Star Gazing Between Cypress Trees

Night Sky Watercolor 8

While I was painting these night scenes of the sky obstructed by trees I started thinking about how conditions for doing something, like watching stars, are often not ideal. Then I was reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” This is another poetic parallelism in the Bible where, in this case, the same idea is being repeated to present both cause and effect. Another way of saying it would be that if you always wait for what you think is the perfect opportunity then you’ll miss every opportunity. So what if a few trees are in the way? Can you still at least see some stars? So what if you don’t have the best painting studio? Can you still at least make a drawing?

In the last sketch I was actually trying to paint real stars from a photo I had taken. The positions aren’t completely accurate relative to each other, but they’re all real stars. The biggest one in that painting is Vega. The first painting is on proper watercolor paper, for a change.

Pinecone Peak

Pinecone Peak 1

Pencil on paper, 5.5″ x 8.5″

I started this about a month ago but I forgot about it until I was turning through my sketchbook a few days ago and decided to finish. It’s kind of a frankendrawing because I changed pencils and styles a few times. I remember not being sure how I wanted to draw the clouds so they got erased once or twice…

Pinecone Peak 1 Close

Here’s a closeup of the tree so you can see the pine needles. I actually enjoyed drawing them. It kind of reminded me of making pixel art.

Evanescence of Day

Evanescence of Day

Oil on canvas, 5″ x 7″

The last faint sliver of day, just as it reaches the edge of vanishing.

I started this many months ago but the color choices weren’t looking right and I set it aside. Then today I decided to completely paint over it with new colors. It’s still the same painting though, just different paints and finished details. All of the paints I used in the top layer are from Williamsburg. I used Van Dyke brown, French terre verte, Italian Pompeii red, ultramarine blue, and titanium White. Also there’s generous amounts of a putty medium that I made yesterday and put in a tube. I think all the paint visible here is mixed with around 50% putty.

Snowland 2

Here’s a nice view of the train I was on while it was making a turn through the mountains. In some of these and other photos I was trying for a more abstract scene. Of the 900+ photos that I started with I think I’ve trimmed them down to just 55 or less that are good enough to upload.

Misty Mountain Valley

Oil on canvas, 5″x7″

Based on some of the Chinese landscape paintings I’ve been looking at lately.

I made this entirely with Blue Ridge charcoal black oil paint, mixed with various amounts of both liquin and paint thinner. No white was used, and the light areas are where the paint was applied more thinly in a glaze over the white canvas. The fact that charcoal black, which is made from ground up charcoal, is very transparent to begin with made it very well suited for this.