The name of this post sounds like a dirge. But I think it is a milestone. I completed two paintings this afternoon which I think represent a step forward for me. There is still much work to be done but there is improvement. I have redone Ethan doing an ollie and Calvin on his skateboard.
Here is Ethan doing an ollie – without the tree in the background. It looks better I think. Actually I have painted a wash on his arms to warm them a little.
And here is Calvin skating off to surf with his friends.
Well that is all for 2009 I think. As the last of the great party animals I am completing this listening to Olga Kern play Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 which is heavenly music.
this is my new project. Again I am looking at how Charles does people – lots of carefully placed swatches it seems.
this picture is only 28×19 so I am going to try a bit bigger.
This is a picture of my son Calvin going off to surf with his mates. I want to do it again.
I was half way down the palm tree when I realised my darks were too insipid. I like the sea though.
This is my second picture of Ethan doing an “Arley”. I will have to look in one of his skateboard mags to see how to spell that. I wanted to do this last night but had to try for an early night as we got up really early this morning to climb table mountain. But as I climbed I was working out the painting strategy. And I read Herr Reid on the way home to fix his lessons in my mind. He suggests practicing the contour drawings on paper before starting the watercolour – which I did.
Here is the first wash.
I started with the middle value colours because I am not sure how to get these right once the darks are in. But I did the shoe in a single dark wash which I softened with water. Cool hey? Now I am going for an evening surf with my boys.
I have spent the evening doing the next wash and will stick here till tomorrow.
I am pleased with the shadow which has more life, and I like the way the shadow and the tree shadow repeat the motion of the arms. The tree is overworked though – this is a lot of dark and I want to learn how to apply this amount of colour with sparkle. This will be my bed-time reading. Oh yes – Ethan tells me that the move is called an ‘Ollie’ but as his brother Calvin explained, “We are South African – therefore Arlie” (I am not sure I understood but anyway).
Here is the final wash
- mmm I think the tree is quite strong – I want to do another with a l0wer value background.
I am so keen to develop a looser approach to watercolours. Here is a picture of my son Ethan. I started with a contour drawing and then began with the darks. I also tried to go out of the body as soon as possible to the dark tree in the background. I did the road and the green grass last, after the shadow, which was a problem perhaps – but it feels great to just do it with out trying to be perfect – mmm very good.
I will try this again as soon as I can.
Here is a painting of a waterfall near George.
I have had a couple of attempts and this morning I did a careful drawing of the facets in the rocks.
And here is the first wash. I am already wishing I had used 300 gm paper rather than 185 gm which conkles and feels like it will tear easily.
Here is the next wash. I started at the rock at the top of the fall and worked my way down and around. Of course working up the other side got me into trouble as water ran down the picture so I had to work upside down a bit. Like the Joker in Dark Night, when he says “Do I look like a man with a plan?”
Well some detail here. The water got bit out of hand and I should have taken a break. Now I am feeling tired and have lost my concentration a little. I am going to go and help Donovan dig holes for his kid’s Jungle-Jim. When I get back I will see if it can be redeemed.
OK now it is way past my bedtime and I have been working this past hour and a half on my picture. It is probably time to put it aside for a few days and then finish it and decide whether it is a keeper or not. Perhaps I am still working too big. The size is 56×38 cm. And the washes use a LOT of paint. I get the feeling that my pallette and the paper is fatigued. There really is a pool in the middle of the rock – with green water in it though perhaps I need to tone down the green a little.
Time for a snooze. I have such a lekker idea for a new painting and want to start now but – “more is nog ‘n dag” as they say in the local venacular.
Last night I wrapped presents then found myself drawn to the picture. The lights and darks were not pronounced enough so I worked on them a bit. And this is what it looks like now:
I would like to say this is it but I think the rocks need more definition. How long did they take to assume their character? And now I want to find a quick and easy way to portray this? It is not right it seems.
Anyway – it is almost done AND I started on my new project – it is about butterflies and it is going to take a long time – watch this space. I have also progressed on a figure painting that is almost ready for publication here. Now it is time to cycle (to avoid the jam) to the mall for a final purchase.
I have been reading Mel Stabin and Charles Reid, who have a quick, fast and loose approach to figures that is very beautiful. But my paintings are slower and more precise, using glazes, more like the work of Elizabeth Kincaid. I want to loosen up though.
I also think I am working too big. This picture is 76X56 cm. I want to still put in some background, which is what Charles Reid would say is a problem. I am also working from someone else’s photos which is OK for now to develop technique. I am busy with a Masters in Coaching and as soon as this is complete, I want to join a figures class.
I move my spot by about Two meters yesterday, where I had a view of Table Mountain in the distance. I was just settling down to paint when a wedding group arrived to take shots of the bridal party. I decided to include them in the picture but have to admit that I spun my wheels a bit and didn’t settle down till they had gone. And I had left my camera in the car, which was an added element of disorganisation. In any case here is the picture. I eventually added the group in from memory. When they left the groom smiled at me. There was a pregnant moment when I could have chatted to him but decided not to intrude in their day, which is not my usual thing. So we grow.
I also saw, over the back of the dune where I usually sit, there is a beautiful view of False Bay and Cape Hangklip which I will do next time I do not have to shelter from the South Easter. Strand is a great walking beach, especially at this time of the year, there are always people walking up the fence, just beyond the pipe and back. I tried to capture some of them too.
Today I sat at the path down to the Pipe, after a frustrating surfing session, and did a painting. I did two of the same scene – the second of which is not too bad.
I painted the first in a bit of a rush.
Then the wind dropped and I painted a second painting of the same scene.
I think the foreground is better. How do you like my figures? I sketched people as they walked up to the path and then painted them in.
I will put this one in my Beach Gallery where you can see a bigger version.
I have been reading Charles Reid again – The Natural Way to Paint and his latest book on Watercolour solutions. He has such a vibrant way of portraying scenes on site. This is definitely worth working towards. And his figures are so alive. this will need lots of practice. Yesterday I did my scene at Strand Beach again. It also got messy towards the end. The day was very hot, I must get a good umbrella. I photographed a couple and offered to put paintings of them on the this site. Here is my first attempt – I will put the final product on my gallery page – in fact I will create a page for this type of work.
OK – I have just read Charles’ approach again in “Watercolor solutions” and am following his instructions. It is interesting, he suggests doing the darks first to get the value range right. So I have redrawn the picture and have done the darks. Now I am going to have a quick swim then return to do more.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Cecily in CJs Coffee shop for introducing me to Gypsey Music (Putamayo – Gypsey Groove – really cool stuff).
So here is painting so far…
Ok this is starting with the figure in the foreground. I think I have got into trouble with the hair – too much detail and I still have to do the sea
Now I have done the chap – OK so far. Those Gypsies…
And now I have put in the background – the sea worked OK around the woman’s head. Now I am listening to the Stones…
OK here is the final product. I may touch it up a little tomorrow but my son is pushing to go down to the beach for a last surf on this beautiful, hot summer day.
Leaving Pipe Beach
I have put a copy of this picture on my gallery so that you can click on it to see a larger view.