Monday, July 10, 2017

There Was Sketching...

You may recall that I tried to squeeze in some sketching assignments from a Sketchbook Skool class I signed up for while I was also working on the leaf clusters for ArtWalk. I haven't shared much of that with you, and while I still have 3 sections of the class to work through, once free of the ArtWalk deadline, I've done a few more urban sketches. This rabbit was my choice for the hatching homework from the first section. Somehow I got it all squat and rotund and the background hatching got off-kilter much like parallel or cross-hatch quilting stitches can. I was amused at how many students chose rabbits for this exercise. Well, it WAS around Easter time.

Moody Lane

I'd been waiting for the weather to get better so I could go out to sketch, these two apartment buildings being a juxtaposition I'd wanted to sketch for some time. It still was a blustery day when I headed out, sun often hidden behind clouds and a spit of rain on my open sketchbook surprising me when it was showing through. I do find this toned sketchbook somewhat difficult to work in, but it is the one I've designated for architecture, so there you are. I tried practicing some hatching rather than my usual smudged in shading. It's not as easy as one would think.

McNearney Park

The second section was about urban sketching and adding watercolor to line sketches in ink. Both of these were done late May at McNearney Park along my walking route but a week apart. I discovered that the Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook is not at all suitable for watercolor as I had hoped. The pigment didn't spread but pretty much sank right into the paper, making it fairly impossible to do anything akin to a wash or blend, and it quickly pilled if I worked an area too much with the brush. Perhaps it would hold-up to a spray of ink as was demonstrated in the video that convinced me to buy it, but not to brush action. On the other hand, I did very much like using the waterbrushes I showed in the previous post and learned to use a very light touch on this paper in my testing. One thing we were to do as we sketched in a place near home that we passed by often was to take note of things we hadn't noticed before. This was a big ask for me because I'm constantly scoping out places for future sketching and generally take in my surroundings in quite a bit of detail. I sat in full sun on a boulder at the base of a hill, across from the fence I wanted to sketch, so it wasn't long until I noticed how hot the sun was on my bare arm taking the brunt of it. I also noticed some small bugs crawling around the rocks near me - not ants as I would expect but busy bugs of some kind that in my walking along the path I would not notice. And then there were the trees beyond the fence. I'd studied them before but this time I was more aware of how many different kinds firs and shades of green were represented back there. So yeah, drawing slows you down and makes you really look. The flowering tree was at the opposite end of the park, on a cooler day when sitting in the sun actually felt good. It's another attempt at mastering a brush pen.

Not so good and not so bad - pen and colored pencil
 Once I was freed from finishing up those leaf clusters, I really did itch to go back to McNearney Park to sketch this little log structure that is part of the children's play area. I was way too cocky about my ability to sketch it without some pencil work first. I'd thought about it for so long, planned my attack, and then blew it. Oh, the roofline is pretty good but I totally messed up the proportions on the walls. That front wall should be twice as wide, or probably the logs should have been smaller so that the wall would be proportionally shorter. Eating some major humble pie and couldn't wait to redeem myself by sketching another building long on my list. Actually, just that lovely fan beneath the gable is what caught my eye as I drove by, and every time since. I hadn't really noticed til I was well into the drawing that the house had been remodeled to add a big ugly black window under it. It spoils the sketch, and I suppose I could have found a way to leave it out. Maybe I'll try again and crop it out.

My mind also kept gravitating to a large tree I'd studied at a public garden in town earlier this year. I'd been intrigued with the way the texturing of the bark curved halfway up the trunk. I thought it might make for a good exercise in drawing the negative image, and I'd try again one of my brush pens to do it. Again, the day I planned this turned out to be overcast and blustery but at least I didn't get rained on. And of course, the curving in the bark was not as extreme as I remembered. Oh well, I'm here so let's get to drawing. It was much more difficult to keep track of the negative areas, and I frequently got lost. I moved around to the other side and tried again, with about the same luck. Pretty disappointing. Since I'd used my "and then add red" sketchbook, I played around with adding red with a Sharpie marker. I soon realized I could do a sort of hatching rather than just solidly color in. I must say, it improved my befuddling sketch.

Just the other day, I took some time to go through a suggestion for "creative warm-ups" I'd bookmarked for when I had more time. Basically it's working through various doodling ideas, and if nothing else, I figured it would give me ample practice working with the new Metropolitan fountain pen. I mostly tried to copy the examples rather than print them out or go my own way, and the waves in particular gave me a lot of grief. The whole page was underwhelming, until I remembered to add red (with a gel pen). That really perked it up!


The Inside Stori said...


Sherrie Spangler said...

I'm sure you can guess my favorite sketch!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks Mary. Like everything, I keep working at it in the hopes of getting better. Practice practice practice!

Sherrie, presumably I could do a better job with Bunners as my live model. :-)