Finally done with this painting! I started it on a plein air outing over a week ago and worked on it in tiny pieces of time since. It even went through an ugly stage (which is normal, particularly for paintings done in multiple sessions) and through a husband-critique stage (that's how you know it's getting serious ;) ). I
First step: completed drawing at the plein air session. By the time I was done drawing, it was getting close to sunset and windy, so I decided to do the painting part at home.
Here, I am beginning to lay first washes. The paper is hot press, so I'm getting some nice blooms!
I have some white areas left here but most of the painting has a layer of paint. Evaluating if the contrast between the white columns and dark spaces between them is too dark. So it is. Also, not crazy about the foreground.
One step further: I toned down the white areas and lightened up the shadows between columns. I also decided to separate the far right side of the building from the background by darkening the tree area. The foreground got another wash of gray-blue to tone it down and ground the building. Brick detail on the left side and a bit of cleaning up in the shape of the columns and bottom of the building.
At this point, I got a feeling that my problem with the foreground might be because it was also too large. I began thinking about the best way to crop it.
Final, cropped version. The foreground is significantly darker and quieter. I took off some of the paint first, by wetting the area with a soft brush (to agitate the paint and make it liftable without damaging the paper) and blotting with soft tissue paper (like Kleenex). I repeated the process once or twice. Then, I covered the area with a fairly uniform wash of mixed gray (French Ultramarine + Quinacridone Red + Quinacridone Gold).
And that's the story :). I think I've lived in the desert for too long (4 years!), because I am beginning to find cool things about it and even like some of them...
If you would like to see an excellent virtual tour of the Barstow Harvey House, watch this: