0

Adams Point

Today I drove over to Adams Point in Durham to meet with the NHAA plein air group. On my way from the car I heard some loud screeching and looked up to see a red tail hawk sitting in a tree. It was unbelievably large. After taking a grainy video of the bird I wandered until I found an area to paint.

adamspoint2017 - 1

Adams Point is a large bay off a tidal river connected to the ocean. This means the water is still salty and has tides. It was high tide when I got there and I climbed down the bank to stand on the rocky shore and paint the bay. I was glad I wore hiking shoes because of the terrain.

adamspoint2017 - 2

Above you can see the perspective I was working with.

adamspoint2017 - 3

The painting is only 8 x 10″ and since it’s not too large I was able to finish it in two hours.  I like how the coastline I was standing on curves like an S and is mirrored by the land in the distance. I think it works well from a composition standpoint. Hopefully I can get a couple more plein air paintings done before I am back in school and teaching!

Advertisements
0

Halfway There

Less than a month to go until the end of summer and I’m back in school. I know it’ll go fast. So I have to be as productive as possible with my remaining time. Speaking of which,  I just finished up making my third wheel of cheese. Though while I was waiting I cleaned up my makeshift cheese cave (a mini-fridge) and brushed down the other two wheels and found out I had to toss my second wheel. The first is still doing fine, but the second got too dry and was cracking and breaking. Good news is that I felt the least lost making cheese this time. Still gonna be a couple more tries before I can do it without mistakes.

I’ve still been going to plein air painting sessions on Wednesdays and have two more paintings to show from those sessions. I’m thinking I might set up the GoPro one of these times and do a timelapse. I usually finish a painting within three hours so I should be able to do it in one take. Anyway, here are the paintings:
pleinair2017 - 2

Last Wednesday we went to Wagon Hill Farm in Durham. The farmhouse was under construction and it was hot in the gardens so I followed the walking trails out towards the water and painted a tidal inlet.

pleinair2017 - 1

Yesterday we went to the Coppal House Farm which has a massive field of sunflowers. Again it was hot. And again I couldn’t find inspiration where I thought I’d find it. I wandered around the flowers but wound up back near the farm buildings looking at the different tractors. One of the owners told me that the beast above is used to harvest the sunflowers and grain.

pleinair2017 - 3

I only spent two hours on the painting because they had to use the tractor at noon. I think in the amount of time I had I did a good job of capturing the different edges and corners. It was a fun painting to do.

 

0

In the Spirit of Fall

Crash course in high school English: The Birthday Party – Brush, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World – Marquez, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Alexie, The Dome – Millhauser, 1984 – Orwell, Brave New World – Huxley, and Feed – Anderson. I’ve been working with these titles for the first quarter of my internship. Some of the stories I’d read a while ago, but many were new. I’ve been busy reading and grading and researching and planning. In my free time I’ve been working on a new oil painting, but it’s not quite done yet. In order to keep this blog alive and prove I’m still interested in the arts, I took a snippet of free time on Saturday and painted out a gourd in gouache.

gourd - 1

Before heading north to Maine for a murder mystery party, my girlfriend spent an hour or so making an appetizer to bring and I plopped down at the kitchen table to hash out this 6″ x 3.5″ painting. Small gourds are wonderful to draw and paint because they have distinct angles and planes. I have a couple other gourds and pumpkins floating around the apartment. Hopefully they’ll feature in my next oil painting.

2

Painting in College Woods

At last I am done with the semester. First year of grad school out of the way! To celebrate I headed out into UNH’s College Woods to do some plein air painting. Well, first I bought some 5″x7″ canvas boards, gessoed, and toned them and then I went out.

Woods 5:14:15

Last Thursday was my first real free day and so I got up at six and headed to the woods. Campus was dead, even though graduation was just two days away. It was cold, the sun was barely up, and I bundled up in two layers of sweatshirts. After walking around a bit I finally picked a spot. The lighting was nice and creating a network of interlocking shadows on the tree trunks and ground. I spent about three hours working before the mosquitos drove me away. I met quite a few runners and dogs that morning.

Woods 5:15:15The next day I got up again, though a little later. I made it into the forest by 7:30 and found my spot by 8:00. I parked at a different entrance than last time and found myself on the far side of a pond. I picked a shady spot next to the water and painted the rising trail path. It was a bit more difficult of a painting than the first one. And once again I got driven away by mosquitos. They were horrible. Of course, I’d picked a bad spot as well. But I went out and bought bug spray on Sunday and it was a different story when I went out to paint that afternoon. (I’ll have Sunday’s painting up in the next blog post.)

On Monday the girlfriend and I traveled down to Boston to check out the Leonardo da Vinci drawing exhibit. The da Vinci drawings were mesmerizing and they were juxtaposed with drawings from his contemporaries, like Michelangelo. It was fun to try to compare the artists and see what their differences were. Unfortunately it was a short exhibit. But fortunately there was another major exhibit in the museum, a Hokusai show, so we headed right over to that.

