Last night I went to the local book store with a fellow sketcher. It was fun! Good conversation and drawing are a pleasant way to spend a few hours in the evening.
Today I ventured out on my own, influenced by practice sketches by Peter Sheeler and his videos. This is from a photo I took in 2016 up at Bodie, California, when it was moving toward noon on a hot, hot day in August.
I rather like the composition, particularly the lines of poles marching over the hill in the distance. If you ever have been to Bodie, you know it’s a long drive down a long and bumpy washboard road. The telephone poles and lines emphasize the town’s isolation. As far as painting the subject matter, I started out with a line drawing, painted, and then came in again with the ink pen. It was so, so, so hard to not try to draw and paint every line and rock. Simplification was a big challenge for me.
As I painted, I worked hard to recall what I have learned doing the practice studies. Keeping things simple also meant keeping the palette simple, and the brush choice as well. I started out with sky in Cobalt Blue after wetting it down with a big round brush. Then I kept myself isolated to a dagger brush – first time to use one, too. The remainder of the palette included Quin Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Sap and Hooker’s Green, and by accident, a tad of Indrathene Blue. The paper is 5×7 Arches Hot Press and taped down with a 3M painter’s tape with specialized edge-sealing qualities, which really worked to keep the tape from pulling up as it got wet.
Overall, I like the lack of mud and the contrasts I developed between light and dark. Pen and ink come to save the day again!
I used six of Peter Sheeler’s videos to create cards for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, along with using them for practice. Doing all of these has proven to be more thought-provoking than I realized. Copying by watching a video is really informative.
In many ways, this was perhaps the most deceptively simple in appearance, but in reality the most complex. The reason for this is the stream. Water is never easy to express (at least for me). There are ripples, reflections, shifting colors to reflect the sky and scenery above. Besides all this, there is the snow. It also reflects along the banks of the stream, which you can see in Peter’s video, but which never made it into mine – this is on the center left of the stream.
Mine below has some good areas – certainly there is white! – but bits of it are a tad overworked. The scan is not as subtle as the painting, either, but I am not really sure how to deal with that. I decrease some areas of saturation in the image using Lightroom . . . and I am not sure if I am going to include this card in the set because of the smudges and such.
One thing I have always loved is the countryside. Open spaces. Wild flowers. Weeds. Where I live, you can find them, but they are the dry places of the West. I have a longing for the plains and grasses, green trees and rain. Peter Sheeler’s video catches a glimpse of this.
Here is my version below. Part of me wants to paint the flowers, but thought it best to stop here. I like the feeling that you have just climbed a hill, and there this scene is at the top, and you look way beyond . . .
Another practice study from Peter Sheeler. Here he uses masking tape – painters tape – to create a frisket. He tore pieces of tape and pressed them into the paper, as a resist to the dry brush technique he used to create the sense of a very windy laundry day. As a kid, I remember those days, pegging the clothes and sheets. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, but always worth the smell of fresh air on your sheets when you went to bed.
First, here is the picture with the “laundry” masked with randomly torn bits of painter’s tape.
And here is the final picture. To frame the picture, I used more tape around the edges of the picture. If you watch the video, you’ll see why!
Once again, a demonstration from Peter Sheeler which I used for a card for my sister-in-law.
Peter’s is far more masterful than mine! Who’d have thought a simple leaf could be so difficult? I went in afterwards and inked in some extra lines and put a frame around the picture – the leaf looks like it is floating in space.
The second card in a series for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present. I used Peter Sheeler’s demonstration (below). I love his lines and color! Copying his style is teaching me a lot about simple color use, powerful lines, and particularly compositional elements I haven’t considered at all.
What I learned in this video was how to portray dappled lighting. This gives character and depth to white petals. What do you think?