Friday, June 26, 2020

Last Day Plein Air at Panera's Courtyard


The dedicated ones caravaned with me over to the Paneras patio area, where I knew we would have access to a bathroom and coffee and croissants, while having some various still life subject matter to paint.  Florida weather starts getting warm by 10:30 so we wrapped it up by 11.  I was not on so much, but Patricia Liles showed up in spades to render a beautiful tropical plant arrangement.  Someone said "Success is not own but rented" on Facebook, but I countered with " Success is owned but built on"  When you work hard for a skill you own it and can then build on that!



Friday, June 19, 2020

San Marco ..Again!

 I made a major faux pas on this on at least three perspective issues, which plague many a drawing of architecture.  I am posting this now but I am currently working on fixing through erasing and repainting to hopefully mitigate the damage, so I will post before and after to help you see how I bounce back if possible from the brink of disaster

Ana, from Romania, joined our plein air group.  
In this graceful authentic position, she embodies 
the life of the plein air artist, relaxed, a little bit 
frustrated, ever hopeful and persistent!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Todays Watercolor at San Marco

I just wanted to do a small study of the corner of the gazebo in San Marco , I have never done one just so.Here is my attempt.


One of my students did some work worthy of note, the lions were beautifully drawn and rendered into color, the trees were handled simply and with all the tiered levels of color Ii preach about.
 Here is the link to the easel I used:



Staying Loose

John Singer Sargent is my favorite watercolor hero.  His work was like that of a master bowman, whose arrow flies straight and true to the target most of the time.  His use of warms against cools, bold contrast, and bold use of color, great draftmanship and brushmanship always leave me breathless with envy.  Study is warm whites, his cool whites, his lights against darks, his light touch with detail, even in architectural settings.  His work has that nice balance of detail and loose painterly quality, resulting in a beautiful impression of the event.
Go onto google or buy his books, study his watercolors.  You will be better for it.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Day 2 Attitude Adjustment!- of the San Marco Balis Park Plein Air Class


 The second class day of the Plein Air San Marco painting class
 went very well, especially compared to the first day when I was
 challenged to paint during the rainy weather.  I dispersed the
 group of 8 so that we could have different points of view
 and stay socially distanced. I felt like I started strong on this,
 a good solid sketch and bold open color fields laid down in  quick succession. 
The whites and their shadows are the hardest but the most rewarding if you 
can get them right.  The whites in cool
 shadows have more blue, when they get nearer the warmth you add a bit of
red. Never use black with water, it looks
 dull.  Work with open large color fields where possible.  Details always come last and reluctantly.

 I started working with a new easel , I like the table and 
it is lightweight.  The  cup holder is small, but it uses a
 small wax paper cup, you have to provide it.



Be patient with yourself.  Congratulate yourself for bravery because you took on one of the most difficult challenges in drawing and painting watercolors from real life. The difficulty can be remedied with simplicity and playfulness.  These are traits that you probably have not been rewarded in for some time.  Of course color mixing lessons don't hurt, and practice drawing is invaluable, practice makes perfect is still true.   But the magic ingredient is still playful loose childlike strokes that get to the point.  Having said that, I want to emphasize that's not to be confused with childish drawings.  There is a great deal of sophistication in simplicity.  Ask any zen master.  This brush, is linked to your mind, too much mind you have a problem, too much brush no mind you have a problem.  It is a balancing act, do you really see is the question.  To see, you have to study what you are seeing, not imagine what you are seeing.  That would be a drawing from your imagination, something different!   The open color fields are something to look for, less is more. 


Notice how bold the blue shadows the left were and
 how they barely show by the time the painting is done.
examine the details below:

 

The Times Union featured us in the METRO section,
 featuring us painting the first day after the rain departed 





Monday, June 8, 2020

San Marco Plein Air - A Rainy Day Start!

How to deal with rainy weather!
 and  a view you can still find and keep on painting.
 

