Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chapel Sketch + GIVEAWAY

This is one of my favorite sketches so far in my 2016 Tuscany travel journal...

10" x 7", ink & watercolor in a Handbook Field Watercolor Journal

I had pre-painted the page earlier with watery washes of blue, yellow, and burnt sienna and let it dry thoroughly. I did a little bit of planning for color placement, concentrating more blues in the sky area and more of the burnt sienna where the building would be. Then I drew and painted the page while sitting at a wrought iron table under the huge chestnut tree in front of the villa. Several of my students watched while I painted, asking questions now and then about the hows and whys of what I was doing.

It was peaceful and quiet, just perfect for painting, except when a light breeze rustled the chestnut leaves. Then we had to duck to avoid being bombarded by falling chestnuts, which clattered to the ground all around us. 

The drawing was done with my favorite Platinum Carbon Desk Pen filled with permanent Platinum Carbon ink. I prefer the extra-fine nib on the pen, because I like the lines to be secondary to the watercolor in most of my sketches. When I drew the vine-covered wall of the chapel, notice how I drew very little detail with ink. I merely indicated where the trunks of the wisteria showed through the greenery, and a few leaves here and there. It would be tedious to try to draw the entire mass of foliage, and it just isn't necessary. It's much more easily done with paint.


To begin the vines, I mixed up puddles of yellow, olive green, ultramarine blue, and purple on my palette, then began painting a loose wash of color using mostly yellow-green but also dropping in areas of blue or purple or a deeper, darker green where there were shadows. The colors softly combined on the paper and were allowed to dry. Later I went back in and added strokes of darker green to suggest masses of foliage and individual leaves. I had to be was careful not to overdo it, though, because I didn't want to cover up all those nice light colors of the initial wash.

The olive oil jugs were painted with two or three layers: first the initial graded wash of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, which was laid down wet-in-wet with the light yellow on the sunlit side of the jugs, grading to a deeper medium-value burnt sienna on the right. Later, the brown stripes and the shadows were added to finish them off.


The wall of the chapel, like many buildings in Tuscany, is made of what appears to be a base of cement embedded with stones and bricks. To paint it, I gave it a base wash of pale gray-tan (burnt umber + ultramarine blue) then added splotches of varied stone colors after the first wash had dried.


For the windows, I was careful to keep some glimmers of white on the black wrought iron grillwork to indicate highlights.

The brick steps were painted in stages of light, medium and dark: light background color for the mortar, medium bricks, and dark shadows.


I planned for the lettering box early on in the process, but left the lettering itself for the end. 


The inspiration for the decorative script was the ceramic sign that hangs next to the front door of the villa at Fattoria Bacio.

These borders would work great on a sketchbook page, too!

I always pencil in my lettering on a sketch first, so I can plan the spacing, then once I have everything to my liking, I go ahead and ink or paint it. Here the black text was inked with a Platinum Carbon pen and the larger lettering was painted with a #2 round brush.

Well, that's the last sketch in our Paint Brush Giveaway series this week, but I have a lot more pages in my Tuscany sketchbook that I'm working on finishing up. I'll share them with you as I complete them. For now, why not leave a comment below to be entered in my DECEMBER GIVEAWAY?


Enter for a chance to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder to keep them all in, courtesy of the friendly folks at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or all of the seven Italy sketches I've posted between November 27 and December 3. The drawing will be held on December 7, 2016.

If you like, you can answer the following question in your comment....

What are you most looking forward to about the holidays this year?

Leave your comment below, and good luck!


Friday, December 2, 2016

Best Friends Sketch + GIVEAWAY

There is plenty to smile about when staying at Fattoria Bacio, where my workshop was held last September and October. There are the incomparable views, of course...


and the historic buildings...


the vineyards...


the olive groves...


the pool...


the chapel...



and the sketch-worthy scenes everywhere you look...





But the one thing that not only made me smile every day but actually forced me to laugh out loud was Garibaldi the donkey...


I would be sitting outside sketching or talking with my students and suddenly we would hear a loud, raucous "HEE HAW, HEE HAW, HEE HAW!!!" coming from the barn next door. It was Garibaldi, demanding, complaining or just letting us know that he was ready for a handful of nice fresh green grass, if you please. His indignant braying made me giggle each time I heard it.

