When Do I Know I’m Done?

I thought I was done… scanned it and closed the book.

I was happy, at least I thought I was, yet I knew something was off. I studied it using what Roz Stendahl calls the “editing eye”. This isn’t some rash commentary from my internal critic but an honest review of technique and composition to determine what could be improved.

Although I lost the tilt of his head in comparison to the inspiration photo I could live with that. Instead I focused on how washed out my watercolors looked. Now that was something I could change.

Another layer of darker pigments for his hair and beard and a deeper orange glaze for his jacket and I was done.

Not perfect… but done.

#Arteza A4 watercolor book

Into the Mystic with J.M.W. Turner

Last week I showed a few photos of my sketchbook from my visit to see the Turner watercolor exhibit but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. You see, today I’m going to inundate you with photos I took of both the location and the exhibit itself. Fortunately photos were not only allowed but encouraged.

J.M.W. Turner… Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April, 1775 – 19 December, 1851)

Turner01_MysticSeaportMuseumThompson

Turner02_MysticSeaportMuseumSign

Turner03_MysticSeaportMuseumTateSign

Turner04_MysticSeaporMuseumInterior

Turner05_MysticSeaportMuseumSignage

The Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT is perfect, located on the Mystic River just as it empties into Fishers Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  It seems William Turner, throughout his life was enamored of the sea and its seafaring vessels. The exhibit includes works spanning his life as early on he depicts architecture for his patrons while he transitions to studies of landscapes and light. All of these are awe-inspiring but I was particularly taken with his more atmospheric ethereal pieces done in his later years when he bucked society’s expectations and experimented and created for his own pleasure.

The photos that follow are roughly in chronological order and are heavily weighted to his later work that I love so much.  I’m not going to describe them but instead have captioned each work for reference.  Oh, and please excuse the reflections from the glass… you may want to google the captions to find better online images.

Turner07_LochLongMorning1801

Loch Long Morning 1801

Turner08a_DurhamCathedralTheInteriorLookingEastAlongTheSouthAisle1797-8

Durham Cathedral: The Interior, Looking East Along the South Aisle 1797-8

Turner08b_Blurb:DurhamCathedralTheInteriorLookingEastAlongTheSouthAisle1797-8

Turner09_BrentToorAndTheLydfordVelley,Devon1814-16

Brent Toor and the Lydford Valley, Devon 1814-16

Turner10a_AHulkOrHusksOnTheRiverTamar:Twilight1811-14

A Hulk or Husks on the River Tamar: Twilight 1811-14

Turner10b_Blurb:AHulkOrHusksOnTheRiverTamar:Twilight1811-14

Turner11_KirkbyLonsdale1817

Kirkby Lonsdale 1817

Turner12_ShieldsLighthouse1823-6

Shields Lighthouse 1823-6

Turner13a_Banditti,ForSamuelRogers'sItaly1826-7

Banditti, for Samuel Rogers’s Italy 1826-7

Turner13b_Blurb:Banditti,ForSamuelRogers'sItaly1826-7

Turner15_TheForum,ForRogers'sItaly1826-7

The Forum, for Rogers’s Italy 1826-7

Turner16a_Venice:SanGiorgioMaggiore-EarlyMorning1819

Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore – Early Morning 1819

Turner16b_Blurb:Venice:SanGiorgioMaggiore-EarlyMorning1819

Turner17_Marly-Sur-Seine:ColorBeginning1829-30

Marly-Sur-Seine: Color Beginning 1829-30

Turner18_AWreck,PossibleRelatedTo

A Wreck, Possibly Related to “Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End” 1834

Turner19_BamburghCastle,Northumberland1837

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland 1837

Turner20_(Whitehaven),Cumbria1835-6

(Whitehaven), Cumbria 1835-6

Turner21a_CoastalTerrain1830-45

Coastal Terrain 1830-45

Turner21b_Blurb:CoastalTerrain1830-45

Turner22_SeaAndSky1845

Sea and Sky 1845

Turner23_Venice:LookingAcrossTheLagoonAtSunset1840

Venice: Looking Across the Lagoon at Sunset 1840

Turner24_Venice:AnImaginaryViewOfTheArsenale1840

Venice: An Imaginary View of the Arsenale 1840

Turner25_SeaAndSky1835

Sea and Sky 1835

Turner26_BrightonShoreLookingWest1824

Brighton Shore, Looking West 1824

Turner27a_AHarpoonedWhale1845

A Harpooned Whale 1845

Turner27b_Blurb:AHarpoonedWhale1845

Turner28_Beach,(EnglishCoast)1835

Beach, (English Coast) 1835

Turner29_(FlintCastle)1834

(Flint Castle) 1834

Turner30a_SketchbookAndLoosePapers1

Sketchbook and Loose Papers

Turner30b_SketchbookAndLoosePapers2Turner30c_SketchbookAndLoosePapers3

Turner30d_SketchbookAndLoosePapers4

Admission is to the entire Mystic Seaport Museum… its village, exhibitions, shipyard and vessels.

