composition idea


A watercolor study combining my own photo references after studying Sorolla. Part of a class I am teaching, that hinges on an ocean theme: we are examining other paintings and gathering ideas from that process to influence how we create compositions and paintings from our own photo references. I am enjoying the process.  Looking at Sorolla influenced how I saw and chose my references and expanded my sense of possibility.

Now its time to go sledding!!!

remembered colors from the garden and all over

autumn color imagined

This is a sketch made indoors, after dark, as I tried to re-imagine the color relationships that I have been seeing and thinking about trying to paint the past week.  I started with the glowing, yellow balloon flower.  Even in the dark, I noticed when I went to take out the trash, it glows yellow and the oak tree orange/red/purple,  I remembered the sage (regular sage) as a cooler blue green.  and a bit of scarlet blueberry bush.


west river, providence, ri

The Wanskuck neighborhood of Providence outside Providence Bicycle. I was there having a bike rack attached so that I might better be able to bike around town with still life material-pies, in particular, are difficult- and art supplies.  Apparently there is an actual “pie rack” for bikes though I have not yet located such a thing.

The shop is located in a mill building on the West River.  According to wikipedia it is “the only named tributary of the Moshassuck River”.  It doesn’t appear to be related to the Woonasquatucket River. But there- I got to write its name which is what I really wanted to do.

Addendum by Robert MacMahon: 

The West River flows from North Providence into Providence and merges with a stream that flows out of Canada Pond (it’s the pond along RT 146 in Providence) just below Branch Avenue.  The West River flows under Charles Street near the Home Depot and eventually merges with the Moshassuck River near the State House. The Moshassuck then flows a very short distance through Capital Center and merges with the Woonasquatucket River near the Citizens Bank building.  The merger of the Moshassuck and the Woonasquatucket marks the official beginning of the Providence River.

The Moshassasuck River runs north from the Citizens Bank building through the North Burial Ground into Pawtucket where it once was connected to the Blackstone River.  You probably know that the Moshassuck in providence was once part of the Blackstone Canal that ran from Providence to Worcester during the early part of the 19th century.  It was built to provide a cheap way to get goods from the middle of Massachusetts to Providence where the goods could be shipped out of the Providence port.  If you have biked along the Blackstone bike path in Lincoln, you have biked along the Blackstone Canal.  Well that canal ran all the way to Providence to the spot where the Moshassuck River flow near the Citizens Bank building.  The canal only lasted about 10 years or so.  It was done in by the emergence of the railroad.  The best present day view of the Moshassuck as a canal in Providence is in the North Burial Ground. 

Botanical study ideas

Demo sketches for botanical studies classes.


Color impression swatches,color impression elaborated upon. We talked about being aware of the propensity to draw a concept of a flower/leaf/petal, and to look closely to the observed thing, past our plan view.

concept or plan view of a flower
concept or plan view of a flower