September 16, 2016

"Take Your Choice" day 4

Our hot weather finally broke, and this morning was actually chilly. Today I worked on the top half of the painting. I repainted the wall, still just the basic color, not getting into little details yet. I started seeing mistakes I had made in the drawing - some books leaning too far, others not enough. But I'm going to try not to make myself crazy over this. It's more important to me to get the values and colors right. Still, I'm correcting what I can as I go.

I painted for two hours, then went to lunch. Here is how it looked at the end of the morning:

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After lunch, I went to the National Gallery's library. I wasn't even aware they had a library! (And how many years have I been going there? Ahem.) Anyway, I wanted to look at a book that they had, so I went over there (in the East Building), set up my account, and requested the book. It was called "A Year in Yorkshire", and was a catalog from a David Hockney show. The book had to be read in their Reading Room, so I flipped through it quickly, and took pictures of the paintings with my phone. (I knew this was OK, since they had already told me I could make copies on their copier.) This same book was donated to the Friends of the library I work at the other day, and I tried to buy it from the Friends. But they checked online and found out that it isn't available on Amazon, and is going for $100 and up at an online rare used book seller. They're going to try and sell it online and get a lot more money for it than they could at their used book sale, where hardbacks go for $2! Oh well. It's a gorgeous bunch of paintings, and since I couldn't have it, I decided to go out painting this weekend on Skyline Drive, inspired by David Hockney.

After perusing the book, I went back up and worked on my copy a little more. Here it is at the end of the day:

I stopped early, because I wanted to go outside and draw. It's rare that the weather is so pleasant when I am downtown, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I went in search of a nice tree to draw. On the way, I walked through the Sculpture Garden and photographed this cool four-sided pyramid by Sol Lewitt. Then I went out on the Mall and drew a tree.

The building in the background is part of the Smithsonian, I think Arts and Industries. I haven't been inside it in years, but I remember seeing machines from the Industrial Revolution in there. I spent a very pleasant hour or so sketching this scene, with people walking and jogging by. 

September 2, 2016

"Take Your Choice", day 3

Today was day 3 for this copy. I got there right at 10, got my permit renewed (which has to be done once a month), and was up in the gallery by 10:15. It was a sunny day, which made the room brighter - the rooms are lit mainly by skylights, so on cloudy days, it's pretty dark for painting. But today was nice and bright.

As always, I started working by mixing up some of the basic colors I would be using. A nice orangey-beige for the wooden box, a neutral black from which I could make cool grays, and a warm dark. I started working from the bottom up, repainting large areas and getting the colors and values as close as I could. 

I took these three photos just before going to lunch:

A view of my copy with the original on the wall

 Still just working on getting the basic shapes, colors, and values right. All the surface detail will come later.


Here is the painting at the end of the day. I mainly worked on the bottom third of the painting, but put some warm and cool darks around the books in the box. I stopped working early, because today was beautiful, and I wanted some time outside to enjoy it. This summer was too hot! So I quit working around 2:30 and got home in time to take a walk. See you in two weeks!
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