When I arrived in Rockport, Mass. this morning I knew I was going to sketch this scene. Little did I know that this was the ultimate artist’s subject of the New England coast. This fishing shack was built in 1884 and dubbed Motif Number 1 by the painter Lester Hornby. I hope I did it justice.
Today was the first time I painted on a suspension bridge, hanging over the Queechee Gorge in Vermont. Every time a truck rumbled by I was afraid all my stuff would go tumbling over the edge so I hung on tight to my brushes. It’s hard to take a photo of a vertical spread in the Moleskine so I’ll have to scan it when I get home.
I have been looking at a lot of water lately as I painted at different yacht clubs and marinas for the past few weeks. I find that I often overwork the water and it loses its freshness. One of the reasons I didn’t post my first sketch from yesterday was that I messed up the water by painting a big area with a wash that was too dry (there’s nothing worse than dry-looking water!). Today I decided to tackle it head-on by choosing a spot at the Baie d’Urfé Town Hall where I faced the pond in the foreground and the lake in the distance. Of course I placed my chair carefully so as not to incur the wrath of the red-winged blackbird who tried to peck out my eyes last week. And then I spent a good long time just looking at the colours and the values of both the lake and the pond.
Today is one of those days when I struggled with a painting and I had to trash it and do something new. I had the bright idea that I would sketch the farmers who were distributing my weekly basket of CSA vegetables. I love those lively “people in action” sketches. Also a disaster. I really don’t know how artists sketch people at events. I’m hoping that someone at the Urban Sketchers Symposium will reveal the secrets of that skill to me in Santo Domingo. Last resort — sketch the vegetables in the basket that I received from the farmers who I couldn’t sketch.
I have looked at these boats at the yacht club many times and even started several drawings. But each time I attempted this I got caught up in the details of this complex subject and I wasn’t very successful in my rendering. Today I started with a different idea — just try to capture the essence of these boats Shari! What is the essence of a sailboat? Masts, booms, rigging, sails, and hulls. The rest is just details (at least for a sketcher). So lots of verticals and even though the masts are not very accurate and the rigging sometimes leads to nowhere I think I can safely say that most people will understand that these are sailboats.
The Adirondack chair is a true summer classic. You can buy them all over the place these days or make your own from a kit. They even come in a coloured PVC version, but these old guys are made from wood. The problem with them is that they have weathered to an even grey, as has the lattice behind them and they are sitting on grey brick. Doesn’t make for a very lively sketch. So I had to be a little inventive with the colour here, using lots of winsor violet, raw sienna and cobalt blue.