Friday, December 29, 2006

Traveling Moleskine

My Moleskine is always with me - even if I don't often make an entry. I thought I might add a couple of the pages from my old and tattered Mole. This was at one of last seasons Nationals games.I am on the road a lot and I thought I would include this on of my breakfast. I also made a promise to make more marks in my Mole - something I have yet to follow through with.

This is another road trip. I usually wake up to Robin & Company on CNN Headline News. Must appologize for the likeness of Robin - it doesn't do her justice.

I have been experimenting with watercolor in my Mole and have found that I get the best results when I prepare the page with an absorbent ground. I use a thin coating and it seems to allow the watercolor to brush on evenly instead of beading up the way it does on plain Mole sketchbook pages. I will be trying out the new watercolor moleskine next.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Freehand Sketching Book Review

One of the books that I have recently found very usefull and would highly recomnend to anyone interested in learning freehand pen and ink drawing. The book is Freehand Sketching: An Introduction by Paul Lasaeu. He has a very good step by step approach.

I did some of the exercises in his book and tried soem of them in my small sketch book to see if I could mimic his style a little.

This is one of the first, using a still life arangement. I copied this from his book.

Next he did a simple landskape example step by step and this is my mini attempt at that exercise.

Those were followed by a slightly more complex landscape in the same fashion.

These are some of my own attempts with a little bit of color added.

A house I have always thought would be great...Overlooking the ocean with a wrap around porch.

I am amazed at how well this little Strathmore sketch book holds up to watercolor - maybe I have figured out the right amount of water to use and have become a bit more patient.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Small Steps

I usually carry a small (3.5”x5”) sketchbook with me most of the time (either my Moleskine or a Strathmore). Some times I manage a presentable sketch, but most times I end up just doodling a bunch of thoughts. I am on the road a lot so my sketches/doodles tend to be of my hotel room or if I have time to get out and about some of the things in the area. Usually I am beat by the end of the day and don’t do much but crash in my room. I can relate to the “Block Problem” many of us experience and that often prevents me from doing any drawing.

These are some of the sketches from my little sketchbook.

<- Cafe Umbrellas

Window and Bird Doodle ->

One of my goals is to learn to use watercolor with my pen and ink sketches. In search of helpful examplesand guidance I came across the book “Work Small, Learn Big!” that showcases 17 different artists and their sketching and painting techniques. Great book! I really enjoyed the articles about each of the artists especially Don Getz, Tony Couch, Janice Donelson, Dave Beckett, and Gerald Brommer - and all the rest really.

A lighthouse sketch of a Tony Couch illustration. ->

I have not had the opportunity to take any classes in watercolor so I have been experimenting a lot and reading books. The first and one of the most helpful has been Kate’s (Cathy Johnson) First Step Series book “Painting Watercolors”. Kate’s book helped me understand some of the little details about watercolors and how to use them – I still keep coming back to her book a lot.

Another book I really enjoy and find it really inspires me is John Lovett's book “Watercolor For The Fun Of It: Getting Started”. He has a very exciting palette and an interesting approach to watercolor. A couple of my small attempts at his examples:


Friday, December 22, 2006

My How Time Flies

It has been far too long since my last post. I have been busy, as usual, but also lazy. I have also been sort of searching for what it is I am looking for in my sketching. I first thought I wanted to recapture the passion for drawing of my youth. However that was a different time and in some ways a different person. So I floundered about, reading books, exploring the art of many others and even looking back into my photography past. I tried getting interested in fast sketching with pencil and it was fun – sort of. I tried to work with water colors but I need serious help there. I was going to take a course in nature studies using colored pencils through the Smithsonian – but the class canceled at the last minute because there weren’t enough participants. I keep coming back to my pen and ink as a foundation. My biggest problem is that I seem to get really mired in details. My drawings get overloaded with detail. Maybe I should try a fatter pen to keep me from getting to much detail. Even though I have waded around in the sea of uncertain direction I have managed to sketch from time to time. It would seem that the urge to draw would never coincide with the time needed – life gets in the way.
During a visit to our home in CB last summer I managed to get out a couple of sketches. This one a quick ink sketch of a coffee shop and the other of a small tugboat in the marina.
The first sketch of the tugboat was a quick pencil sketch.
I liked the boat enough that I did an ink version.

I am looking forward to the holidays as time to catch up on this past year and maybe get back into the routine of posting more of my thoughts and sketches.