Abundance

fountainsketch

Livermore Fountain, ink and watercolor sketch

livermorefountjpg

Early stage -Photo on location

There has been a drought in California. There has been a shortage of posts on this blog in addition to the severe lack of precipitation. Despite the drought, this fountain in the heart of downtown Livermore, California continues to put forth cascades of water. It once seemed like an excess when the average resident was going to great lengths to conserve the precious water. My worries were put at ease when I learned that the fountain used recycled water. The symbol of abundance in the Livermore Valley was a challenge to capture in this sketch. I see several errors in the structure of the trellis, but I tell myself that this is a sketch. The goal is not to make a completely accurate rendering, but rather capture the essence of the scene. I hope that was achieved.

Americana

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5x7, pen and wash

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5×7, pen and wash

Recently I visited family in Massachusetts and we stopped by the Marshfield Hills General Store which is now owned by actor and comedian, Steve Carrell. In a Boston Globe interview Steve, a native of Massachusetts,  explained that he saw this as an opportunity to preserve a little piece of history. He felt that the gathering places of general stores give people a sense of community. The Carrells have owned the store since 2009.

I remember going to this store in the early 60’s with my friend who lived nearby.  She and I rode horses, stopped and tied them outside on a post, and entered the store for a snack.   When I visited the store with my parents last week, it was a snowy afternoon filled with memories of the town where my father was once a high school  science teacher. How wonderful that Steve Carrell appreciates the importance of preserving this general store!  The Marshfield Hills General Store and Post Office is located at 165 Prospect Street in the Marshfield Hills Historic District.

Technical notes: Studio sketch from a photo of the Georgian Colonial General Store in a Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, Micron pen and Watercolors by Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Brake For Sheep

Sheep (detail), watercolor

Sheep (detail), watercolor

On the road to the iconic Mont- St.- Michel, the island monastery off the coast of Normandy , the traffic came to an abrupt halt while we were on a family trip a few years ago.  We got out of our rental car as we saw others exiting the tour buses.  To our surprise it was not a car accident, but a flock of muddy sheep strolling across the ridge of the causeway to the abundant grazing land on the far side.

The moment that I saw the image in the camera, I knew that it was to be a future painting.  I did a study for a more detailed watercolor on an 11x 15 sheet of Arches paper.  I can see that the composition would be improved if I raise the horizon to the top third of the paper.  Also, I plan to add more details to the foreground puddles of water.  The water could also be improved by saving the lighter values for highlights. The color and the mist didn’t photograph well, but will also be strengthened. The sheep which are the main focus, could also be improved with attention to the details of the legs and facial features. Additional sheep on the right will also be included in the final painting. Can you tell that I am fond of sheep?

Sheep at Mont-St.- Michel, watercolor, 11x15( study)

Sheep at Mont-St.- Michel, watercolor, 11×15,(study)

On a Mission

 Capistrano Courtyard, watercolor, 12x16

Capistrano Courtyard, watercolor, 12×16

I had been working on a watercolor of Mission San Juan Capistrano this week. It has been some time since doing a project in watercolor other than demonstrations in techniques for my class. I didn’t realize how timely the subject was until hearing the news today that Pope Francis announced that Father Serra who founded the California Mission in San Juan Capistrano in the 1770’s would be made a saint. I won’t get into the politics surrounding the missions or the Church here. But, there is little debate about the beauty of the courtyard garden within the old mission walls.

The watercolor is based on a reference photo which I used to sketch onto a watercolor block of  Arches 140#. Then I first added the shadow walls that surrounds the arches with a dark mix of cobalt blue and burnt umber.  To that mixture I sprinkled Kosher salt to add texture and let it dry. Other watercolors were Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Coral,  Cobalt Blue, and Sap Green in either Winsor Newton or Daniel Smith brands.

It was a good change to work on a watercolor project of Mission San Juan Capistrano.  If you ever get a chance to visit the mission, I recommend it.