I’m Tired

And I feel great! I got four new tires for the car today. It wasn’t that much of an ordeal. Although I wasn’t quite expecting a 2-hour wait, I was prepared: had my walking shoes and Plato’s Dialogs in my back pocket. After a 30 minute walk and part of the way through Protagoras, I decided to find a place to relax close to the tire shop.

Today’s experiment:

It was a beautiful day as I sat on the curb in the shade. I took the photograph below:

Photograph - Street Scene Whilst Waiting for Tires

Although the subject matter was fairly pedestrian (pun intended), I thought the composition was quite good (except for a little framing issue), so I decided to sketch it in watercolor.

From the start, I made some errors of judgement and technique:

I first put in a wash for the sky using cerulean blue deep. This color did not have the saturation to give me the deep blue at the top of the picture. I would probably have done better with phthalocyanine blue, a much more vibrant color.

Secondly, I laid down the long shadow of the street lamp. What was I thinking? I should have put down a variegated wash of gray for the street first. I could have carefully avoided the white lines and put in the shadows later.

I should have taken a little more time in sketching the back end of the flat-bed in the middle of the road. I would have been able to capture the shadows inside the wheel hubs much more faithfully. Also, I could have avoided the slap-dash rendering of the cars.

The trees are passable, but also would have benefitted from more detailed sketching.

I bet you can’t wait to see this ‘masterpiece’, so here it is:

Watercolor Sketch - Street Scene

Waiting for Tires
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

In addition to those errors, the range of values is limited as well. It seems as if it is an underpainting, something I mentioned yesterday as one of my tendencies.

So, that’s it for being tired, at least for the next 60,000 miles.


I did a little more work on my Studio picture. The first picture is the original:

Watercolor Study - Studio

9″x12″ Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Below is the same watercolor with additional glazing. I on the back wall, I put down another layer of turquoise and then glazed that with Prussian blue. I used lemon yellow to glaze the yellow areas and reenforced some of the blue foreground objects with more cerulean blue deep. I also laid down more detail in the foreground.

Watercolor Study - studio, further work

Studio, Another Coat
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

This additional work seems to have increased the range of values.  This is what I probably need to do with most of my work.

7 thoughts on “I’m Tired

  1. I really love your ‘pedestrian’ watercolour. You’ve given it a luminous quality that the original photo lacks. I think artistic representations should always make something more of the subject in question, they should aim to capture a quality that only you as the artist are able to interpret through your own unique vision, and I love that you do that so well in your work. There are always improvements in skill and ability we can make, however sometimes the work we produce stands just fine by itself without any extra attention.

    • Thanks again, M.
      I’ve been trying to think in terms of composition. In this case, the shadow of the pole is very much a strong element. My idea was for it to lead the viewer’s eye into the picture frame, or at least divide the frame in an interesting way. The strip stores in the background (probably not distinguishable as such), were supposed to lead the eye across the frame. After posting this, I put some leaves in the foreground on the right side, so the eye would come back around to the foreground.
      However, in order for this composition to work, I should have modified the painting even more from the photograph, pushing the strip stores further back and leaving a wider expanse of the street visible.
      I’m glad you like the painting as it is (was), however.
      All the best, M.

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