Michele Clamp Art

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.

Boston Common Sketches

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More sketches today. These were all from photos taken in Boston common a few years ago. These were all fun to do and it surprised me how well they turned out. All done quickly in a 5x8” moleskine sketchbook with a quick preliminary pencil sketch and then straight in with colored washes.

Another view of the George Washington statue. This I was pleased with too.

swan_boats_boston_common_watercolor_sketch

This photo I almost skipped over which would have been a shame as it’s my favorite of the day. The swan boats came out surprisingly well.

boston_common_view_watercolor_sketch

Final one of the day. Again another view through Boston Common to the buildings beyond. Not my favorite.


Sketchbook Time

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Still trying to get out of my painting funk. New strategy is to get away from the pressure of producing SERIOUS PAINTINGS and do a series of small things in sketchbooks. These are all in a 5”x8” moleskine which isn’t the most forgiving of papers but suits quick paintings. These were quickly done and much more fun.

Also while tidying I found this sketch which I wasn’t pleased with at the time but has quite a lot of charm now I have some distance from it.

For completeness - the bad and the ugly

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After a relatively successful bird this morning I did a couple extra this afternoon. One was yet another stab at the Ponte Vecchio scene and the final one was the tower of Dunster House at Harvard. No comment really but it’s getting harder to see a way forward.

This is a previous version done in Jan 2016. Frankly I like this more - it has life and is looser. Pffft!


Gang-Gang Cockatoo

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Gang-Gang Cockatoo. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 10”x8”.

I really wasn’t sure how this was going to come out. Bushy feathers like this are very easy to overwork but I ended up with a good balance of loose brushwork and detail. Not bad.


The struggle continues...

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Two versions of the March wetcanvas watercolor challenge. And boy was it a challenge. One step forward and then two back.

Bee Too

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Bee Too. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

I didn’t feel I’d done bees justice yesterday so I had another go today. Chose a different angle and made sure the composition wasn’t too regular. The placement of the legs in particular was a little stilted in the previous one.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire
250.00

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.

St John's College, Cambridge

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St John’s College, Cambridge. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

When I’m in a bit of a painting funk like I have been for the past couple of months I find it easier to just pick a reference at random from my collection and just paint it. Every now and again I trawl through free-to-use photos, select a bunch that catch my eye and put them in a folder ready for situations like this.

So this is why I’m painting St John’s College, Cambridge. We lived in Cambridge for a number of years which was fab so this has a personal connection even though I didn’t actually take the photo. I love the intricate shadows on the lovely golden stone and also the way the building stretches horizontally across the canvas, leaving large areas above and below. But can I do it justice this time?

Anyway off we go.

Lately I’ve started doing digital notans of pictures. These are reducing an image to just black and white regions. Even more than a value study I find that if you can’t make a well-designed notan it’s highly unlikely to produce a good painting once you’ve got all the values and color in.

So this came out pretty well. The bushes and the left and right trees frame the building well. The shadows on the building also serve to create a good design. One thing I did change was to darken the roofs of the building. This framed the building and allowed some continuity between the left and right hand sides.

The drawing went well. I didn’t put in too much detail as it gets fussy but lightly marked where the windows and shadows went. The first washes I kept varied but warm with a little lavender dropped in here and there to cool things off and provide interest.

The next bit was the crucial bit. Putting in the shadows I had to be careful of keeping them dark but not so dark they look jarring. Too light everything looks wishy-washy. Too dark and it looks like you’ve gone over it with a sharpie.

the photo has actually darkened things up a bit here. The shadows were looking pretty good and had slight variations in color from warm to cool.

One other thing I finally remembered to do - work from left to right. As I’m right handed I’m constantly drawing or painting from right to left and messing things up as I go. Maybe I’ll put up a sign above my easel. Next to the one saying ‘tea is not painting water’.

So the final thing :

St John’s College, Cambridge. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

So this is the best result I’ve had in a while. The foreground and background were a bit nervewracking. You get one shot at these and I wanted to keep them smooth and not too fussy. Basically a deep breath and dive in with the brushes and stand back. This time I got away with it.

Happy day.