Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Read the Labels!

12" x 9" Graphite pencil on Paper
This is a pencil sketch from one of last week's live portrait sessions. Any sketches I make using dry mediums - graphite, charcoal and sometimes pastel - are sprayed with something to make them smudge resistant. That something is workable fixative. A light coating of fixative helps protect the drawing, and allows you to work on the drawing more if you want.

Damar varnish, which also comes in spray cans, is a heavier application used to protect dry oil paintings.

When I went to spray the sketch shown above with fixative, I accidentally grabbed the varnish instead. I realized the mix-up as soon as the drawing was sprayed. No harm done, really, but I probably should check the labels of whatever I'm using before one day I mistake damar varnish for something like air freshener or deodorant. It has that fresh piney scent, to be sure, but damar varnish isn't something you want a lot of personal contact with!

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cascade Mountain and Spring Greens

12" x 16" Oil on Panel
Trees haven't leafed out yet as much as I'd like for plein air painting, but I can't wait. Heber Valley was the location for this painting. The day began with clear blue skies, then clouds developed as I was blocking in the main shapes of the painting. The clouds largely disappeared from the scene as I painted, but not before I was able to get their impression onto the panel. Storm clouds formed over the mountains behind me, but kindly stayed away from me and the scene I was painting. All in all, a great day to be out painting!

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Graphite Pencil Sketches

12" x 9" Graphite Pencil on Paper
Normally charcoal is my medium of choice when making monochromatic sketches from live models. This week, however, a graphite pencil in my sketch box seemed to be demanding my attention. Graphite is an interesting medium. Dry, yet slippery; dark, yet reflective - graphite's darks are not as deep as charcoal's, but it's silvery smoothness brings certain qualities to sketching and drawing that other mediums don't naturally bring.

12" x 9" Graphite Pencil on Paper
There's another reason for hopping from one medium to another. The techniques are different (at least how I use them). With charcoal I work from a middle tone to build both dark and light tones. Graphite pencil works are - for me - strictly light to dark. I start with white paper and build up darks bit by bit. After using one technique for so long, I risk taking certain methods for granted and losing focus. Having to build a drawing using a different method helps me to refocus on the structure of the drawing.

Besides, graphite drawings are cool.

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Contrasting Portrait Sketches II

12" x 9" Pastel on Textured  Paper
Another week, two more portrait sketches from life. May I always be able to attend drawing sessions. It may be to work in color, or black and white. Maybe try a new angle, or experiment with a new medium. Drawing sessions are also a great opportunity to network with other painters. There's always new things to learn, and old skills to sharpen.

12" x 9" Charcoal on Paper
For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."