I went to the WGBH Art Walk on Newbury St. last night and got inspired by all the great art I saw. Today I took a walk down to the Miller’s River and found a view of this neat railroad bridge while sitting on a large rock in the middle of the river. I drew it first with oil pastels on pastel paper, trying to be more artistic with my coloring. Then, I liked the scene so much I did it again in pen and ink.
On the way home I came upon the falls on the 1,000-acre brook from a different angle than what I drew the week before and couldn’t pass it by.
What a great couple of days! I spent them hiking through the Bear’s Den with a backpack full of art supplies. The area is practically just across the street but, until now, has gone largely unexplored. I was pleasantly surprised. On Wednesday I didn’t leave until 11:30 and had to cut it short to get home by 5, so on Thursday I left at 7:30 and didn’t get back until almost 6. I walked 14 miles over two days and ended up with a couple of decent sketches and dozens of photographs for future reference.
The first sketch is a colored pencil drawing on pastelbord of the 1,000-acre brook cascading over the rocks (one prominent feature of the area is its rocks and boulders).
The second sketch is a scratchboard of a stone wall. I spent about two hours working on it on Wednesday and three hours on Thursday, and, as you can see, it still has a ways to go. This tells me that scratchboard isn’t really suited to outdoor sketching unless I have a lot of time. Still, it’s a good start and I’ll spend some time in the studio finishing this off.
Sometimes things just don’t work out. I spent the week camping, but it was either raining or just plain damp and cloudy the whole time and I hardly drew anything worth showing. I got only two half decent sketches. One was a pastel of a water lily; the other was the last thing I did on my last afternoon there, a pen and ink of an old stump lying by the side of the path.
Tomorrow I leave for a camping trip in Washington, NH, one of my favorite places. I’ll be camping at Pillsbury State Park, where I did this sketch about 10 years ago. The ridge line in the background has changed since then as there is now a row of giant windmills peeking over the top of it.
While up there I hope to visit Millen Pond, where my family vacationed for many years. There is a little bridge at the south end of the pond that begs me to draw it every time I visit. Here are a couple of my earliest sketches of it from 1991. I look forward to seeing it again.
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.