Saturday, November 9, 2019

November Sunset

The days have turned suddenly cold; the autumn colors have been blown from the trees; and the more subdued tones of late autumn have overtaken the landscape.  A busy work schedule has kept me from hiking in the woods and painting, so when a friend sent me some sunset photos last night, I jumped on the opportunity to paint the beauty he captured with his camera.  I started with a wet-in-wet series of washes in the sky, and when that had dried, I sketched the wintry trees and shrubs in the foreground, inking them in with a small Sumi brush and India ink, and touching up details with an 05 Micron pen.  It felt good to connect with the landscape, even through a photo of it.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Hike in the Autumn Woods

A gorgeous autumn afternoon beckoned today, so I loaded up my backpack and set out on a 5-mile hike.  Everywhere I looked was brilliance and beauty.  I stopped along the way to eat the lunch I'd packed, sitting right down on the trail under the most magnificent maples.  Sunlight illuminated the golden leaves so they looked like lanterns.  How relieving to the soul to dwell under trees like this:

On the hike back, the setting sun poured in from the west to fill the woods with long, low rays and blaze through the brilliant leaves.

Happy Autumn to all! May you get a chance to witness nature's great show!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Race to Capture Autumn

The last few evenings, late autumn light has poured from a clear sky over a richly colored landscape.  These are the days I wish I could stop time and just paint.  But my schedule is full, so I steal time to create when I can.  Tonight, I raced the setting sun with my watercolor brush, then finished the painting indoors, adding touches with my Prismacolor colored pencils.

Happy Autumn!

Flaming Sassafras and Maple leaves glow like lanterns in the late evening sun, while a bare limbed apple tree and raspberry bushes gather deep shadows.

Friday, October 18, 2019

A Rainy Autumn Afternoon

Why is it that a rainy day seems to bring out all the fall colors ? The wet sky today had such a palette of colors -- indigo, magenta, violet -- as the sun sank in the west.  The cottonwoods seem to find the slightest breeze to wave their golden leaves, and they stand in stark contrast to the stalwart spruce trees.  How privileged I feel to have spent the last of the day's light with a paintbrush in my hand.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Master Copy

I'm taking a Figure Drawing class at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts & Media, and one of the assignments we were given was to copy a master artist's work.  Copying in art -- so long as you don't try to pass the work off as an original of your own creating -- is not cheating.  It's a traditional way to learn from the great artists.  I love the high contrast in the original drawing, and in trying to approximate the original, I discovered how dark shadows are often accompanied by bright highlights. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Trip to Moraine State Park

I got the opportunity to visit Moraine State Park on a gorgeously sunny day this week. The autumn colors reflected in still water, the brilliantly blue sky, the cool air inspired me to rush to capture every bit of the fall beauty I could.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Autumn's Flame

The Staghorn Sumac trees outside my home have been dropping their scarlet leaves -- plenty of fodder for a quick watercolor sketch at the breakfast table.