Sunday, December 18, 2016

To Cold Outside, How About Car Sketching?

It's important as representational artists that we make sure to spend some time working from life.  I'll admit I've been rather slack about that this year so I decided to remedy that a bit today.  While today was sunny it was also very, very cold, 23*F when I went out today.  I'll admit, I'm quite the wimp when it comes to the cold so my solution today was to sketch from inside the car.  Even with the engine off it was bearable, (no doubt thanks to the sun beaming through the windows) though the windows fogged up after a while.  Not breathing was not an option so I had to work quickly, besides it was late afternoon and the light was changing fast and would be gone altogether soon.

art sketch plein air car charcoal drawing pastel

A steering wheel makes a passable easel, though movement is somewhat limited inside a car and that does effect the sketch because it's pretty much impossible to make marks from your shoulder, at best marks were made from the elbow but even that wasn't easy.  Having to sketch from inside the car also limits the subjects available but this wasn't about making a polished piece of art, it was about practice from life, any subject would do as long as it had interesting and challenging shapes.  Obviously I'm more used to sketching classic cars.

art sketch plein air house charcoal tree pastel

Here's the finished sketch, if you can call any sketch finished.  I used charcoal then added some touches of color using pastel.   I'd rather not sketch from inside a car, but in a pinch it will do.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Variety of Charcoal Studies

I'm still very much focused on charcoal.  I find working with charcoal to be both fun and educational.  Charcoal sketches are a good way to test ideas for compositions before committing to paint, but they are works of art in their own right.  The last two weeks (yes, I missed last week) I've experimented with a variety of subjects.

art drawing charcoal forest tree root evergreen

"Roots II"

12" X 9", Charcoal on Paper

This is the second in my series of roots studies.  Not only was it a study in roots and nature it was an experiment in charcoal technique.  I wanted to do a better job of getting rid of the little white specks of paper showing through so I did a lot more blending and used more powdered charcoal.

art drawing charcoal rural barn shed tree road field

"Barn Study I"

9" X 12", Charcoal on Paper

Another series begins, hopefully.  Well, as much as I love old, wood barns and rural landscapes I'm pretty confident I'll do more.  While "Roots II" was pretty good I felt maybe it was a little overworked so my goal with "Barn Study I" was to dial that back and bit and still have the same effect.  I treated this one in a more sketchy way, working faster and not so deliberate about shapes and details, I think it worked pretty well.  I discovered my finger makes a great blender for large areas.  I've formed a new basic technique.  First I go over an area with the woodless charcoal pencil creating the general tones I'm after.  Then I use a Q-tip to apply powdered charcoal over the area blending it as I go then I do further blending with my finger.

art drawing charcoal truck Ford grass abandoned tree

"Truck Study I"

8" X 10", Charcoal on paper

And finally we have an abandoned old truck, a 1946 Ford to be more exact.  This was drawing practice as much as charcoal and composition practice.  This scene is partially from a photo reference taken in a small rural Utah town and partially from my imagination.  The truck in the photo didn't have a bed and the tree was farther back and didn't overlap the truck.  The rest is pretty much my invention.  Since this one required more exact drawing it took longer but I still tried to keep it fairly sketchy. 

Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be more to come.