August 2015

Ahhhhh…AUGUST. My Favorite month of the year!

P1020341

The garden is in peak shape…

P1020336

P1020435

P1020439

…the weeds are SPECTACULAR …

P1020443

…even the spider webs are more gorgeous in August:

P1020203

P1020237

P1020238

And the cats are pretty damn cute, too:

P1020317

P1010338

P1020099

There’s even a new boy in town, called Steve:

P1020340

I think Steve would like to join our herd, if only Lickety, Taffy, and Bibs were not dedicated to keeping him as a “front yard only” cat. For now, feeding Steve on our front porch wall (above) seems to be keeping the peace; but when it starts to get cold then I’m afraid that Sheriff Vivian will be rounding her up a tuxedo kittie no matter what the rest of the herd thinks about it.

So, I’m still going through the watercolor sketches that I was making about ten years ago, when I first took up painting as a prodigy (at age 48)  because I wanted to write illustrated travel memoirs. When I felt ready to make book-worthy pictures, I abandoned the re-iterations I’d been making (see last week’s post) and started doing real “picture” pictures.

Now, many of you Dear Readers know that my first successful watercolor “picture” pictures were my Triscuits:

P1140505-450x317

Since this blog gets new readers all the time, please let me explain to all the newcomers (Hi! Glad you could join us!) that I started out making Triscuits because they were tiny, simple, low-risk, and about all I could handle as a brand new, self-taught artist. I relied on my Triscuits to do a lot of the work of illustrating my first book,  When Wanderers Cease to Roam:

P1020306

P1020304

P1020307

P1020305

But at the same time, I was painting larger pix on the side, slowly learning the confidence to make double or triple Triscuit-sized pix. So here are a few such Post-triscuit pictures that I made during my, ahem, artistic development:

P1020284

This is one of the earliest pictures that I did, from a photograph I took of a row of mews houses in my old hometown of Pelham, New York — the village that was the subject of  When Wanderers Cease to Roam.

P1020287

I never finished this panting because by the time I’d got the roof and upper story done, I understood that I was not particularly interested in painting architecture. Especially if said architecture comes with multi-pane faux-Tudor windows (all it takes to make the whole thing look hinkey is ONE wrong pane).

Here are some other sketches that did not make it into Wanderers:

P1020286

I have to explain that I really enjoyed “painting”, that is, actually not painting, snow. I loved what you could imply by just NOT painting …

P1020288

…that is, letting the white of the watercolor paper show through, letting it do all the work, as far as subject matter is concerned:

P1020289

It’s exactly what isn’t painted that has all the heft the substance and content of these little pix:

P1020290

P1020291

P1020292

P1020293

The more confidence I got about handling paint, the more ambitious I got for my paintings. In these slightly bigger-then-Triscuits pix, I am trying to add something more than just a well-painted form in the pic…I am trying to include what I call information.

I wanted to make pix that were about something, a place, mood, a season, a point of view.

P1020328

P1020329

P1020331

Ahhhh…perhaps you noticed something happening there, with that last photo (above). What’s happening is that I have discovered a fun, new format for my miniature watercolor paintings; a long, narrow, horizontal format that lets me present “information” in a way that I find artistically fulfilling:

P1020332

Yes, what you are seeing above are my first attempts at a format that became the motif of my second book, Le Road Trip:

P1020300

I LOVE this format, which I call a “Squint“.

I have so much to tell you about my beloved Squints, but I am sorry that it will have to wait…it’s August.

And, dear Readers, I will be MIA for the rest of my favorite month of the year (August), but when I get back to Long Island I promise that I will pick up this story of The Squints right where I’ve left off…

P1020354

And who knows…there might even be a First Ever Squint Give Away in the works.

P1020379

Please enjoy the beautitude of August wherever you are, and meet me back here on September 4!

P1020411

P1010997

P1010998

P1010342

Read more