Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Landscapes - Seascapes 

I like the looks of landscape and seascape sketches done with my Lamy pen.  Nice fine lines that rely on cross hatching or some sort of shading to indicate a darker value.

Trees in the Sky Line, sketchbook, Lamy Fountain Pen, © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

Some trees in a near-by sky line.  I'm seldom happy with my cross hatching.  Probably just need more practice before it stops looking like scribbles.

South Sound & Mt Rainier, sketchbook, Lamy Fountain Pen, © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

I think in this one I did do some scribbling to indicate some sand and or shore.  Although you may not be able to tell the near-by water waves, I think it turned out just like it looked that day.

Multnomah Channel #1, sketchbook, Pilot P-500, © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

 I like the looks my Pilot pen give with a little moisture to the ink to add shading.

 Multnomah Channel #2, sketchbook, Pilot P-500, © 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

 I was enjoying what was happening with my pen this day and continued using it for a few pages.

Until next Friday .... keep on sketching.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

The Big Cover-up

One thing I learned years ago is that if you are experimenting with different mediums in a sketchbook a cheap sketchbook at that, you will more than likely have some bleed through on the back of the page.  Then in order to use that soiled page you might need to cover it up with something.

 Cover-up with Brown Paper,  Pen, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

The above page was a contour drawing of some potted flowers done with a ball point pen, but, as you can see there is some brown paper in the spine area ... there was a big splotch of bleed through there so I covered it up with a strip of brown paper.

Cover-up with Photo,  Watercolor, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

This was a fun way to cover up a huge big splotch ... I printed off a photo and glued it in my sketchbook then used watercolor to extend the photo.

  Cover-up with Plain Paper, Pencil, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

There was some ugly mess at the bottom of this page and I cut a blank piece of paper and glued it down.

  Drawing of Paper Whites on scratch paper, pen & watercolor, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

This wasn't a cover up really, but, it was a small sketch I had done on the back of a something I had printed and I wanted to keep it so I just glued it in the sketchbook.

 Cover-up printed out e-mail, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

One of my very favorite cover-ups is to print out some of the nice e-mails I receive about my work.  When I might not be feeling very good about some project I'm working on it helps to read some genuinely nice words about my work.

Until next time, keep on sketching.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pacific Northwest painting ....

Low Tide Off 101

Low Tide Off 101, 7" x 14", Oil on Canvas, 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom
~ Click on the photo to enlarge ~

This says Pacific Northwest to me and one of my favorite scenes off Highway 101 heading into Olympia.  You have a great view of the sky, the distant hills and a farm off in the distance. 

I've read where an artist always has one place in their painting that they like more than any other.  In this painting I love the sky. The sky shows some areas of getting lighter on the left.  Maybe there won't be rain after all.

On another note, I can never get my photos to show the true likeness of my work, with or without iPhoto or Photoshop.  I think I'm going to have to buy a photo tent.  Do the rest of you have this issue?  In this photo, in real life it isn't this bright, *sigh.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Personify People

As a rule I do not draw people.  And I could never do a commission of a person because there is too much pressure to render the true likeness.  But since my sketchbooks are personal and no one ever sees them, until recently that is, I occasionally will make a feeble attempts.

Grampa #1, Sketchbook, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

The first sketch is a contour drawing I did from a photo of my grandfather when he was young.  Love those contour drawings ... or have I told you that already? First I did the standing version and was very happy with, not that it was even close to what the photo looked like, but, that it looked like a human at all was amazing to me.  Then I started sketching some heads to see if I could do any better.  I wasn't able to and yet I was very happy with these also because they still looked like a male person.

Grampa #2, Sketchbook, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

I was happy with the above contour drawing also. It was a full page in my sketchbook and in both this and the one above I used my Lamy Fountain Pen.
A napper, Sketchbook, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

When I'm in the mood to sketch a person no one taking a nap is exempt.  This one was not a contour sketch, although the arm /  sleeve gives the appearance of a contour sketch.  Maybe I started it as one but decided it was going badly and decided not to.  I used a ball point pen on some scratch paper and then glued it into my sketchbook ... More on that in a future post.

The nappers shoes, legs and feet, Sketchbook, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

Hubby stayed still long enough during one of his naps to be able to contour sketch his shoes and legs.

Lounging with my feet up, Sketchbook, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

There are times I know I should be accomplishing something but maybe lack the ambition to do anything, in the hot afternoon heat of summer, other than to sit on the deck and prop my feet up and sketch them.

Until next week ... Keep on sketching !

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Spring is in the air

I didn't realize how many flowers I've sketched through-out the years until I started looking through my sketchbook for something to share with you all.

Sketchbook, Flowers in Basket and Rhody, © Nancy Van Blaricom

Both of the above sketches are from the same sketchbook.  I started this sketchbook looking pretty clean and neat.  A little more "proper" if you will ... it didn't end up like that though.  This sketchbook wasn't suppose to be used with watercolor, the pages wrinkled but I found if I didn't over saturate the paper it was acceptable.  This one was dated: March 20th, 1996.