He has a buddy, Anita the goat, a cute little thing who delights in teasing the poor donkey whenever she has a chance.


When she hops out of the paddock, Garibaldi gets jealous and lets his displeasure be known in no uncertain terms. Check out this video of the two of them that I took to show my grandchildren...


Since Garibaldi and Anita were such a fun part of our week at Fattoria Bacio, I dedicated a sketchbook page to them.

10" x 7" ink & watercolor, Handbook Field Watercolor Journal

As you can see from my sketch, Garibaldi was named after Guiseppe Garibaldi, the general who united Italy under one government. I read a little bit about him on Wikipedia here. What a man!


And his wife, Anita, sounds like she was a pretty incredible woman. Read her story here. She was captured by the enemy during a battle and escaped by stealing a horse and riding away. Soldiers shot the horse out from under her, then she ran and jumped in a river and floated downstream, finally making her way across and, days later, reuniting with her husband and his troops. And she was pregnant at the time! What a woman!


And we think we 're having a rough day when the internet goes down or we run out of coffee.

Hey, don't forget about the giveaway that's going on right now here on the Everyday Artist blog...

DECEMBER GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes (a $38.69 value) plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder (a $14.69 value) to keep them all in, courtesy of the nice folks at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or more of the seven sketches I'll be posting between November 27 and December 3. Yes, you may enter multiple times! 

The drawing will be held on December 7, 2016.

Each day I'll ask a question that you can answer in the comments, if you like. Today's question is...

Did you ever have a unique pet?
My son had an African clawed frog, and we had a cat
who could open a French door all by himself - how about you?

Leave your comment below, and good luck!



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tuscan Hills Sketch + GIVEAWAY

It felt good to finally arrive at Fattoria Bacio and have a chance to settle in for two full weeks.

Home Sweet Home...temporarily
We made it!
It was as beautiful as ever...


And there were just as many cats as last year, if not more.

Kitties routinely get dropped off at Fattoria Bacio, and the owners, Alberto and Patrizia, don't have the heart to turn them away 

Our first evening was spent sampling wines from the surrounding vineyards while getting to know each other and being introduced to the program for the week.



The next day we got down to business and had our first instructional time in the studio, then headed outside to paint the beautiful view...


Most of us painted this scene...


while some chose a spot of their own...

Jan sketching the view

Here's the sketch my friend, Jan Shipe, did from her perch on the porch. I like it so much that I begged her to let me share it with you. Thanks, Jan!

The Pine Grove at Fattoria Bacio by Jan Shipe

I chose to do a vignette of the vineyards across the valley, but instead of using my Platinum Carbon fountain pen, which is my go-to tool these days, I did my drawing with a Tombow #977 Saddle Brown felt-tip pen. After the drawing was completed, I applied watercolor with a size 8 brush, to keep things fairly loose, talking the students through the process as we sketched together. Some of the students were brand new to sketching, but they dove right in and gave it a try and were quite pleased with the results!

10" x 7", ink & watercolor in a Handbook Field Watercolor Journal

Tombow pens are water-soluble, so when watercolor is applied over top of the lines, they blend in, leaving just a hint of color.

Detail

My lettering was done with a pointed nib dip pen later at home. I'm just learning how to use a dip pen, and I still need a lot of practice, but I love the look of the blended watercolor lettering that coordinates with the colors in my sketch.


We took a break for a wine-tasting outdoors under the huge chestnut tree on the lawn...


and had traditional Tuscan beans on crostini drizzled with olive oil, to go with the wine.


Then it was time for lunch...so fresh and delicious!


The ladies were feeling pretty happy by the time they finished their sketches (and had a few more glasses of that wonderful villa vino).


It was a full first day with lots of informative lessons, good food, and relaxed painting time. We could hardly believe how lucky we were to be in this amazing place...


