Shrimp Gleaner

I just finished this watercolor painting two days ago.  I was in the panhandle of Florida in late May, and we visited a fish market called Joe Patti’s. It is in Pensacola, right at the shrimp docks where the fishing boats come in.  This pelican was sitting there, and he

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“Shrimp Gleaner” watercolor, 12″ x 16″

probably enjoys what is left over from the catch each day.  He was quite tame, and allowed me to get pretty close to take a shot of him sitting on this piling.

I started by painting the bay, the distant land, and the sky wet on wet.  I used mainly blue and violet.  After that dried, I painted the spit of land on the left, and the dock. I used a toned down violet and blue green for this.  At one point, I used a spray bottle over zealously, and my dock piling paint started to spread more than I wanted it to.  I lifted that out.  Lastly, I painted the bird, in yellows and brownish oranges.  The bird is actually more gray, but I wanted some warmth in the painting as a counterpoint to all the cool blues and violets, so I made him orange brown and yellow.  I also put some of these oranges, yellows, and browns in the dock, water, and land to unify the painting and bring it all together.  I put a touch of yellow in the lower part of the sky to bring more light into the picture.

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Alberto’s Evasion watercolor painting

I just started painting in watercolors!  A couple of months ago, I picked up some watercolor brush pens for sketching with.  I ended up doing some small pieces with these.  I was entranced with the way the watercolor blended, and made interesting

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Alberto’s Evasion, watercolor, 12 x 16

effects when I tried to blend and soften it with water.  I love the transparency and luminosity of them as well.

A month ago, we went to the panhandle of Florida, and stayed in a place on the beach.  The news made it sound like the storm Alberto would devastate the Gulf Coast.  However, it just caused some rough surf, wind, and a bit of rain for a few days.

For this painting, I used professional Winsor Newton cadmium yellow, cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, French ultramarine, Winsor blue (green shade), and permanent sap green.  I used Arches 100% rag (cotton) watercolor paper, which is one of the best.

I started by doing a basic line drawing.  Then, I masked in the areas of the ocean that I wanted to stay white.  I first painted water over the sky and sea area. Then I painted the sky.   I lifted color with a paper towel to form the soft clouds.  I painted the sea.  In the background, I used ultramarine blue with a tad of orange to avoid the color being too high chroma.  Then, I gradually blended in some Windsor blue, which is similar to a phthalate blue, which is blue green.  As I came into the shallows, I blended in the sap green, and added lots of water to lighten the value.  Because the sea and sky were painted wet on wet, the darker blue of the sea feathered into the sky and created a nice soft horizon.

I let the sky and sea dry, then I removed the masking.  The next day, I put some masking fluid in the boardwalk walls.  I painted the umbrellas and people, then I painted the boardwalk, wet on dry to form crisper edges.  My focal point is obviously the umbrellas, especially the red one.  It really pops out because it contrasts so much with the blues and greens.  Lastly, I painted the sea oats wet on wet with green and brown.  I just love how the paint softened all by itself.  When I have painted in oil, I had to soften the edges by using a fan brush, but the water causes the paint to disperse and soften by itself.  The beach color is just the off white color of the paper.

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Semi Abstract “Lines and Reflections”

This time I combined realism (somewhat) with abstract.  During my family vacation in Kentucky, at Lighthouse Landing,  I walked around the marina and took pictures that I thought had interesting abstract patterns.  In this one, I like how the straight diagonal line of the dock edge contrasted with the sinuous shapes of the lines (ropes).  I also like how the bright blue contrasts with the grays and neutral colors of the water and the dock edge. There are some subtleties here, including the reflections of the boats, mast, shrouds, and sky.

The palette I used was phthalo blue, earth green, raw sienna, sepia, white, and an earth violet, I forget which one.  It’s the first time I painted wood texture, and I like how it came out.

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Lines and Reflections, oil on canvas panel

En Plein Air Painting of Kentucky Lake

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I recently got back from a week long trip to Kentucky Lake, which started out great, but got rather dicey at the end.  At any rate, one of the highlights of the trip was that I got to paint en plein air (outside) on a day when it wasn’t hot and humid.

Here are the results of my painting session.  My family and I went to Lighthouse Landing at Kentucky Lake.  I took along some small (9 x 12) sheets of toothy pastel paper, and my Nupastels, which are hard pastels.  They are great for traveling, as they don’t take up much space.

I decided to add warmer blues and yellows to the boats and the foreground water, because it was so cold and blue.  I wanted it to have more warmth.

My plein air work is not usually as smooth and finished as my studio work.  I’m looking at this right now, and seeing that I could consider softening some of the passages in here.  However, I will probably leve it as is, to maintain the loose and spontaneous quality that makes plein air work desirable.

As you can see, this was a partly cloudy day.  It was mostly cloudy by the end of this painting session, which was about 2.5 hours.