I recently moved my studio around a bit to accommodate setting up an overhead camera for teaching sketching workshops, but it has been beneficial in so many other ways! I can keep my teaching stuff out while spreading out oil palettes on one side and acrylic ink on the other. And when I'm not doing either of those it is nearly covered sketchbooks and loose paper. It has also given me a different view of the room to sketch for Sunday Sketching.
And here is a different view from the outside of my house. This is the back of my driveway, where we have a large drop-off, then a fence and the neighbor's bamboo forest. I was trying to capture the darks back there, which can be difficult with watercolor. It was a hot evening, but I stayed out sketching until I couldn't see what I was doing anymore.
Two days later it was 70 degrees at 10 o'clock in the morning so I had to go outside and sketch, even though it was drizzling. I sat under an overhang out of the drizzle, trying to keep it quick by putting the paint down in a way that gave the impression of foliage but without painting every fatsia leaf. I often do this by putting color down first, but this time I started with pen to get the angles and lines of the house down. (Though that technique works well with architecture, too!)
We continue to receive produce from Rose Creek Farms every week, and I equally love sketching it and eating it. Lately we've gotten a lot of very sketchable peppers, and lots and lots of lettuce, which I guess is more difficult to sketch. Can't wait to see what we get this week!
A thing I've been able to do since I'm at home all the time is to spend more time on my sketches. When this all started I assumed I would be making more sketches, but what has happened is that I'm spending more time on probably the same amount of sketches. I've really been able to slow down and take my time and draw the objects that are right in front of me.
That gives me the time to notice all of the little details and features I can include in my sketches to make them more interesting and to make the process more meditative.
This is one of those sketches I did over a couple of hours while talking to sketcher friends for Sunday Sketching. It's such a nice mix of sketching and talking, but the length of time gives me an opportunity to get to the little details of my objects - the tomato vines, the vase shapes, the fatsia ribs.
I didn't take quite as much time with these two sketches, but I did do the second one while talking to friends on Zoom, so it probably took longer. I did these two specifically to concentrate on all of those little details, like the little freckles on tangerines and the little divots in the avocado.
I sketched this with my favorite fat pen, the Sakura Pigma Graphic 1, and brought in my favorite colored pencil to help. The Mitsubishi vermillion/prussian blue is always in my sketch gear - I love both of the colors and it's so handy to have two colors in one pencil.
This is also the start of a new sketchbook - I'm sticking with the Stillman & Birn Alpha 8x10.
Sketching the details doesn't have to take a long time, though. I made these quick sketches while preparing for the workshop I taught last month. In these quick sketches, I was still able to capture the little lines in the paint cap and some details in the plant.
Last week I took advantage of a random day off and not surface-of-the-sun temperatures and took a long walk and sketch at the Wolf River Greenway. For the past several months I've either sketched the outside world from my car, or very quickly in my own neighborhood. The difference? BUGS.
So in the interest of time and bugs, I needed to think about simplifying shapes and marks. I created shapes with the tree silhouettes and then worked specific marks and colors for specific foliage, the river, the ground, etc. It is a methodical way to work, but I like it. I did describe myself as a grid earlier this week.
There are a lot of bridges and I wanted to sketch every one of them, but just settled for this one. And bonus - it provided shade while I sketched!
I ended up walking nearly three miles even though I just wanted to plant myself down and sketch the whole time. But the bugs get to you more when you sit still, and I needed the exercise.
I'm also keeping up with my regular errand sketching, too. Gotta get those groceries, so I might as well sketch while I'm there. I was there earlier than usual and the shadow and reflection on the west side were a bit different.
I haven't sketched the Target parking lot in a while, but I talk about it a lot when I teach because it is one of those places that end up in my sketchbook often because I use parking there as an opportunity to sketch whatever is in front of me. On this day I was lucky because it was raining and I sat in my car and sketched until it lightened up a little.
All of these sketches are in a 5.5" x 3.5" Stillman & Birn Alpha. The first sketch was done with Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and the rest with a Sakura Pigma Graphic 1 pen.
In the workshop I mentioned in my last post, I talked about sketches over two-page spreads by taking advantage of opportunities to sketch whatever is in front of me. Over time, the two-page spreads create a thread and show a pattern.
Staying home and mostly sketching here and using a bigger sketchbook (Stillman & Birn Alpha 8x10) have changed what the two-page spread looks like, but not by much.
In the sketch above I was playing with inks and working on understanding the elusive coffee cup shape. Then I had produce delivered from Rosecreek Farms, so I sketched it of course!
Last weekend was very social, but virtual, and I sketched on Zoom videos and while talking on the phone.
Still just sketching whatever is in front of me, I was able to get some variety on the page by using different materials. I do like to think about the layout of a page, but not too much. I do have a habit of crowding a lot of sketches onto a two-page spread, so using this larger sketchbook helps me to spread it out more.
My birthday gave me even more opportunities to sketch while talking on the phone. I sketched the plants on my kitchen table, which made me think of this quote from D.B. Dowd's book Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice, "Habits of casual assumption cannot survive an afternoon of drawing objects or plants on a table."
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