Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Out & About

One of the homework assignments I give my sketchbook journaling students is to paint a variegated wash on a sketchbook page without any thought as to what they might decide to draw later on the page. Then, after the wash dries, they are to begin their sketches, using the earlier wash as a unifying color theme for their drawing or painting. Since what's good for the student is also good for the teacher, I did the homework assignment for myself...

8-1/2" x 11", ink & watercolor in a Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook

It started out like this:

First, I used cobalt turquoise, cerulean blue, permanent rose, and one of my yellows (not sure which one) for the variegated wash. Then I penciled in the grid boxes and did my first two sketches...


These little drawings only take a minute or two to do. The painting takes a little longer, due to drying time. For many of them, I started painting them onsite, then snapped a photo and moved on while the paint dried, adding the final touches later at home.


What's great about this technique of doing a preliminary wash over the whole page is that, when it's time to paint your sketches, your work is half done for you! Take a look at this little sketch below. The sky, sidewalk, and street were all left as the original wash color.

The warm colors on the page worked beautifully for this picture of pumpkins outside a shop in Waynesburg.

Having the background wash as the first layer on a sketchbook page adds continuity to the page and offers exciting color possibilities that you might not have thought of without it, like the rainbow sky that is reflected in the sidewalk and grass in this sketch...

This technique is a lot of fun - give it a try!


  1. I love the way this turned out! It is beautiful!

  2. Hi Leslie, I love it, how beautiful!

  3. Wow...gorgeous! What fun! Leslie, I wish you offered some online classes too!

  4. Oooh, oooh, oooh, I will give it a try. I always resist doing something like this because I want to get right to the drawing part. Thank you for the inpsiration & the demonstration.

  5. Awesome Leslie - I will certainly give this a try. Thank you for your generous sharing. I now inspired. Have a great week-end.

  6. I love the technique of doing the color wash first. Thank you for sharing your beautiful art and talent!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...