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Catching Up (Again)

August 30, 2016

I am so far behind with this blog.  But I confess there are days when I don’t think I have much to say. Anyway, how about a little catching up?

barn and silo at900

Much of the work in the past few weeks has been ink & watercolor. I love doing these little drawings. I can take the ink line work as far as I like and then add texture and form with subtle use of color.

barn near mt vernon at800

Barn at Centerburg, 8×10, acrylic

The painting of the barn at Centerburg, Ohio is one of my recent attempts at acrylics. The biggest discovery I made while painting this one was that I don’t like painting on canvas. I find the canvas texture to be a distraction.  Just a personal quirk on my part, but there you go. This collection of barns, sheds and silos sits just off highway 36 as it enters Centerburg from the southwest.

passages 8x10 acrylic at 800

Passages, 8×10, acrylic

Passages was painted on illustration board, a surface I’m much more comfortable with, and therefore much happier with. It was based on a reference photo taken in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. This was a rare occasion for me to use a palette knife, and I found it both enjoyable and frustrating. The knife rarely did what I wanted it to do, but when it did, I loved the result. I like this little painting.

from put in bay trip aug 2016

This little pen & ink sketch was from a photo of a barn somewhere in upper Ohio. I’ve been inspired recently by the etchings of James McNeil Whistler.

house2 at900

House and Shed, 5×7, ink & watercolor

I love drawing interesting houses and structures. Porches, dormer windows, chimneys, rusty roofs… they all add interest and texture to a scene. I believe this house was spotted while we rode a golf cart around the island village of Put-In-Bay during a recent trip to Ohio.

garage alley at900

Garage, 5×7, ink & watercolor

Never underestimate the value of a simple scene like this open garage next to an alley in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The reference photo wasn’t planned. In fact, I believe it was shot as a drive-by while going to visit one of Nell’s brothers. Composition, texture, and color, along with the lights and darks of shadows and openings, all present themselves suddenly, and shooting the image has to become a reflex action. The eye sees, the brain processes, and the hand records… all in an instant. When we travel, the camera is within reach at all times.

Barn on 183 at900

Barn on 183, 9×12, ink & watercolor.

While I love recording subjects for reference when we travel, I also try to be just as observant of the world close to home. This old barn sits just minutes away off Highway 183 in Leander, Texas. It is on one of the routes we take when running errands several times a week.

ohio barn A at900

Barn near Galloway, 9×12, ink & watercolor

The beauty of combining ink an d watercolor is that there is no limit to what can be done. Finding the right amount of textural line work  becomes the challenge. Do I create the shadows with ink crosshatching or do it with watercolor? Do I draw most of the foliage or simply indicate it and let the paint carry the weight? I rarely decide at the beginning if I’m going to draw the subject tightly and realistically or loosely with a whimsical feel. I often just sketch a barn like this very quickly and simply with pencil, then let the pens do the work.

The ink work in all of the drawings are done with a combination of Sharpies (the fat ones and the Extra Fine) and Microns (#1, 3 and 5). The pens, brushes, watercolors and palette are all part of my urban sketching kit.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2016 12:48 am

    All lovely pieces Ralph! Love your pen n ink and watercolor work especially.

  2. August 31, 2016 11:13 am

    Thank you! I enjoy your reflections, both visual and verbal. I get stumped when I want to talk about my art or art process so it helps to read yours.

  3. Jane permalink
    August 31, 2016 12:35 pm

    All wonderful work!

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