Friday, July 26, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Back on July 5th I posted about Charles Reid and his method of contour drawing.  And although I don't do much watercoloring any more, another one of his books you might enjoy is Charles Reid's Watercolor Secrets.  All of the photographs of his work, in this book, are from his sketchbooks.

Charles Reid's Watercolor Secrets can be found on Amazon... follow the link.

On my desk ... This book has little tid-bits for the artist such as the tips below.

I like this one as well because I'm always obsessed with back grounds.

And about color ....

And what about this ...  shadow shapes.

On another note ....  I can't believe how fast summer is passing by.  I've been busy reading, mostly art books such as Harold Speed's book Practice and Science of Drawing as well as a couple of mysteries thrown in for those lazy days ... (have you read any of the Jack Reacher books) ??? As well as short boating trips, working in our yard and enjoying our friends.  Life is good!
Yesterday we had to take our cat, Odessa, into the vet.  She seemed to be having some issues with her mouth and we wanted her doc to check it for us.  Seems she had a loose canine tooth that he will pull this morning and she'll be home safe and sound this afternoon. I guess you'd say she's on her first sleep over... 

Have a good week ... keep on sketching.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Most of my sketches are done in a sketchbook, but other times, like when I forget to take a sketchbook with me, I will find a scrap of paper and do my sketching on that.

Recently while off on the boat I realized I had done just that. I had forgot to bring a a sketchbook or a pencil.   In this case I found a scratch pad I had aboard that I had previously made from quartering sheets of unwanted printer paper and stapling them together. Fortunately I also found an ink pen stashed away in a drawer. 

Below you'll see the gorgeous sunset we saw while we were on the boat as well a a couple of sketches.

Looking west as we sat in the cockpit enjoying a glass of wine.

I sketched these shell pieces i found while on the beach and the one below was a sketch I did from down inside the cabin looking out.  

Neither are anything special, but represent the fact that if I really feel like sketching, not having my sketchbook along isn't a good excuse.

Happy sketching!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Negative drawing....

 I think I was working through Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain when I did these negative drawing sketches.

Definition: Negative space is the area of an image not occupied by shapes or forms. This part of the drawing is often neglected, or filled with casual scribbles. Negative space drawing involves concentrating on drawing the background, leaving the object white - an excellent exercise in observation.

I remember sketching the above plastic chair on our back deck while sitting in a matching chair.

This one is a painted vase (?) with an attached saucer.

And last ... a sugar bowl that I had put some silk ivy in.

I haven't thought about negative drawing much in the last few years, but I do remember how much I enjoyed the look once I was done.

If you haven't done any negative sketching in awhile maybe now would be a good time give it another try.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Commission Completed and presented

The watercolor commission I have talked about in previous blog posts is finished and has been presented to the owners. Now I feel its ok to share a couple of photos with you. 

 Jack & Luke, 16" x 20" watercolor on 140 lb Arches watercolor paper, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

To the passing observer these two beautiful Burmese Mountain Dogs look so much alike that I was really struggling as I started working on the painting. Even though the owner supplied me with numerous photos it wasn't until she told me a little bit about their physical traits that I was able to really get to know them. And then I could see their personalities ....

Luke, the one with his tail in the air is the younger of the two. Brave, curious and unafraid.  Jack on the other hand although older and wiser is timid, not brave, but a lover and very gentle soul.

I really felt I had gotten to know each of them as I put the paintbrush down when I had completed the painting.

 Jack & Luke, wrapped and ready to be presented,
 16" x 20" watercolor on 140 lb Arches watercolor paper, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

The photo above is how the painting was presented to the owners.  It was matted and placed in a clear cellophane envelope.  Then along with a pack of notecards I place them in a larger cellophane envelope and wrapped it with a blue bow to match the blue of the water in the painting.

But, there is more to the story ... I had just finished the painting when I received word that Jack had passed away.  My heart broke for the owners ... and a little for myself as well.  While working on this painting I was developing a bond to Jack.  His personality reminded me so much of the personality of my cat Casey that I lost last September.  

The owners were given the painting and will hang it in their summer home here near the water.

Good-bye Jack.  You were loved and will be missed by many.

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Charles Reid on contour drawing ...

I first learned how to contour draw from a Charles Reid's book and today I thought I would share with you one of Charles Reid's many books. 

I believe most of his books have a section on contour drawing but the basics in this book are probably my favorite. 

The Natural Way to Paint Rendering the Figure in Watercolor Simply and Beautifully by Charles Reid starts out with a full chapter on contour and gesture drawing. 

Although this book is about figure painting and drawing the first 20 pages talks about contour drawing. He tells us that contour drawing helps us see and concentrate.

He takes us step by step on how he starts his contour drawing, where he starts drawing on the page and how he finishes using the rest of the page ...

If you are not into watercolor and not interested in buying a book that focuses on watercolor maybe you can see if you local library has a copy you can borrow.

Hope you have a great week sketching ....

Monday, July 01, 2013

Outside the Gate ...

Outside the Gate, 8" x 6" oil on canvas panel, © 2013, Nancy Van Blaricom

I think this particular scene (painting) will look familiar to locals.  

I was drawn to this not only because it is a local landmark but because of the dappled sunlight.  I am always drawn to it and love to try to capture it in a painting.