11 July 2019

Sketchbook styles

After running some errands, I treated myself to breakfast out on Wednesday and made two paintings from the experience. One was what I usually do when out in public, which was a fairly precise pen drawing of someone(s) sitting nearby, in my purse-sized sketchbook with watercolor added afterwards. The second was a snapshot of part of the table in front of me (I finished my omelet, got rid of the plate, and then painted what was left), and it's paint-only—no underdrawing, kind of messy, but more realistic.

So the question is...do I prefer one? Do others prefer a particular style? Where should I invest my time and effort?

And of course there is a third alternative, which is to make a more careful painting by choosing to do a pencil underdrawing that gets all the proportions just so, and on watercolor paper instead of in a sketchbook. Again, where should the effort be placed?

You can also see this latter piece on my book review blog tomorrow, to accompany a review of Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris. 

09 July 2019


I have a set of six of these beautiful cut glass (crystal?) goblets, in a variety of colors, handed down from Mom: kelly green, ultramarine blue, sunflower yellow, bright pink, purple, and this deep burgundy red one. I have pulled them out of my china cabinet more than once to paint, and then thought better of it and put them back, because I simply don't have the skill set or a discerning enough eye to capture the quality of the glass and make it sparkle. (I think I need another class with Paul Jackson.)

But I had what's left of a big bag of cherries that will spoil if not eaten (or painted) today, and the similarity in color between the cherries and this goblet struck me, so I staged a still life including both of them. I started about half an inch too high from the bottom margin when painting the cherries, so that the goblet didn't quite make it onto the page in its entirety; and the crystalline quality of the glass stem did indeed mostly escape me. But I like the variation on the bowl of the wine glass and its reflection in the cherries down below. I guess the only solution to getting the hang of painting something like this is to paint it over and over and try to figure out what it is that makes the light shine.

Wine glass and cherries

#30x30DirectWatercolor2019, #worldwatercolormonth

In the sketchbook...the last page!

08 July 2019


Today's painting is an homage portrait of Juan Linares. He is one of my favorite urban sketchers, and lives and paints in Barcelona. He is so talented and also so versatile that I always look forward to seeing his latest work.

I was fairly happy with the likeness, although I think his face is a little taller and not so wide, and also I started too high on the page so the top of his head got cut off! But over all, I am satisfied. Painting beards (particularly when they are salt and pepper) is challenging! I hadn't really done that before, except for some stray whiskers on my friend Rani. So, a new experience. I hope Juan doesn't mind my appropriating his image for my painting!

If you want a really good 12-week art course, and you speak (or at least understand) fluent Spanish, Juan is teaching a course I would love to take...if only I hadn't taken French instead! If you were smarter than me, sign up!


Still pursuing the 30x30 goal of no underdrawing.

In the sketchbook...