Saturday, July 26, 2014

Urban Sketching in Paris

We were incredibly busy in Paris, but after a few days I got to get out and do a bit of sketching. This one took about 45- 60 minutes.  I did it at the little cafe right outside of our apartment, while waiting for Kat and Tasha to get back.  Got a cappuccino, sat under their awning as it started to rain, and worked on a composition. 

I did these others while waiting on a boat and while waiting at the train station and airport.  Tasha joined in too, at the end.  You can find the little portrait she did of me, while I was listening to music at the Orly airport.  ;)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Plein Air studies from Barcelona

I did a number of small plein air studies and paintings in Barcelona, and I sold a few to my old friend Ine.  As I no longer have them, I wanted to share them.  Thanks for your interest Ine!  :)

This one was done plein air, at Rauric St., Barcelona.  1/8 sheet.

This was a smaller study, also 1/8 sheet. I haven't finished the larger version yet.  At the Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona

She also picked up these two earlier pieces.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Urban Sketching in Barcelona and Grenada, Spain

This first one is from Grenada.  This was the view from our rooftop terrace.  Below is some of the initial sketching I did on the subject too, as I got to know the subject.

I didn't do much sketching in Barcelona-- just a day or two.  I did more plein air painting, but was unsatisfied with the work.  I decided to go back to basics, and work on my value studies first-- creating the composition, learning the subject in and out, etc. Then, when I went to go do some paintings, I could improvise a bit more, as I had a more thorough understanding of the image.

These are some of the other skethes I did-- Barcelona first, then an additional one form Grenada.

This is the view from the cafe where we often went for breakfast in Grenada.  A great view of the Alhambra in the distance, and real busy in the mornings.  The Quatro Gatos was a great place to sit and soak the sun up.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Urban Sketching in Cambrils, Spain

Over the last month, I did a lot of sketching while we were traveling in Europe.  I painted too, of course, but there were often times when painting simply wasn't an option-- at the beach, killing time at an airport or train station, mornings at coffee, etc.  That's when sketching stepped in.

Sketching serves a few functions for me.  One, I enjoy paying attention.  Two, it helps me begin the process of reducing the onslaught of detail real life provides, as I decide what I think is important enough to include in a painting.  I compress various values into a smaller range, I combine objects, I find silhouettes, I edit and crop.  Even so, I often include more info in a drawing than I do in a painting, and the sketch seems to help me get that "bug" out of my system, as I boil the image down to more of its essentials.  Three, I'm still working on drawing Alvaro's almost ridiculous, off the cuff declaration that we "draw 2000 figures and then get back to (him)".  Each page is about 20 figures, and I did about 200 before I went on the trip, and 200 while on the trip.  Only 1600 more to go!  LOL!  :D

To give you a sense of what I've been doing, most figures take about 20- 60 seconds. I'm most interested in body posture, and how it expresses a mood, situation, or interaction between people.  I even got Tasha to do some sketching too!  :D

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Learning Through Experimenting- Watercolor Abstracts

I've mentioned before how I basically only painted abstracts for about a year.  There was a lot to learn from that process-- no fear of failure, a general desire just to "try stuff out" and see what would happen, etc.  I was never really attached to the outcome.  Some came out better, some worse.  I just got to play and learn what water and pigment and paper would do.  Good times!

I recommend it to all painters, if you've not done it.  I found it very liberating! It allowed me to figure out how far to one side I wanted to pull, before I began the slow pull back to something more representational.  Those more "organic" effects are still with me though-- I want to combine the two approaches.

Take something like this--

and somehow merge it with an approach like this--

Still not quite sure how to do that!  Hmmm...