This week was really great. First, the draft of my research paper was critiqued by the administrators of Princeton's McGraw Teaching and Learning Center and my 11 fellow Fellows and the paper was well received. I do have to make some additions and modifications but this has happened every time I publish so onward. I plan to add the final outcomes of my research and finish the paper. Of course, life outside of the studio goes on and Wednesday was devoted to having my taxes done. I have been going to the same place since I was 15 and sat in my lucky chair. Yes, I don't owe. That is a good thing in the context of life!
Once life was out of the way and my paper was put to bed (for a little while anyway) I returned to the studio on Thursday. I decided before starting anything new that I would complete two watercolors that have been half finished for months. I pick them up, do a little bit and set them down for weeks. I am also adding imprimatura to the panels and debating to order a larger size for oil painting.
I completed the Mott's Creek Fleet watercolor (above) by adding the detail. I decided to include the old white branches to provide a foil for the focus which is the fishing boat. I decided to deviate greatly from the photographic reference (as I usually do) and to add color to the sky which in actuality was a single wash and a lucky one at that. I let the paint bleed and move along the distant marshes. I put my signature on it to tell my brain to stop painting.
As many artists know it is not so much about starting painting but more about when to stop or when to simply start again. I have learned that stopping is critical. Also, admitting that a work is not going well, not worth saving, not a failure but an opportunity to learn is really critical. So moral of the story is...know when to fold...and more importantly, know when to stop.
I also had another painting done from a summer scene photograph of cows in a field. I started it in a workshop with noted watercolorist Jim McFarlane. What I like about taking workshops with Jim is the challenges he relays to his students and as a teacher I appreciate his articulation of concepts and his verbal clarity. He is a great teacher and a fantastic artist.
This painting Winter Moon with Duo, was very challenging. Of course my favorite color combination of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna were ever-present. I used white gouache to complete some of the highlights in the sky. It is a quiet, moody piece and I think I am also done with this. I will probably exhibit both watercolors in the upcoming Associate Artists show at RRCA...coming in April, opening is the 3rd Friday in April and I think I will be in great company with some new Associate Artists (some of my most esteemed students).
Tomorrow I will be attending a workshop with Barbara Cox. In the midst of a torrential rain storm our topic will be the painting of mist and fog in watercolor. Barbara is another inspiring teacher who challenges me. If it goes well, watch for the painting here in the blog next week.
Spring break is here for both ACCC (even though I am on sabbatical leave) and Princeton University. So, next week I return to the studio for each afternoon Monday through Friday unless a day is so nice that I paint outside. I have coated several panels with an imprimatura of first raw sienna and then burnt sienna. I was going to Lehman Lake to paint plein air, or Delaware but I think my travel plans over spring break have been dashed so it will be a full week with each morning at the gym and each afternoon in Studio 3 at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville. More to come as I continue to make art! Below are two small pictures of my studio. Forgive the mess but art is happening there!