|Kurt Plinke, Artist and Naturalist|
Finished or not
"Bower's Beach Dockside", 12" x 16" transparent watercolor on Claybord.
Sitting on the deck at JP's Wharf restaurant at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, I've marveled at the number of amazing views. This is the roughed-in watercolor on Claybord of one of those views. Not yet finished, I'm probably going to put this one up for a while before coming back to complete it. I love this view, which I started from JP's Wharf as a sketch. I especially like the orange of the old lifeboat tossed up onto the rickety waterman's wharf.
Painting with watercolors on Claybord has some distinct advantages, as well as some drawbacks. I'm still experimenting with this unusual ground, and am still wrapping my head around the way that I can almost completely lift paint from the surface. (a good and bad thing) On the one hand, I can compose a painting without the tedious and less-than spontaneous pencil sketch. On the other hand, I've spent decades developing my abilities to layer colors on paper. It is impossible to layer different thin washes of pigment on Claybord, because each layer destroys what is underneath. Instead, I treat the painting almost as an Egg Tempera, beginning with a single layer of washes, then adding uncountable small strokes and marks that overlap and deepen the image. So far, I can do this in small doses. I get frustrated (although less and less so the more I complete) trying to layer tiny thin strokes. I feel like Seurat as I match colors and layers and marks.
Eventually, I would love to try Claybord as a pure Plein Air painting, completed in one sitting on location. The idea intrigues me at the same time it terrifies.
(By the way, if you want to taste some great fresh seafood in an old-time Eastern Shore setting, try JP's Wharf. great food, reasonably priced. Cold beer. Right on the mouth of the Murderkill River and the Delaware Bay.)
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