I have frequently posted paintings on here that are quick sketches, plein air or otherwise. These usually only take an hour or two. I have friends who can knock out four paintings a day, and darn good ones, too.
But…sometimes it is good to spend some time studying a subject. These two paintings that I completed this month are examples of that philosophy.
Ginko, watercolor on paper. 19.5 x 27, Kit Miracle
Ginko is one that I’ve been rolling around in my head for a couple of years. It is a full-size watercolor. I haven’t done a watercolor of this size for several years so it was good to try my hand in it again. (I painted watercolor for 25 years before switching to oils several years ago.) Ginko is a study of the ordinary. What is below your feet. I saw this one day as I was leaving the post office. The Postmaster later told me that many post offices in Indiana have ginko trees planted outside (males only). I think he said it was some kind of Girl Scout project but I’m not sure about that. I just loved the soothing shapes and colors. The painting itself was a lesson in patience. Why did I choose to paint all those rocks!?!
Generosity, oil on canvas, 20 x 16, Kit Miracle
The second painting is an oil that I call Generosity. It is from an very old black and white photo of a family member. She was always so generous; you never left her house empty-handed. I actually worked on the prep for this for several months, doing countless studies in pencil, charcoal, etc. This painting may actually end up being a preliminary study itself as I was planning to do a much larger work.
So, the lesson here is to enjoy the fast painting, dashing off a sketch or plein air piece. But sometimes you can be rewarded by taking your time and creating something really worthwhile.
Hoosier Desk Building, Final. Watercolor / pen and ink, 11 x 14, Kit Miracle
Today I decided to paint this old factory building. It has undergone so many renovations and additions over the years. Very interesting from many aspects. I selected this broad scene (and it really could have been a panorama if I had brought larger paper with me). I may end up doing some close-ups of the interesting architecture over the coming months.
Today’s challenge was to work with some speed in order to beat the changing position of the sun and the shadows. This is why so many artists like to paint on cloudy days. I don’t so I just have to paint quickly or remember where I want to keep the sun and shadows even as they move.
Plein air painting, Hoosier Desk Building. Beginning
Old Oak on College Avenue, watercolor, pen and ink, 11 x 14
I have a lovely long drive to work every day, about 20 miles through fields, woods, and small villages. This is a great time for taking stock of my thoughts, listening to recorded books, and looking for future painting subjects. One place that I pass every day is this field with the giant old oak tree. The past week the field in front of it has been showcasing an abundance of Black-eyed Susans. I couldn’t resist heading to town on Saturday to paint this scene. It was so serene. Cooler weather, mocking bird singing, a doe and her fawn stopped to peer at me across the field. The occasional jogger and walker.
The point here is that sometimes when you’re searching for a subject to paint, you don’t have to go very far. Look around you. Beauty is everywhere.
Preparing to paint the old oak tree and field of Black-eyed Susans