Auto Draft

We love Pumpkin Time here on the shores of the Long Island Sound.

P1200097

P1200034

P1200032

P1200159

I detect a slight flaw in the Pumpkin Placement Plan here.

P1200162

P1200164

P1200174

P1200170

Pumpkin Time is a good time to remember the most lonely word in the English language: Orange. The color gets a bad rap for being garish and unfriendly but some of my favorite things in the world are orange.

P1200163

P1200165

P1200115

Here are some pictures of City Orange from my outing yesterday:

P1200189

Upper West Side brownstone.

P1200190

Yes! I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday! The bridge is undergoing loads of restoration so it is u-g-l-y at the moment, but as you can see, the City of New York spares no expense in making tourists feel welcome!

P1190135

Saki basement bar in the East Village.

And what Secret Garden would be complete without a touch of orange?

P1200028

Which reminds me, we are painting a Secret Garden today:

P1110587

Of course, it all starts with a pencil sketch and masking fluid:P1190993

I use folded sheets of scrap paper to cover up bits of the picture before I begin to paint the gravel:

P1190995

When the base paint is dry, I put my toothbrush to good use (which, in between the three times a day I use it for dental hygiene, lays around doing absolutely nothing). I load it up with a mix of grey and black watercolor and then I flick it at the illustration:

P1190996

This is not really my Dental Hygine Toothbrush. This is my Dedicated Paint Flicking Toothbrush.

Let dry, and voila:

P1190997

Here’s a painting tip: I save the bottle caps of Top Cat’s favorite GatorAid to use as mixing pans.

P1190998

To get the many shades of green I need for a garden illustration I mix three different hues of green with two different hues of yellow and/or three different hues of blue. BUT to get the pure yellow that I prefer for my painting I mix two different yellows — Cadmium Yellow and Lemon Yellow. (Alone, Cadmium Yellow is too orange and Lemon Yellow is too bright). And I keep my pure yellow isolated in a GatorAid bottle cap because I can’t be trusted to keep them clean if I put them in a palette-thingy.

P1190999

P1200001

P1200002

Here is where I add some detail to the background wash:

P1200003

For this illustration I wanted to try out an idea I had, about using some blue in the foliage, maybe to get a more dream-like effect:

P1200005

I am still using my chalky Grumbacher paints mixed with the tubes of Windsor Newtons, mostly because I love what the chalky paints do when they dry. They leave an interesting residue on the paper, interesting textures that are purely accidental that I really like:

P1200006

I am thinking that for this picture I want to leave the foliage looking very watercolory, like this:

P1200007

So far, I am quite happy with the way this picture is going. So now I start to add plants:

P1200009

I’m being careful not to over-do it:P1200010

But here is where I ruined it all:

P1200011

I tried to paint tree trunks in ochre, which was bad enough, but then I made the mistake of painting them with straight lines. I knew it was wrong immediately. I was instantly unhappy with these wimpy, ugly tree trunks. But still, I thought I could soldier on, finesse the picture with other distracting details:

P1200020

But those tree trunks just kept bothering me. So, i finally had to ditch the whole picture, having admitted what I knew all along: There is no rescuing a picutre that has a fatal flaw:

P1200082 2

Several days later, I went back and had another go at it. The steps were exactly the same as above, but the end was this:

P1200083

You can compare for yourself:

P1200082

Yes, the sad fact is that whenever you try something new, there’s a 80% chance that you will blow it. But hey: it’s only a bit of paper and paint. That doesn’t stop me from taking a whack at something new. And, for those times when making a crappy illustration feels too much like failure, there’s always champagne.

One of these days I hope to work up the nerve to paint my favorite time of day:

P1200136

Twilight in Pumpkin Time.

I love the low light of a Fall evening:

P1200140

I have to learn how to paint this most beautiful shade of orange. In fact, I think that when we finally invent a word that rhymes with orange, and it must have something to do with this quality of light:

P1200137

P1200122

P1200144

I’m thinking that “floringe” might be the word, to describe the look of artificial lights glowing in a Fall evening. Floringe would be used especially in the case of the lights that shine from the inside out:

P1200158

The lights that are seen from a distance:P1200145

To extrapolate, then, floringe, as the wisp of illumination that almost holds its own against the night, floringe could also be the word used when a blog goes dark.

Yes, dear readers, it’s that time.

I have been blogging for six years. My blog has evolved from a really crappy stream-of-concisouness diary into a weekly presentation of what I hope is interesting and useful  and honest information and about the trials and errors of living a creative life. I take a lot of pride in making my blog live up to the intelligence and humanity of my community of readers, dear readers, many whose stories and names and cats I have come to know and treasure, as friends and inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And in the same way that I know when my painting lacks necessary oomph, I know when my blog is running out of steam. As both painter and blogger, sometimes I have to get away and be more of a person living in the world than a person who observes it.

So. I will not be here next Friday, or the next. Or the next. I will be writing my Damn Garden Book full time, and showing up as a Commentor on my favorite blogs — if you are not reading The Miserable Gardener you are missing the best gardening blog written by a pure bred border collie ever — and herding my cats. Doing what I can to gather steam.

I do plan on being back in the blogosphere, someday, and I might even post something here from time to time, so please drop by. I’ll have to post updates about theDamn Garden Book, of course — I’m under contract to finish it sometime in 2014. And you can always reach me at vivianswift at yahoo dot com, because I do want more garden photos. We’ll stay in touch. Because when a blog goes dark, it doesn’t go away forever. It only goes floringe.

Meaning, there’s always a light left on. You’ll always be able to find your way to my door.

P1200133

 

Comments are closed.