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Small studies. More practice.

July 3, 2011

So, I cut 50 5×7 boards and stacked them next to the easel.  I opened the big, zippered CD holder and laid it open beside the boards.  I picked a CD loaded with reference photos and loaded it into the laptop.  And then I painted.  I’ve gone through this exercise a number of times in the past, and it always yields mixed results.  But I find it invaluable to my ongoing development.

I can envision a time in the not so distant future when I’ll keep a stack of boards always ready for use.  Then, after a day or two of sightseeing in a new location, sitting down at the mini-studio in the RV, or even outside under the awning, and turning out little sketches like these while Nell relaxes and reads.  Of course, there will be a lot of sketches like this done outdoors on location as well.

House and Barn, 5x7, Gouache

Gray Light, 5x7, Gouache

I started off trying to work fairly wet and really loose.  I’ve been spending some time studying Erik Tiemens’ work, and I like the way he starts off with wet, thick washes, and slowly (a relative term, because he works very fast) builds the painting with more opaque strokes and passages.

In a couple of cases, I worked over the gouache with pen & ink:

Through the Treeline, 5x7, Gouache

Red Barn, 5x7, Gouache

In some cases, like the two above, it seems to work.  In a couple of other cases, a perfectly good gouache study suffered from the experiment.  But it’s all part of the process.  Here’s more…

Evening, 5x7, Gouache

Again, this was an attempt at working very wet.  It sort of works, I think.  Nell likes it, so that tells me once again that I’m not always the best judge.

Farm Houses, 5x7, Gouache

“Farm Houses” has potential as a larger painting.  Something with a lower viewpoint, and maybe even more dramatic lighting.

Dusk, 5x7, Gouache

“Dusk” needs a bit more definition in the thick foliage, maybe some massing with even some stronger darks.  Maybe the addition of some pen & ink scribbles would add more interest.  This was done using only burnt sienna, yellow ochre, titanium white and ivory black.  I never know what I’m going to get when I use thise particular limited color palette.

The Church at Centerburg, 5x7, Gouache

This little church is a landmark for us, a milestone on the annual trip to Mount Vernon, Ohio.  Coming onto it means we’re getting close to our destination.  I have a painting of this church in my head, but it just hasn’t made it’s way onto a board yet.  Small versions like this keep the idea alive.

Farm, 5x7, Gouache

This is a scene that one sees time after time while traveling across the U.S.  The parts and pieces of the silo structures always fascinate me.  Maybe I’ll figure this view out one of these days and turn it into a larger painting.  For now, I used it as an excuse to play with a dramatic sky.

And finally…

2br 1bth Fixer, 5x7, Gouache

These were fun.  They were all educational, allowing me to use different brushes, varying brushstrokes, and different color palettes.

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