Sketcher’s Tea 2017
I recently hosted a Sketcher’s Tea—an excuse, really, for sketchers to come out of isolation in March and share a cup of tea and an afternoon of painting together. Sketching tea cups seems straightforward enough. And yet, there are lessons to be learned each time I do it. Perspective, shadows, painting whites, lost edges, reflections, patterns…the art of mastering the simple and the complex is what makes sketching tea cups both challenging and fun. Tips and Techniques– I often start by making a small value sketch so that I know where the… Read More
It’s always nice when good sketches sneak up on you. They’re often the ones where you’re not trying too hard or thinking too much. Where your lines are loose and flow from object to paper quickly and without criticism. I wasn’t trying to create anything detailed or complicated here; I just wanted to capture form and light…which, I suppose is what we’re always striving for on paper. Tips & Techniques- If you need to loosen up with your artwork, I recommend grabbing a pencil or pen and leaving the eraser behind. Look at… Read More
What could be better on a cold Sunday in November than baking, eating, and painting muffins? And while there’s no recipe for painting muffins, I scanned this several times while in progress to share how I approached it. I painted this on Fabriano soft press 140lb watercolor paper in a handmade journal, using a limited palette of alizarin crimson, quinacridone gold, and phthalo blue. That’s not a combination I typically use, but I wanted to try it. I also added a little burnt sienna toward the end. Eat, paint, enjoy!
Lessons from a Carrot
At the recent workshop I led in Anacortes, Washington, we started off with some back-to-basics drawing and painting techniques. Participants practiced blind contour and gesture drawings; did short, timed sketches; worked in ink to keep a drawing flow going without erasures; and put a number of concepts together while painting vegetables. Here’s my demo painting, which I went back to later to add tips from the lesson. Isn’t it great that we can learn so much from a carrot?
Tomatoes are the new zucchini! One neighbor dropped off a dozen; another went away and left a garden full, ripe for picking. That leaves me eating and painting and looking up new recipes. I did the first sketch in my Stillman & Birn journal with Zeta paper, which is a smooth, heavyweight 270 gsm paper. The recipe page is in a homemade journal with Fabriano soft press watercolor paper, which is a dream to work on. I wrote the main text in watercolor using a dip pen with a drawing nib. If… Read More
Season of Abundance
It is the season of abundance. Farm stands and farmer’s markets overflow with luscious color and variety. Gardens are ripening toward their fullest beauty. I am utterly drawn in. Forgive me if you are a lover of cabbage. Aside from when it is disguised in coleslaw or egg rolls, I find cabbage hard to enjoy…except when painting it. Then the lovely blending of purples and greens and blues, of leaf shapes and of the spaces between them reveal the cabbage’s true beauty. I got down on the ground for this perspective of… Read More
What lies ahead
I cracked open a new sketchbook this week: blank pages stared back. Who knows what will become of them? Pieces of life, seasons, artistic experiments, birds, experiences, memories. It seems fitting then that my first page records a journey. These are quick sketches made while driving from Connecticut to Maine, pulled together with text about what I was listening to in the car. I wasn’t really sure where the pages would go when I began. With each stop along the way, I added something more. Built over time, the page, like the book itself, is… Read More
Work in Progress
This page—like my diet—is work in progress, but you can see where it’s headed. And now that I’ve started this record of my downfall, I’m reluctant to find reasons to complete it. I ate with abandon most of last year and decided it was high time to change course and get back to healthier habits. The only problem is that I love desserts and snacking. The good news is that once I put these delectable downfalls on paper, I realized why the scale didn’t show progress last week, and I renewed my… Read More
When I first decided to do a series of root vegetable paintings, I had no idea that it would take me so long to finish that the greens would have a chance to wilt, die, and then regrow. After choosing the beets and radishes I liked best, I stuck several rejected vegetables in water and set them aside on the back porch. Then the greens died on my working specimens and I couldn’t finish them. Two weeks later, I discovered new green shoots growing on my reserved vegetables and beautiful, delicate rootlets threading… Read More
Making Chili, Making Art
There’s not much to say about this one, except that sometimes drawing ordinary, everyday things ends up being very good to do.