Michele Clamp Art

Orchard Beach, Maine

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Orchard Beach, Maine. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Still in Orchard Beach and a snowy picture of the ferris wheel. I wanted this to be somewhat subdued but maybe dialed it back too much. Has a nice touch to it though.

Some intermediates :

The drawing. Oh the ellipses! And the perspective! Thankfully everything meshes together in the painting if painted loosely enough.

Next the initial washes. A light sky and fairly grayed out tones for the buildings. The wheel is lightly touched in leaving areas of white to break up the lines.

More darks to add some solidity to the structures and more detail in the wheel. Still keeping a light touch.

The final thing. A little more detail on the fence and some loose work to define the foreground and we’re done. In hindsight I would probably have punched up the color a little more but I’m happy as is.

The original photo. I remember it being extremely cold.

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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).

The Pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

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Pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

Old Orchard Beach, Maine
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I treated myself to some hot press paper and this is its first outing. We spent the New Year at Old Orchard Beach a couple of years ago and I snapped the pier which turned out to be a pretty nice composition.


For a first outing I’m pretty happy. No blending on the paper with hot press and with the fans and the heat the paint dries pretty much immediately. Some nice effects though.


Southend at Dusk

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Southend at dusk. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 13”x19”

I’ve been wanting to do a dusk painting for a while. I snapped this scene on my phone back in November. Even though it was raining and the shot was rainy and out of focus it caught something of that magical time where the sky has wonderful color and the buildings are muted and shadowy. Not perfect by any means but I’m pretty happy for a first shot.

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.


Life Class - Incremental Gains

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A good session at Post Road Art last week with Andrew Cefalu in charge and keeping us all in order. Unusually this short 5 minute pose was my favorite of the night. In previous sessions I take about 2 hours to warm up and the last poses are my best and frankly I prefer it that way.

For the record here’s the evening’s work in its entirety, warts and all.

First the two minute poses :

Some nice stuff here. We had a great model with expressive poses and it really does help.

Next the 5 minuters :

Not too bad. I seem to have concentrated on the head and hands which is fine by me. Heads, hands and feet are hard.

Finally the 15 minuters. Not my best of the night but they were fun. Good times.

Southwick Camel

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Southwick Camel. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 13”x19”

Another from our trip to Southwick’s zoo. You can’t really go wrong with a camel as a subject. They have wonderfully shaped heads and bodies and a very characteristic posture. I’m leaving this for today as I’m not sure it’s finished but, apart from a few touches, I think I’m pretty happy with it.

(James says I should do more detail in the fur but I’m not convinced).

Shelburne from the Flower Bridge

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Shelburne from the flower bridge. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

I’m getting behind with the blogs. There’s some stuff I need to put on that I’ve been procrastinating over but that can wait.

I painted this before. We’d visited Shelburne which is well worth a visit - especially for the flower bridge. This is a view from there which I’d always liked the composition of so why not give it another go?

As usual I’m in two minds about this. It was a bit of a struggle and I think the first version shown below was better. Darn.

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.