Saturday, June 26, 2010

Keeping Records

When you finally make it into that sought-after prestigious gallery, you need to start keeping records of where your paintings are, the titles, when you took them in, when they were returned to you, whether they were framed or matted, the price you are asking, and hopefully, the fact that they were sold. Even if the gallery gives you a consignment sheet every time, it's better to have this information all in one place.

I keep a notebook with a photo of the painting (titles can be rather similar or repetitive) and a place for the information about its location. Here's a photo of one of the pages from my record book.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Windjammer Days

Today is the annual Windjammer Day in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. There are craft shows, food vendors, musical groups, a street parade, and of course, the stars of the whole show....the windjammers. But this morning I awoke to the sound of rain which quickly passed to fog. I despaired that the day everyone works so hard for would be a washout. But magically, at 2:30, the hour the windjammers were to make their parade into the harbor, the fog lifted, and now the sun is trying to peak through. It looks like the street parade and the fireworks are still on.

Tomorrow I'll post some photos of the scene. Meanwhile, here's a painting I did last year of one of the Windjammers anchored overnight in Lobster Cove.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Painter's Block

After four fairly awful paintings to start the season here in Maine, I decided to return to a familiar subject so I could get back to the basics. Sometimes you just can't pick up where you left off; you have to concentrate on the fundamentals, even if it means going backwards for a while.

This is a subject I've painted dozens of times. It is a simple composition with a single overlap and an interesting silhouette. Also I slowed down the painting process, staying lighter longer. Using familiar colors and glazes also made the painting sequence comfortable.

When facing painter's block, it might be helpful to make a short list of basic elements and principles that you want to include in your study. Don't try to paint your masterpiece; just paint a good solid painting using techniques that are already in your repertoire. The flash will return soon enough. It always does.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Populating Your Paintings

Sometimes landscapes make it look like there's not a person on the planet. Every once in a while, I like to do a painting of people doing something, and not just as accessories to the scene.

Here's one of my favorite painting locations in Boothbay Harbor. It seemed as if everybody got the memo that they were biting today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

That Important First Wash

Putting down the first wash in watercolor is very important. It is the "ground" that gives unity to the colors to be placed on top. In the first wash, you can establish a warm or cool or a dominant color.

In "Doc Griffin's Cabin," look at the first wash of yellow ochre. It is obviously on the side of the cabin, but it also extends to the pilings and to the rocks below. Gradually I introduced other colors next to the yellow ochre so that they blended where they met in a diffused manner.

In the second wash, notice how the yellow ochre provides a link as it flows from pilings to rocks. I was careful not to paint the ground/rocks right up to the pilings so that the light and the color would flow into the next area. Your eye does the work of distinguishing wood from rocks without a hard line to do it. Also I didn't have to paint the pilings but only the darker background that popped them out.

Use a wet-in-wet first wash to give unity and linkage.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cozy Harbor

There is actually a dispute as to how this quintessential Maine cove's name is spelled. Gus Pratt, proprietor of Pratt's General Store, maintained it was Cosy Harbor, according to some old navigational charts. A near war broke out when the Department of Transportation insisted on putting up a new road sign, and Gus got to them first. Letters to the Editor were written in protest, and some neighbors broke off communications for a while. Gus remained stubborn. I've seen some of those charts, and the spellers were not all that reliable. At any rate, it is now Cosy Harbor on the road sign, so Gus lives on in the controversy.

No matter, this pleasant spot is my destination for tomorrow's outing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back Home

Even though it's cold and rainy and foggy, Maine has my heart all wrapped up in its pine scented core. It may be a few days before I can get back to painting, but my eyes are open. I've already gotten a few ideas from a stopover in Old Orchard Beach where the Pier and the carnival rides have captured my enthusiasm.

For now, here's a painting of Ocean Point.