Painting on Location in acrylics

Lahaina Old Prison
Acrylic Paintings
1980 and 1988

Painted on linen covered panel, to be sealed with water based polyurethane.

Day One,

10:00 till 12:00 drawing on the gesso with willow vine charcoal. By day three I had caught the mistake matching up the two roof overhangs. :)

Charcoal drawing
Day 2.

I painted over my charcoal lines before adding any color.

Day 3.

The sky will set the atmosphere. It's a bright sunny day in Lahaina and I'm sitting in the shade. Three sets of complements are dominant. Yellow to blue and yellow-green to purple. Plus the cyan sky and the red oxide + burnt sienna tint of the sunlit building.

Made in the shade. Sometimes just a stick in the mud will make a good easel. That's my camera tripod doing a dual job. It's nice when you don't have to bring along a chair to location. You can tell I played a lot of tennis in 1980, my trimaran had just sank when I took it out of the protective Lahaina harbor, not knowing that night the biggest storm in years would hit Lahaina. It was just a money hole in the ocean anyway. From now on I would paint daily.
Day 4.

I laid the paint on so thick in the sunlit area of the building that I could add the horizontal board lines with the back of my brush. Oh yea, singing a happy tune. You can see a correction in the works here, I'm changing the location of the shadow from the royal palm. Three coats of white.

Day 5.

Most of this two hour period was spent in the palm tree.

Day 6.

Adjusting my color values, flying all over the picture. Making the masses of the trees.

Day 7,

I have found the sun direction I like best, it's at 11:00. I want to catch the sky's reflection within the roof's shadow. Tomorrow I may get 100% coverage which will bring me to my half way point.

Day 8.

It was a perfect day.
I got 98% coverage today. I'm half way there!

I noticed something in the reflected light I didn't see before. 
Since the angle of the face of the building is almost adjacent to my line of sight. And even though it has a flat coated finish, it is reflecting back the sun's "lighter area" of the sky.  This reflected "hot spot" is a large mass of light moving across the face of the building.

The difference of colors on each side of the palm tree seemed to get more pronounced when the sun's shadow was directly behind that silver gray royal palm trunk. One side or the other was brighter depending on which side the shadow fell into.

This is what I will be watching tomorrow.

I hope the falling palm frond hanging ready to fall from the top of the trunk, doesn't. At least not until I make the contrast decisions between the frond and the tree foliage behind it. They can't be both the same gray-value.

Day 8.

Talking about drama! While the hot spot was moving in the sunlit area, so was the reflected cool highlight in the eves shadow above it. I can't wait to get into this passage again.

The light board lines in the sun lit area are not painted lighter, they are scratched into the wet acrylic with the back of my brush. The sun is very overhead. The trees leaf shadows are not hard edged, tomorrow will be a face lift.

Day 8.

Here is the area where a cool reflected light is happening within the warm shadowed area. Moving in intensity with the "hot spot".

If I were painting in oil paint this would be done already just by blending the two colors if they were both wet. Glazing also is much easier in oils.

And if I were doing it in mastic and wax it would be even easier!!
Both colors wouldn't even have to be dry, Ha, I could re-wet an area!

In acrylics I have to tackle it in a different way. Two opaque colors, both dry. I'll have to mix the blending colors. Probably it will all get an opaque layer.

Day 9.

I think the face of the building has correct lighting now.

Day 9.

I got the tree shadows on the left by mixed a third color to soften hard shadow edge.

The color on the right side of the steps is in sunlight! When I had the shadow on the right side of the tree it was in shadow. The color still is not right but it's a base.

Day 9.

The color contrast of the hanging palm frond and the background foliage worked out perfectly. Two complements, purple and yellow-green, edge to edge.

Day 9.

I loved it, a day of decisions. The hue and gray value contrasts of the tree trunk was major. I can't believe how great it turned out, the left side is gray-value opposite to the right side.

Day 10.

A lot of time was spent up in this palm, working hard to keep it simple.

Day 10.
Day 11.

A little time was spent in the big background trees to even out the colors and get rid of little white holidays.
My next strokes on the trees should be big brush strokes so I want the underlying area to be clean and useable if not painted over.

The darkest darks in the tree foliage is a mix of green and magenta, the darkest area of the trunks are brown (dark yellow) and it's opposite color ultramarine blue.

The major work today was in the door way.

Day 11.

I know, there's one more stick on the top row. Right now I'm leaving it to show and remind me how hard it was to do.

The outside white door jam still has decorative work to go. There is no pure white left on this undercoat. It is either a tint of ultramarine blue or hansa yellow. The hottest areas are light blue. The yellow areas are colder than the blue ones which are enhanced by being next to it's opposite color.

The opposition colors mixed to get the dark area above the sticks is Cadmium Red and Cyan, called Phthalo Cyan, Thalo Blue. Whatever .. Cyan and red are opposites and the shadow area is on the cool side.. The morning sunlit face of the building is cyan and red to the warm side, tinted.

Day 12.

The palm top is finished. The background trees is where I spent most of my 2 hours today. These monkey pod trees are very small. The clumps look massive and a general highlight can be seen in the clumps. My job, should I choose to accept it, will be to make the individual clumps fit into the whole canopy of each tree.

The second area I want to work in tomorrow is the reflected shadow area under the eves. Today I added one of the two colors that will describe the boards.

Day 13.

Today I worked in the palm, on the background foliage, reflected light in the eve's shadow and the left side under eve. The reflected sky light in the shadow of the eve on the face of the building is vary important and it is not done yet.

The area to the left of the building is the area with the least amount of work in it. That tree trunk needs the sun light spots, mold and an all over shadow color to make it stand out in front of the back wall and wooden barrels.

Day 16.

I lost two days of photographs because my camera broke.

I've warmed the painting, a wash of Green Gold in the background foliage. Evened out the shadow colors and reflected light and finished the door way.

Tomorrow will be the last day I'm sure. Just a little more detail in the shadows.

Day 17.

Tomorrow morning I leave for the rainy side of Maui, Nahiku. That's a big change, from not a cloud in the sky to all clouds and rain every night.

Painted in 1980

Here is the same Prison painted in 1988, 11"x15", acrylic.

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