Rain Date

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rain Date no frameA rainy day (imagine that!) last April in London. The venue? Bibendum, the Conran mecca, erstwhile home of the namesake Michelin Man. I splashed in after a long, drenching stroll on Fulham Road and stopped at the Oyster Bar to give my umbrella a rest. Spied this vignette through the glass so out came the camera -- snap, snap.

The collaged paper on the watercolor is from the South Kensington section of Muirhead's Short Guide to London (1953). It was a flea market find; I adore old Baedekers.

From the introduction:
London is still labouring under the stress of six years of war : many buildings of historic and artistic interest have been destroyed by enemy action, and still more have not yet been restored to their normal condition ; so that the descriptions in the present volume must needs be provisional in many instances.
Just a few more weeks till I get my annual fix of the city across the pond.


Gouache? Yes, Gouache

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Little red barn, Vermont

Little Red Barn in Vermont, from an original photo. Holbein gouache in Strathmore Toned Gray sketchbook.

Since we're not going to London Book Fair this year, I've decided to attend the 3rd Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterey, California. I've been thinking about what materials to take besides watercolor. All the outdoor videos from last year's convention show painters dealing with a lot of wind (it is the coast, after all), so I'd probably have to invest in slower-drying acrylics if I went that route.

Gouache, on the other hand, seems to fit the bill nicely. It is compact, can be rewetted, and seems perfect for the smaller supports I'd be painting on given I'm taking two flights there and back. Feels like gouache (or even just adding opaque white to regular watercolors) flies under the radar a bit.

I've been looking at artists like Nathan Fowkes for inspiration, and playing with different papers. I'm really liking the way gouache looks on the Strathmore Toned Gray paper, and will try others.

What's your experience (if any) with gouache?


A Long Time Coming

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Boats in Rowayton, CT
Title TBD - abstraction of boats in Rowayton, Connecticut. From an original photo. Acrylic on board, 16x16.

This painting has been on and off my easel since 2011. I'm calling it done.


Caramoor in Winter, and Paper Experiments

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Missed last Saturday's Worldwide Sketchcrawl but went crawling on Sunday instead.

Breakfast at Lorca, Stamford,CT

Had breakfast at Lorca in Stamford (who can resist that blueberry rooibos tea?) and then drove around the snowy landscape of Caramoor in Katonah, NY, to sketch from inside the car. In the warmer months the lovely garden and grounds play host to beautiful music performances.

Weathervane at Caramoor, Katonah, NY

Archway at Caramoor, Katonah, CT

The above sketches were all done in a Stillman & Birn Gamma series sketchbook (yes, the one I got at the USK Symposium in Lisbon - wow, that was a long time ago).

The following two were done in an Arches field sketchbook. I seem to have a hit-or-miss experience with this paper. It doesn't seem to be consistent (maybe it's the sizing applied to the paper), and I find that it sometimes "sucks in" my paint and dulls it.

Sun and shadows at Caramoor, Katonah, NY

Winter trees at Caramoor, Katonah, NY

Back home, I opened a pack of handmade-in-Catalunya 100% cotton watercolor paper I'd bought last year in Barcelona to test it out. The surface is quite rough. I chose a less-than-optimal subject (from a photo taken a while ago, probably an abandoned barn in the Adirondacks) but I like the way the paper takes water and paint.

Old green barn