Thursday, December 17, 2009

Acrylic Sketch of Leigh

20×16″, Golden OPEN Acrylics on canvas covered hardboard
Email me at if interested in this painting.
I was eager to work in a medium that would enable me to layer quickly today, so I grabbed my Golden OPEN Acrylics and a 16×20 canvas covered board for open studio portraiture. I left most of my acrylics upstate, so had to make due with what I had: Cadmium Yellow Primrose, Pyrrole Red, Transparent Red Oxide, Ultramarine Blue, Carbon Black, and Titanium White.
These paints are just sooooo much fun. I prefer them on paper or smooth hardboard rather than canvas, so next time I’ll have to remember to size some watercolor paper or matboard before I go.
Leigh was a really great and beautiful model. We’ll have her for another sitting in January, so I’ll get to sketch her again!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monochrome Oil Sketch of Troy

20×16″, Oils on Canvas covered hardboard
Email me at if interested in this painting.
You may remember two weeks ago when I sketched Troy in pastel. We had no open studio last Thursday since it was Thanksgiving, but today I went back, oils in hand, for another sketch. I used Rembrandt Ivory Black, Gamblin Torrit Grey, and Winsor Newton Artist Titanium White with a little Winsor Newton Griffin Titanium White mixed in to speed drying. I also used Weber Res-n-gel medium.
Troy will keep the same pose for three weeks, and most of the artists are keeping their spots and working all three weeks on the same painting. I waited until after the posing started for any returning artists to reclaim their previous spots before setting up in a new position, but go figure…. (Yes, you know what’s coming!)… As soon as I got set up, someone came in late and said, “You’re in my spot!”
I didn’t really care where I painted from; I just didn’t want to miss the posing time. There is never enough time with the model! Anyway, this ended up being about two hours of posing time altogether. I always seem to have difficulty getting the head situated exactly where I want it on the canvas. This time, I really took my time with placement and it ended up right where I wanted it to be! Amazing!

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Bannerman Island Sketches

These sketches were done on October 21, along with the one I posted that day, although they are displayed out of order. The sketch posted on the 21st is #1. The post above is #3. Below is #2, and the last is #4–my last one of the day and a real quickie.
I didn’t get a chance to finish up the writing and take the pictures until today. Normally I also type out what I’ve handwritten, but with my hand/arm in a cast, it is a long and painful process to do either (not to mention drawing and painting!) Once I’m out of the cast, I’ll edit this post to include all the text.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sketching on Bannerman Island

10×10″, gouache in my kraft paper sketchbook
I had the good fortune to spend today out in the middle of the Hudson River on Bannerman Island, sketching the castle ruins. Because of my recent hand surgery, I couldn’t carry much gear. I just brought my sketchbook and some gouache. This was my first sketch of the day. The tide was very low, and the boat captain told us it was still going out. So, I walked out on a spit of land that jutted out into the river, and provided a great view looking back at the castle. Apparently the captain was wrong; the tide was coming in, not going out! It wasn’t long before my friend Laura called out to me, “Oh my gosh, Jamie, you’d better move right away!” I’d been so focused on my sketch that I didn’t notice my pathway of land had nearly vanished! I quickly threw my gear into my bag and walked back to land. I had to wade part of the way. When I’d reached shore, the spur of land was entirely underwater. I didn’t get to finish my sketch, but it’s a good thing I left the spot before it was done!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Palenville Overlook --- Gouache Sketches from the Catskill Mountains

Gouache sketches, 11×8.5″
Handwritten text:
Palenville Overlook, Sept. 26, 2009
Today was one of those priceless, crisp fall days, perfect for any outdoor activities. My husband and I opted for a hike to the famous Palenville Overlook.
From this spot looking to the west, we could see Kaaterskill High Peak and Roundtop Mountain, as well as the cliff called “Point of Rocks” or Indian Head. I could see sections of Route 23a snaking through the trees 1,100 feet below.
Turning 180 degrees to the east, the view was no less spectacular. We could see the town of Palenville below, and the Hudson River stretching to the north and south, with the Berkshire Mountains way off in the distance.
The colors were showing the emergence of fall. We walked to the old boarding house site and to Point of Rocks before heading home.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Visiting Thomas Cole

3×5″, ink and watercolor on cp watercolor paper
Email me at if interested in this painting.
I am finally back from my painting trip! I’ll be posting those paintings during the week as they are photographed and finished. Some were completed on location, while others need some studio work to finish them up. I wanted to post them as I went about my trip, but time and imaging software didn’t allow! Much as I wanted to take photos of the paintings and scenes like I did at Boscobel, I completely forgot the rest of the time! I’d get back to the house and realize I never took out my camera while I was painting. It seems I get that one track mind once I have brushes in my hand.
I took a trip to Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole Historical Site, with a group of 11 painters last week. I’d done the house tour before, and commented here that I saw the River Views show there a few weeks ago. But the show was so wonderful that I was happy to be able to see it again with so many of my plein air friends. Visiting the home of the father of the Hudson River School is a pilgrimage that I like to do from time to time.
The day started out overcast and drizzly, so most of us just sketched rather than setting out all our equipment and not being able to pack up fast in a downpour! A few of us sketched the Thomas Cole house together from the same angle, sitting side by side. Here’s my version.
I’m using an upgrade of my image editing software, which sizes images differently than the previous version. I hope this image comes out large enough to see!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Apple Blossoms and Alyssum

