Of Birds and Bridges


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More small sketches to day. I started doing a very quick bird value sketch but it quickly turned into something more so I left it at the sketch stage. I risked a background in which I don’t usually do but the risk paid off.

The second one was fun to do. The colors are so glorious and the dark foliage of the trees lends itself to loose brushwork. I made a dog’s breakfast of the sky but it has a certain charm nonetheless.

(Edit: A facebook friend tells me this looks like the Mackinac bridge in Michigan. I have to agree)


Blocks and sunsets. Getting back in the groove.


Trying to get back in the groove after teaching. It’s proving to be hard – the mindset to teach is very different from painting my own stuff. I need to get out of the tram lines and trust myself to experiment a bit more. Even though I’ve been doing demo paintings each week I’ve held back a lot to keep to the principles we work on. It’s tough and makes the paintings a bit of a chore as I can’t experiment on the fly. And now I have the freedom to do what I want I can’t remember how it works.

So today is another wet canvas.com challenge as subject matter is eluding me.

And some blocks just for a warm up.


I made a yellow block as yellow shadows are tough. It doesn’t go with the pink of my studio walls (which I will get round to painting someday) but the colors are pretty close to life.

Bringing it all together – lighthouse edition.


In class last week someone requested a seascape scene with rocks. After browsing through my references I thought I’d throw in a lighthouse too as I can almost never resist a lighthouse painting.

This actually brought a lot of the things we’ve been practicing in exercises together. We have the value changes on the lighthouse (white cubes), edges and painting in layers on the rocks and skies. The only new thing is the water which we touched on in one lesson but only briefly.

If this hadn’t been for a lesson I would have pushed it a lot further. Especially the water which needs some more detail to better suggest the white foam and more depths in the blues. But I need this for tomorrow and didn’t want to trash the whole thing so here it is.

Some intermediates :


The drawing. Quite sparse here and only marking out the big shapes.


I was going to start with the sky and work down but the rocks were worrying me so I tackled these first. This wash is meant to hit the lightest values in the rocks and, as most of it will be covered up later it can be quite rough and ready with some slight color and value changes.


A darker color goes in in broad, squarish shapes to suggest the shadow side of the rocks and give them form. Some edges are left hard and others are blended out to reflect the hard and smooth sides of the rocks. The grassy area and the foreground are left with less value changes to keep the focus on the lighthouse and the rocks next to it.


The sky goes in with neat cerulean. I’m careful here to use the blue to define the edges of the lighthouse so it stands out against the sky. It doesn’t need to be too dark here – slight value changes are more effective in suggesting sunlight.

The water was a bit of a gamble. I really could have gone further here – after class tomorrow I may go back and add more detail.


The final stage was to add in the darks on the top of the lighthouse and smooth out some edges in the shadows so things don’t look too pasted on. I also darkened up the shadow side of the lighthouse a little and greyed it off compared to the sky.

There’s still stuff that’s annoying me but this will have to do for today.

Morgan Point Lighthouse, Noank, CT

Morgan Point Lighthouse, Noank, CT. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

I can’t usually resist painting a lighthouse and this is from our recent trip to Mystic, CT with some friends. We tried to walk down to see the lighthouse but couldn’t quite get there so this is from a photo taken by the ever lovely Heather Longden from the water.

Lots to like here. Great sense of sun and light and some nice subtle shadows. There will probably be more to come in this vein.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire



Portsmouth, New Hampshire


300.00

11”x14”/16”x20” matted. One of my favorite places – Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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Definitely on a roll today. A very complicated scene but with good bones. Very enjoyable and came out really well. Love the blues and oranges.

Cadgwith Harbor, Cornwall

Cadgwith Harbor, Cornwall. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 12”x18”

Yesterday I just fancied painting some boats. This is done from a lovely photo by Dottie Best on ‘Paint My Photo’ –
https://pmp-art.com/dottie-best/gallery/136333/cadgwith-harbor-cornwall-england

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As always there were struggles but it was fun to do and has a lot of solidity to it.

Value sketch:


And part way through at the end of the day yesterday :


Maine Lighthouse


Maine Lighthouse. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

Maine Lighthouse. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”


Maine Lighthouse


300.00

11”x14”/16”x20” matted.

One of a series of lighthouses in a more naturalistic, subtle style.

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Another go attempting something with subdued color.   Maybe a little too tentative in places but hangs together well.

A couple of intermediate shots below. I decided to use masking fluid for the lighthouse so I could sweep the sky in wet in wet. In the end I’m not convinced it was worth the trouble.


Here is a shot after the sky went in and I’m half way through the rocks. Always a bit of a gamble rocks but they’re progressing well here. Part of the secret is to be confident, vary the colors but don’t delineate every rock outline.


Kittery Lighthouse – An Experiment

Kittery Lighthouse. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

I have a bit of a tendency to overdo the colors in my paintings. For this one I decided to try and mute back everything, gray out the blues and the greens etc. It didn’t turn out to be a beautiful painting but there’s lots here I like. The scrubby brushwork on the rocks came out well as did the partial wet in wet for the lighthouse itself. All in all I think it’s positive

Singing Beach

Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11″x14″


250.00
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We went to Manchester-by-the-Sea last week and strolled down to singing beach.   The sun was strong and, post labor day,  only a few people were on the beach.   Was almost perfect and deserved a painting.    Annoyingly I got too involved with the foreground and overdid it.   But it definitely captures the day.