Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sketching Shapes and Shadows

As part of Liz Steel's Sketching Now Foundations course, we are studying the creation of shapes through basic shapes, negative shapes (the space around the objects), and shadow shapes.

I painted this piece for the holiday as an exercise in this week's lessons.

First I painted the basic colored shapes (ceramic pumpkin, glass, candlestick, placemat) looking at both the shapes themselves and then the negative shapes between them.  Painting one color--say the pumpkin--requires looking at the shapes that are not pumpkin (like the leaves and the space between the pumpkin and the glass) so that you can leave white space for objects of another color.  For me, this is not as easy as it looks.

Then after it had dried I painted the shadow shapes over the existing shapes.  That is a rather magical process--it is like putting on 3D glasses!  The structure of the shapes really pops.

Then, finally, the ink.  Because I just like the way ink looks over watercolors.

It is the leaves and shadows on the pumpkin that I am most pleased with.

Only because I wanted to draw them did I even see them--those leaves, those shadows.   A sketchbook practice really does change the way you look at the world.  How the world holds meaning for you.  How you then go forward into the world a new person.  I know I look at things completely differently since I started a sketchbook practice.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Two New Pens

Lot of people fall in love with pens.  People who write.  People who keep sketchbooks or art journals.  All kinds of people and all kinds of pens.  If you ask pen fanatics to talk about their pens, they will do so with great passion.  Pens are one of the art supplies that seem to gather history and meaning as  people use them.  Unlike paints, which disappear, a good pen can be around for a long time and become a reliable sketching companion.

My father loved his pens.  I inherited some of them from him, and mostly kept them in a box.

Until now.

Last week I bought a new pen and then went looking for my dad's pen.  Here I promptly sketched them to add to my "kit" drawings which I am doing for Liz Steel's Sketching Foundations course.

Not sure if you can read my handwriting.  The top pen in the drawing (and the actual pen sitting on the page) is a Hero #812 bent nib pen. It cost less than $10 on ebay.  It has wonderful running horses around the barrel and I have to say I felt pretty pleased at capturing a recognizable horse when I drew the pen!  I look forward to trying the bent nib to see what it can do!

The second pen drawn here is a Platinum #3776 which belonged to my father.  After I inherited several of his fountain pens, I never used the good ones because I was so unsure about what ink I could put in them and not ruin them.  Thanks to many other sketchers, I felt safe giving Platinum Carbon Ink a try.  So far so good!  If you are unsure about what waterproof black ink won't wreck your pen, I can recommend this one.

Now I'm carrying two more pieces of equipment with me in my sketchbook bag.  I look forward to gaining a history with the new one and to adding to the history already associated with my dad's pen.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Still Sketching My Art Supplies

More work for my class with Liz Steel.  This is the rest of the stuff that I carry with me pretty much always.

This is a double page spread in a Moleskine watercolor notebook.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Start Sketching Now

Keeping a sketchbook journal has opened the world to me in so many new ways.  I see things so very differently than before I started to sketch.  I encourage everyone to give sketchbook journaling a try!

Today I started my next online sketching course, Sketching Now Foundations, with Liz Steel.  After three semesters of Sketchbook Skool and a few online courses from Carla Sondheim, I look forward to digging in to some more nuts and bolts of sketching.  

First up, draw our "kits."  This is all part of getting to know your tools.

I've seen lots of sketchers sketch their art supplies before, but it never really appealed to me.  However when I take a class, I do all of the assignments, because, hey, it's what I'm paying for, right?  To get myself stretched into doing things that I wouldn't normally do.

I admit, this was a lot of fun.  I particularly appreciated the assignment to give ourselves a paint guide, not just with swatches, but by drawing our paint boxes as they are set up, with dense and thin versions of each paint.   I carry two boxes, one of watercolor and one of gouache.

The codes you see in each box remind me what the color is.  And painting over them reveals the opacity of the paint.

I have more to draw still.  I carry a lot of stuff with me!

Art supplies for sketching bring me lots of joy.  And they are less caloric than chocolate!