|Early spring morning, Piseco Lake, oil on canvasboard, 12X16|
Yesterday, I wrote about a Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook that Jamie Grossman gave me, and my first attempt to pre-sketch my paintings in it in watercolor.
This morning as I walked my appointed rounds, I carried the sketchbook and watercolors instead of my camera. The first thing I noticed—of course—is that it took rather longer to make my circuit than it usually does.
I’ve had my eye on this lovely house set on a hill for a few years, and there being a convenient bench, I sat down to sketch it. (I decided that it will be a better painting when the leaves are leafed out.) From there, I moved to a tree in the deep woods with a triple trunk, which proved to be very difficult, but which was good observationally. In both cases, I was approaching the project too much like real painting, which just irritates when all one has is one small brush.
|My sketch, a bench.|
This last sketch I did much more quickly, just ripping off a pencil drawing and then flooding the sheet with a color map. And it is frankly more satisfying than either of my earlier sketches (which you can’t see because I finished my day after dark and forgot to photograph them).
Because I didn’t have a toned canvas, I decided to underpaint my finished study in alkyds. (By this point, time had ceased to be a meaningful constraint.) And it was a good day for them, too—the wind whipping off the lake dried them in no time. My alkyd painting is a simplified but direct rendition of the watercolor sketch.
In the end, this painting took me about four hours, and that is about what I’d expect for a field sketch of this size (12X16). So whatever time I spent on the watercolor sketch was saved on the final project.
|Alkyd underpainting, transcribed from
Marilyn Fairman has joined me in the hermitage, and we spent the afternoon painting intensively. Tomorrow, we have all day to paint. What a joy that will be.