Sketchbook, Graphite drawing & Contour Daffy's, © Nancy Van Blaricom

These two sketches came out of one of my spiral sketchbooks.  The first one was a vase of flowers I had seen in a magazine.  I didn't note that, but I remember the scene and how pretty the vase was.  The next was a contour drawing of a daffodil. 

Sketchbook, Red Tulips & Still Life Watercolor © Nancy Van Blaricom

Flowers must have been on my mind a lot more than I realized.  I don't see a date on these, but it was from one of my earlier sketchbooks.  I think I was trying out different 'loose' styles with watercolor.

Sketchbook, Splashy Mums & Hydranga © Nancy Van Blaricom

The sketches with watercolor are not always neat and tidy as you can see here. These look much better on  my monitor than in my sketchbook.   Date on the Hydranga is 7/25/00

      Sketchbook, Iris Splashy 1 & Iris Splashy 2 © Nancy Van Blaricom

There are times when I pick a subject like an iris from the yard and attempt to sketch it on different days. Both of these were painted / sketched in a very loose manor.  Very whimsical and fun looking I think.  Dated 4/06/01 on the left & 4/07/01 on the right.

There are plenty more flower in my sketchbooks but this is enough for now.

Until next time ... Keep on sketching.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Finished: Almost Home

Almost Home

Almost Home, 24" x 36", oil on canvas, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

I finished this painting mid April and before we are in the full swing of summer I thought I'd better show you how my first large painting turned out. You may remember that I posted some preliminary work for this larger painting here.

Sometimes when I post work on my blog I think it looks good and then other times I think they look better in person.  I like this one better in person.

This painting took longer than I expected it would, but, I took my time so that I didn't  rush it and lose what I loved about the scene ... the sun peeking through the trees falling across the road an into the trees. It took my breath away.

The frame should be ready later this week ...
What color frame would you have chosen?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Summers Comin'

  Since Blogger updated I can't figure out why feed burner is not sending out my blog posts to my subscribers.  Is anyone else having this problem?  Do you know how to fix it?

Green Point Rapids B.C., 6" x 6" Oil on RayMar panel, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

One of my all time favorite places to be is British Columbia.

I love the water, the boats, the wild life, the people ... the great places to explore on and near the water, its all yummy to me. With their renowned and spectacular scenery this scene is typical of what we often see when we are boating in B.C.  Yes, you are right, I could easily be on British Colombia's Tourist Board.

The photo reference for this painting was taken a few years ago on the inside passaage of Vancouver Island at Green Point Rapids.

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this one.  At first I wasn't sure how I was going paint the steep mountain in the background and then it became obvious, it was mostly smokey blues and grays because of the distance and the steepness.  The water that day was pretty calm with the sun sparkling on the water.  But, my main focus was the boat with its poles down to help keep it from rolling side to side too much.

Yes, I really loved painting this one.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

The art in my sketchbooks are assorted. I fill them with a variety of information. This week I'll share some pages in my sketchbooks that I used for testing colors, products and different mediums that I may want to use at another time.

Sketchbook, Matt Medium & Tissue Sample © Nancy Van Blaricom

This was a really fun test.  I had purchased some Matt Medium and had heard a lot of things you could do with this impressive  product.  Here I had laid a piece of face tissue on my sketchbook, brushed it with the medium and let it  dry.  Once dry I watercolor  a pear and added color to the back ground.  The tissue had dried with some raised areas and I then added some gold highlights to those ridges. I never used this product again in this manner, but, I really liked the results it produced.

Sketchbook, Pear Stamp © Nancy Van Blaricom

I'm not into stamps but had this one and some gold ink, (the ink doesn't show up here as gold) I tested it on the edge of my sketchbook.   I have seen some wonderful watercolors that used watercolor on the stamp and incorporated it in a still life as a background of wallpaper ... I don't remember ever using it either. 

Sketchbook, Pastel Swatches © Nancy Van Blaricom

Here I was sampling some pastels I had bought.  I'm not a pastel artist but thought they deserved a try. I had used some pastel paper for these color swatches then cut out the square shape and glued them into the sketchbook.

Sketchbook, Funny Brush © Nancy Van Blaricom

This page of my sketchbook I tested three Funny Brushes I had purchased.  A small, medium and a larger brush. It had some thin (medium & larger) rubber strings in the end of the three short straw type brushes,  It was advertised to use with watercolor & help make grass or bushes in your paintings.  I wasn't impressed and never used them.

Sketchbook, Color Samples © Nancy Van Blaricom

Here are some watercolor samples.  I've been thick headed about "warm" colors and "cool" colors.  Reading in my sketchbook I think I was putting some colors down then trying to see if I could tell what was "warm"  & "cool" next to a similar color (?).

Sketchbook, Making black and gray © Nancy Van Blaricom

I loved this sample when I first put it in my sketchbook ... It was the perfect gray and the perfect black. As a rule I never have gone back to my sketchbooks to see what pigments I mixed to make this or that color but before I had made this color combo a habit I went back to this sketchbook many times.  Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue.

Until next Friday ... keep on sketching.