Friday, December 20, 2019

Rincon Point Beach Sketches & More!

During my recent Santa Barbara workshop, I took the class on a sketching field trip to Rincon Point Beach, which was just down the hill from the barn where our class was held. Rincon Point is a world-famous surfing spot, but we settled in on the quieter side of the point where a long, crescent-shaped beach stretches for a half mile or more. It's a beautiful stretch of coastline, and we had the place to ourselves that afternoon.

Ink, watercolor, & gouache, 10" x 7", Handboook Field Watercolor Journal, 140 lb. paper

For this demo sketch, I first taped off a border on the page using 1/4" painter's tape and roughed in a pencil drawing. Next, I painted a watery wet-in-wet base wash over the entire page with Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose, letting it dry thoroughly before painting the actual image. The light base wash served as the lightest value in the painting, so all I had to do was add the midtones and darks to finish it.

Click for larger image

I have mixed feelings about this sketch. There's a lot I like about it: the glow from the underwash, the figure of my friend Monica walking along the beach, the birds, the misty mountain in the background, and the lettering style. But I think the criss-crossed border looks too busy on the page and detracts from the scene, and the underwash dulled the highlights on the wood, so it doesn't look as sunlit as it was in real life.

My takeaway from this is that not every sketch is going to be one I love. I tried a new kind of border, and on this sketch, I ended up not liking it. But I still had the experience of being on a gorgeous California beach on a perfect sunny day with friends and companions, doing what we love. And that's what's important, not whether I made a perfect sketch.

Would you like to see some of the other sketches that were created that day? Check out the work of my talented students....

I taught a lesson on using thumbnail sketches to narrow your focus and choose a composition, and one student turned her thumbnails into a very nice gridded page...

We did another exercise the next day where we created composite sketches from our beach finds...

Other sketches from the workshop featured views around the barn...

I love seeing the wide range of compositions, page layouts, and lettering styles that my students dream up during our time together.

They work so hard to absorb all I'm teaching and invariably come up with ways to expand on what I've shared and make it their own.

They're enthusiastic, fun, inspiring, and unfailingly supportive of my efforts. I'm so thankful for each one of them.

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