Whenever I’d drive along farm roads in spring, I always admired the bright yellow fields of Alyssum. Imagine my surprise, when spring came along, to find I now have my own field of them here at the new house! I hope I get to paint them before the flowers die. I snipped one of the last of the apple blossoms to paint.
Here’s my sketching stuff out on the porch. I did the little gouache sketch of the apple blossoms first, then put the alyssum into a small pitcher and painted that.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Hickory Tree

Click image for a larger, clearer view:
10×10″, Cretacolor sepia and white leads in my kraft paper sketchbook

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Click for a larger, sharper image:
10×10″, Winsor Newton and Holbein gouache in my sketchbook
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Feb 07 2009
What’s in the Box?
Few things are as much fun for an artist as that brand new box of art supplies waiting on the front doorstep when you return home. Today I was surprised by this box from Dick Blick that arrived two days early!
Inside were kneaded erasers, some Golden mediums that I’m running out of, plus a few new things to try, like these tubes of Holbein gouache. I got Viridian, Cobalt Blue and Cadmium Yellow Orange to round out my gouache assortment. There was also a great deal on Simmons Titanium brush sets, so I’m trying some of those too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Landscape Sketches

10×10″, Gouache in my kraft paper sketchbook
As you can see, I’m still having way too much fun with gouache in my new sketchbook. I know the text can be difficult to read when I post these pages from my sketchbook. Here’s what today’s page says:
It’s not often that I paint from photos, and it’s even less often that I paint from photos I didn’t take myself! However, this weekend’s Wetcanvas WDE (Weekend Drawing/Painting Event) had some that I just couldn’t resist. Seeing them here now in gouache makes me wonder if I should have painted them in acrylics or oils on a more archival support, or at least so they could be taken out and popped into little frames. Maybe I’ll do another version of these.
Seeing how these gouache landscapes look on this paper makes me think that this could be a fabulous way to work en plein air. I did both of these with only a single, round synthetic brush and a pre-filled Mejillo palette. Pre-cut Canson boards, or other archival matboards with a a similar color to this, would also be lightweight and easy to travel with. They dry instantly, and could be stored in a plastic zip-lock bag for protection.
You can click here to see the reference images uploaded by Wetcanvas member “Upnorthtim”. You can see that I made a lot of changes to the photos in content and composition. Sometimes I do stay more true to a photo, but I never hesitate to change elements, leave things out, or move them around to create my own vision, or to change color and sometimes values. It’s where and how we use that artistic license that creates our individual styles and preferences.
Every Friday, a Wetcanvas member is host of a Weekend Drawing Event in which they upload 16 photos. Members have a week to create art from those photos and post it to the forum. They are not supposed to spend longer than two hours on a painting. Give it a try sometime! It’s great fun to see what so many different artists can do with the same set of images.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hydrangea Sketch

10×10″, Gouache sketch of a hydrangea for a future painting, coming soon!
My husband adores these colors. I’ve prepared a panel with a lighter, scrubby, warm yellow background upon which I’ll paint the blue vase and violet flowers, as my second in this little series of floral works for Valentine’s Day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rose Sketch for a Future Painting

10×10″, Gouache in kraft paper sketchbook
Oil/acrylic painting of this sketch coming soon…Stay tuned!
I am having way too much fun with gouache sketches on this paper! I am thinking of ways to achieve this look with oils/acrylics on a more archival surface. I think I’m going to give it a whirl for tomorrow’s daily painting.
Edit: To see the final painting of this subject, click here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Sketches

I’ve always wanted one of these sketchbooks with the heavy, brown kraft paper. I have a huge roll if it, which I tear off into 24×36″ sheets for figure drawing. I was in Borders yesterday and saw this one on a “discontinued” rack for 50% off. It was “now or never”! It’s a great size at 9-3/4″ square. That’s too large to keep in my purse, but a great size for small gouache paintings, charcoal and pencil drawings, with room to write on the same page too.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this paper is archival, but sometimes the freedom to create something on “junk” leads to something special, which can then be recreated in the studio using better materials. This neutral background gives a midtone against which one can bump lights and darks very effectively. This was just what I needed to get me back into my grove of the Saturday/Sunday Sketches. I even painted my little “Bluebird of Happiness” to show how thrilled I am with the new book!