Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January Sketching - Days 1-4

After a busy holiday season during which I took care of all the things I had to do, I thought it would be fun in the new year, to do something just because I wanted to. I didn't have much time for sketching in December and when I don't get a chance to draw and paint, I start to feel on edge, annoyed, and just plain nudgy. Sketching helps me to recenter and calm down. It takes me to my happy place.

So when I saw a January challenge on Palma Rae's blog, with sketching prompts for each day of the month, I decided to dive in and do it. Here are the sketches from my first few days.

January 1 - As I cast my eyes around for something to draw for the first prompt, "Sketch something you can't bear to throw away but should", I spied my golden retriever, Buckley's, raggedy old rope toy. It's grey with dried dirt and slobber, but the original colors still show through, and I thought it would be interesting to draw. I love how this page turned out.

All sketches are done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook, 5-1/2" x 8-1/2", with ink & watercolor

The whole process of drawing and painting continues to amaze me. How you can start with a simple line drawing, then add a touch of color here, a shadow there, a bit of darker color over here, and all of a sudden, it comes to life - it looks real! There's a lot of the in-between time when it doesn't look good at all, but if I keep plugging away at it, it usually works out. It took me awhile to realize that. I hope it will be an encouragement to those of you who are just beginning. Don't give up. Sometimes all you need to do is keep trying - intensifying colors, adding shadows, etc. - and things will work out in the end.

January 2 - Your favorite book
Of course, there's no way I could ever pick a favorite book out of the thousands I've read and enjoyed over the years, but Winnie-the-Pooh is a wonderful classic, and I've always loved the stories and illustrations, so it was my choice for this page. You can see how well-loved and worn our copy is.


January 3 - Draw something industrial
At first glance this sketch might not seem industrial, but look closer. This view from my kitchen window, which used to show nothing but hills and trees, is now the scene of a Marcellus gas site.


Twenty-four hours a day, tanker trucks and dump trucks weave their way up our tiny country road hauling water and sand for the gas well site just over the hill. Nighttime used to be wonderful out here in the country, with quiet evenings and dark starry skies. Now the trucks run all night long and bright lights at the construction site light up the night sky. When summer comes and the trees leaf out, I won't have to look at it, but I'll still hear them and see the nighttime glow in the sky until construction is finished and the drillers move on. I don't like it one bit!

January 4 - Sketch an animal
My daughter and I took Nicholas, 3, and Callista, 2, to the Lippencott Alpacas open house last summer, and we had a great time. I took pictures of the alpacas that day and ever since then I've been wanting to sketch this adorable girl.


 Her big beautiful eyes reflect the green grass and blue sky of a September day.

11 comments:

  1. I saw this challenge on another blog I follow, Colours in the Breizh the same subject but the paintings so different. This is what I enjoy about painting how we all interpret a subject so differently.Great paintings , just love the way you've shown the eyes of the Alpaca with the reflections of the blue sky and the green grass. You have such talent and are able to portray it in your paintings.

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    1. I look at those amazing eyes and think someone else must have painted them. I can't believe I was able to capture them so well.

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  2. Thanks for sharing - always love seeing your work/fun. How did you get the white on the alpaca eyelashes?

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    1. I painted the long eyelashes with masking fluid using a ruling pen before I painted the fur. Then toward the end, I removed the masking, painted some of the eyelashes and left some white where the sun was hitting them. The ruling pen works really well for getting fine lines with masking fluid, something I was never able to achieve with a brush.

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  3. I just wanted to say "thank you" for doing this blog, and for sharing your "sketches" with all of us. I love your work, it is very inspiring to me and always makes me want to draw and paint!

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    1. Your comments make me so happy, Becky. I love knowing that I've inspired someone else to draw and paint. That's why I enjoy teaching, too. Seeing how proud and happy someone is when they finish a painting - it's the best!

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  4. I love all four of these pages and how you've given each of them a different treatment and feel. I'm familiar with the beauty of your part of the country, and it breaks my heart to read about the gas well site. I hope that once the construction is done the operation will be a quiet, unobtrusive one.
    My favorite of the four sketches is the Alpaca. You have captured her so beautifully (those eyes!); I just want to kiss her sweet face!

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    1. What I see from my window isn't the full-blown well site. I think it's a staging area or something. Who knows?! So when the actual well is finished (over the hill) I think there will only be a road where now there is all the activity. That's a relief.

      I love the alpaca, too; sometimes things just come together and you're able to capture the spirit of what you're painting. I got lucky this time.

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  5. Enjoying hearing the words behind the images I've seeing on AJW! Love the alpaca -- caught the sweetness they exude!

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  6. I love your work! I thought I was the only artist who is amazed when things come together and look real. I had to learn not to quit during that in-between stage when nothing looks right. The tiniest tweak can make all the difference! Like you, if I keep plugging away it will usually work out. Your Alpaca is stunning! Those eyes! The reflections are amazing.

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  7. Wonderful sketches!!! Love that alpaca...they have the cutest faces. I contemplated doing the challenge but I'm already doing Leslie Saeta's "30 Paintings in 30 Days" so I felt it might be a bit too much. lol

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