Friday, July 6, 2012

75 Day Sketch Challenge: Days 22-23

I have a collection of pale aqua antique medicine bottles that I've begun filling with sand from the beaches we visit. They sit on a shelf in my studio, reminding me of those sunlit days and crashing waves, and making me long to escape.

5 1/2" x 8 1/2", drawn with a black superfine Pitt pen

I may decide to paint the bottles at some point, but for now, I'm leaving this one as is.

I stopped one Sunday afternoon in Waynesburg to do my challenge sketch for Day 23. During the week, the traffic roars through our little downtown, with a constant stream of big, noisy trucks, due to the recent boom in gas drilling in our area. But on Sunday afternoon there's only an occasional car, and it was kind of peaceful sitting there in the van. I was able to get a clear view of the old brick buildings and our stately Greek Revival courthouse with the flag flying high.

5 1/2" x 8 1/2", watercolor with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink

I did the line drawing with my Noodler's flex pen on location and snapped a picture to paint from later at home. But I was disappointed when I pulled up the photo on my computer. The colors looked so dull and lifeless.  I decided to do something a little different - I painted the entire picture using just three primary colors: a red (permanent rose), a yellow (aureolin), and a blue (pthalo). First I laid down a variegated background wash over the entire page, encouraging the colors to mingle and run. After that had dried, I began painting the light, sunlit colors of the distant building with the awnings, then moved into the middle ground and did the courthouse, including old General Greene doffing his hat on top. Finally, the cars, trees, and foreground buildings were painted in, along with a little more pink in the clouds and below the cars.


I was really happy with the way this turned out, and I learned a good lesson from it - not to be so hung up on painting exactly what I see, but to feel free to play and explore and add a touch of "me" to what I'm painting.


  1. Love it & thank you for sharing the process! I don't know if you've been to my blog, but I've been working with 3 colors lately too. I also enjoy your black & white sketches. This daily drawing process seems to be very great for your enjoyment of your art!

  2. Rita, I've really enjoyed your blog. All your writing of your European adventures has me turning green with envy. My dream is to travel to France and Italy to sketch. I'll get there one of these days! I'll have to get in touch with you for advice when it's closer to becoming a reality. Your sketches are lovely, by the way, so lively! And you have a light touch with color that I really like. Isn't it great, learning from looking at each other's work?

  3. Hey, I recognize this three-color wash technique! I was just browsing your challenge sketches for ideas. I'm in awe that you could keep up this volume of fairly detailed work for 75 days. I'm sure I've seen all these posts before, but I just noticed your sand collection. I have one too! I like your idea of storing the sand in a collection of pretty bottles. My collection is in tiny Mason jars.

    1. You're the first person I've ever met who has a sand collection. See, we really are kindred spirits!

      The 75 day challenge was very time-consuming, but so worthwhile. The watercolor sketches took a lot more time than the black and white line drawings, so on days when I was short of time, I just drew something simple, like a corner of a room in my house. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the June 2016 A-Z challenge. Stick with it!

  4. I didn't start collecting sand until we'd been married a few years, so there are a few places I'd like to revisit to complete the collection. I just love all the colors and textures.

    I may focus on pen and ink drawings for the challenge, since that is an area I would like to improve upon. Your black and white drawings of rooms in your house are some of my favorites.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...