Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

A few before sketches ...

Recently I was asked if all my daily sketching have improved my skills in drawing?  The answer is absolutely! But first let me say that there are times that I don't sketch daily ... even weeks that I don't pick up a pencil and sketch.  When I do sketch my first goal it to create a sketch that  is recognizable.  Thats about it. It doesn't have to be a perfect drawing, just recognizable to me. 

I use to try hard to draw/sketch and did some sad looking sketches, then I discovered modified contour drawing like Charles Reid suggests in his books and dvd's: "contour drawing helps you see that the things you are drawing aren't things but rather shapes that intertwine and connect".   Drawing like this really helped me get over being so up-tight about what I was drawing.  And the more I did contour drawing the more confidence I acquired and although my sketches still are not what I'd call great sketches I am much happier because of them.

These two sketches are from January 1997.  Obviously not the best paper (or best sketches) in this sketchbook which is the Mead Academie Sketch Diary 11 "X 8 1/2"with the gray cover that I have told you about before.  The front said it was good for pencil, ink etc... but its amazing how the pencil sketch on the back side of this sketch shows through.

I really should apologize for these two sketches because they are horrible  ... but I realize they were and are all part of the learning experience.  No one starts out being the best at anything until after a lot of practice.

I recently read a blog post on drawing by Lori McNee  that I think you might enjoy it & find informative. Happy sketching.

Monday, June 24, 2013

McLane Cove, Revisited ....

McLane Cove,- revisited, 6" x 8" Oil on canvas panel, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

Awhile back I did the Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.  I put so much pressure on myself to get one painting done a day that I never did enjoy it. None of the paintings I did looked finished to me and never did it get easier for me. Maybe later when I have a few more paintings behind me I could try this challenge again, but I'm still not there yet.

During the 30 days I did produce a few that I thought had good 'bones' so I saved them thinking I could rescue them with just a little more work.  

Below is the original painting. You can see that I made a number of changes.  I worked on the sky and mountains and gave some reflections in the water.  Much better! (it really does look better in person).

McLane Cove, - original, 6" x 8" Oil on canvas panel, © 2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

A weeks worth of sketches ...

I started my week by sketching a metal hair clip. Then each morning I would find something else to add to the same page until I had a weeks worth of items on the page.   

These are in my Barnes and Nobel sketchbook.  It is approximately 6" x 9", hard cover, spiral bound with smooth paper ... currently my favorite sketchbook.

You can click on the image to enlarge the weeks worth of sketches.
Below are close-ups of each item on the page, in no particular order.

Metal hair clip

Plastic hair clip

Tape measure

Nail clippers

Small plastic spray bottle of eye glass cleaner

Metal paper clip

Hair rubber band

I recently thought that after one year of posting about my sketchbooks I would stop the weekly blog post The Art of a Sketchbook.  But today I searched through my blog and see I started weekly posting about them back on April 20 2012.  

I have changed my mind ... for now I will continue sharing them with you.

See if you can't sketch one item a day ... it takes no time at all.  Happy sketching!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Its all about the egg .....

This week I noticed I have used eggs a number of times in my sketchbooks.   The sketches above are all in colored pencil.

In this second photo I used pastel for the top egg and charcoal for the bottom egg. Both the top sketch and this one came from the same sketchbook.

I've owned this sketchbook awhile ... on the first page I wrote the date January 8th 1997. The front cover is grey and it tells me its 11 x 8 1/2 Mead Academie Sketch Diary.  "An extremely durable, heavyweight (80#) sketching paper designed for versatile use indoors or out. For pencil, ink, pastel, color markers, and watercolor. Bound with a heavy paperboard backing for support and safekeeping.  70 sheets."

This sketchbook seems to be able to handle it all.  I have used all the different medium listed above and the paper seems to handle it fine.

Eggs sitting on a white plate sketched in pencil.  Seeing all these eggs and reading that it took me two hours I wonder if these were hard boiled ?

This sketch is from another larger size book.  Black cover hard bound.  There is no information about the paper weight written in the book but looking at different sketchbooks I think it may be one I bought in a variety store.  All purpose sketchbook with about a 70# paper.  Just a little different paper from the first one ... This one seems just a little smoother

This sketch is a pencil sketch ... and if I remember correctly I was using a magazine photo as my   reference.

This egg sketch is from my 9" x 6" Aquabee Super Deluxe that has 60 pages.  I like the size of this book, but I didn't think it took to the watercolor as well as I had expected, anyway not as well as the grey covered spiral bound book did.

My taste has changed over the years.  Now my favorite paper to sketch on is the very smooth paper such as printer paper, the pencil just glides over it.  I think its yummy.

The above photo shows the three sketchbooks that the eggs came out of ....

Sunday, June 09, 2013

North to Alaska ...

Back in 2001, we, my husband and I, took a cruise to Alaska.  One of the places we went was Ketchikan.  Ketchikan receives over 13 feet of rainfall a year ... thats right, over 13 feet in a year.  That makes northwest Washington look very dry in comparison.

This last week we took another Alaskan cruise and Ketchikan was one of the ports-of-call.

The reference photo for the watercolor painting below (painted in 2002) was from the original cruise we took.  It could have been from this trip because it looked exactly the same this last week as when we were there in 2001 except we saw a boat coming from the opposite direction, can you believe it?

Ketchikan 22" x 30", Watercolor, © 2002-2013 Nancy Van Blaricom

Below is a sketch of a totem pole. I used my inexpensive sketchbook that I purchased at Barnes and Noble awhile back.  It has inexpensive paper in it like printer paper.  Smooth and easy to draw on.

If you are interested in Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art you might be interested in the book Learning by Designing Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark.  It's the best book I've seen on the subject.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Art of a Sketchbook - Friday

Random pencil sketches ...

I thought I'd share some random pencil sketches I had done.  This first one was from a camping trip to  Crater Lake.  It is beautiful ... no sketch will be able to capture its beauty.  If you haven't seen Crater Lake follow the link.

When you can't find anything else to sketch, sketch your hand.... right?  By my notes it looks like I was sketching my hand in preparation for painting my hand for a WetCanvas! (a website for artists)  project.

These are really 2 sketches from this one page in my sketchbook.  The top one is looking out at the Pacific Ocean and sketching some small waves coming in ... with gulls in the air.  Below that is looking  over a bay toward some homes that overlook the Pacific.

I think if you click on the images they might enlarge if you can't see them well enough as they are.

It is really fun to look back at my sketchbooks and remember when we were here or there.  And to think I really did remember to bring my sketchbook and do some sketching.  Now that is amazing!
On another note .... have you tried using the new 'Search this Blog' gadget on the upper right of this page?  A fun new feature.