The last year has been very trying, made more so by the lack of time to do much drawing. I was very happy, therefore, to make it to the end of June and the start of my vacation. This year we tried someplace new, West Caroga Lake in New York’s Adirondack State Park. The weather was great – maybe even a little too hot - and in between the swimming, the board games, and playing with granddaughter Lucy, I got to do some drawing and painting.
I like to play with a variety of mediums when I get the chance, and over the course of the week I tried pencil, technical pens, colored pencil, dipping pen, watercolors and oil paints. My first drawing was a pencil drawing of the cottage next door, a typical Adirondack camp.
There were many old hemlocks along the shore and I liked the view of their thick branches arching over the sparkling waters of the lake. The branches and foliage have a unique shape that is surprisingly complex and difficult to capture. Silhouetted against the lake, I had the opportunity to study them closely, first with a colored pencil, then with a technical pen. They also appeared in a watercolor I did of a nearby dock.
Right below our balcony was a cluster of lily pads with white water lilies that opened in the morning and then closed up in the afternoon sun. They were the subject of my first oil painting that I worked on from Monday to Wednesday. I’m very pleased with how the water looks in the painting. On Friday I did a watercolor of the same subject.
On Thursday the kids took a road trip, leaving me alone for a quiet afternoon. I decided to try another oil painting and used some tiger lilies along the shore as a subject. The painting was done in just three hours and I was thrilled with how it came out. I had been taking some oil painting lessons over the past couple of years and I think I’m starting to see some improvement.
I have not been drawing enough lately. I would if I could, but I have just had too many other things that had to be done. Today I was looking at the late afternoon sunlight hitting the potted lily by the front window and thinking what a nice subject it would be to draw, and said dammit and grabbed my sketchbook and stole an hour of time to draw. It felt good.
I was at the Red Apple Farm on Saturday and had the chance to do some quick sketches of the apple trees. I love their shape. If I ever try to do a spooky picture of trees I’ll model them on the apples.
Today was Fresh Paint Day in Boston. I started at 9:20 with a blank scratchboard and a seat beside the Commonwealth Ave. Mall.
The picture came together very quickly. I chose a view down the mall with the trees forming an arch over the walkway. By 11:00 it was well on its way.
By 12:30 the end was already in sight..
By 2:45 I was done scratching. I briefly thought about coloring it, but a desperate need of a bathroom overruled that idea, so I declared victory and packed up.
The finished picture will be auctioned at the Fresh Paint Gala on May 3, with all proceeds going to the Copley Society..
I attended a conference in Nashville last week and we stayed at a place called the Opryland Resort. It was a huge, gaudy, expensive place, with over 2,000 rooms. The most striking feature of the place was the three huge atriums filled with tropical trees and plants, rivers and waterfalls. These covered several acres. I couldn’t help but get upset thinking how acres of natural land had been bulldozed to create this fantasyland for rich people. Still, I do like palm trees and could appreciate the beauty of the gardens. During a break between meetings I drew this sketch inside the largest atrium.
It was a warmer than usual January day, so I ventured out to my back wall with my sketchbook. I brought along a violet and a blue pencil. It was warmer than usual, but not really warm. I drew until my fingers started to get numb.
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.
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.