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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Montage pages to capture a day

I like to capture a day or special occasion on a spread, like this...things just kind of squeeze onto the page, one by one, tucking things in where there's room or where I have time.  The little yellow Piper Cub came first--I'd found a comfortable place in the shade and out of the way!  Then I added the helicopter in ink, because it was just taking off and that was my only chance.

Lunch beckoned...I knew  they were planning to stop serving at two, and it smelled SO good...so I sketched the lunch patrons in the hangar as I ate.  Then the little triplane, a 3/4 size model built by the owner, showed up and everyone was wowed by it...that's the distance shot with the guys gathered around, and the mom and her little girl watching from the hangar. 

I REALLY needed a closer sketch, so walked out onto the field and did the triplane in the small spot left on that side...using my bent nib pen and splashing in quick color before the plane took off again.

Then since we still had time, I did the more careful sketch of the hangars, office, and air traffic control in upper left, just fitting it in as I could.  Joseph had picked up the sticker from 3EX, people hoping to lease and rehab the airport, so I stuck in in place too!

I don't really design a page ahead of time, to begin with...they just kind of grow, organically.  Sometimes I consciously add a touch of color here or there to unify, like the green you see here...

And oh yes, I added the pencil drawing of the WWI style helmet the triplane's pilot wore later, from the photo I shot of him as he was taking off!

So how do YOU work?  Comments welcome!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Medium Drives the Result!

I've enjoyed sketching my little laughing Buddha, inspired by this post by the talented Niloufer Wadia in our Artist's Journal Workshop Facebook group, and by talking to a friend about what a difference medium can make in our final results. 

Above, I used a water-soluble graphite pencil, a Pentel Pocketbrush, straight watercolor without any underdrawing, and a plain graphite pencil.  (The graphite one has inspired me to do more of that, I love it!)

Here's my first one, with a 578 Hero pen with a bent nib (thank you, Patrick Ng!) and watercolor.  FUN...and all very different.  I usually choose my medium according to my mood, but also subject and convenience.  If a ballpoint pen is all that's to hand, that's what I use, just so I can sketch!

And by the way, feel free to join our Facebook group, it's very active and you get to see a LOT of wonderful work.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FINALLY, a new mini-class!

Whee, finally finished the self-directed color class and got it up on my website...though I probably should have JUST called it "sketching in color," since I included some exercises and mediums that take a bit longer. It's up to you, and how you define words like "sketch" and "quick."

Of course, there's nothing inherently superior in sketching fast, it's just what many of us need to do in order to have any creative time at all! 

Many of my readers and students express a desire for more time, or a key to working fast, or a wish to work more loosely.  The 4-lesson course offers a LOT of ideas about all of those, in addition to exploring a variety of mediums.

We play with watercolor, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, colored inks, markers, mixed media,  and even kids' crayons!  You'll be able to decide what's your go-to medium for most needs, or find a brand new favorite.

You'll find exercises, demos, tips, videos, links and more...and FUN.

And of course, as you can see, many of  the examples from the class are pages from my own journals...that's where I do most of my quick sketching.

Take a peek!  It joins my other online classes here: http://www.cathyjohnson.info/online.html

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Watercolor Journal at Utica Reservoir

I look forward to my annual camping trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains so I can play in my journal. This year I have a journal that has dark paper in it and I wanted to have my sketch go across the page. The granite was lighter than the dark paper, so I used a white opaque Sharpie pen. I tapped it on the paper to get the ink flowing. Because of the elevation (7,000 ft.) I got a blop of white ink. Oops. I sort of blotted it up with a paper towel. I liked the effect, but was afraid if I did it again I might loose all the white ink out of the pen. When the white dried it was not water soluble, so I was able to use watercolor over it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

calendar in sketchbook

calendar in sketchbook by vickylw
calendar in sketchbook, a photo by vickylw on Flickr.

Through the last 3 months of medical stuff, I have tried to keep a record for doctors on when, how often, and how severe. At first I folded the calendar sheets and tucked them in the pocket at the end of my sketchbook.

Then I thought, for convenience, why not tape them flat on the last page, using this removable double-sided tape? There are 4 month pages here, taped on top of each other at the upper edge --- I can easily flip to see other months. And when I fill this sketchbook, the whole thing removes to be placed in the new sketchbook.

I found the blank calendar sheets at Walmart, but they could also be easily printed at home. The tape was found in the scrapbook section of Hobby Lobby.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

on joining the gypsies . . .

on joining the gypsies . . . by vickylw
on joining the gypsies . . ., a photo by vickylw on Flickr.
If I run away and join the gypsies, I need to learn how to tie a decent scarf head-covering, right?

Actually, I was working out my tears and frustration in my journal over losing my hair. An eczema scalp-rash plus the trauma the vertigo put my body through the past 3 months is causing my hair to fall out. The dermatologist thinks it will all come back in, but in the meantime I'm pretty upset about it. Drawing some possible temporary solutions helps me deal with it -- an excellent reason to keep an art journal, I've found.

BTW, I have not had any more vertigo or dizziness for the past 3 weeks. Looks like it is gone, thank God.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sometimes, You Have To Outsmart Yourself! (Laure Ferlita)

After returning from my trip to San Francisco, I knew I'd be adding a page of the gorgeous California Poppies I saw all over the city. I also knew I wanted them to be loose and painting loose for me is always a challenge!
Detail from Full Spread
Click to Enlarge
Since I worship at the "altar of detail," I decided to really make it difficult to paint details by painting the pages while standing up with the sketchbook turned upside down with a #10 size brush.
Detail from Full Spread
Click to Enlarge
After the pages dried, I sat down to add just a few of the details to the flowers to suggest the crinkled and wrinkled texture of their petals.
More Detail
Click to Enlarge
Adding in those few details also fed that need I have for detail work without overwhelming the flowers.
California Poppies
11 x 8.5 inches
Ink for the writing only
This was way fun and a little scary as I was working in my sketchbook for San Francisco and I really could have messed up, but I had a game plan in case of failure. I figured I could either glue new paper over the ruined pages or possibly gesso over these and go again. Thankfully, I didn't have to!

If you are a detail painter with a strong desire to let go of the details with no idea where how to begin, let me suggest giving this a try. Choose a large, easy, organic/natural subject so that if you get "outside of lines" it doesn't ruin anything.

Lightly sketch out your page, gather your supplies, put your book upside down on a table, stand up, and let the paint fly! (I had to leave the room while it was drying to keep from fiddling in the paint!)

The other thing that helped me was leaving all reference material in the other room out of sight. That way I didn't start trying to add in any details or shadows.

After your page dries, consider where you can add just enough detail to clarify or suggest texture. Keep in mind that less is more. Go slowly by adding in a few details and then stepping away from the work so that you can view the page with a fresh eye.

If you decide to join me in the "upside down, standing up, large brush" painting method, please let us know by leaving a comment below with a link so we can see you efforts too!

I hope you'll consider joining me on "An Imaginary Trip to San Francisco!" The "trip begins on August 16th. More information is available here! Hope to see you in the Imaginary Realm!
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