|Stillman & Birn Zeta series sketchbook, 7" x 7"|
Sketching provides a great excuse to slow down and enjoy life. What could be better than to sit by a lake on a beautiful summer day just listening, watching, and painting?
Would you like to see a step-by-step of my sketching process? Well, blissed out and relaxed as I was that day at Alpine Lake, I actually had the presence of mind to snap some pictures as I worked on this page. I thought you'd enjoy seeing them. Here's step 1...
|Step 1 - Quick sketch of the scene|
I had a new toy to play with, a set of Koh-I-Noor "Magic Pencils", so I used one of them to do my sketch. It gave me a soft variegated line that would easily blend into my watercolors later as I painted.
|"Magic Pencils" by Koh-I-Noor. I used the second one from the top for my sketch.|
The lines are colorful yet subtle.
I painted the sky first, wet-on-dry since I didn't want too much spreading of the color. I softened edges where needed with a damp brush.
|Step 2 - First washes (sky and grass)|
The grass was a bright yellow-green, so I laid in some leaf green, olive green, and cadmium yellow light, allowing them to mingle on the paper. In the lower part of the page, I dropped some ultramarine blue into the wet paint.
In step 3, I began painting the masses of foliage, varying my greens to add interest. I also added the first indications of the dirt path and foreground grasses. The boulders received their first light and medium tone washes.
|Step 3 - Began painting leafy foliage, path, grasses, and rocks|
I always think of this part of the process as being the awkward adolescent stage of a painting. It's hard to foresee a satisfactory outcome, and I'm usually thinking, "Augh, this looks so bad!" I try not to get discouraged at this point, though, because I know things will get better if I just keep plugging away at it.
In step 4, I defined the tree trunks, first with a light grey wash, then a darker one after the first had dried. I added some spattering in the tree foliage and painted the deep green undergrowth behind the tree trunks. The boulders received their first layer of shadows, and the path had some darker tones added to it. More texture was added to the foreground grasses with spattering from my paintbrush, a size 6 or 8 round.
|Step 4 - Tree trunks, undergrowth, foliage spatters, rock shadows|
A lot happened between steps 4 and 5 - I painted the distant hills, began painting the water, added deeper shadows on the rocks and foreground foliage, and further defined some of the branches and leaves.
|Step 5 - Add darker shadows, hills, grasses, and water|
Step 6 shows the final touches: trees on the distant shore and a few touches of darker shadows here and there.
|Step 6 - Distant trees, spots of darkest color|
Total working time was about an hour and a half. I like the way this turned out using the colored pencil for the drawing, rather than my usual ink lines. It's a looser, less defined look.