Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On the Fourth Day of Class...

On our fourth day of Beginning Drawing our instructor had us playing with watercolors. I made some valiant efforts to follow instructions and just throw some paint on the paper and see what happens to it – when it is wet and when it is dry. When I did all that I ended up with what looked like a gray mess with puddles of watercolor all over. So I used a wad of paper towel to lot some of it up. Wow! The gray went away and I had some really bright colors left. I let it dry for a while and added some more colors using another wad of paper towel to dab it around . Fascinating! And Fun.

Then I experimented with some masking fluid. Sort of drew a tree shape with it. Then I put down a wash that didn’t really go down as planned but I left it to dry. Then I peeled of the mask and added some color to my tree. It is a bit…uh…different but interesting.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Barstool Doodles

On my last trip to the North I decided to stay at a Holiday Inn that has a Pub. Of course I went to the Pub for dinner and decided to sit at the bar. While I waited for my meal to arrive I decided to doodle away at the bottles on the bar back counter. So, I whipped out my little 3”x5” sketch book and began. First, using pencil on a couple and then one in pen and ink.

Of course this is drawing in a very public place and since I was sitting next to the waitress station I was observed during my efforts. Even though I only had one person comment on my doodling. It was fun and I think if I practice some of Dave Rankin's techniques I could really develop a collection of people. As always - practice - practice - practice.

I used a 9B pencil for the pencil sketches and did not erase anything. When my drawing instructor saw them she said I should just use pen and ink since I don't erase anything.

I used a brown Pigma Micron 005 pen for the sketch below. It was an experiment with the scribble style of crosshatching.

I even made an attempt at capturing the likeness of one of the waitresses as she made trips to the service bar for here orders. Not as quick a sketch as I would have liked but it was a step in the direction of improvement.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Fast Sketching Techniques" Reviewed

“Fast Sketching Techniques” David Rankin has clearly mastered the art of fast sketching and he presents his approach to this skill in a very easy to follow and interesting book. In his book he describes very affective ways to increase sketching speed as well as improving observation and recognition skills. He presents an approach and provides exercises to hone these skills, describing the tools and techniques required. I, a novice, found the book enlightening and inspiring. I felt the book provided an approach using pencil sketching that I could also apply to other media, like pen and ink or charcoal. Improving recognition skills using David’s exercises would improve sketching, drawing and painting techniques. It is a book well worth having.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tribute to Emma

I thought I should post a tribute to Emma, our cat. She will be 19 in a couple of months, if she survives. Three years ago she was diagnosed with kidney failure and the our veterinarian said that she would only live 3 months unless we hydrated her subcutaneously each day, in which case she might last 6 months. We tried the hydration but it only made her life miserable. We decided to forgo the hydration for more quality time with Emma. We began mixing pumpkin pie filling with her canned cat food – a suggestion by our vet. It has made a difference – she is still here. About a month ago our vet came by the house and examined Emma and decided that she had suffered a minor stroke and was rendered blind. The vet said that she felt that Emma was on her last leg and would probably pass within the next four months. Of course the vet did qualify that by saying that this was Emma and she didn’t always do what was expected. Well, Emma is still here and aside from bumping into things from time to time she is getting along quite well. She will leave a very large hole in our lives when she finally does pass, so we intend to enjoy her as long as we have her. Below are a few sketches and experiments of Emma’s likeness.

A little watercolor and pen and ink experiments. More to come, if Emma will sit still long enough!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Getting a Little Class

As I mentioned I am taking a beginning drawing class at the Smithsonian. My instructor is Trinka Margua Simon, and she is excellent. The class is 8 weeks, meeting once a week, and each week deals with some aspect of drawing and each week uses a different medium. Week one was learning to see flat and place objects on our work surface in the same relative location and size that we see them. The medium was pencil. The technique was to place three of the still life objects at the most extreme positions of our vision at the very edges of our paper – did I say this is a large piece of paper? – and then add additional objects in between. We were told to measure and take care in placement and sizing of the objects. This is my result.

After the exercise Trinka told us that we would never use those techniques again. These were very technical approaches to puting objects in our drawings that would probably never fit our vision.

The next week, day 2, of the class we worked with Charcoal. I have not worked with Charcoal before so this was going to be new and wondrous. This weeks topic was volume. Learning to give shapes in our drawings a three dimensional appearance. I learned a great deal about Charcoal in the short 2 and a half hours we had. I definitely have a greater understanding and appreciation for the medium. I found out that you can only put so much Charcoal on the paper and then it will just fall off. I also found out that the harder Charcoals will produce richer blacks but is more permanent – can’t be erased. I had always envisioned working with Charcoal as being very messy. It is, sort of. It is a lot easier to clean up than I would have thought. Anyway, this is my first Charcoal effort.

As you can see I managed to leave a lot of finger prints - I'll have to clean that up.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Back to the Waterfront

I really like the waterfront, no matter where it is. It could be in a small coastal village or a large thriving metropolis on a river – on a lake – on the ocean. Must be all those years I spent in the Navy. So, this small town of Colonial Beach on the Potomac River has several interesting marinas, including some boat repair facilities that I find fascinating. This drawing is of one of the towns fire boats. It is another of my detail riddled pen and ink drawings that I intend to add color to eventually. Hopefully the color will hide the ink smear.

I have begun experimenting with some fast sketching based upon some of David Rankin's exercises from his book "Fast Sketching Techniques." I will be posting those as I get them scanned and time to get on the web.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Where am I? Where have I been? Where am I going?

I have been very lazy about getting new posts up - it has been, what, more than two months since my last post! I have no good excuse for this absence. But, I'm here and I'm going to be posting a bunch of stuff over the next couple of days.

I have been trying to keep up with most of my favorite EDM Blogs but there are getting to be so many that I like!!

I started a beginning drawing class at the Smithsonian and its been really fun. I have played with charcoal, soft pastels, watercolor and the usual pencil/graphite mediums. I have had to work on some really large paper – 18”x24” – that I haven’t done in a long time. That can be really scary trying to fill up a blank space that big. I still have about three more classes – the class meets once a week and that doesn’t seem like often enough. I think I might look into some local classes – the Smithsonian is about 45mi. away and the parking can be a real bear and the metro takes twice as long to get there ( I should consider that an opportunity to sketch in public – huh).

Anyway, this post is to say that I am still alive and promise to be more active in my Blog postings.

For now I will sign off and get busy with my scanner and see you all tomorrow.