Sunday, February 27, 2011
I love to draw for drawing's sake. But drawing is also a good way to prepare for and plan a painting. Many people paint directly with good result. I find, however, that I really do need to plan, especially with watercolor.
This is my brother on his old sailboat, sadly gone now - donated to a sailing school (the boat, not my brother). This is probably too detailed for value sketch, but it serves the purpose. And if I never get to the painting, I'll still have the drawing. I think I'll do a watercolor sketch from this drawing and see how that goes.
I drew the house up in back. I often catch a glimpse of it through the trees in winter. It is a lovely purple and I've wanted to draw and paint it for a long time. It is partially obscured by trees in the winter and completely blocked once the trees leaf out. There are more trees than I drew here and I think I'll want to place them strategically for the best design.
There is another house that I can sometimes see through the trees, but I don't think there is quite enough visible for me to draw. Of course, I could just draw the bits I can see and then use my imagination to indicate the rest. That might be the way to go.
And of course the day wouldn't be complete without a dog drawing or two
or three or four.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
One of my goals this year is to learn to draw faster. I guess that implies sketching. Which brings up a good question: What is the difference between sketching and drawing? I haven't really made a clear distinction in my mind yet. They're sort of the same, except I think sketching implies speed and a less finished look. Or maybe it conveys movement. Definitely energy.
A book on my art-books shelf (one of many) is David Rankin's Fast Sketching Techniques: Capture the Fundamental Essence of Elusive Subjects. I think that is what I want to do. I want to be able to go to a zoo or a farm or any place where animals gather and be able to come away with something recognizable. Birds! I'd love to be able to render birds in a way that somehow captures some of their "fundamental essence". I think this is going to take a lot of time and practice. I'd better start now.
I tried some of his fast sketching techniques while watching CSpan2 Book TV. It was sort of fun! I took too much time with these drawings, but I found I could at least get somewhat of a likeness by drawing fast as the camera cut away and using the pencil as a shading tool and blending with the stump.
And then I tried drawing from life, which I much prefer. Of course drawing a sleeping dog doesn't require being able to draw fast, but dogs often shift position. It turns out it is handy to be able to draw quickly.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I had the wonderful experience the other day of talking with the fabulous and amazing Ricë Freeman-Zachery of Notes from the Voodoo Cafe about my favorite subject - drawing! Thanks Ricë! It was soooo much fun!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I took an old 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor painting I had started and never finished and made an accordion sketchbook out of it. I covered some mat board with some decorative paper and ribbon for the cover. It measures 4 by 3 3/4 inches when folded up. Not quite square, but close enough.
I did a few drawings in it and set it aside.
I started carrying it with me lately and, as happens, I filled it! A little and often really does work.
Cold pressed watercolor paper has a slight tooth, not as much as rough paper, but sometimes it can be difficult to draw on with pen and ink. I found I like the way a Pilot V Razor Point pen works on this paper. It has the wonderful quality of not being waterproof and makes lovely washes. I touched the ink lines with a Niji waterbrush and the ink ran and made these lovely shadows and tones.
I drew where ever I happened to be and often didn't have time to complete some drawings. I like the way one blends into another when I unfold the sketchbook.
Having a sketchbook with me at all times is a great way to use those spaces in my day when I'm waiting for someone or I'm a little early for an appointment.
I actually look forward to these moments to do a little observing and drawing.
And I think I found a use for that stack of unfinished paintings I've had for quite a while now.