Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Did It

Finally I think I have produced a good watercolor. I walked down and sketched this view from Water St, which I have always liked. I didn't take a picture because my printer is out of ink, and perhaps that's what did it for me. I wasn't trying to copy something else, either nature or a photo, and possibly that helped me consentrate on the paint. It's a very overcast day, which is why I decided to make the sky yellow. I think I like it right now, but we'll see how it wears on me.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poco and Me

I finally got the courage to ride. Here I am on Poco.
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Another Try and Taxes

I painted this scene before as a demonstration in one of my workshops. It's an acrylic, and I used it as subject matter for this watercolor. I am beginning to get a little discouraged, but I will persevere in my efforts to recover my watercolor expertise. This one is better than what I did yesterday (which is on the back of this one), but I still have a ways to go.

I am a little distracted by my financial situation, particularly my income taxes. It is so difficult to communicate with the federal government. I called, I went on the internet, and finally wrote a letter. By the time I was ready to mail it, I realized I have used up all my stamps. The letter was only an attempt to put off making a decision anyway, but I simply can not decide how to handle the problem. I have not paid my taxes, and so am being bombarded with threats. I don't have the money, which is why I didn't pay them in the first place, but I can't get hold of anyone to make arrangements to pay on time.

Well, I wore myself out for the time being with today's efforts, and will have to try again another day. Meanwhile, I can keep painting and lose myself in the activity until the heavy hand of Uncle Sam taps me on the shoulder again.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Closer

I drew this on location, , on Boynton St. looking toward Water St. I didn't have time to finish painting it, so brought it home to work on it. The first day I tried for about three hours to make it look good, then washed the whole thing off. Believing I still had a good drawing, I went at it again yesterday. After a few more hours it seemed like a lost cause so I put pastel on it. That made things even worse. So at the end of the afternoon I washed that all off, too. I had to really scrub, and even then a lot of the paint remained. Today I tackled it again, and feel the effort was worthwhile. It's starting to look a little like my old paintings. Actually it looks like the paintings I did when I began studying with Betty Lou. That's definitely heading in the right direction. I had to use a lot of outlining to make the colors look crisp, like I did then. Some of that came from removing the paint, which roughs up the surface of the paper.

Nevertheless, I am encouraged and will keep trying.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

That Time of Year

You can tell it's September and Fall is here when the trees begin to turn and the road crews are out in full force. There is limited time to finish repairing the mess that last Winter made in advance of the new onslaught to come. The coming and going of the seasons certainly reveals the movement of the Earth around the sun, as well as our ever-fluctuating tide reveals the moon's force as it drags the ocean from shore to shore. Then the daily routine of the planet twirling to face the light and then the is it that we feel as if we are standing still while the activity in the sky goes on around us? It just goes to show that point of view is everything.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two Watercolors

After seeing the watercolor picture I got in the mail, I vowed to recapture my old skill. I thought about the circumstances under which I painted my best, and of course it was when I was with Betty Lou. I can never repeat that situation, but I decided to try painting outdoors as I did then, rather than from photos.
I did the first one yesterday sitting on the street with Lisa. Then today I went to the boat school with Diana and Gaye. Before I went, I studied pictures of Betty Lou's work, trying to dredge up some of the enthusiasm she inspired when she demonstrated.

All I can say is I caught some of the spontaneity I used to have, but my skills have diminished with lack of practise. There's no doubt that painting outdoors is a different experience. It's my plan to get out there and do it as long as the weather permits. It remains to be seen if I actually do it, but I like to think I will. I have a distinct style in watercolor that I would like to nourish. Everything I do in other media could be done by any of hundreds, or even thousands, of amateur artists with a certain amount of expertise. Watercolors are unique because the way the brush is handled is as individual as handwriting. It's something I have always known, but doing something new is exciting and seductive. I could never stop experimenting......but I'd really like to stay good at what I do best as well.
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Before and After

Here's the drawing in black and white and then with the pastel over it. I really liked the drawing, but it's hard to resist color. I'm certainly not sorry I changed it.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've been teaching a class in drawing to high school students at the Art Center, which has inspired me to........guess what? Draw. I started this yesterday from a photo of Clark St. I took a few weeks ago. I loved the telephone wires and their shadows on the road. I like the drawing, but now I think I want to add color to it. I thought I should preserve it at this stage in case I don't like the pastel. At least I'll have the picture
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Monday, September 13, 2010


During the time I haven't had time to write, both of my kids visited, with their partners. I so rarely see them it was a great pleasure to have them here. Most of the time I feel like an isolated person with scant connection to other people, but their visits ground me and remind me that I once was in a traditional family....father, mother, son, daughter. We had a lovely middle-class house with a park across the street. We took trips to Disney World, we went camping, we picnicked. The kids participated in theater and music at school. Awards and drawings were posted on our refrigerator. We had teacher conferences and PTA. There were doting grandparents, birthday parties, dancing lessons, visits to relatives. There were costumes to make, school clothes to buy, family Christmases and thanksgivings. There were visits to the pediatrician, new bicylces, the latest toy. All that ended, not when the kids grew up but when life took an unexpected turn for us all........1985 crawled agonizingly to 1987 and a rebirth, a new life.

Looking back over the past is a little like remembering a fine dinner party. The food was delicious and satisfying. The company was compatible, the conversation stimulating. As time went on, though, you were beginning to feel uncomfortably full. You were getting tired. People were starting to drink too much, revealing sides of themselves you didn't really want to know. Leaving was troublesome and awkward, but you did it. The memory of the party soured, tainted by the discomfort of your going, and for awhile you forgot what fun the early part of the evening was. But time passes. You lose the bad and retain the good.

This is not to say that seeing the kids brings back anything unpleasant. To the contrary, it immortalizes all that once was good, and contributes to what still is.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mixed Media

I used everything in the book for, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, gouache. It was an experiment inspired by looking at drawings in magazines. I still love to draw......
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Old Painting

I received a note in the mail from the people who bought this painting from the gallery about 10 years ago. It said they were coming to Eastport and would like me to sign the painting, which is apparently only signed on the back. When I saw the photo they sent, it took me back immediately to the day I painted it, standing on the pier in Gloucester. I remember picking the spot because the subject reminded me of paintings I had seen by John Singer Sarent and I was determined to emulate him. I joked that I was going to channel him.

What a good watercolorist I once was........
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