What I did on my fall vacation (#1)

This one pretty much painted itself.  I started it in the morning and finished that night.  I usually stretch my own canvas but Artist and Craftsman had some nice-looking ones that were stapled in the back rather than the sides, and came pre-gessoed in gray.  I bought four for our two weeks in Vermont.  I sketched out the drawing in pencil, then in a very thin mix of raw umber and Payne’s gray.

I started by painting the mid-tone gray-green of the front telephone pole, then established the lightest and darkest values: the sky, and the garbage disposal and flower plot in the foreground.  During the morning I kept all the colors neutral, building up the space and rubbing in the distant buildings.  Here’s the painting just after I added the first dab of color.

Once the space was built up in grays adding the colors was just like putting on jewelry.  A little bit here and there and the whole thing lights up.  Not everything works in this painting, but there are spots I really like.  This bit with the wet pavement and the blue umbrella for instance:

Often the parts I liked best weren’t those I worked hardest at.  Just ones I noticed towards the end.  This part was sort of vague in the reference photo but I like how it came out.  I think it looks like the entrance to the T although I don’t think there’s actually an entrance right there.