and a little of the pre-mixed gray to put in the shadow around the windows and the chimney.

I then did the sky, starting with a wash of thinned-down gray and starting from the upper lh corner down to the horizon. When the sky area was entirely wet, I added in more color at the top, worked it down toward the horizon, left spaces for the lighter parts of the banking clouds. As I progressed, I added in more color & tone to the background buildings, to the signs on the foreground building, to the treeline. With each successive layer, the paint is always a little thicker than it was in the previous layer. The last thing I did, was to add even more red to the foreground building, some dark tone to the area behind the front window frames and then some CY to the window frames. I spent a little over an hour on this sketch.

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