My 2017 Christmas card. Merry Christmas to everybody.
I went looking through some old sketchbooks for Christmas-related sketches and found these two, a couple of pages apart, in a sketchbook from 2008.
It has been a hectic year. I have not had as much time as I would like for drawing, and I’ve been very bad about posting what I have done to this site. To correct that I have here some drawings from between July and October.
My wife’s aunt is a home decorating artist. Sitting in her living room and looking out at her sunlight hallway I saw this hat artfully placed on the arm of her sofa. I turned this into a scratchboard that will be posted here soon.
My wife spent a few days in the hospital this summer (she is better now). While she was sleeping I sketched the bouquet of flowers at her bedside.
On our plein air outing in August we were set up at a waterfall in the Berkshires. A hiker came along, strung a hammock between two large trees, and got in and read for a while, paying us no mind. When I finished painting I did a quick sketch.
In Monmouth County, New Jersey (near my daughter’s house) is a park named Deep Cut Gardens. It has a wonderful collection of trees and flowers, including the weeping hemlocks in my “Deep Cut Gardens” scratchboard. They also have a large collection of bonsai trees. I sketched these three during a visit in September.
The trees seemed to take forever to change colors this fall, and when they did, it only lasted a few days. I did this watercolor while sitting in my back yard on an October day that was as warm as a day in August.
I spent two beautiful weeks at Millen Pond in the middle of July. Several days during the stay I was up there by myself with only my art supplies to keep me company, so I did a bit of drawing and painting.
My biggest accomplishment was completing two oil paintings – a view of our cottage, Edgemont, during the first week and a view of the lake during the second week.
The weather was mostly good, but one day it was wet and cold all day, so I stayed inside and drew this looking out through the window at the porch.
The best of the rest were some ink sketches.
I’ve accumulated a few good sketches in June but have been negligent in posting them. So here’s a month’s worth at one time.
At the beginning of the month we visited Lucy again, then 2 1/2 months old. She's such a cutie, and a great model too.
I drew this sketch of the view of a cloud-filled sky from the field out back.
This is the arbor I built along the side of the house.
June's plein air outing was to Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, NH. I drew this pencil sketch of one of the rhododendron tunnels along the walking paths with the thought of perhaps doing a scratchboard of it.
A pen and ink figure drawing from the end of the month.
Our first GALA Plein Air outing of the year was this past Saturday at Lilacland in Pelham, MA. This private property is planted with many different varieties of lilac, and the owner opens it up for the public’s enjoyment. The day was overcast and a bit cool, but the lilacs were all in bloom and it was beautiful. I found a spot with a view of the old barn through the lilacs and did this oil painting.
Today was Fresh Paint day. This was my fourth straight year participating in this fundraiser for the Copley Society of Art. Artists go throughout the city or surrounding areas and create a picture in one day. The resulting works are then auctioned off.
I chose to work today in the Public Garden. After taking one circuit around the park I settled on a scene with a flowering cherry in full bloom spreading over a path. I was working on an 8x10 scratchboard. I started at 9:15. I finished drawing the basic scene on the board with a white pastel pencil by 9:30. At 2:30 I declared the piece finished and went home.
It was a beautiful day and the park was full of people enjoying the sunshine. The tree I was drawing was particularly popular. At least three couples had their engagement pictures taken by it over the course of the day, along with a girl in a tutu dancing around its base for a photo shoot.
Shown below is a photo of the scene I chose, followed by the initial drawing, and then hourly updates at 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, and then the final piece.
I finally put away the snow shovels today, and took out my sketchbook, and walked down to the Thousand Acre Brook. The sun was bright and it was warm for the first time since the false spring in February. The melted snow had filled the brook and the water was roiling as it cascaded and tumbled over the rocks. I have an idea of doing a large scratchboard of the scene, so I took a lot of pictures and then sat down to draw. It was a complicated scene so I started out using a 4H pencil to lay it out before coming in with a softer lead. Well, I was there for two hours before I got the whole thing down and only had a few minutes to add a little darkness with an 8B pencil before I had to head home to get there before supper was served. The resulting picture is a little light, but not a bad start for the year.
I was asked to contribute a picture for a collaborative work of art and literature based on the local history of the small New England Village of East Princeton. My subject was the pre-settlement forest. With a short deadline, the woods outside covered with snow, and having no old growth forests nearby, I had to work from my imagination, which is something I don't often do. I went through my photo collection and searched others on the web for ideas, then started sketchin some ideas (shown below). The editor liked where it was going, so I drew it onto a board and started scratching. I finished the piece today, but can't show it until the book is published in early 2018. Making up my own scene was a lot of fun, so now I'm planning on putting together a larger piece in much the same way.
Some of the best work I've done isn't hanging on a wall; it's sitting in a box in my closet that's full of my old sketch books. I fill up one or two books each year. Some of the sketches end up as a basis of a more formal work, but most don't. They’re more important to me as a pictorial diary and also as on-going training; learning to really see and to understand shape, light and color.
This blog is to share my sketches as well as my sketching experiences.