Monday, August 29, 2011
As I said in my last blog, the rocks on the beach at our cabin are lumpy and full of cracks and holes. But if you are looking for interesting shapes to draw this is the place to be.
When you tackle a subject like this it is easiest to do it when the light is intense and when the sun is not at its zenith. What you want are some clearly defined shadows. These were done between about 4:00 and 5:00 on a late July afternoon. Cloudy days when the light is flat will make these rocks more difficult to draw, too. Again, simplify.
The lake is shown in watercolor washes of blue. The bold one in the upper left corner is French Ultramarine blue from my old Windsor Newton traveling watercolor box. That box is too heavy to carry around compared to my smaller Schmincke boxes and I had not had it out to use for ages. Now that I have discovered it again I'm going to take the French Ultramarine pan out and stick it in the smaller box trading it for the Schmincke Ultramarine (UB) pan. I was surprised to see the difference in intensity between the colors. Other washes are cerulean and mixtures of UB and cerulean. The paper is Fabriano 90# cold press in another Roz Stendahl journal.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
PAN artists create and share artwork to encourage protection, restoration, re-connection and stewardship of natural communities of native plants and animals.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Here is another look out onto the great inland sea that is Lake Superior. It was a cloudless afternoon at the cabin. The sky was faintly hazy and yet the lake sparkled like diamonds. A brilliant contrast to the purplish-brown rock. The small spruce tree hangs tight to this rocky, lichen covered outcropping above Lake Superior. It is battered by the elements but its roots go deep into the cracks in the basalt.
This painting is done on book board primed with three coats of vermilion colored clear acrylic gesso. It give me a nice toothy surface, a little rougher than regular gesso. I started using clear acrylic gesso as a ground for my pastel paintings and find it is also nice for oil.
I will be showing this painting along with several others at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin. The show will run August 19 to September 26. The opening reception is Friday evening, August 26 from 6:30 to 8:30. More details about the show next week.
Monday, July 25, 2011
This is a small study of the tool shed by our cabin. Though done in blues it still reads like a white tool shed in what you know are green woods. Funny how the values are more important than the local color. Proof the eye thinks values are more important.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Lake Superior Sunset, Lavender, Pastel 4.25" x 4.25"
Here is another image in the "Twilight" series. The colors in my paintings often bear no resemblance to the local colors I see. However, this and last week's post really do represent the amazing light changes one can experience on Lake Superior's north shore. In both cases the colors are accurate. The light is really gorgeous there. It is a wonderful place to be and a real treat for a painter.
The fact that it is 66 degrees Fahrenheit in Grand Marais right now while we are sweltering in record humidity and temperatures in White Bear Lake makes the lure of the cabin a strong one.
Friday, July 8, 2011
This small painting was done looking west along the shore of Lake Superior to what is known as the Sawtooth Mountain Range.
I started this painting with a watercolor wash to lay in some complementary colors to the pastels used to render the final image. You can see the texture of of the cold pressed Arches watercolor paper. The texture worked out well to help me show both the small waves on the water and the rough rocks of the shoreline. I primarily used Rembrandt and Unison pastels and then put in some details with Carb-Othello pastel pencils.
Pastels work especially well to capture the luminous colors of the long twilight along the north shore of Lake Superior. We are located about forty miles from the Canadian border where in midsummer twilight lasts until after 10 PM on the summer solstice--noticeably longer than twilight in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Not quite the same as the "White Nights" of a Scandinavian summer, but almost.
As I sit here describing this painting, I realize the titles of this series should have been "twilight" not "sunset." Too late: the titles are posted on the gallery walls. If you want to see them in person go to Betsy Bowen's gallery in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The Summer Underground Show will be there until July 27.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Light on Branches Covered With Lichen 10x7.5"
Here is another aging spruce tree near our cabin. Like so many trees on the north shore of Lake Superior, many of the inside branches are covered with lichen which gives them a sort of fairy-dusted look. The complexity of the tangled, needleless branches makes trees like this lots of fun to draw.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Another look at the "thermometer" tree by the cabin deck. This one was done with a Derwent Graphitint pencil #15, Cool Brown. I started with a sharp point and occasionally let the tip get worn down which worked well for shading on the very textured and soft Gutenberg paper. Although the Derwent Graphitints dissolve when wet (and this technique works well on the Gutenberg paper) I kept this sketch dry. Again, the sketch is in a lovely Roz Stendahl journal.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
This is a drawing of a tree by our cabin's lakeside door. You can step out onto the deck and get a bit closer to the Big Lake (aka Lake Superior). It holds an old thermometer that seems permanently stuck on 65 degrees. This graphite drawing was done in a sketchbook made by Roz Stendahl of 180 gm Gutenberg paper. The paper is a dream to draw on, it provides just enough tug on the pencil and is a soft tan that is expecially nice if you are sketching in bright light.