Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Santa Barbara Mission Sketches

It's the week before Christmas, and I've been busy shopping, wrapping, and making my signature Dark Chocolate Pecan English Toffee, but I thought I'd take a break from Christmas preparations to share a few more sketches from Santa Barbara that I hadn't gotten around to posting earlier.

This one is my favorite painting from the trip. It started out as a demo for the class when we visited Old Mission Santa Barbara for a plein air sketching session. I started with a quick ink sketch using a black pen with extra-fine point, then splashed on some loose watercolor for the foreground flowers, allowing the paint to blend and merge a bit .


After the initial wash dried, I painted the background bushes and trees, then returned to the flowers to define some of the rose petals and add darker values. The mission itself was painted with very little detail - I wanted the focus to be on the roses, the title lettering, and the beautiful corner designs.

Click for a larger view

The A.C. Postel Rose Garden, adjacent to the mission, is phenomenal. It's maintained by the local rose society and contains over 1500 plants. Even in November, there were more than enough blooms to be impressive. I can't imagine how gorgeous it must be at peak bloom.


After a couple of hours of sketching, we took a self-guided tour of the mission.



I snapped pictures of the decorative motifs I saw on walls, furniture, doors, and altarpieces, thinking I might use them some day for sketchbook page borders. Inspiration is everywhere.







I could have sketched there all day...



This amazing tree filled the courtyard.


I gave my students suggestions for page layouts that they could use both during our plein air session and afterwards, back in the classroom, when we created additional sketches from reference photos we had taken onsite. Here are some of the sketches from this creative bunch...






Isn't it interesting to see how everyone's unique style shows through in their sketches, even though we all painted the same scene?

In the next blog post, I'll share my sketch from Rincon Point plus more student sketches.


Now I'm off to mix up another batch of that English toffee!

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