We held our first GALA Plein Air camping trip hosted at the home of Doreen LaScolla’s niece in the Berkshires. Eight artists came and pitched tents for the weekend. We had a cook-out, music by the fire, and some fireworks, and we even fit in some painting. On Friday night I did a quick sketch of a part of our “campground.” I got something wrong and the SUV on the left ending up looking like a Metro.
On Saturday most everybody went to a waterfall to paint (and produced a lot of nice paintings), but I headed up to a place called Bog Pond. I set up on the dike between the road and the pond, and in between all the Canada Goose droppings. It was a warm and sunny day and I regretted not remembering to bring a hat. A few fishermen and women came and went while I was there. None of them seemed to have any luck. I came away with this painting and a sunburned neck.
On Sunday morning a bunch of us descended upon an old ramshackle farm belonging to an uncle of our host. There were fields and horses, crooked buildings and old rusting cars and tractors. It was too bad we only had time to draw one scene, but we took a lot of photos of what we didn’t have time to paint. The scene I chose had me sitting right out in the open sun and it was about the hottest day of the summer. Already with a bit of a burn from yesterday, I used an old tee shirt to tie a bandana around my head and draped a towel over my legs. The old gray buildings baking in the sun cried out to me for a scratchboard, so that’s what I tried. The result is below. I had to get a break from the sun and head home before I finished it, but it looks promising. Many thanks to Tarryn and Pete for hosting us and to Doreen for coordinating everything. We hope to do it again next year.
I was at a meeting in the mountains in West Virginia this week. I skipped a few of the sessions to take a walk in the woods and see the sights. I found a beautiful valley with a view of the surrounding mountains and sketched it with inktense pencils on paper.
After finishing that I continued on the path into the woods and came upon a magical forest where many of the trees were growing on stilts – their roots were above ground. Usually this happens when the soil around the roots subsides for some reason, but usually it is a tree here and there, not a whole forest of them. It was an amazing sight.
It occurred to me that the stilted trees would make a good scratchboard subject so the next day I went back and started work on it. It will still need a lot of studio time to finish it but I include it here to show you what an unfinished scratchboard looks like. I spent one hour there on Monday and then four hours on Tuesday and this is how far I got. There were so many strange trees that instead of just drawing one I fit several into one picture.
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.