I'll be returning to teach in Tuscany again next September - why not join me? Click here for details. Or check out my other European workshops in Provence and the Greek Isles

And don't forget to enter the
DECEMBER GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes (a $38.69 value) plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder (a $14.69 value) to keep them all in, courtesy of the friendly folks at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or all of the seven sketches I'll be posting between November 27 and December 3. Yes, you may enter multiple times! 

The drawing will be held on December 7, 2016.

Each day I'll ask a question that you can answer in the comments, if you like. Today's question is...

What makes you smile?

Leave your comment below, and good luck!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Too Much Luggage" Sketch + Paintbrush and Holder GIVEAWAY

After a day and a half of traveling to Italy from the US, and two and a half days in Cinque Terre, it was finally time to move on to Florence and then to Fattoria Bacio, in Certaldo, where I would teach two week-long sketching workshops.

My friends Cindy and Carol watch the scenery going by on our way to Florence. Notice how our suitcases are all stashed in and among the train seats. That was the only place to put them on this train.

The train trip from Cinque Terre to Florence was one I had been dreading. I had two suitcases I had to lug along, one with my clothes, shoes, etc. and one with the handouts and supplies for my workshop classes. I give each student in my European workshops a huge spiral-bound book filled with great ideas for designing their sketchbook pages, creating border designs, and adding hand-lettering to their sketches. I also include lessons on perspective, composition, and watercolor techniques, along with other helpful information. My students love their handouts, but since I was teaching a total of twenty people this year, those handouts and supplies added up to a hefty 47 pounds! It would have cost a fortune to ship everything, so I bit the bullet and took everything with me.

10" x 7", watercolor, Platinum Carbon ink, and gel pen

Luckily, I was traveling with nine friends who helped me every step of the way. "Many hands make light work" - that definitely applied to getting all of our bags up and down stairs and on and off trains during our day of traveling to the workshop location in Certaldo. It was all part of the traveling experience, so it merited a page in my travel journal.

Have you noticed that I like variety in my sketchbooks? Some pages are cute or funny or cartoonish like this one. Others are heartfelt, beautifully painted images that I lavish time and attention on. Some are tongue-in-cheek or silly, while others are serious. I guess I like to mix things up. I get bored doing the same thing the same way, so I constantly try to think of new ways to approach the sketchbook page. It pushes me to learn and grow. Give it a try!

And remember to enter my DECEMBER GIVEAWAY...


You are invited to enter for a chance to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes (a $38.69 value) plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder (a $14.69 value), courtesy of Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.

These are the same brushes I used on my recent trip to Italy. I have the shorter travel version, and they fit nicely in my travel sketch kit. I really enjoyed painting with them in Tuscany - they hold plenty of water, and they're a little springier than my sable brushes.

Travel brush set in my Katsuwa supply case

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or all of the seven sketches I'll be posting between November 27 and December 3. It's okay if you enter multiple times (one per post, please).

The drawing will be held on December 7, 2016.

Each day I'll ask a question that you can answer in the comments, if you like. Today's question is...

What tutorial would you like to see here on the Everyday Artist blog?

Leave your answer in a comment below. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Manarola Sunset Sketch + GIVEAWAY

I'm glad I took the time to journal on this trip to Italy. It does take some effort to make time to write things down each day, but it's amazing how quickly we forget the details if we don't record them in some way. Each day blurs into the next and you can't rmember where you went or what you ate or even what day it is!

10" x 7" ink & watercolor in a Handbook Field Watercolor Journal

And a travel journal with sketches is even better than one without, don't you think? Just looking at this sketch of our last sunset in Manarola takes me back there. Dining at a restaurant high up on the hill above Manarola, with all of the houses below glowing in the setting sun, the sky turning every shade of pink, orange, and blue - it's something I'll never forget.

Detail

And don't you forget about our DECEMBER GIVEAWAY!


Enter for a chance to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes (a $38.69 value) plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder (a $14.69 value) to keep them all in, courtesy of Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.


To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or all of the seven sketches I'll be posting between November 27 and December 7. You may enter multiple times. Just leave a comment on all seven posts. 

The drawing will be held on December 3, 2016.

Each day I'll ask a question that you can answer in the comments, if you like. Today's question is...

Who do you admire, and why?

Leave a comment below. Good luck!

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