Turner32_MysticSeaportMuseum01

Turner33_MysticSeaportMuseum02

Turner34_MysticSeaportMuseum03

And if you stay overnight and are as fortunate as we were to have a brisk sunny day you might just want to find a spot to walk the shore and enjoy the scenery.

Turner35_BluffPointCoastalReserve01

Turner36_BluffPointCoastalReserve02

The Turner Watercolor Exhibit continues at the Mystic Seaport Museum until Sunday, 23 February, 2020. 

#jmwturner,  #mysticseaportmuseum

 

To The Sea and Mr. Turner

I’ve just returned from a short overnight excursion to Mystic, CT, specifically the Mystic Seaport Museum, to see the JMW Turner watercolor exhibit.

I’m still processing all that I experienced and I have many many observations and photos to share but they’ll have to wait. Instead I’m going to share a few pages of my sketchbook to show you how much more my books contain than a few quotes, drawings and splashes of color.

I keep brochures and even full sized maps that I sew into the book as extra pages. All sorts of things too valuable to toss or to lose on my messy desk in a failed attempt to keep them safe.

All this and a drawing too!

2019 Hopkinton State Fair – Part 6

Auuuugh! No Tunbridge World’s Fair for me today. Instead I’m home dealing with a leaking kitchen faucet and sink!  Looking on the bright side, I’ll have more time to write this wrap up and I figure I can always sketch my kitchen instead.

I love going to the fair and over the years I realized my sketching success is inversely proportional to how much stuff I lug.  Carry less – sketch more is my motto. I pack two inexpensive permanent ink pens, a small watercolor set, one short real watercolor brush, a small nalgene jar of water, paper towel and my sketchbook into my extra small Timbuk2 messenger bag (I have an older version) and tuck my wallet and phone into the zipper pockets on my lightweight vest.

I brought my current sketchbook, the A5 landscape version of the Arteza Watercolor Book. Now this book has quite a few issues which may prevent you from liking it but its price may just be the best thing it has going for it. Currently Amazon has a pack of two books for approximately $20 USD. At that price I’m willing to overlook a lot of its faults precisely because it’s inexpensive and not precious… perfect for doing studies. Roz Stendahl published a series of blog posts reviewing the A4 portrait version of this book. If you think you might like to try the Arteza for yourself, I urge you to read the entire series. I think there are 9 or 10 posts and they’re well worth your time.

My own issues with this Arteza book revolves mostly around its construction. First off, I prefer portrait orientation to landscape but they don’t make the A5 in portrait. A few of the spreads don’t have matching surfaces across the gutter, although most do match. The book is not bound with the stitching parallel to the paper grain and the binding seems to separate where the signatures are sewn together. There doesn’t seem to be any glue on the book’s spine for stability either. And finally, watercolor takes a long time to dry. This must be due to its sizing and it’s not inherently bad… it’s just something to consider if you like to work fast.

But the good thing about the Arteza’s slow drying time is the watercolor has time to move, blend, and basically do its magic thing. You can see this effect in yesterday’s Nubian goat images and the images of the Porcelain Bantam Pullet from Tuesday’s post. Those effects are what allows me to overlook the faults and keep using this book.

But will I buy more of these books?  Probably not. There are other watercolor papers that allow those wonderful effects and I’m fortunate to be able to bind my own books. I guess I’ll be binding more watercolor books as one of my winter projects.

Finally, next time I must make time to sketch the other mammals at the fair… you know, the two-legged ones. There are humans, big and small, short and tall, young and old, all over the place but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at my fair pages over the years.

Next year’s fair.  You heard it here first!

Arteza A5 landscape watercolor book

2019 Hopkinton State Fair – Part 5

Yeah… no wrap up.

Life got in the way and my poor planning left me with no more hours yesterday. Believe me, I have a hard enough time writing something coherent when I’m fresh much less late at night after a busy day.

So, I’ve saved my last images… and the elusive wrap-up… for tomorrow.

Gotta go… Tunbridge (VT) World’s Fair is calling… gates open at 0700 and it’s Youth Showmanship in the Poultry Barn!

Arteza A5 landscape watercolor book