The first day of summer

Poplar Grove Along the Shore, 9X12, oil on canvasboard, $395, by Carol L. Douglas.
The first day of summer found us huddled up against a cold wind off Lake Ontario, none of us sufficiently insulated against the cold. I’d recommended that my intrepid band of painters—sadly depleted now that the semester is ending—stay out of the direct sun so as to avoid overheating. Foolish me! I should have recommended we wear parkas instead.
It was a mistake to wear shorts. It was a mistake to not wear a parka.
The Great Lakes achieved record ice cover this past winter and we’re still feeling it. The water temperature off Rochester is 58° F, and the winds off the lake pick that up and throw it at us. So even when it was in the high seventies at my house—about five miles from the lake—it was in the low sixties in the shade near the lake.
In Rochester, it’s not too freaky to go to the beach wearing a parka and a bathing suit.
My students borrowed my car and drove to Don and Bob’s for hot drinks and fried food. It didn’t help that Anna then promptly dunked her brush in her tea (it happens), but the onion rings apparently sustained her.
Sandy painting in the poplar grove.

Eventually, we all went home and took hot baths, but it was worth it. A great day of painting!

I have three openings left for my 2014 workshop in Belfast, ME. Information is available here.

Today’s little exercise, a one hour sketch after my class.

West breakwall at Irondequoit Bay, some smallish size or another, oil on canvasboard

Kamillah Ramos was game to paint another hour with me after class so I did a quick study. The problem I’m finding is that the paint hasn’t the gamut for the water color. (It’s rare in WNY to have that insane saturated aquamarine, but we’re having strangely clear skies). On top of that, my camera hasn’t the range to record the color in the painting very accurately, but I’ve given it my best shot. Ahem.

I see this scene as a Maxfield Parrish kind of thing, in unearthly light. I think it’s worth repainting in a more studied format; do you?

Here’s the set-up… again for benefit of my students. Laid down darks first, then midtones, then lights; then refined the shapes.

How to set up a field sketch, for my students’ edification

Cottage at Sea Breeze, 12X16″ oil sketch
This is for my students… a primer in setting up a painting. This is not a finished painting, and it’s probably a bit on the “tight” side since I was doing it solely to demonstrate how I want them to work tomorrow, but so be it.

My goal was to finish this in three hours, including set-up and tear down, since that’s what I expect of them.

  1. I did a sketch in watercolour pencil; then followed that by blocking in the darks.

  2. Then I blocked in the major shapes, working from dark to light, in the right values and hues.

  3. Then I added such details as I was able to finish in the time allotted.
Done in 2 hours, 45 minutes, actually. Would have put the fence details in with a rigger brush but I forgot to bring it. And it was time to go canoeing with my kids.