Planning a Painting

Value Studies and Composition
In my classes this week we talked a lot about composition and values (lights and darks).  I'm trying to get across the idea of starting out with very simple shapes in the planning process.  If we get all invested in the drawing at that stage, we are not going to have the time or the inclination to start over if that's not the one that works.  And often, the first one is NOT the one that works.  There are so many possibilities to try, and it takes a lot less time to do sketches that don't work than paintings that don't work.

I find the planning part of the process a lot of fun.  I like getting all comfy with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or a bag of potato chips and just playing around with those shapes and values.

The cherry tomatoes were in our CSA share this week.   I drew them with a Pentel Sign Pen that my friend Cathy gave me.  It is a felt tip pen with water soluble ink.  I'm going to have to look around and see where to buy these, because I think I'm going to use it up real fast. The ink seems to move a little better than a Flair.

I am so easily influenced  -  I saw a sketch someone had done with a bamboo pen, so I ordered one of those.  I'm hoping I can use it with watercolor, but I don't have a clue.  Does anyone know anything about bamboo pens?


Terrace Inn Tea

Strawberries and Devonshire Cream
This is a little sketch done in Prismacolor pencil and watercolor on Zerkall Frankfurt Cream paper.  The paper sounds good enough to eat, doesn't it?  It is not watercolor paper, and it does buckle, but I kind of like it anyway.

I did this at my second annual Terrace Inn Afternoon Tea.  Twenty-one ladies attended and they all brought their watercolor journals and small paint kits.  Their paintings were wonderful!  We spent the afternoon in the beautiful dining room (linen tablecloths and watercolors do mix after all) painting in our journals, compairing supplies, and catching up.  We painted a little before we started eating and then everyone painted between bites.

The very fact that the Inn lets us paint at the tables set with linen says it all. The whole staff is gracious, accommodating, and creative.

I love the idea of getting past, present, and future students together, and it's so much fun to discover new techniques, find out where to pick up new materials, and just to share some time with people with sketchbooks in common.

Thanks to all who attended!!!  I'm looking forward to next year already.


Old Birch Tree

Demonstration on Aquarius II Paper in my Sketchbook

This little watercolor sketch was done in last week's journal class.  It was done to demonstrate mixing grays on the paper (the tree) and using negative spaces to pop out white objects (the daisies).

We had a perfect week for outdoor journal painting.  This week we're getting some of that Midwest heat wave. If I had a journal class, it could get a little uncomfortable being out in the heat for four afternoons.  But  -  I don't.  I just have some morning classes and that should be okay.  This morning I have nothing!  In fact the only thing on my calendar for today was "no art in the park meeting".  How often do we have a minus on our calendars?!  Of course my to-do list is pretty long for the week  -  isn't everyone's?  The first thing is to shovel out the house and hose it down. Kidding (kind of). I have art supplies on every surface, and the dust bunnies are taking over.  I am really kind of looking forward to reclaiming our space  -  a little puttering is good for the soul.  I am not even turning on any music  -  just listening to the neighborhood sounds.

The biggest problem is that when I start picking up art supplies and putting them away,  I want to stop and play with them. A few minutes couldn't hurt, could it?

What are you sketching this week?



Chioggia Beets
These beets really and truly are bright pink with light green leaves.  I haven't cut into them yet, but I understand they are pink and white striped.

We have subscribed to a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for the season.  We go to the farm and pick up our share (we subscribe to a half share) each Tuesday, getting a beautifully arranged box of whatever produce is ready that week.  I am having a lot of fun figuring out what to do with everything.  The cat got quite sick from eating the fennel greens, but that was his choice.

A couple of our granddaughters were here last weekend, and we were having a great time chopping, tasting, and looking at the pretty colors.  We made a beautiful big salad, and when I went to dish it up, they said in unison, "Oh, we don't eat salad - yuk." 

It has been a busy and fun week  -  seven classes Monday through Thursday.  Wonderful people in every class, and beautiful weather!  Who could ask for more!?


Summer Sketching

That Blue Pencil Again
I'm having a great time sketching with a blue pencil, as I mentioned in my previous post.  The watercolor sketch on the left was first drawn with a blue Prismacolor pencil, the little contour drawing on the right was done with a Gellyroll pen, and the lettering across the top was done with watercolor in a pen nib - B5.

I am teaching an outdoor watercolor journal class starting this afternoon, and right now it is getting darker by the minute.  WHY WHY WHY does this keep happening to me!? A watercolor journal class is supposed to be outdoors!!!!  I don't even have a room to go into.  I'm not completely stupid  -  I do know rain happens ( do I ever know it), so we  have a porch we can go to for shelter.  I just don't want to.

Here it is Monday already.  I have a very busy week ahead - two watercolor classes, four afternoons of watercolor journal, and a morning with a private group.  I am not complaining  -  I love this!


4th of July Etc.

Pages in my Journal
I didn't get as ambitious with my weekend sketching as I intended, but a couple of two-inch sketches is better than nothing.

We had a nice 4th of July weekend.  We did, however, run out of gas about midnight in the north woods - the gauge didn't work, and that's the truth.  My big brother came to our rescue as he has done for years and years.  I told the grandkids as they were beginning to panic a little, "If you don't have a little adventure, there's no reason to leave the house."  My husband and the kids were in a parade in the morning, and then the kids were in another parade in the afternoon.  After all that walking and sunshine, we LISTENED to the fireworks from the comfort of our own bed.

The journal page on the right is this morning's demonstration using a blue prismacolor pencil for the contour drawing.  I like the look, but I can't take credit for it.  I read about it in Cathy Johnson's new book Artist's Journal Workshop. The class met at a park on the Bay, and it was sunny and breezy.  I think it was the first morning I haven't had to worry about a class meeting in the rain or cold.

Now I have a painting to finish, frame, and deliver, and then we'll meet some friends at the waterfront for a picnic.  Summer in Northern Michigan!