Sentries

071516-Courtyard-PalmsThe queen palms serving as sentries for the mighty Date Palm. This is a favorite spot of mine in the landscaping, and these palms always seem so majestic. The viewpoint is a little below grade, from down among the blocks in the water feature. The decorative grasses are only about a foot tall, but I’m eye level to them here.

Laid out with the Kuretake #40 brush pen initially, then washed with color. The foremost palm frond and a few other points employ gouache, although the highlights on the date palm trunk are saved whites. Painted across the spread in my sketchbook.

Cobalt blue, green apatite, some PO62 to mute the blue and Jane’s gray mix for the background black glass building. The palm trunks are Raw Umber (with and without cobalt) and there’s a little PY129 and Naple’s Yellow among the greenery. Oh, and the shrubs are Jadeite. Nine pigments – no limited palette here! At least not for me.

Sketchbook #11 – A Variant of Tied Binding

Book-11-Side-ViewFinally finished editing the pics from making Sketchbook #11. The last several books have used a tied binding, but with the strings hidden under the cover wrap. This time I decided to use exposed ties, inspired by this method described on WetCanvas.com.

I thought this over for a while before making it. I love the look of strings-as-design-element, and wanted to use jute twine, but had a feeling I would not love thick strings at the center of every signature. A little testing proved that notion was correct. I decided to do a hybrid wrap, combining my usual upholstery thread inside, and jute twine outside.

Read more

Sketchbook #11: Il Fornaio again

060816-SB-11-il-fornaioHere’s another take on Il Fornaio. This time I wanted to capture the forest of umbrellas that shade their enclosed patio. Didn’t even notice, until deep in the sketch, that one of the umbrellas was a different shape than the others. I used a bit of Bleedproof White with PV23 to lay in the flower blossoms over the background. It was tempting to add a few silhouette diners behind the glass, but something told me that would go too far and I’d ruin it. Decided to listen for once and stopped, so here it is.

Il Fornaio, then and now

0041916-Il-FornaioThought I would take a break from the courtyard people and sketch this restaurant at lunch. It’s a sit-down place with a quick-serve sandwich shop off to one side – this is the door to the shop. I found a lovely shady spot on the open patio and soaked up some fresh spring air, and painted away.

Just for grins, take a look after the jump for my take on the same shop from early 2012.  Read more

Found: Lighthouse in Progress

Boulder Point Lighthouse IPWent rooting through a paper drawer this weekend, and look what I found! Don’t remember when I started it, must have been 2013 or so. I recall being disappointed with the sky at the time and sort of abandoned the effort. Last night, it started looking good! Some paintings just need to age apparently. Now I like it – time to finish it!

I wondered if this was the lighthouse at Orfordness in East Anglia, but the tops are different. This must therefore be a made-up lighthouse, probably as an excuse to paint the dramatic sky.

A No-Sew Hardbound Sketchbook – Demo

Sketch 9 Finished closedFinished a new sketchbook tonight, and took a few pics. This is my ninth handmade sketchbook and fifth hardbound. The first hardbound book I made in Feb 2012 used a sewn binding that is closer to traditional bookbinding. Since then, I experimented with different options; all five books look quite alike standing together on a shelf, but the underpinnings differ – and some fared much better than others! The last one worked very well though. Except for a few scuffs and dings, it looks as good as the day I made it.

That one was much easier than the first book linked above, and yet held up to daily use and abuse for the 6-9 months it takes me to fill one of these up. It’s really Rosemarie Lütken’s idea done with fancier materials, and looks/feels like a professionally bound book when it’s done. Here’s how I did it.

Read more

Another Lighthouse Paper Test: Fabriano Cold Press

100714 Fabriano CP lighthouse test_CCI find lighthouses are irresistible subjects when I want to test some paper… there is no better excuse to paint a sky!

This is some 140lb Fabriano Cold Press that I’m considering for the next sketchbook. Have been using various brands of 140lb rough for the last three books and decided to change it up a bit. I like using something different in each, keeps me from getting stagnant.

Read more

The Third Bird: Brandt’s Cormorant

091814 Brandts Corm CCI painted three water birds to check out the Garza Papel 140lb sample sheets. Here’s bird #3, a Brandt’s Cormorant. Source image courtesy of stalksthedawn in the WetCanvas Reference Image Library.

Garza 140lb CP, PB28 Cobalt and PBr7 Burnt Sienna. Some of the darker grays are PB29+PBr7. Painted him with thoughts of the compromised young Brandt’s that practically flopped onto my feet during a morning beach walk a few weeks ago. He was struggling to move out of the surf zone and it almost seemed like he came to us for help.

Read more