Sunday, April 19, 2015

First Hike of the Season

Okay, I'll admit, it wasn't much of a hike.  I just went to a trailhead for the trail at the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon and hiked down to the creek which took all of 5-10 minutes, going back was uphill though so it took a little longer.  It was nice to get up in the mountains and walk around even if I wasn't very far up.  We had a dry winter and the peak of the spring runoff is probably a month off anyway so the creek wasn't very full but that allowed me to walk to parts that would be difficult or impossible to get to under different conditions.  I took my sketchbook and a pen along.  I decided to try a little experiment, to plan out a painting without any real intention of making a painting, at least not at this time.

art sketch plein air pen ink nature landscape mountain

I did all these sketches on one sheet and didn't even use the whole sheet.  First I did the tiny thumbnail composition check in the upper right, no details just large value masses.  Then I enlarged the thumbnail a bit and added a little detail for the upper left sketch.   Then I did a larger sketch, though still only about 2" X 3" with even more detail and some compositional adjustments.  Will I attempt a painting of this?  I don't really know, but it was a good exercise. 

I wondered around a bit more and decided to do this little root study.

art sketch pen ink plein air nature mountain nature

Obviously there was no intention to make a finished piece of art with this. Doing little sketches like this is important for two reasons:  #1 it's just good drawing practice.  #2 is that it's good observational practice.  I'm always amazed at what I don't see until I really look, and the best way too really look at something is to do a sketch of it.  There was a part of this little scene that I thought was a rock until I got to that part of the sketch and then realized that "rock" was actually another part of the root that had turned under and so was darker.  I'm betting this sketch is looking like just a jumbled mess of lines to you, but for me it was invaluable observational practice, looking at this sketch recalls all kinds of visual details in my mind.

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