Last Tuesday, not yesterday but Tuesday of last week, we painted at the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island, a narrow strip of land called Gilbert’s Bar. It was a nice breezy day and I decided to paint the beach instead of the buildings. The limestone rocks alone are an interesting subject. Even though I had time for a second small painting I still painted the rocks and ocean instead of the buildings. So here are mama and baby paintings from last Tuesday.
Met some friendly beach walkers and one dog that was mostly interested in digging to China.
One time while walking near a dock I saw some manatees and one seemed to have a problem. After talking to a local officer they found that she had been playing this trick all along the coast and in fact she was fine, but seemed to like the attention. Silly cow.
Here’s a nice video, so you can see what they look like:
The reed pen is a very simple instrument that van Gogh used to perfection during his time in Arles. Vincent made his own pens and after buying some I see why. The pens that you can buy at art supply stores are made of bamboo and the ones that I bought were marked small, medium and large – all the same price. It took me a little while to figure out what the sizing meant. The sticks were similar in size and it was actually the points that were different sizes. After using the pens, I’ve decided to modify them to suit my needs because I find that the finer points aren’t very useful.
Drawing with a reed pen is fun and requires a mark making language. Mine needs more development. The paper I used was a heavy weight, 140 lb., hot pressed watercolor paper. van Gogh used laid paper and I did find some at Staples but haven’t tried it yet, other than to scribble and see how it feels. The reed pen flows better on the stationery than the watercolor paper. I’ll keep trying other papers until I find one that works best for me.
More beach paintings! This time I’ve included a picture of each painting in their frames. These are small works, all 6×8 – oil on panel, and look great in wide white molding frames – the width of the molding is about 3 1/2 inches.
The brilliant blue is compliments of Gamblin – go to www.gamblincolors.com and click on Torrit Grey to see the paintings that were submitted. This year all Torritt Grey participants (remember the Torritt Birds http://hobesoundartist.com/2012/09/29/torrit-bird/) received a free tube of “Cote d’Azure” along with another tube (mine was white). The backstory is that their master paint maker, Matt and his wife Liz went to France for their honeymoon and the water inspired this color. The color is perfect for Florida, hope they keep making it!
The paintings are all down at a small, new boutique in Hobe Sound; Juno Shoe Girl on S. Dixie Hwy. The shop has a beachy theme and my beach paintings have sold well there. You can find more information about Juno Shoe Girl here: http://junoshoegirl.com/
In honor of “Uncle Phil” Algozzini who passed away recently at the age of 82. This portrait was done as part of the Hobe Sound Project a few years ago – the exhibit wouldn’t have been complete without him, just as Hobe Sound isn’t complete without him. His portrait is as colorful as he was. He was such a supportive person that he claimed he liked this painting, but it scared one of his nieces. Algozzini’s Hawaiian Shop is on Rt. 1 in Hobe Sound, FL.
This was a quick study that I did some time ago. Since I’m working on something else right now, I’m not able to post that painting until it’s finished. Pastels go through an ugly stage that I don’t share with anyone. My husband used to pass by my works in progress and think the paintings were horrible, but then would be surprised when he saw the finished product. He would be seeing the first layer of pastels. Although all the layers contribute to the final painting, they sort of disappear eventually – or visually mix together. So the first layer is usually the undertones, the shadows and might not even be the right shape yet. It’s all very scratchy and scrawly. It’s a different story when using an underpainting though and one of these days, when I have a chance, I’ll post that process.
Hopefully the new painting will have the same energy that this does. However, there won’t be any bouganvillas in it, but plenty of other flowers.
The magnolias are blooming like crazy this year – or more than they have in the past – I tend to exaggerate. We have two trees in the yard. One in the front and one in the back.
They are the big trees with the big flowers. They smell great! Some magnolia trees in the neighborhood are dwarf trees with the big flower, which is nice because the flowers are lower. With the big tree it’s hard to even get a good photograph of the blooms because they are so high. However, once in awhile, if you can catch it at the right moment (the flowers peak on one day and then they’re done!) blooming on a lower branch you’ll be able to at least have a photograph to work from.
Here is one of my favorite painting spots at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on the bank of the Loxahatchee River. In the past I’ve seen very large gators here and often there are kayakers going by too. Not together.
This first plein air is done on an 8×10 panel that I made with a gritty coating to give the surface texture. It’s done in pastels, pure brilliant pigment – in stick form – better than crayons!
Next on the Loxahatchee, same place different day and time, was also a textured panel – much bigger and was done as a class demonstration. The class wanted to also see how to underpaint so I used some rubbing alcohol over the pastels, which solidified the background. Then I waited a bit for the painting to dry and finished the pastel on top.
Wait, I’m not done – there’s one more for now – this one is same place – of course a different day and time and different paper! Viewpoint is slightly farther down on the river bank. This one is my favorite – it too has an underpainting – this time with watercolor.
The watercolor underpainting is a great tool. You can get some great darks in without getting too messy and build some beautiful shadow areas. Also the pink undertone in the sky and water adds luminosity and air.
Looking at all these together like this makes me want to go there again.
I can’t promise that these are all the paintings that I have done or will do of the Loxahatchee River.
Welcome to Design of the Picture Book! I'm Carter Higgins, and I'm a writer and librarian for kids. I spent a spectacular stint as the Children's Book Editor at <a href="http://www.designmom.com/">Design Mom</a> which I loved! You can find my column <a href="http://www.designmom.com/category/childrens-lit/">here</a>.<br /> I'm a K-6 librarian, a former-ish graphic designer, an SCBWI member, and a huge fan of words and pictures.<br /> Represented by <a href="http://www.rpcontent.com/">Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC</a>.