Snapshot Cafe (watercolor 14 x 23) $600
Despite the lack of canals and only a single bicycle, this is Amsterdam on a summer evening. But it could be anyone of a number of European street scenes.
The title is a bit of a pun. I painted the picture from a series of snapshots, and girls in the foreground are sharing a snapshot. I hope the atmospheric nature of the painting has little to do with snapshots.
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Late Afternoon Florence (13 x 22 watercolor) $600
Florence is worth visiting just to walk the streets. The twisting turning little alleys are endlessly fascinating. The light pours through in dramatic shafts between the buildings spotlighting slivers of streets and buildings.
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10th and Washington (watercolor 11 x 15) $200
Last month, my husband and I were out and about in downtown Portland, after having spent the early afternoon at Powell’s Bookstore. Stephen patiently followed me around the hot pavement as I photographed street after street. The sun was brilliant after a cloudy spring, and the light on the streets and buildings almost blinding.
Here’s my first attempt at the heat and glow of that afternoon. I began by giving the paper of light wash of quinacridone gold. After the wash dried I very carefully sketched out the scene. Then I washed the sky with cobalt blue and the pavement with a mixture of quinacridone deep red rose and gold. Next, I masked a very few small light details.
With the paper ready to begin painting in earnest I began with the shadows and the lamp. The shadows are phthalo blue and deep red rose. The lamp is the same plus some burnt sienna. I painted the man in the window next and then glazed over him and the window multiple times. Then I loosely dropped in the tree and the background foliage at the end of the street. After that I worked up and down the buildings washing in the light and building up the darks.
In the end I think the shaded part of the building on the right takes up too much attention, but I’m not sure. I’ll try something similar again soon.
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Reflections in the Late Afternoon (14 x 19 watercolor) $250
This is Gig Harbor, Washington in the late afternoon, though it could be almost any harbor for pleasure craft. I love to do reflections and docks are a great place to find them. In the late afternoon, the water gets almost black and the reflections of white boats become even more dramatic. But it was the contrasting wooden hull of the right most vessel that really caught my eye.
I often delete the names of boats, but I liked the name Simplexity so I kept it in. I”m not entirely sure what “simplexity” means, but my painting is of a complex scene much simplified by the process of elimination, so it seems to fit somehow. The brightness of the light eliminated some detail for me and the deep shadows eliminated some more. I just went with the flow and removed some background boats, a lot of rope, and much hardware.
The real trick was getting the orangey wood of the boat to carry enough to make it the center of interest despite the extreme contrast of the white boats against the blue-black water. To get the orange I wanted I mixed burnt sienna with new gamgee. Then I glazed portions of it with quinacridone Rose Madder and more new gamgee. I deliberately downplayed the flag in favor of the hull. Down in the reflections the flag does become a secondary center of interest.
My palette also included cerulean blue, phthalo blue, and cobalt blue.
I worked without mask this time painting each boat, in tandem with it’s darker less vivid reflection. After I finished the boats I added the water in phthalo blue dulled with burnt sienna.
This painting is currently for sale on line at my Etsy shop. Or purchase a print here.