Times Square at Night, watercolor, India ink, Kit Miracle
The first month of retirement has been interesting. Everyone keeps asking me, “How’s retirement?” “I just feel like I’m on a long vacation,” I reply. And mostly that is true. I’m starting to feel very relaxed. Sleep better. Crossing some things off the inevitable list. This time of year there is so much to do in the country: finish the garden, planting, cleaning, etc.
However, I am still finding time to paint and spend in my studio. I’ve been working on some larger figures in landscapes and have two drawn out. I decided to take a break and work on this watercolor of Times Square at Night this week. If you have ever been there, then you can appreciate how bright the lights are, no matter the time of day. Times Square is always awake, always exciting. That is what I was trying to capture in this watercolor with India ink overlay. Somewhat abstract for me but more detail would not have been beneficial.
My husband and I were able to take our first winter vacation in a very long time. We chose the Florida Keys which we hadn’t visited for over 30 years. Oh, it was so nice to bask in the warmth of the sun.
Plein air painting of Among the Mangroves, Florida Keys 2017
Among the mangroves, Florida Keys 2017
One of the nicest parts about the Keys is that there are so many places that visitors can pull over to fish…or in my case…paint. The Pentalic Aqua Journal (5 x 8) is perfect for painting broad landscapes. In the first painting, I was sitting in the shade while trying to capture the feel of being tucked away in the mangroves. The photos don’t do justice to the amazing aqua waters but it’s a nice memory.
Plien Air Painting from the park in the middle of Marathon, Florida Keys
Photo from the location I painted from the Marathon park.
The second painting was from a small park in the heart of Marathon. I liked the way the house across the inlet was framed by the pine tree. I took liberties to emphasize the house, actually more than I could really see it. Oh, well, that’s what artists do. Enjoy
Posted in landscape, pen and ink, plein air, plein air painting, watercolor
Tagged art, Florida Keys, kit miracle, mangroves, Marathon Florida, pen and ink, plein air, travel, watercolor
Sage Cottage, Adairsville GA Watercolor / pen and ink, Kit Miracle
We were in Georgia last month for a wedding at the Barnsley Estate. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast a few miles away called the Sage Cottage. Owners, Jim and Sharon Southerland, were such gracious hosts and made us feel welcome in every way. The house is actually quite large with really beautiful grounds. Another wedding party had taken over most of the remainder of the rooms. There was plenty of space to roam so I decided to use my time to make this watercolor / pen and ink sketch of the main house. It was difficult to choose a view as the grounds were laid out so well, with hidden nooks, statuary, and gardens.
This was painted in a Pentalic Aqua Journal which has really thick pages, almost like cardboard. I use a couple of clips to hold the pages open but otherwise, there is no buckling from watermedia. I only wished later that I had used a larger sheet of paper, maybe an 11 x 14. This is 5 x 16 (5 x 8 landscape notebook).
First day of vacation for me…finally. So does a plein air painter sleep in? Heck, no! Up at the crack of dawn to paint at the beautiful Lake Patoka which is just right down the road from me. Fortunately the oppressive heat wave is over for a while so the morning could not have been more pleasant.
Lake Patoka has 8,800 surface acres set in a 29,000 acre state recreation area. So peaceful and not crowded. I have been scouting places to paint and selected this site on the eastern side of the lake. No one was there except me and the cormorants fishing for their breakfasts.
Cormorants fishing for breakfast at Lake Patoka
The first painting was facing north with the strafing light and shadows from the right.
Patoka Lake, first site
First plein air painting at Patoka Lake. 11×14, watercolor, Kit Miracle
The second painting was facing west with the sun at my back.
Second site at Patoka Lake
Second plein air painting at Patoka Lake, 11 x 14, watercolor, Kit Miracle
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
Irises by the Woodshed
May is a very busy time here in the country. Cleaning up winter debris and preparing and planting summer crops. However, I have managed to find some time for some plein air painting, mostly sketching really.
The first three paintings are just around the yard. I try to catch the spring flowers before they’re gone. I particularly like watercolor with pen and ink overlay. These were all painted in a Pentalic Aqua Journal, 5 x 8, landscape format. The double pages really are challenging but, as you know, artists always like trying new things. The watercolor is actually a small travel set that I’ve had for years (decades?). And the pens are Micron in various sizes .01 to .05, mostly black but I am experimenting with red and burgundy.
Azaleas and Hostas by the Woodshed
On the Patio, watercolor / pen and ink, Kit Miracle
At the Riverwalk, Jasper IN, watercolor / pen and ink, Kit Miracle
Riverwalk, brown ink, Kit Miracle