I’ve given up on my ‘new’ website and moved to another platform that was simpler to manage. Please check it out at http://billsharppaintings.com. There is also a link at the top of the blog page.
I recently spent a couple of weeks traveling around the Himalayan Mountain country of Bhutan and have been remembering some of the sights with gouache sketches. I’m sharing a couple here partly to see if the subscriptions still work. I hope everyone who asked to follow me will be notified.
The hunting season is over on Sauvie Island, and I headed over to paint last weekend. Unfortunately, when I was half way there, I realized I had forgotten to pack any panels to paint on. This is the second time I’ve done this. I suppose age is catching up with me. Rather than turn back, I continued on knowing that I had my watercolor paintbox and sketchbooks along.
I went to a part of the island where I haven’t painted for several years and found a nice spot along the Multnomah Channel ( a narrow side channel of the Wilamette River, and started the piece above as several sailboats and fishing boats came and went. While I waited for the colors to dry on this one, I started the one below, of the same subject.
I moved on down the road and did one more from a spot I painted a few years ago. It’s a view of the famous volcano, Mt St Helens, across the cow patures.
I was hoping for some cows but they didn’t show up until later
This neighborhood market, at the corner of NW 23rd and Thurman, is one of the last buildings, in this neighborhood, that has not been gentrified. It was kind of a seedy area, when I first moved to Portland, about 30 years ago. Most of the street is now lined with boutiques and restaurants and in my landscaping days, I worked on some of the properties here. There’s a great breakfast place across the street called Besaws, which is in a building that goes back to 1903. The market building looks to be of the same vintage.
In my last post, I wrote about a plein air painting session on Sauvie Island. I started a second painting, while I was there and have been playing with it in the studio since then. I tried to push it in the direction I’ve taken other paintings, lately by indulging in a similar kind of mark making. I think I took it a bit too far, to the point where the scene was lost to the marks.
9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel
So, I decided to walk it back a bit and ended up with this:
I like the composition and seem to be convinced that there’s a painting in here, somewhere but have not found it yet. I decided to leave it alone for a while but, taking up some gouache I found myself at it again.
Sometimes I have an idea of what I think a painting should look like and I have to let go of it and allow it to be what it is.
This painting above is the same one from my last post, but taken a bit further.
6″ x 6″ oil on linen panel
These others are efforts to leave the reference behind a bit and lose myself in what it is I’m drawn to in the scene. They seem a bit self conscious to me, like I’m pushing them for no good reason. Like I’m faking it. Of course, I am faking it, at this point.
6″ x 5.5″ watercolor, ink and water soluble crayon on paper
This is my daughter’s dog. She’s away at college. He looks like a puppy but he’s really getting quite old, 15 or 16. That one eye is blind and he’s mostly deaf, except at dinner time. My daughter picked him out at the pound, when he was 5 and she was about 8. His papers said that he’d been an outside dog and was not good with cats but he’s never complained about sleeping in my daughter’s bed nor chased our cat. He likes to wear one of his ears flipped back. He blew his knee out, a few years ago and needed surgery and, although he spends most of his day in slumber, he still has a little bounce in his step on his walks.
goauche and ink
I’ve been very busy with work and haven’t had time or energy to do anything but some sketching. I’ve enjoyed trying to learn a little more about goauche.
This is another quick sketch, testing out papers. This is a piece of Arches Text Wove/Velin Arches that was sent to me by a fellow Sketch Journaler, Roz Stendahl to try out.
watercolor ink and gouache
It wets more readily than the handmade paper put it is quite a bit less substantial and buckles a lot when wet.
I also did a little more testing with Noodler’s ink and it does seem to run on the Twinrocker paper I just bound into a sketchbook. I checked their website and they say that it should be waterproof on cellulose paper. The paper is cotton rag so should be cellulose. I’ve written them for advice.
I haven’t posted anything in a while but I have been working. I’ve been painting portraits but haven’t produced anything I like yet. I wanted to do a series of portraits of friends and family and, naturally started with family since they were handy.
I wonder if anyone uses live models for portraits these days. Having someone else in the studio while I paint is very distracting for me and I always worry about the model and feel like I need to entertain them and make sure they’re comfortable.
It seems like maybe starting with people I’m attached to, especially my wife and daughters, was not such a good idea because I’m too invested in a likeness and a painting that they won’t hate.
We spent last weekend at a friend’s fabulous beach house in Cannon Beach Oregon. This is the view from the front patio.
This is a really remarkable house, btw. The view is amazing and the house was built to have a zero energy footprint. There’s more information about this incredible house → HERE ← , if you’re interested. Beware the link is to a pdf file.
I spent most of the weekend painting and drawing. After 2 weeks of cold miserable rain, the skies were clear, the sun shined bright and it was warm. It was also a full moon.
There’s a hidden path down to a beach that’s secluded from the main beach except at low tide. I spent one day drawing and painting there and almost got stranded by the incoming tide.