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.
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.
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.