Cityscape Providence, RI


This morning I scoped out our cityscape location for friday’s class.  There was an exercise class meeting in the same space/time.  I was delighted by how helpful the instructor’s advice was to my own endeavor:

“Practice makes progress. You’re stronger than you think. Keep breathing. Geronimo.” Indeed.

The painting is available on etsy.


My process for this sketch

  • Loose sketch in pencil to give myself a chance to feel through some of the shapes
  • Began the painting with paint
  • Focal point was the clump of yellow trees
  • Made marks for the lightest bits: yellow and orange
  • Tried to keep things very small indeed!
  • This panel was not designed for watercolor, dried slowly, beaded up.
  • Moved around the composition to let the paint dry
  • Used white to mix neutrals
  • Deepened the darks
  • Added the burgundy pen, tried to keep a very light hand


Carpet shop interior sketch class

carpet shop watercolor sketch

From our class at Loominous Rugs in Providence, RI.  Once again our approcah was to choose a focal point and build the picture around that. 8″x10″, Watercolor and pen on aqua board panel.

Below is a photo reference of my subject, heres my approach: I

1. chose the ornamental grasses as my focal point 2. worked small in order to make room for a ground plane 3. emphasized the colors and shapes that pleased me 4. compressed the space so that I could fit in more shapes and colors 5. put the brick wall on both sides of the carpet 6. changed the shape of the carpet in the foreground.


Bookstore sketch

paper nautilus books

I love sketching in Paper Nautilus Books.  Our class met there yesterday, again, and it was wonderful again.  I am so impressed with our ability to work with the overabundance of visual information.  All of us were inclined to focus on an object rather than dealing with the complexity of the interior as a whole.  But we did so by finding a focal point, using that as a key and working out from that point.  Even when that meant (and it did in every case) that the composition took us places we didn’t expect.  Beginning with a focal point, while leaving room for much more on the page, allowed us all to tackle complex spaces and lots of stuff.  Bravo for us!

My focal point was a gold leaf frame on the wall in the distance.  In it happened to be one of my paintings (really Margaret?) of the windows at Paper Nautilus. A few of these are included in the collection of art and objects on display and for sale at the shop.


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.