Michele Clamp Art

Boats

Boats at the Naval Yard, Boston Harbor

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Boats at the Naval Yard, Boston Harbor. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

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14”x11”/20”x16” with mat.

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I’ve been saving this scene for a bit since our painting trip to the Naval Yard in Boston. I had a disastrous outing with a previous scene but couldn’t resist the boats for any longer. I’m pretty happy - the effect of strong sunlight is there and the composition is pleasing. A good days work.

Motif #1, Rockport

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Motif #1, Rockport. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Motif #1, Rockport
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This scene is almost too familiar to paint and I’ve avoided it until now. Apart from the familiarity of the subject I’ve also avoided it because it didn’t really grab me compositionally. It is just a big red shed after all.

Yesterday, however I thought ‘why not?’ and set to work from a shot I took about 5 years ago. After much cropping I settled on what I thought was a simple arrangement. In practice, however, this turned out to be pretty complicated and ended up being a two day affair.

I started with hot press paper which had worked out so well with the Orchard Beach painting. The drawing went well - kept things pretty loose and undefined :

Next comes the hard bit - initial washes. I’m keeping away from the darks right now and wanted to keep the values close together. I especially didn’t want to overdo the shadow on the red building. Just dark enough to show it’s in sunlight but not so dark it ruins the effect. I was also trying hard to get some texture and variation into the broad areas of color. Spraying with water and some judicious light glazing kept these areas interesting.

Putting the windows in is always tricky. It never ceases to amaze me how little detail you need for an area to say ‘I’m a window’. In fact if you get too accurate it looks odd and pasted on. Pretty happy all round at this point.

Next was going in with the darker areas around the waterline. This is always tricky and it could go horribly wrong at this point.

Phew. Got away with it. It’s starting to come together now. There was a sticky moment when the boat wasn’t tied into the water and had that painted on look. Some carefully placed darks and blending of color between boat and water saved the day.

At this point as long as I don’t do anything really stupid I should be ok.

Almost home here. The boat is in with just enough detail and contrast to be interesting but not overdefined. The stone wall is suggested with a few lines. Just some touching up and we’re done.

The final thing. I think I’m ok with it. As always it’ll take a couple of days to reveal the stuff I really like and also the stuff I hate. Fingers crossed.

The original photo (heavily cropped).

Mystic Sketch

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Mystic CT Sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor

We were all sitting down by the dock on our Mystic, CT visit. What a good time to get out the sketchbook I thought. Just a small sketch but very enjoyable to do and I like the close crop that doesn’t quite reveal what’s going on immediately.


Morgan Point Take Two

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Morgan Point Light.   Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11“X14”

Morgan Point Light.   Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11“X14”

Another go at this with a different composition and more muted colors.

Portsmouth NH

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Portsmouth, NH. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 19”x13”

Another Portsmouth, NH painting. Enjoyed doing this one and it is a bit of a departure for me. Not quite sure what to make of it yet but I hope I don’t hate it tomorrow as I’ve just entered it into the Newton Watercolor Society annual show.

Edit: Took another look at this piece this morning and am happy with it. The photo doesn’t really do it justice. It’ll do.

More Sketches - Boats, Castles, Boston

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There’s something quite liberating about these small sketches. They’re quick to do and because of the small size brushwork and edges don’t need to be sweated over. And if one doesn’t work out - just do another one and it’s forgotten.

Corfe Castle sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5x8”

Boston Common sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5”x8”

Only 3 sketches today. The people in this one were the trickiest bit. A lot of watercolor artists tend towards what I call ‘stock' figures’ in their paintings. I feel that spoils things so I wanted to get more of a sense of real people walking towards me. I think it succeeded.

Beach and Boats

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Now this one I started last night and walked away half way through in disgust. I fully intended to put this in the ‘burn’ pile this morning. Looking at it afresh, however, I thought maybe there’s something worth rescuing. by the time I’d put in the boats I think it has redeemed itself