Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tower Hill Pond

I have been looking at a photo I took a while back on one of our hikes and trying to decide if I wanted to do a large painting of it.  To help with the decision making process, I made a 9" X 12" watercolor.  I enjoyed painting it and have started on a 16" X 20" acrylic painting on canvas board.  This is the largest size I have tried with acrylic paints and I am enjoying painting.  I'll post the finished one when it's done.

Meanwhile I started back in school  to review Spanish.  I haven't studied the language or used it in over 20 years so I am hoping to wake up my memory cells.  I still read and understand the written language fairly well, but need to work on my speaking skills and understanding of the oral language. The state of New Hampshire has a senior waiver program for those over 65 and I am taking advantage of it.  I only have to pay the registration fees and book fee.  Since I am auditing, I do not have to pay for the credits.  The class is small and I hope we will move through some of the boring grammar quickly. This is at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester.

Just a little sketch from Sunday. I enjoy sketching while we are listening to the music at Stark Park. This was the last outdoor concert there for the summer season.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Art Process (continued)

I am at a stopping point now where I need to think about the painting more before I decide what I should do next. I probably need to lighten some areas, darken others to make the instruments stand out a bit. I think I will leave out the maracas and castanets from my original plan. There is enough going on here.

Here are some of the steps along the way.
Starting out I took my underpainting (burnt sienna) and put it up on the easel with my shapes sketch and the piano music.  I tried to keep some rhythm and sense of movement with the curving lines. I took a good look at my actual piano and studied the keys a little before I painted them.
I started putting in the guitar shape and realized that the raw sienna/yellow ochre mixture was not opaque enough to cover the piano keys. I added more layers mixed with titanium white.

I brought Joe's drum into my studio and used that as a model for the drum on the left (djembe). The others came out of my imagination and memory. I decided I needed more color and mixed some phthalo blue (green shade) with white and a little yellow ochre for the drums.  I added some more detail to the guitar.
I added the saxophone and clarinet, using images from the internet and manipulating them a bit. I changed them around a little from my original sketch.  I felt that I needed more color and did some splashing and brushing. The top photo shows that I darkened the background on the painting and that I wrote the words (using a calligraphy pen) from the sheet music. I enjoyed the process, but still prefer to paint landscapes. This has been a good challenge and, as I mentioned above, I'll probably make some more changes to the painting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Art Process

It is definitely harder to design a painting that is coming out of my thoughts and feelings, rather than a landscape or still life that I can see.  These are the shapes that I have come up with after making several designs, pictures follow.  I am not sure that this is my final design, or if I will change it while I am painting.

Below is my first original idea, just sketched on newsprint. I was thinking about my family and how we passed on our love of music from generation to generation.  My father used to listen to classical music and opera on WQXR radio in NY during my childhood. We also had a record player and I took classical piano lessons.

Then I passed my love of music to my children.  They took music lessons in school, one on clarinet, another on saxophone, another on piano and guitar.  I continued playing piano.

I added more information, music notes and some of my thoughts on sketch #2, which was done on white sketch paper.

I wasn't happy with sketch #2 so I started a new sketch #3 with more changes.  I wanted to keep the curves and flow.

I took out the castanets and maracas (I might put them in again on the final, I am undecided). I added some color notes. I moved the clarinet and saxophone down a little. This is the design I am working from for the painting.  You can see the shapes better in my outline sketch done in ink on tracing paper at the top of the post.

And finally the musical inspiration.  This section of Chopin's Funeral March is very beautiful, not sad or somber like the beginning. My father always loved this piece when I played it and I do as well. Two of my children have continued as semi-professional musicians and are involved with bands.

The underpainting is done and I hope to start my actual painting today. This will be an acrylic painting on canvas mounted on board.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I had an enjoyable time in Maine this week at Poland Springs resort in Poland Springs, Maine. I did a little hiking, a little swimming, a little relaxing and enjoyed the views of the Presidential range of mountains in New Hampshire. Beautiful sunsets.
Museum of Maine State Building. Originally built in 1893 for Worlds Fair, then moved to this location.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Watercolor - finished!

I added some darker areas, lightened some areas that were too dark and added some texture to the foreground. An easy way to do this is to use watercolor pencils. Wet the area with a little water on your brush. Put the painting down flat.  Use a 100 grit sandpaper and hold it and the pencil vertically over that area. Sand a little of the point and little specks of pigment will fall on the wet area. Let it dry naturally. You can use more than one color this way. Do not wet any area that you don't want to have the specks, or cover up those areas with a piece of paper.  If the specks fall on a dry area, they will brush off when the rest of  the painting is dry.