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Tag Archives: Michigan


                               Big Red Lighthouse


                                 White River Lighthouse 

A couple of years ago, Richard McNaughton challenged many of his fellow art bloggers to paint lighthouses. My sister was up for this! She has always been drawn to lighthouses and visiting them when she travels. To make a long story short, she made sure I had reference photos of five of them for the challenge. You can see the paintings I did from those references by clicking here.  For a while, now, she has wanted me to paint two more of the lighthouses she has visited.  I finally sat myself down and drew and painted them for her. These are both lighthouses from Michigan that she has visited. She says they call the one on the top “Big Red”.

One thing I had to keep in mind is how I painted the previous five as she would like to hang them together. For these, I used a wonderful coldpress watercolor paper called Cartiera Magnani. I also kept these to the size that I had painted the others and tried to stay true to the colors I had used for the others. I had to use liquid frisket to save small areas of white in each painting, since I worked so small. I really enjoy working on this paper but have not been able to order large sheets of it. Every time I try, I am told it is out of stock. I have two blocks of the small 9 x 12  inch sheets remaining. It is a soft paper with an interesting texture and the water and pigments soak into it immediately. It is great for a rather detailed look and retains the brilliant color of the pigments exceptionally well.

Remember this post?  The above painting is what I came up with. In the long run, I like that I used rough Arches paper. I think it gives a softer and more aged look to the subject material.

I have included the steps I took in creating this:

Special considerations had to be perspective and all those little tiny detailed things.

I splattered the roof and street ( areas that were hit with bright light ) with friskit I used friskit to save the lettering on both blue signs above the store.  I painted in initial large washes on the roof and the street to define the light. I had to darken a window or two because all that white paper was driving me nuts!

I then painted the greens surrounding the building.  I used a loose squiggly  pointillism working wet in wet so the colors would blend some.  I worked on that red bench and a few tiny things.

Then the detail work began. This took forever. There is no shortcut! I thought about loosely painting this in with abstract little shapes and color that runs together, but the subject really did not call for that. I think the intrigue with this restaurant is the general store atmosphere and all that detailed clutter under the entryway roof.  Each piece required special attention because just one flat color was not going to shape it or make it look real. The windows were fun to create wet-in-wet. I also liked creating those double wooden doors in the center. I used very tiny brushes!   #’s 1, 2 and 4 rounds. Oh yes! I painted the chimneys, paying special attention to the shadowed and the light side.

This step was finishing all the detail under the porch roof as well as darkening areas of the main roof hit by sunlight.

 Finished Painting

This step involves tieing everything together.  I noticed the shadow under the porch roof had gradually appeared lighter and lighter as I added the details and more color in each step.  I painted the lettering on the signs above the porch roof and the color in the two hex signs. I could not get that tiny lettering perfect, by the way. Hand not steady enough, brush not tiny enough and an artist who does not care about perfection.   🙂     I used white gouche on the Coca Cola sign, to brighten areas of the “ice” box, the “Fish Fry” sign and the white legs of the red-topped table on the porch. I removed the frisket splatter and washed some red into some of it on the large section of roof.  What a great learning experience this was. Patience was the “key”!