(All sketches were done in a 9" x 6" Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook)
I've collected heart-shaped rocks for years. I have them from such far flung places as Alaska, Ireland, the Virgin Islands and Italy. Some of the best ones have come from the rocky coast of Maine, and this year I found plenty to add to my collection.
To paint them, I put down a variegated base wash using earth tones: yellow ochre, burnt umber, burnt sienna, and quinacridone gold along with ultramarine blue and cobalt. After that dried I began adding texture with more layers of paint.
|Layers of glazing|
Spattering is a perfect way to get the grainy texture of some rocks, but when I spatter, it tends to go everywhere. I wanted my background on this page to stay clean, so I used frisket film to mask out the stones and protect the background. I simply peeled off the adhesive backing, laid it on my sketch and, with an Xacto blade, cut around the rocks, then peeled off the film. My background was covered with the clear frisket and I could spatter to my heart's content.
I used a natural sea sponge to add texture to a few of the stones.
On others, I dropped table salt into the first wash and allowed it to dry, creating interesting patterns.
On this next page, I tried out a different way of handling a text page...
It's kind of wild and crazy-looking, but lots of fun to do.
The most wonderful thing about our cottage in Maine was the panoramic view, particularly in the morning when the sun was low in the sky and the water shimmered and sparkled like diamonds.
To get the sparkly look in this sketch, I spattered on clear water, then dabbed in touches of blue, allowing it to spread randomly. Where the paper remained dry, I had shimmering highlights. Where I ended up with less white than I wanted, I went back in at the end, when everything had dried, and scratched out some highlights with a sharp blade.
Looking at this sketch brings back all the happy feelings I had on that June morning sitting on the porch with my pals, looking out through the geraniums to the sparkling waters of Penobscot Bay. Good times!