Friday, October 23, 2015

autumn painting

Yesterday, I went to Stella Niagara in Lewiston, New York, for a painting class. This time, the theme was autumnal scenes. I started by drawing a fence, with fenceposts. 

Then I added the other elements of the picture: horses, a tree, grass, a bushel basket, apples, and pumpkins.

It is time to start adding color, one element at a time. At this point, the colors seem to be a little bit too dark.

I've adjusted the colors and have added details. It is looking autumnal, except for one thing...

... the tree. It was just too green. I added some browns and reds to the tree, and it is looking more like autumn.

All of the paintings are finished. Each person in the painting class has a different idea of how to depict autumn. We have a great variety of subjects. Each painting says something about the personalities of the artists.

Here are the rest of the paintings that were made on Thursday. Every time we paint at Stella Niagara, we express our amazement that, in the space of about two hours, we go from a blank piece of watercolor paper to an image that says something about how we see our world.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

october sketch crawl

Today is the day chosen for October's sketch crawl day. Alas, it is too cold to sketch outside, so I set up a still life in the living room. The elements that I put in the still life were a vase, a stuffed bear, a jar of honey, and a leaf.

First, I started by doing a freehand sketch of the vase, trying, but not succeeding in making both sides identical. That does not bother me because making both sides identical with a freehand sketch is a difficult task! Fortunately, there are ways of compensating for that.

This is how I compensated: I got out a sheet of onion skin paper. I used onion skin because I don't have any tracing paper. I chose the side of the vase that I liked the best and traced it. Then I flipped the onion skin over and I placed it on the other side of the vase. When you draw directly over the line that you have already made, applying some pressure to the line, the graphite from the pencil will make an impression on the sketch paper. When you take the onion skin paper away, you can see exactly how inaccurate your original sketch was. Simply erase the original lines and reinforce the new line.

I used the same technique as above to get both handles on the vase. Then I added the bear, erasing lines from the vase that were no longer needed because the bear was sitting in front of the vase.

Here is the completed sketch, with all of my planned elements included. At this point, the only drawing supplies you need are simple ones. I used a number 2 pencil, a Pink Pearl eraser, and a piece of onion skin paper.

Because I have decided to use pen and ink as my medium, I begin inking in my drawing, starting with the bear. For this project, I am using Faber-Castell PITT artist pens. I really like these pens for drawing. They come in a variety of widths, so that I can get anything from a fine line to a almost paintbrush-like effect. At this point, I have used two pens: an F for the lines and an SB for the thicker lines and for the bear's hair.

This is the completed drawing. I have used two additional pens: an M for slightly thicker lines and an XS for very narrow lines (the writing on the honey jar). I also added shading, which gives some idea of the light source. I used the SB pen for the shading. The drawing technique that I used for shading, was "stippling," which basically means that I made lots of dots.

So that's today's sketch crawl. I hope that you enjoyed watching the process of making a pen and ink drawing as much as I enjoyed making the picture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Virtual Sketchcrawl

A sketch crawl is an event for people, not necessarily professional artists, to get together and to draw. It is something that groups of artists do all over the world. People do sketch crawls at museums and they do sketch crawls outside and they do sketch crawls anywhere that it is possible to make a drawing. The opportunities for sketch crawls are virtually limitless.

If the group of artists is an internet group who don't live in one city or town, that group can participate in a virtual sketch crawl. They pick one day and they each go out into their own communities to draw. Then they post their pictures onto the website so that they can see one another's work.

I have been participating in monthly sketch crawls with a Facebook group. In August, I took a chair outside and sketched the black-eyed Susans that filled a large portion of my garden (see above). It was originally just going to be a sketch but I decided to embellish upon it and make it a mixed media drawing, with doodled leaves, instead of realistic leaves.

I showed the sketch to my family and friends. They all agreed that I should use the sketch as a basis for a painting. I agreed that would be a good idea. I chose to do a mixed media painting on panel. I had purchased two pieces of panel as an experiment, to see if I liked painting on that sort of surface. I copied my original sketch freehand on the panel and then I painted it with acrylic paints.

After the paint dried, I filled in the background with India ink. I chose to make the background very dark so that the flowers would pop out. I wanted the painting to be decorative, rather than realistic. After the ink was dry, I used a correction fluid pen to add the white doodled vines and leaves.

Here are the sketch and the painting together. 

The painting is finished and is framed. For me, it is a happy painting. The black-eyed Susans are now well past their prime outside but I will always have a reminder of these lovely flowers, even when the wind blows piles of snow on top of the garden and the trees are completely naked.

If you are interested in doing a sketch crawl, either get a group together or look online for a virtual sketch crawl, and go for it. You never know where it will take you.