Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Sketching - Days 10 & 12

Yes, I know it's January 22, and I'm ten days behind in the Artist's Journal Workshop January sketch challenge. That's the way these challenges often go for me, and I know I'm not alone in that. I've been so busy preparing for my upcoming classes that I haven't been taking the time to do a daily sketch, but believe me, I've been feeling plenty guilty about it. Does that count? :) are the two sketches I have managed to complete:

Day 10 - Draw a medicinal plant

5-1/2" x 8-1/2" Ink & watercolor, drawn with a Pitt pen, in a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook

Day 12 - Draw the last gift you received
We always open our stockings after all the other presents have been opened on Christmas morning, and my husband always gives me delicious chocolates and other yummies that I wouldn't buy for myself. If I remember correctly, these Venchi chocolates were the last gift I received Christmas day. I know they were the tastiest. I'm savoring them one by one, and I still have four left - what control!

5-1/2" x 8-1/2" Ink & watercolor, drawn with a Noodler's Nib Creaper Flex pen with Lexington Gray ink in a Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook

I'm heading for Florida early tomorrow morning for a five-day visit with my friend, Judy. It's going to feel great to soak up the sunshine and dip my toes in the Gulf. I'm hoping to get some sketching done, but I might just be too relaxed to pick up a pen. I'll check in when I return to the frigid northeast.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January Sketching - Days 5-9

I'm always at least a day behind on this January challenge, but I've decided not to stress over it. After all, it's supposed to be fun, right? Well, here are five more sketches that I've completed...

Day 5 - Draw a bridge
This is an old stone railroad bridge that spans Ten-Mile Creek in Jefferson, PA, drawn with a Derwent Watercolour pencil, color: chocolate.

All sketches are done in a 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook

Day 6 - Draw seeds or pods
I dashed outside on one of those zero-degree days last week to pick a stem off my balloon flower plants to draw. The seed pods were a dusty purplish grey color, something I never would have noticed if I hadn't stopped to sketch them. Since the stem was so long and narrow, I figured a page border was in order, to fill some of that blank space.

Watercolor, ink, pencil, and gel pen

Day 7 -Draw your version of a favorite painting
I picked Andrew Wyeth's "Her Room", which I love, but jazzed up the colors to make it my own. The original is all muted tones of browns and greys - mine is definitely not muted!

Ink and watercolor

Day 8 - Sketch a tea kettle
One thing I like about doing a challenge and sketching every day is that it gives me a good excuse to try different techniques, materials, and styles. In this sketch of my enameled tea kettle, I zoomed in and cropped the kettle and cup, something I rarely do in my sketches. I always tend to feel compelled to include the big picture. I must remember that sometimes less is more.

Ink and watercolor

Day 9 - Draw coins or a bank note
Talk about trying a different technique....this sketch is not my usual style at all, but I wanted to try being bold and simplifying my lines. It doesn't even look like it was done by the same person who did the "Campanula" page above, does it? Using the "Fine" Sharpie pen (which really has a fairly fat tip) forced me to eliminate extraneous detail and gave it a more graphic look.

Sharpie pen and watercolors

While I'm trying to keep up with the daily sketches, I'm preparing for my upcoming class at WashArts in Washington, PA. Lots of painting going on around here! It may take me until the end of February to finish my January sketches, but I shall persevere!

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Very Chilly Morning

It's been absolutely frigid here for the past week, and it looks like it's going down below zero again tonight. Our house is perched on top of a hill, so we are buffeted by winter winds all season long, and it's really been shaking the house today! But we've had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Yesterday morning's was so pretty, I just had to pull out my nature journal and try to capture it on paper.

Ink & watercolor in a Stillman and Birn Beta series 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" sketchbook

Hope you're staying warm!

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.

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