Friday, April 27, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Happy Birthday Casey ...

Welcome to The Art of a Sketchbook.
Because I am writing this on Monday, April 23rd and today is my cats 15th birthday I thought I'd share with you some of my many sketches of Casey.

Casey Sleeping, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom
I'm not sure if its because I am so fond of him or because he's so handsome or more than likely because he's always right here by my side when I'm looking for a subject, but I have sketched him many, many times throughout the years.  In the sketches above I used a regular #2 pencil. Although I don't' always date my sketches, I did on these, January 5th, 2001.

Casey Portrait, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

From the same sketchbook ... not made for watercolor, I attempted to splash some color on a pencil sketch I did of Casey.  The pages wrinkle a lot, but I don't mind, after all its just a sketchbook. I think I had previously sketched a cartoony looking cat in ink on this page but just went over it like it wasn't there.

Casey Contour Drawing, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

Above I used a whole page in one of my spiral bound sketchbooks to do a few contour drawings of Casey in ink.
Casey Napping, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom
Here's the big boy sleeping on my lap as I sketched him using a common #2 pencil.  January 12th, 2006

Cats Paw ~Casey, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

On another page of the same book as above it looks like I first sketched the paws then outlined in ink and added a touch of watercolor.  Outlining the two paws together like this helped make them more of a statement.

Ears of the Cat, Casey, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

Same sketchbook as the last two photo's, I guess this was a study of Casey's ears.  I think cats ears are so interesting don't you? I used my fine tip Lamy fountain pen for this one.  I love sketching with it because of being able to get such fine lines, and no, I don't worry about mistakes.  I never erase when I sketch ... its a rule !
Casey, Cat Nap, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

And last but certainly not least is Casey laying on a cushion that was placed on an ice chest. This sketchbook is unlike most of my sketchbooks.  Its made of recycled paper that looks like brown paper sack.  In this book I usually use charcoal to draw then add some color with pastel chalk, once in a while I will use my Lamy fountain pen to outline, but not as a rule.

Thats it for the sketches this week ... I hope you enjoyed seeing them.

Before closing off this blog post on sketching I wanted to share with you an interesting article I read in the (free) weekly on-line subscription of Outdoor Painter newsletter. The article is about  Katharine Norris, written by Steve Doherty. Sign up for the free newsletter while you are there visiting this article.

Heres to sketching.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who could ask for anything more...

Early Morning Light, 5" x 7", oil on canvas panel, © Nancy Van Blaricom

The reference for this little painting is from a photo I took a few years ago.  The boat is sitting peacefully at anchor and the sky was getting lighter.  I'm guessing the owners have property near by and moored the boat here so that they can easily row out and use it when they want to go sailing.

I love painting this kind of scene.  Water, boats and land ... who could ask for anything more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The art of a sketchbook ...

I love sketchbooks.  Love them.  I don't care if they are big or small, thick or thin.  And I particularly love seeing other peoples sketchbooks.  Seeing another persons sketchbook is like peeking into what makes that sketcher person tick... their personal thoughts.  A mystery of sorts.  

A lot of people feel their sketchbooks are private and won't show them to others. Others only show off their 'very best' sketchbooks. The books that are perfect. Work that could be front and center at any art show.  But, the best to me are the ones that have a little of this, a little of that and a variety of subjects sketched, painted or pasted in them.

Here are a few of my sketchbooks. 
I still have my very first one, its the second spiral bound book from the  right.  In it I see notes and drawings (mostly pretty crude) of things that I felt, at the time, needed to be written down and sketched, sometimes just to see how well I could draw them.  Things that were important to me at a given moment.

I usually mix up the style of sketch I put in my sketchbooks.  Sometimes I do a contour drawing.  I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I love contour drawing.  Its never perfect but somehow the unrefined drawing takes on a life of its own and ends up looking pretty good without any formality.  I just love them.
Other times I do a little watercolor sketch in the sketchbook.  I have a couple of small watercolor travel palettes and I often bring along one of them with my sketchbook when we go someplace.
Still other times I am attempting to make a more accurate pencil drawing like the one above. 

In the last photo I've made a pencil sketch and written some information down like it was a personal journal, noting the time of day and the weather conditions.

Because I think most of us enjoy seeing other peoples sketchbooks I've decided to share some of my sketchbooks with you.  Baring no problems,  The Art of a Sketchbook will show up as a regular Friday blog post.

I hope you will enjoy viewing my sketchbooks as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

Wiped away ...

Tulip field ~ cropped, Oil on canvas
©Nancy Van Blaricom

I hadn't planned on posting again today. I was just going to paint all day and show the fruits of my labor sometime next week. After working on a little 6" x 6" canvas panel for a couple of hours I could tell it just was not going to come together and I did what I'm suppose to do in that case ... wipe it off.  But, I decided to post this small portion of the canvas (the only part worth showing) as a sort of test. When I got up this morning I was surprised that my post about my sketchbooks had not been posted when I had scheduled it at 3 a.m. ( I wanted it to be delivered early so it would be there when you first checked your mail this morning).  Anyway, I hope that this will be sent out when I schedule it for 4 o'clock this afternoon ... as a test sort of.  If you receive this because you subscribe to my blog and did not receive the post about the sketchbooks please check out the blog post before this one.  Hopefully there was just a glitch because Blogger has been updating things.  Fingers are crossed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who I am Writing For ...

Recently I signed up for Blog Triage Class with Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris.  I have Alyson's book I'd Rather be in the Studio and also follow her Art Biz Blog. And, although I've been blogging for quite awhile I know my blog needs some positive attention.  Expect some changes!

Lesson #1 asked us to write a blog post describing the type(s) of people I would like to visit and read my blog.

That person is you! My blog readers are someone who is a variety of ages and are interested in seeing my work evolve.  They enjoy my writing and probably live in the northwest or are interested in the northwest landscapes.  They look forward to my blog posts and will interact with me through email or comment on my blog when they want to say something about what they've seen or read.

Also, I'm to write about what I want to get from blogging:  My goal is to write more articulately about my work.  Share how and why I choose to paint what I do.  Also to build a larger audience who like my work.


Now on to some more exciting news.  After I painted the two shells on the right (in the photo below), I decided to paint some other shells I found on the beach.  A muscle shell and an oyster shell.  All 4 of these shell paintings are small 3.5" x 3.5" x 1/2" and just perfect to set on small easels or hang as a grouping.  One of my collectors saw one of the original blog posts about the shell paintings and contacted me to purchase them.  Isn't the internet wonderful?  Thank you D.B. !  

When I originally painted them I had no thought of ever painting more shell paintings, but now after talking with my collector I think I may keep some of these in stock for people to purchase as a last minute as a low cost gift. A nice small original at an affordable price.  Everyone needs to own original art work don't you think?

Excuse the poor quality of this photo.  I think I'm in the need of a small photo booth.

© 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom ~ 4 Small Shell Paintings~ oil on board3.5" x 3.5" x 1/2"
* SOLD *