Hokusai was a Japanese artist now known primarily for his print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The exhibit was an exhaustive collection of his works, and though it was interesting to see The Great Wave and the other views of Mt. Fuji, my favorite prints were the ones he did of waterfalls and bridges. Here are my three favorite:

OneHundredBridgesinaSingleView

One Hundred Bridges in a Single View

TheHangingCloudBridgeatMountGyodonearAshikaga

The Hanging Cloud Bridge at Mount Gyodo near Ashikaga

TheFallingMistWaterfallatMountKurokamiinShimotsukeProvince

The Falling Mist Waterfall at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province

There’s a mystical quality about the prints that I absolutely love. While the latter two are from real locations, the first print was concocted after Hokusai had a dream of the place. I’ve been into comics a lot lately and it was interesting to see how graphic and similar Japanese prints are to traditional comics.

After the Hokusai show we wandered around the museum and I decided to do a sketch of Max Klinger’s marble bust of Beethoven.

Beethoven

I tend to gravitate towards sculptures when I’m looking to draw in a museum. It’s hard to replicate a painting through pencil, pen, and white pastel.

BookScanCenter_2 (1)

And when I’ve been given the chance, I’ve turned to doing some imaginary sketching. Here’s a recent doodle that started when I accidentally sketched out the outline of the bunny’s head. I was going for a sea lion, but my pencil had other ideas.

I’m gonna try to squeeze in another blog post before the end of the week. We’ll see what happens. I’m headed off on a road trip to New Orleans on Saturday. I’ll be bringing my easel along!

0

The Race to the End

The school year is drawing to a close and I’ve been inundated with coursework. It’s been stressful. It’s been tedious. But I’ve learned quite a bit. Every week I’m at a local high school teaching the kids about various English things. They’ve been reading The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye and it’s been interesting to return to those texts so many years later. They’re much more enjoyable now than they were when they were assigned. And I suppose I’ve been forced to do closer readings since I have to teach them as well. I’ve had an enjoyable first year of grad school.

But I haven’t been able to draw as much as I like.

4:26:15

This small sketch of one of my teapots was done in a rushed hour before dinner. I experimented with different pen sizes and worked my way from an angular sketch into one with smoother transitions between lines. Not exactly happy with the angle of the teapot, as it feels like it’s leaning to the right, but that’s all right.

Finally, I discovered Jeremy Mann the other week and really liked his work. Check him out!

0

Facts About Pirates That May or May Not Be True

For the final project in my grammar class I worked with a classmate and constructed a children’s book that teaches modal verbs. The title of the book is Facts About Pirates That May or May Not Be True…if you couldn’t tell by the title of the blog post. The pages are meant to be side by side so that children can see the difference between the sentences with modal verbs and the sentences without them.

Grammar Book 1

Grammar Book 2

Grammar Book 3

Grammar Book 4

Grammar Book 5

Grammar Book 6

Grammar Book 7

Grammar Book 8

We chose to put the modals in red to make them noticeable. Hopefully this helps demonstrate the differences between the sentences.

The idea to teach modals through pirates came through a brainstorming session. My classmate and I looked up a list of things kids enjoy and debated each thing. We talked about everything from ice cream to bugs. For a little while I really wanted to do a book based on dinosaur princesses. Maybe I’ll someday get around to making that book idea a reality. We settled on pirates because we felt it was a flexible subject matter that appeals to both boys and girls.

Once we had that figured out, we went through our grammar notes and decided to work with modal verbs. We chose modals because there are only 9 of them: can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, and must. Also, the concepts behind them are not often touched on in younger grades. That’s not to say we are hoping to completely teach modals with our book. No, we just want to introduce them to younger kids.

For the final piece, I drew and wrote 8 pages and my classmate drew and wrote the other 8.We also devised a workbook to use with the pictures to help parents teach their kids more about modal verbs.

I spent between an hour and two hours working on each page. I had done the thumbnail sketches a couple weeks before, so I just scanned them in and used them as base drawings. I used a 100% opaque pastel brush in Photoshop. Occasionally I adjusted the flow from 100% to 70%, but not often.

Since I worked very quickly on the pages, several of them are not as well done as I’d like them to be. There are perspectival and proportion issues in a couple of them. But it was a nice test run of a different art style.

Man would I love to just draw children books all day.

2

Sketching it Out

Staying at my girlfriend’s place this weekend, so when I woke up this morning I decided to do a sketch of her. I set up a desk lamp to focus the lighting and spent about two hours sketching.
20140119-144348.jpg

I made her neck a little too long and positioned the head too high above the shoulders. But it felt good to do some sketching from life.

Hopefully this coming week I’ll have time to get into painting. I’ve been busy with work and finishing the colors on one of my children’s book pages.