The summer season is practically over and the autumn season is starting. The colors are already starting to change at the higher elevations so to get ready I painted an autumn landscape, this time with an old pickup in it.
The painting is based on a reference photo and my imagination. The truck comes from a photo I took of a pickup sitting in the gravel and weeds next to a residential driveway. The landscape is totally out of my imagination including the color scheme. The truck in the photo was actually painted orange.
You've seen me do a lot of pen work on this blog but all of it was quick sketches. I decided to try taking it a step further and make a drawing. Actually, I've made pen drawing attempts before but never finished them because I didn't think they were working out or I just lost interest. I finally finished one;
The subject is a "doodlebug". A doodlebug is a home built tractor made from an old car or pickup. In this case the victim was a 1928 Chevy car, at least the front half was. The frame was cut off behind where the passenger would normally sit and a Model TT Ford truck axle was bolted directly to what was left of the frame, no rear suspension just like a regular farm tractor. As you can see the stock seat has been replaced by a tractor seat. Such conversions were popular during the 1930's for small farms when the great depression robbed many farmers of the income necessary to buy a real tractor, or for larger farms that already had a good tractor a doodlebug was an inexpensive second tractor for hauling stuff around on the farm.
I spent yesterday morning sketching and the weather was sketchy. Luckily the wind and rain showers held off long enough for me to get two watercolor sketches done at Barton's Pond in Kaysville, Utah. Barton's Pond is part of a group of ponds originally created or expanded by farmers that settled the area. Now Utah State University taken over their care and installed gardens nearby.
I decided to work with just watercolor this time around rather than do my usually pen work first.
I thought this tree at the edge of the pond had an interesting look. I added some detail with watercolor pencil at the end.
This one was an experiment working more wet into wet. The scene doesn't actually exist as I sketched it. I basically combined to views on the pond into one. The trees were actually at least 100 yards away from the building and the building was actually a little farther off the pond. I thought the two scenes combined into one would make for an interesting balance of disparate elements in the same composition.
Back to the cars again. This is another sketch for exploring ideas for a painting. The subject is an American Bantam sedan. American Bantams were cars built on license from Austin, an automotive manufacturer in England in the 1930's. Even though the cars were very inexpensive, even cheaper than the Model T Ford was more than 10 years earlier they did not sell well and so today are very rare, so I was very excited when I saw this car at a car show a couple years ago. I chose to put the car in a rural setting in autumn.
It's been way too long since I painted outdoors, I rectified that situation today and spent the afternoon painting by the pond in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. The weather was about as perfect as it gets, plenty of sun, only a slight breeze and temperatures in the mid 70's. I hardly had to mist my acrylics to keep them workable. There was only one catch, I accidently packed Cobalt blue instead of Ultramarine blue. It all still worked out fine but as you can see Cobalt blue definitely gave my greens a different look.
Acrylic, 8" x 6"
"A Perfect Day in the Park"
Acrylic 10" X 8"
I hardly had to move to get both of these views, in fact there were several others from this spot that would make good paintings so I'll definitely return. I'm sure the fall colors here will be spectacular!
Though my usual state of mind is one of low to moderate confidence on occasion I think I get a little over confident, it's rare but it does happen, I think last week was one of those rare occasions. I started a painting that required combining two images to create the composition for the one painting. The lighting direction is different in the two images to boot. So what did I do? I went straight into the painting......and ended up with an ugly duckling. I got about an hour and a half into the painting and realized the painting was going nowhere. This wasn't just the usual "ugly stage" that artists talk about but rather the composition was just flat out uninteresting. So, I threw the painting in the "redo" bin and licked my wounds and started a different painting a couple days later that didn't require compositing photos. After being away from the concept a few days it occurred to me that the idea wasn't a bad one, I just needed to do more planning. So, I looked at more photos of the car and decided another angle was a better, more interesting one and rather than just jump in and start a painting again I made a comprehensive preparatory sketch;
Yep, you guessed it, that's the same car from the car show sketch I did last week that I sold to the owner. I made a couple changes though. I put a hood on it and I changed the wheel cover style. The background is from a photo I took at the Utah State Fairgrounds last year. I'm pretty happy with this, now I think I can start a painting with some confidence that it will work out.