Friday, February 17, 2017

More Watercolor Sketching

A few posts back I mentioned watercolor as a great sketch medium owing to its simplicity an portability. In years past it wasn't quite so easy but with the invention of the waterbrush, quite a few issues are solved. Waterbrushes are made with a refillable reservoir in the handle that feeds water to the brush tip. Waterbrushes are inexpensive and widely available in art supply shops and online. They come in several sizes and with several different kinds of brush tips--flat, round, etc.

I take mine almost everywhere these days which allows me to sketch at my university office, in coffee shops, and the like. And of course I can always step outside the studio to capture some of the local color. The small watercolor sketches posted were all done in 2016 in one of my pocket sketchbooks. The ones I like best measure about 3x5 and are made by Moleskine.

These are a few pages from one of my sketchbooks. All of these date from last year. All of these were sketched in pencil and then painted. Hard lines were finished with ink but sometimes I used watercolor pencil.

The two-page image to the right is about a year old, showing a red amaryllis in full flower. Although it doesn't show in the painting, there was perhaps six or seven inches of snow on the ground, and it was quite cold. The bright blooms cheered me up.


This little painting was done of a male goldfinch who was feeding on coneflower seeds outside my studio window. When the seed heads mature, goldfinches clamor for them avidly, sometimes as many as four or five at a time. They always chase one another, assertive of territory perhaps, but eventually settle down. The page had been toned with violet so this one is in shadow.
Last November (like the whole year) was very warm. As the notation on the sketchbook page indicates, the day I sketched this quick image of my back woods it was over 70 degrees. The trees and undergrowth remained mostly green but one small tree near the back had changed abruptly to autumn color.















Finally, a fall image of our back woods. This wider view shows one of the blue spruces that mark the edge of the woods. Beyond, where the bird is flying over the copses of trees, stands a large apartment building that I left out in order to emphasize the woods. There is a creek between the coneflowers in the foreground the the woods, too, but that will be a subject for some other time.

Sketching on the spot hasn't been my forte, but with the ease use and improved portability, anybody can do outdoor sketching.

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