This week was my first watercolor class. Watercolor requires a whole different method and mindset than what I'm used to. So much fumbling around with a new medium made me want to do a quick sketch in something I had more control over. Just to balance things out.
All right, all right. I haven't been posting much lately. But I haven't been lounging at the pool sipping mojitos, either. Because it's SUMMER! And that means it's time to sketch outdoors whenever humanly possible. Sometimes even when it threatens rain.
I especially love going out with the Urban Sketchers. They're an international sketching club with many local chapters. What a wonderful group! It's completely free of charge, and people of all skill levels meet up to sketch together at great locations. I love the camaraderie and the generous sharing of work, methods, and materials. It's a nice change from working in solitude. (Although that's fun too.) Take a look, you may find a chapter in your city. Or if you can't, then go ahead and start one!
On recent sketching trips with the "Sketchers" I've been using gouache and/or watercolor pencils, trying to figure out their qualities and get the hang of them. What I'm learning is that they require quite a different mindset from outdoor oil painting. I'll write more about that mindset in a future post. In the meantime, here are three samples of my latest sketches. I really love these materials and hope to keep practicing and improving my skills with them.
And now I'm gonna quit writing, get my gear together and go outside ... before it gets dark!
'Twas a long, busy spring ... with not enough time for making art, let alone blogging about it. Sad. But I'm back. And all kitted up with a brand new box of Faber Castell - Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, wheeeeee! Aren't they gorgeous?
The colors are rich and beautiful when you draw with them like regular colored pencils. But the color really pops once you brush them with water. Of course I wish I had more (and more and more) colors. And I'll probably get them eventually. But so far I'm loving this nifty assortment of thirty-six.
Couldn't wait to try them! So on a hot summer afternoon I took them out for a walk in Central Park. Where I found a cool spot in the shade of this wonderful old American elm tree.
If you've been following along on my blog you may have noticed that painting in oils is my usual MO. But sometimes it's fun to mix it up and try other mediums. Recently I experimented with colored pencils. For this particular drawing I toned a piece of Stonehenge paper with a medium gray wash, since I don't like working on a stark white surface. Then I set up a still life with a handful of lovely Mandarin oranges, and proceeded to draw them in color. For the finishing touch I punched up the highlights with a bit of white gouache. Here's the result:
Once upon a time I was gainfully employed as a proofreader in a prestigious law firm. How I ever got that job is beyond me, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, we could sometimes go for hours waiting for the lawyers to send in something for us to read. So to pass the time I would set up compositions on my desk with cookies, fruit and soda cans from the well-stocked pantry. And then I'd draw them with colored pencils on copy paper. Looking back, it may have been the best job I ever had.
Recently I've returned to doing pencil drawings again. Here are two of my latest.
Stay tuned, there's more to come ...
Having a shoulder injury is never a helluva lot of fun. However, it's a real stinker when it prevents me from painting. Sigh. Still, an artist must keep muddling on. And one way to keep sane during the healing process is to practice my drawing skills. Because drawing doesn't require raising my arm. If I work small.
Crisis = Danger + Opportunity
The authenticity of this old Chinese saying seems to be in question. But authentic or not, it sounds smart and I'm sticking with it. So I picked up one of those wonderful old-fashioned Watson-Guptill art instruction books. The Art of Pencil Drawing by Ernest W. Watson himself. The book features his gorgeous "painterly" pencil drawings, and he generously explains his materials and methods for making them that way. That alone would be precious information. But there's more to Watson than just a simple "how to". He also explains why making a sketch or drawing transcends merely recording what you see.
My name is Julie Kessler and I'm a representational artist. I love painting in oils with their vibrant, juicy colors. Lately I've been exploring the unique qualities of gouache, watercolors, colored pencils and other media. I started this blog to share my work and thoughts about making art. I toss other things into the mix too, such as painters that I love, and art books and exhibits that inspire me. Your comments are welcome. I'd love to hear from you!