Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poquonnock Sunset

Having been in a bit of a creative and mental slump over the past couple of days, in part due to the high humidity we've had here over the past few days that drains my energy, I have finally gotten some painting done.

I'm always looking for new surfaces to try, usually based on the results and recommendations of fellow artists.  So, while I was out the other day, I stopped by the local chain art supply store and picked up a jar of Golden fine pumice ground and a pad of 11x14" 140-lb cold-press watercolor paper to experiment with.  I love the how the textural effects of the paintings that fellow bloggers Jala and Lorianne get with their handmade grounds, so I was inspired to try it myself.

The surface was easy to prepare:  I placed approximately 1 Tbsp of the pumice ground into a container and added a bit of water to thin it.  I coated one sheet with the plain ground, using a cheap 1" housepainting brush.  Taped it to a board and let it dry in the hot sun.  I decided to tint the remaining ground, so I added some red and burnt umber acrylic to form a warm brown.  I did not add enough to form an opaque color, just a tint.  I was able to cover 2 more pieces of paper using this mixture, thinned with water.

"Poquonnock Sunset"

I based the painting on one of the photos I took last Monday with my new lens, of Bluff Point.  The Poquonnock River forms the inlet to the west side of Bluff point, offering nice reflections and stands of trees on the distal shore....and the prime location of the setting sun.

underpainting - rubbing alcohol with pastel

I really wanted this to be a warm painting, and to that end, there are probably things I'd change about it.  Even a simple painting like this often brings out the deficiencies in my pastel collection, including the lack of darks.  I find that I use my two favorite darks - a dark green Sennelier and dark blue Mt. Vision and Sennelier - for almost everything.  For this, I was wanting for some dark purples and warm browns to work in conjunction with the green and blue for the tree stand.

I didn't have the exact colors I was looking for to do the proximal part of the water, so I ended up blending and scumbling blues, yellows and a muted rose gray (Richeson handmade - another favorite brand) to try and achieve what I wanted.

I will probably do a few more reflections and water pieces before returning to solid ground.


  1. At a glance, I thought your painting said "humid" -- that was before I *read* your post. LOL! Great job in capturing that hot, humid feeling. ~ Lynn

  2. How funny to come here today (especially after my lately prolonged absences) and see my name! [blush]
    You MUST find an excuse to get yourself the Unison Darks sets. I think you will love them.

    Have missed visiting.
    Your cloud pics as always, stunning. And what a handsome cat you have!

  3. Hey Lynn - thanks for stopping by and your comments! :)

    Jala - seriously...you and Loriann really know how to make the most of those heavy textured grounds. It's totally inspired me. I am all about sharin' the love. A dark set of pastels is next on my list. Either Unison or *possibly* the Ludwig set; it seems everyone else raves about them. Unisons are a known, though, and I do love them, so I may go with those first.

    Nelson says "thank you"! He loves people, so if you come for a Durango visit, he will climb on you and give head butts and demand to be petted. He's an attention hog ;).


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