From the sketchbook…
These sketches are done from photo references taken in Maine a few years ago. What I hope to develop is a way of working plein air that doesn’t require time spent doing a preliminary pencil sketch. I want to sit down and draw the scene before me directly on the paper with pen & ink, then complete the scene with watercolor. And I want to do it quickly, while sitting on a rock, a park bench, or at a table.
Here’s a blown up detail. The sketches are pretty rough. I certainly want to keep the freshness of the linework, but I’d like to have a bit less of it. Hopefully, that will come with practice.
Here’s another detail. I really like the looseness, but would have liked for the roof line on the shed to have been drawn with a bit more confidence and fewer construction lines. Again, that should come with practice.
Another view of the harbor. Nell says this is good for me. I have always had a tendency to focus on details in my drawings and paintings, and working in this direct manner with the pen is pushing me more toward grasping the essence of the scene, rather than the details. Since my hope is to develop more of a documentary or journal style, I’m having to put the strokes down and leave them alone.
I am finding that my education in learning to paint has given me a better eye for atmospheric perspective. Keeping the foreground in high contrast, and using finer pen lines and softer, grayer color in the distance gives this scene the depth it needed. I was tempted to go back and put some colorful clothing on the people in the big sailboat, but that would have drawn the eye away from the little dinghy in the foreground. I think that little boat makes a nice focal point.
Using the reference photos from Maine has put me more into that reporting mode that I’m looking for, trying to find the images that tell the story of a place or an event. This group has been challenging because boats are not part of my normal repertoire. However, doing these gives me an idea of what I need to work on if I’m going to tell visual stories of my own native Gulf Coast one of these days.
Meanwhile, I’ve still got a lot of images from Maine that I want to try.