Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time to Paint! Back to Monhegan with Henny Penny

Henny Penny checking things out


After nearly two full days of drippy, foggy, 103% humidity, decidedly non-plein air days (too wet to even paint on a porch or under some sort of shelter) the sun broke out!
The sun!  Whaaaat's thaaat, in the sky??!
I ran back to the hotel to get my easel. "I can finally paint! Outside! In the sun!" I thought. By the time I  got back to the hotel (drippy from my hike) ran up three flights, got everything thrown in my pack, back down the stairs, across the village, set up and sketched the scene, the fog bank had rolled back in, the light was gone and humidity was about 99%.

Henny Penny & Friends

I did enjoy watching the chickens hunting for bugs, especially one buff hen who went exploring off into the thick shrubbery and poison ivy and would pop up in the bushes beside me, in the grass in front of me and right at my feet. (Miss Henny Penny was the subject of one of the 30/30 Challenge Paintings as well.)

The Painting

This weekend I pulled out that painting I started at the schoolhouse on Monhegan. I can't believe I didn't take a photo at the schoolhouse of the preliminary drawing with a few very basic colors blocked in. It certainly will not qualify for "plein air." My main reference photo is the one at the top of this post. 

I took the photo and brightened it up and posterized it in photoshop. I also duplicated the sunflowers and flipped them around to the corner of the building. I'm not sure I love the color of the building...I'll make some adjustments.

In general, I'm taking some liberties with the color - brightening up the sky, making it early evening. I'll move some hens into the frame as well. Changed the horizon line a bit (it was out there somewhere in the fog).

Close up of Henny Penny

Close up of Henny Penny's friends

I'll post more of my progress in the coming days/weeks.
Please let me know what you think!

PS: For the progression of this painting click here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hopper Drawings at the Whitney

Monhegan Lighthouse, 7am, Palette Study I
6" x 6", watercolor, $35
This will be in my Etsy shop soon - please contact me if interested

Monhegan Lighthouse, 7am, Palette Study II
6" x 6", watercolor, $35

Last Friday evening, I went to the Hopper Drawings show at the Whitney. As is traditional I go to a show as close to the end as I can - no reason - pure procrastination.

There were relatively few finished paintings. The majority of pieces were sketches and notes pertaining to the paintings as well as sketches for some paintings not represented and sketches from when he was a student.
Soire Bleu, 1914
Great character studies of Parisians from the early 1900s.

A few of the iconic Hoppers were there: Early Sunday Morning, The Nighthawks, Gas -

and some that I wasn't familiar with: New York Movie,

my new favorite - Rooms for Tourists

There were a couple of paintings from Cape Cod (one a watercolor in a very limited palette that I've seen before), 
(Route 66 Eastham)

(High Road)

a few from the office series, some wonderful paintings of the tops of NYC buildings as he looked out his studio window,

nudes (not my favorites - though his model drawings are really wonderful),
(I love the notes. Study for Morning Sun)

I enjoyed seeing the process of Hopper's problem solving. The little sketches of salt shakers and fire hydrants, the way he worked out the composition in a theater or office, or the details of a shoe or gesture. The notes made on the drawing indicating the darkness of a shadow or the color of a roof.

(He went to several NY City theaters to sketch. There were many drawings of balconies and hallways,  and details of decor, as he searched for the perfect composition.)

(Details such as the uniform, right down to the shoes, are examined in a series of sketches.)

(His model was always his wife, Jo. She has the slightest smile here.)

(More note taking.)

(The docent told about the man who researched the background of this particular painting. 
He went to the hotel on Cape Cod and interviewed people. A few said that they were a little unnerved by a balding fellow sitting in his car across the street for long periods of time, day and night. 
That would be Hopper himself, studying and sketching.)

The above small watercolors are my (small) homage to Hopper - the first, a limited palette watercolor (cerulean, Prussian blue, alizarine crimson, quin gold and burnt sienna) and the second, an even more limited palate of alizarine, ultramarine and cadmium yellow.

What do you think of Hopper's paintings? Do you think that seeing the process helps to understand the painting and/or the artist's point of view?  Please let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Post 30/30 Challenge - So What's the Take-Away?

Collage of 25 paintings/drawings from 30/30 Challenge

First, I want to say thank you to everyone for following along, and welcome the new followers to this blog. I hope you've enjoyed my painting journey and what you've read here. I hope you'll stick around and to see what happens in the future! I also hope that you've joined my blog with your email  (so you don't miss a post) and/or joined my email list (MUCH less frequent postings!).

So, what was the point of this exercise? What do I get out of it?
I'm not sure if there is one specific take-away – no big epiphany. For me, there are a bunch of smaller, more subtle things that I've noted:
I think the point of painting or drawing something every day (or at minimum several times a week) is an important way to grow as an artist. It's a commitment - the same way getting in the car and going to work is a commitment. A habit - like brushing your teeth.
It's NOT about creating a masterpiece every time you pick up a pencil or a paint brush or a pastel stick, though it's wonderful when people think they're masterpieces. It's just doing it. It might be as small as a square inch of brush strokes you love, or discovering a new paper, or as big as a composition that makes your heart sing when you look at it.
It's about problem solving and editing. Sometimes, it's as much about the planning as it is about the spontaneity.
It's discovering your limits in the moment AND that there are no limits in the big picture (pun intended!).

If you are interested in purchasing paintings from this or the previous challenge, most of the postings here have a link to my Etsy shop. If there's something that you've seen either here, in person or on my FB page, that doesn't have a link or a price, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks for following along!
There's more to come!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 30 - 30/30 Challenge - Painting 25 - Teddy Roosevelt Park

Summer's Over
10.25" x 8.5", watercolor, $85
Soon to be in my Etsy shop. If you are interested, please contact me below.

Puffy clouds, blue. blue skies, warm sunny day in late September. some of my favorite things.  I confess, I did see another local artist paint this scene at Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay, a week or so ago...I just loved it, so I went and painted my own rendition. (Thanks Noel Darvie!)

When I wasn't painting, I watched people put their boats in the water for one final fling around the bay, or read a book. (Chocolat, by Joanne Harris - Yes, the same story that was made into a movie with Johnny Depp & Juliette Binoche. She's an excellent writer.) 

I afraid this may be the last of summer for real this time.