Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific #844’

Union Pacific #844 finally completed, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

Union Pacific 844 in Fort Worth, Texas

Finally, I got this one finished in time for the Art Festival that begins tomorrow.  This painting marks one of my most sublime moments in plein air painting.  I traveled to Fort Worth on a Friday afternoon to paint this train that was arriving that day.  On the following morning, rising at 6:00, I returned to the location and did this painting (started it, anyway).  The wheels and detailing I completed in my studio this evening, using photos I had taken of the locomotive.  I am now making 5 x 7″ greeting cards of it with an explanatory text on the back.

An evening at the Drafting Table, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010

Union Pacific #844 in progress

It’s hard to concentrate on school work daily when I have this image burned into my retina from last Friday and Saturday of the Union Pacific #844 that visited Fort Worth.  I had a full slate of high school classes today, and a college class tonight, but managed to steal about 90 minutes at my drafting table this evening and resume work on this composition.  All I’ve managed to do this evening is work on the wheels, track and cowcatcher.  At least it’s starting to look more like a steam locomotive now.  I think it will really begin to “pop” once I add the numbers and lettering to the signboards on front.  The bell could use a little more burnishing as well.

My major challenge with this watercolor is rendering the “blackness” of the locomotive.  I threw away my black pigments in June of last year, and have really enjoyed the challenges of mixing my own cool and warm blacks.  Of course with this image, it’s been a challenge, because I have to keep finding ways to separate the cool and warm dynamics of the overall black color of this locomotive.

This is turning out to be great fun, and I’m delighted that I have two of these in progress (the first one I haven’t touched since Friday night, but I will).  I plan to do a third, because I was smitten when the morning sun came out strong, and lit up the front of this train with bright gold colors.  I had already committed to the muted, overcast lighting, and had the basic washes already laid in.  Fortunately, my camera was with me, and  I captured some nice photographs of the sunlit locomotive, before the sun hid itself for good.  So, I plan to do a sun-washed gold-highlighted rendering of this loco as well.

I’m just sorry that I have to put in the lion’s share of my daily hours tending to school details.  Tomorrow I’ll face three different preps with three different classes.  And, of course, I have a 3-day art festival coming up this weekend.  There is still plenty of matting, shrinkwrapping, labeling, and inventory checking to do before the big weekend arrives.  And . . . I’m hoping to finish this along with the other two freight train paintings posted previously (a UP and a GATX freight).  So little time . . .

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep . . .

Thanks for reading.

Union Pacific 844 send-off, April 10, 2010

April 10, 2010

Union Pacific #844 the morning after

When the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. and it was still dark, I thought I had made a mistake.  When I dressed and stepped outside later, without showering, breakfasting, and found it to be chilly in the pre-dawn air, I thought I had made a mistake.  When I found the ramp to US 287 closed, I thought I had made a mistake.  When I missed the I-30 exit ramp off I-35W I thought I had made a mistake.  It seemed the morning would not go as planned.  Upon my arrival, it was still murky outside, but I took up my position on the north side of the parked UP 844, and as I drew out my supplies from the backpack, I realized I had not packed bottled water.  I knew I had made a mistake.  Oh well.  Sharpening a pencil, I decided to draw slowly, deliberately, carefully.  After I had done nearly all I could, and wished I had water so I could flood color on the page, Mr. Belnap of Union Pacific (who had introduced himself the evening before) came by.  When I asked if there was bottled water available anywhere, he directed me to a cooler set out for the employees, filled with bottled water!  He said “Help yourself.”  The morning was saved after all.

I enjoyed the overcast light on this magnificent locomotive, and once I had blocked in all the tones, the sun then popped out, showing a brilliant yellow light on the front.  I couldn’t change the watercolor, so I quickly took several photographs, and then the sun went away for good.   So . . . I have the best of both worlds.  Hopefully soon I can begin another study of this locomotive under the bright morning sunlight conditions.

The train pulled away at 8:30, and the moment was over, but not the memory.  It was a great morning to be out sketching.

Thanks for reading.