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Artist Residency at Whiterock Conservancy

I Have a Feeling I Am Not in Rhode Island Anymore


I knew there would be surprises on this trip. There always are.

3 weeks ago


I Have a Feeling I Am Not in Rhode Island Anymore

3 weeks ago


I knew there would be surprises on this trip. There always are. But I was really thrown by the change of location and what it would mean for color choices when I paint.

Back in Rhode Island, my neighbors are probably still mowing the badminton court. It was a hot and rainy summer which made for lush vegetation. Planters and gardens were full of color. There is the ocean, of course, and so much other water bouncing light around.

On the Whiterock Conservancy, the air is dry and my dirt road is dusty. In the late September heat, tall grasses and wildflowers look crisp. Blossoms are mostly over. Plants are going to seed. Nearby fields of corn, hay and soybeans are being harvested leaving various shades of stubble behind.

The watercolors that served me well through summer looked crazy out here. After one attempt at painting which went very badly, I spent the first few days only drawing, safely, in black and white. But yesterday, an unexpected rainy morning, was the perfect time to find my new colors.

On the left is my usual plein air set inspired by Shari Blaukopf’s book, Working with Color, part of the Urban Sketching Handbook series. On the larger page you can see my mixing experiments based on photos I have taken here. It’s hard to mix outside in the dry wind and I needed time to practice without pressure. Simply, a morning of investigation, notes and fooling around with paint in a revealing way.

8 comments


  • Glad to finally take a peel at what you are doing! Different color palettes indeed! Fall in Vermont is such a different color palette from Iowa.

    Anna on

  • Thanks Thea for all this.. I especially love your explaining the colors and how you divine them from where you are.
    much love to you

    susan m on

  • Learning about color from you. Glad you have the time and patience to discover that palette — and share some of the technique with us neophytes! I’m sure the changes are both geography — but also time of year. as the sun fades, the colors become deeper rather than sun-faded!

    Mev on

  • Learning about color from you. Glad you have the time and patience to discover that palette — and share some of the technique with us neophytes! I’m sure the changes are both geography — but also time of year. as the sun fades, the colors become deeper rather than sun-faded!

    Mev on

  • The Iowa colors make the Rhode Island colors look unreal! So great for you to have this eye that knows the difference and can integrate the subtleties…I’m so glad you are having this focused time to amend, expand, and enhance life’s colors!

    marie on

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