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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.

2 years ago

I Have a Feeling I Am Not in Rhode Island Anymore

2 years 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.


  • So interesting! You may need to place a pigment order with Blick! ☺️

    Wendy on

  • Very cool.

    Cat Riker on

  • Thank you for sharing this color learning process. I would not have imagined how significant a change in location could be!

    Jan Burling on

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