It's that time of year again! Time to frantically spend an afternoon making sure I've got all the right supplies for the Symposium even though I already thought I had it covered!
All of the supplies above are in my yellow striped sketch bag. It's almost what I carry every day anyway. The watercolor kit is from Expeditionary Art and I love it! It came with nine colors selected by Uma Kelkar, which I really enjoyed working with. Most of those colors are still here, though I made the yellow and ultramarine options larger. The only color I removed was cerulean, but I kept lavender as a new, unusual but fun addition to my kit. Two of the colors, black and Prussian blue, were requested by Santi Salles for a workshop I'm taking from him. The rest are my standard colors that I both carry and use in the studio, so I really didn't want to be without them on a big trip like this.
The only unusual thing in my kit is the tube of white gouache. I think I got the idea from Suhita Shirokdar and I haven't used it much yet, but I like the idea of having it. So we'll see - maybe I'll do something fun with it on this trip.
Here's a tiny bag of stuff that I'm also taking. Some of it - scissors and masking tape - are for workshops. The rest is just very useful!
And here is everything together. I tried to keep it VERY minimal this year because I'm traveling light - that's just what you gotta do when you book the cheapest of the expensive summertime tickets and book a hotel with steep and narrow stairs!
I'm excited about being in Amsterdam with all of the other sketchers, and I'm looking forward to sharing my sketches! Posting on here while traveling is hard, so follow me on Instagram at @elizabethalley to see more frequent updates.
Last weekend I led the Saturday Sketching at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. It wasn't *too* hot so we went to the garden and I gave them a brief demo for planning out their sketches so as not to be overwhelmed by all of the choice we had of what to draw.
This is the demo I did (above) while talking to them about setting boundaries for what you are going to draw. In this case, the sketch was only going to be as wide as the bush at the bottom, and as tall as the far group of trees. Then I talked about judging measurements and distance based on the thing you've already drawn. So, we knew how wide the bush was, and we used that to see where to put the planter.
Then everybody went and sketched while no one used the ideas I had given them - ha!
I sketched with just colored pencils, which is kind of unusual for me. I enjoyed working on it but wasn't that crazy with the result (top sketch). I didn't really know why I wasn't crazy about it, so I went home and redrew it - based on the original sketch - using watercolor this time (below).
Of course this one is much neater because I was sitting in my air-conditioned house, and maybe for that reason the color selections were a little more thoughtful. I guess I like this one better, but I think maybe the composition just wasn't that great to begin with. I was trying to get both the sculpture in the foreground (center) and the structures in the background, which made the whole thing a little too horizontal. It could've used a big tree along the side or something. Of course to get that I would have had to move out of the shade!
Because I teach sketching I think about these things a lot - what's the best angle? What's the best place to "enter" or start a sketch? What are the best materials for right here, right now? But I don't think about these for every sketch - mostly I just want to draw something.
I have a show opening at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens this Sunday! The work is a year in the making - 14 oil on paper and oil on canvas paintings of Iceland (go figure!), Newfoundland, and Portugal. I'm so excited to share these paintings with everyone. It's a weird sensation to take work out of the comfort and safety of the studio and put them out in the world, but the folks at the Dixon have made it a fun and comfortable experience.
You can see a few of the paintings on my home page (click Home, above), and I'll post installation shots soon. I hope you'll go see the show!
These two sketches are from the Memphis Urban Sketchers' last outing at the Dixon. I love sketching there! I'll be leading a Saturday Sketch there this Saturday - come sketch with me!
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