Weekend Prep

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm taking a sketchbooking workshop class this weekend at The Art League in the Old Town area of Alexandria, Virginia. It's taught by Susan Abbott, whose paintings of Vermont and India are amazingly alive with color. (And besides, what better excuse to get more art supplies? ;) Actually, I'm being good -- I'm only getting a few brushes and a roll-up case to hold everything in. I pretty much have everything else I need already. I've never participated in a workshop before, so I'm hoping this will be fun -- and that it won't rain too much when we're outdoors. The only other time I've been in Old Town was on a trip to D.C. last year when we biked from Crystal City south to Alexandria at 7 a.m. on a Sunday -- so everything looked tempting yet nothing was open. Hopefully I'll experience it more fully this time. Plus, the cherry blossoms look to be in peak bloom, so with any luck we'll be able to stop by and see them on Friday as we're driving down. And no spring trip to the area is complete without a stop at Behnke Nurseries, so that's in the plan, too, if all works out!

I've been reading back issues of The Artist's Magazine and American Artist that I bought at a garage sale a few weeks ago -- they're entertaining as much for the peek they provide into the culture of the low- to mid-range art world as for the actual how-to articles in them. The whole workshop culture is fascinating -- I guess some people go from workshop to workshop following a particular artist all over the world. It reminds me a bit of the crafters I'd encounter when I was selling my greeting cards at art fairs -- there are many who literally just drive from show to show when they're not creating their work. It practically begs for anthropological study!

Study for an oil: Co. Donegal road

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After much sifting through photographs old and newer, I've selected a moody shot I took of a road in County Donegal, Ireland, as the subject for my next oil painting. The seven-year-old photo depicts an overcast sky, and the winter landscape is mostly gray-green with touches of yellowish brown, but I'd like to inject some more color into it. Here's a first take on it in watercolor.

West Beach, Two Ways

Monday, March 16, 2009

Walked down to the beach yesterday, since it was 50 degrees. There weren't many people about -- just a few intrepid couples and families. I decided to try painting the pier, even though I only had my small set of watercolors and my waterbrush. It was chilly, so I had to hurry. I thought the first painting was too precious-looking and suffered from an attempt to put too much detail in, so I tried it again with a more abstract hand. I liked the effect, but it looks too Caribbean (perhaps I was subconsciously painting where I'd LIKE to have been).

(Pencil and watercolors in small Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.)

Interior study

Friday, March 13, 2009

Was looking for something to paint today, and decided to try a little interior subject. This brown velveteen couch was bought for a song at the Pottery Barn outlet in Riverhead, N.Y., a few years ago. I think it was meant to be part of a sectional, but it works wonderfully on its own in the space at the head of the stairs. The floral pillow covers are Marimekko; I brought one ready-made pillow case and several yards of complementary fabric back with me from Helsinki, Finland. I had originally bought them thinking they'd be great for a porch or garden room, but they add a welcome jolt of color to the upstairs.

(Pencil and Winsor & Newton artists watercolors on Arches hot press watercolor block.)

Weekend in Provincetown

Monday, March 09, 2009

Stayed at the Land's End Inn in Provincetown, MA, during a little Cape Cod getaway. Lovely bed-and-breakfast with eclectic decor and gorgeous views. This was a clumsy attempt to capture the sunrise out of the window in our room. I don't think I've done a single painting I like in this Cotman watercolor spiral pad. (It must be the paper, not me, ha!)

And here is a stone head in the garden of the inn, also drawn while looking out the window: