As the afternoon passed, the sky became more animated, expressing itself in shades of gray…

Clouds over the Wicomico River, Maryland

My week painting along the Wicomico River in Maryland has been incredible.  Next October, perhaps I’ll schedule two weeks rather than one.  I’m already planning to spend one night on the sinking Holland Island.  Thousands of pelicans are now the only residents, roosting in the silver branched trees and lining the sandy shoreline facing south.  At one time there were 60 houses and a few stores.  Most of the residents took their houses with them when they left the sinking island around 1920.  The last house on the island succumbed to the water in October of 2010.

En plein air oil sketch of dancing storm clouds, 5″ x 5″, Sky above the Wicomico River, near Whitehaven, Maryland.

Back to morning weather sketches from home, Polt Mountain in New Jersey.  Depending on whether I was in the front yard or the backyard, the sky colors were totally different.

7 am, looking northwest, Polt Mountain, NJ

7:15 am looking southeast, Polt Mountain, NJ

The sun had risen a bit, adding more yellow light to the sky.  But still, the sky was more pink, gray and purplish looking north.

Sky lightening to the northwest

Morning weather sketches: A mix of watercolor and gouache on various watercolor papers.

Three days on the road and nothing but gray skies….

7 am Route 79 in West Virginia

A bit later on Route 79

The sun broke through only twice so far ……

10:30 am on Route 64, West Virginia

Once on Route 64 in West Virginia and once ….

Keeneland Race Track, Lexington, Kentucky

at the Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky.  We arrived early enough for me to do a quick ink and watercolor drawing before the races began.

My waterbrush and limited palette of the Altoid tin filled with five pans of watercolor pigments is working great for in-the-car-as-we’re-driving sketches as well as the carry-it-all-in-my-pockets touristy stops.

I’m getting a great deal of practice mixing an assortment of grays!

Sketchbook drawings:

Weather sketches ….. watercolor

Keeneland Race Track – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

Impressions of fleeting moments …. painting the weather journal sketches is beginning to feel more intuitive, like the quick ink and watercolor sketches of the musicians playing together in a darkened pub.

7 am on October 1, 2012

The change from overcast mornings, noons and nights provided an opportunity to move back toward saturated hues, away from neutrals approaching gray or brown.  Even in the low light of dawn and dusk, color begins to appear in the landscape, reflecting back the light waves from the illumination of the sun and the sky.

6:50 pm, October 1, 2012

Daily Weather Journal Watercolor Sketches …. Dawn painted in my backyard … Dusk painted in my front yard.  Hmmm.  I wonder why backyard is one word and front yard is two.

As much as I love my fountain pens, I am enjoying this new direction of journaling the light and weather throughout the day.  It allows me the freedom to let colors mix and merge across the paper, producing somewhat unpredictable and often lovely results.

3:45 pm on September 28, 2012

It’s no surprise that watercolor paper is working better for me than the BFK Rives printmaking paper working wet into wet.

I am perceiving the nuances of color changes as clouds cross the sky, filtering and altering the sun’s rays, more each day.  I wonder if this is the result of the color studies I’ve been doing, having opened a door to another level of vision.  I like this new world that has opened up to me.  Landscapes have transformed into a theatrical stage with the sun and the sky acting as the Lighting Engineers.  I’m learning their trade so that I can manipulate the illusions I create on canvas and paper.

Watercolor weather journaling could easily become one more of my obsessions.

Just Before the Crack of Dawn

Each morning I wait a little longer for the crack of dawn.  The painting above was done at 6:45 am.  Within thirty minutes the illumination of the morning light as it filtered through the cloud cover transformed the dark purples into forest greens.

Shortly After the Crack of Dawn

By 7:15 am the trees were a dark green, dampened by the morning rain. The cornfield was doing its best to approach yellow ochre. I opted not to include the colors of the dried corn this time around.