 On my way this morning it was gently raining, a kind of sprinkle, but based on the weather hourly report I expected it to pass soon and become partly cloudy.  So I was gambling.  As my class arrived I assured them the clouds would part and class would continue.  We gathered in the pergola waiting while I covered materials and best practices, and how to get the right attitude and perspective on plein air work.  Keeping an open flexible mind, not too judgemental , fun and adventurous attitude is best.  I know that sounds more like chicken soup for the soul rather than art lessons, but so much of art, good art is based on those principles, more than detail or technique.  Good foundational principals get you to a finished piece faster, but the attitude lies underneath the work, rising at the end like cream to speak ill or well of the effort.  If you are being lazy or are not really interested in the subject, that will show through.  If you are determined , stay loose, have fun, it translates into an enjoyable experience for both you and the viewer.  It can even result in a sale! 
I sold one of the San Marco series already!
I will include a sale price and dimensions on the blog for the original from here on.
"View From The Pergola in San Marco Square on A Rainy Day"
12" X 16" Watercolor on 140lb Arches Cold Pressed paper  
$300.
(Details can be viewed in this enlargement by dragging the mouse over.)











Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trying The Pergola Once Again-

I had already drew my sketch yesterday. This is a technique
 many of the old masters used to concentrate on part of the
 painting or drawing one day , then finish at the same time
 and place the next day or two.  
 The videos will help you understand the procedure
 for getting here, have a look.



"The San Marco Pergola in Spring" 11 1/4" x 15" on 140lb Arches watercolor paper   $200.



Part 1 -  Starting Color on The Pergola -
The first step is to determine how to handle the whites in shadow.
There are both cool and warm colors in play, and neutral where they intersect.



Part 2 - Doing Starting the Cools and Warm Whites-Starting with cool gray let gravity work, add warm ochres to create variations in the light. These are the first steps to get the cool and warm whites on. As dark as this appears going on you will be surprised how light it becomes. Playing warms against cools gives depth.


Part 3 - Moving into the details
This video is a continuation of the work in the previous video. Adding warm whites on the architectural features. Adding the roof color without overdoing it.



 Part 4  - Adding the roof top tiles
As the pergola is mostly fleshed out it is time finish the roof using tone and scraping for the tiles.
Keep the washes open just spot in a few suggestive details, do not paint every tile shadow it won't look right, then add a few bright sienna accents strategically


Part 5 - Adding the Greens
Working mostly the greens here around the pergola to frame it, some details, keep greens open don't paint every single leaf, use leaf shapes strategically to bring out accents


Monday, June 1, 2020

With Things Take a Different Turn - Yoga Watercolors/ Merging Two Into One - Day 4

What do you do when things take a different turn
 than what you expect.  Stay open and flexible!

My original plan was once again, to head down to San Marco Square and try another watercolor, reworking the pergola there on a larger piece of cold pressed paper.
I could see the day was a bit partly cloudy and possibly would rain.
I was planning on working up a more refined sketch than my previous piece shown here.


Early this morning I received an Instagram message from the daughter of the man who designed and built the pergola !  She was interested in buying the watercolor of it, and we agreed to meet at the Square around 8am to make the sale.  She photographed me with her son and the piece and after a time she went 
on er way.  An old friend stopped by as I began my drawing, and as we chatted
I noticed some soul music coming from a car on the street and a gentleman admiring the artwork in progress.  He said he was looking to get a portrait drawn of himself.  I told him at first I tended to do landscapes, and figured we would leave it at that.  At first I wasn't paying much mind, then I looked at him and decided he had interesting characteristics to draw.  I figured whatever I did I would give it to him.  


 He stood there posing patiently as I drew for about fifteen minutes while standing.  His name was  Frank.  I finished and handed it to him , and he loved it.

The literal meaning of “yoga” is “merging two into one”.

In light of everything going on in the news right now, I saw this small interaction today and the previous visit with my patron as a kind of healing force that came over me, like a still small voice saying "everything will be alright, it will get better".  I needed that much more than simply achieving a watercolor alone.  We each gave one another a gift. 
 
I was going to return to my watercolor,  but since it started
to become more cloudy, I figured I would break the setup
down and take the dogs home and deposit my check.   As
it happened within a half hour it began to rain a bit, so that
turned out to be a good plan and everyone was happy.
Things took a different turn than I expected but by staying open and flexible it worked out even better !
I will simply use the sketch for tomorrows watercolor and
save time then!