Still Life Value Study

Small Value Study and Painting
I love doing quick little "thumbnail sketches", and especially like doing them on toned paper with chalk and charcoal as a value study.

A thumbnail sketch is a very small, quick sketch  -  2 inches, 2 minutes. The purpose is to get your composition figured out before you even touch your watercolor paper.  I start out drawing just the shapes  -  absolutely no detail.  When I get the composition I like, I start working on the values (lights and darks, contrasts).

In class we played around with some thumbnail sketches, transferred the best ones to the brown paper, and worked out the values with the chalk as the lightest value, the paper as the medium, and the charcoal as the darkest.  We then transferred our original small sketch to watercolor paper and did little paintings using the value sketch as a guide for our lights and darks.  

It was a fun project and made us think about the process of planning a painting.  It's hard for people to drop the detail and just do shapes in the step.  I like to think of it as brain storming.  Kind of like a few people sitting around a table having dinner and someone gets a bright idea and sketches it out on a napkin. No detail there.  It's just the very first step toward a finished project.

Looks as if our days of painting out on location are over for the year. We have had high winds with some snow and sleet for a couple of days.  It's time to snuggle in and work on compositions, still lifes, and maybe try something new and different.  I'll have to give that some thought.


Fond Memories of Our Workshop

September 2018, Mackinac Island Book Binding and Watercolor Journaling
Sketchbooks Made by the Workshop Participants
We took a little break from painting and arranged some of the sketchbooks on the boardwalk along the water's edge to admire them and take pictures.  Aren't they beautiful?!  We had a total of twenty-six colorful, beautifully made books.  Such creative people!  

My workshop partner, Cathy Cohen, teaches the bookbinding and I teach the watercolor journaling.  We had such a fun bunch of people attending and they all took to each other like they were old friends.  I miss them.

Here we are, arranging the books for their photo op.

Painting in Our New Books
Chunky book at the top  -  the 3 cent stamp on the left was a gift from one of the students.  She brought one to everyone to put in our journals.  It seemed appropriate to put it on the facing page of my little light house sketch.  From where we sat to sketch the light house, we could also see the Bridge.

We all sketched our keys  -  real live keys  -  not a card.

Mackinac Island is Magical
One evening a few of us walked down toward the west a bit to see the sunset.  As we turned to go back, this is what Main Street looked like.

Don't let the magical glow of the evening lights fool you. At 10pm they play taps at the fort, and then things really get ramped up out in the street.  It's noisy and crazy until  about 2am.  But it's Mackinac Island crazy, so that's okay.  It lulls you to sleep :)