In the 1800s the lower lakes were the most populated in the Great Lakes system. At one point fatalities from storms blowing over Lake Erie’s large shallow body of water from southwesterly gusts took such a heavy death toll that a weather warning system was finally created to help save lives.
Many of us do art to keep a healthy spirit and improve our lives. In a sense, it does save our lives, and I’m no exception. My friend Paula Braun sent me her photo of January 26, 2016, of this mayhem in Crystal Beach. Obviously, my watercolour isn’t a Plein air work, but I completed it in the safety of the indoors using her reference.
Drawing and painting are the husband and wife in life’s art experience.
Thoughts on Drawing and Painting
Some of my associates have asked me how I go about a painting project such as this: How long does it take to paint or what materials do I use? I’m reluctant to illustrate an idea unless it has some dynamic quality, a theme, or makes a statement about our social, spiritual or physical environments. Otherwise, I begin to question what was the point of it all. Perhaps a work might reference a snapshot or a few shots that I combine with another theme or statement. Also, the arrangement of objects on the paper or canvas might be pleasing and eye catching. Ideas emerge from many sources; especially from nature or from the human figure. I prefer to create my compositions, but sometimes one reference can say it all which was the case with the above painting. I’ll credit my references wherever I can; i.e., After a photo by ABC photographer. Where needed I will also get permission to take photos for portrait or figure studies.
On Drawing and Painting
Drawing and painting are the husband and wife in life’s art experience. You can’t expect to enjoy your creative relationship unless you are comfortable with the intimacy of both of these activities. That said, any project should begin with a thumbnail drawing, and this helps you make decisions as to layout and also about value. To understand the value (lightness or darkness) is to grasp the key to creating depth in your work. Your pencil design should clearly define the elements of your composition; in particular for portraits. Then you can decide what areas you want to be light and what areas to be darker (centre of attention). When I render the painting itself I usually start with the sky or background, if any. Anything that is in the distance is usually near the middle or top and is a small value application; but remember you may repeat these elements in the foreground; for example reflection of sky in foreground water.
Just as in any relationship, don’t rush it. You don’t want to make hasty decisions in your painting that might upset the balance. Keep a balance in everything you do, and everyone will be happy. Most of all don’t be too critical and beat yourself up, but love everything you do and life’s storms won’t get to you.