Apr 28, 2016

Whoa!! Catch the Creative Spirit!! - Plein Air & Drawing Tips for the Sketchbook


Tired of the confines of the studio? 
Wanting to to make a break?  
Run with the wind and let the colours flow?  

Definitely how I feel in the spring.  Don't get me wrong, when the rain falls in January I am happy as can be.  My brushes are wet, my colours are flowing and my pencils are dancing. Ideas are flying. I can't even begin to keep up!  Being up all hours finishing a piece is just part of the mix.   But . . . . When the sun shines and the temperatures rise, I am done!!  With my sketchbook in hand I am gone.
Little Tree Standing - ink and graphite - love the view of the Coastal Mountains from Vancouver Island.  This is at Bennett's Point, just south of Campbell River.

To really catch the light, and be ready for action one needs to be prepared and travel light.  In my last post "Getting Loose and Free" I talked about the free and lively line you get with a pen and adding watercolour to the mix.  But there are other combinations that can be quick and dirty too! 

You can have lots of fun with a pen and pencil.  Yes, just a nice 2B graphite pencil.  The ink gives the strong line and dark tones and the graphite gives a quick, beautiful range of values that will seduce even the most hardly disbeliever.  Trees, logs, birds, water, all come alive with this combination. Sometimes I sneak in a 5B for it's really rich tone.  Using it means you get great darks but still keep the texture of your paper.

High Tide Mark - Ink & Graphite - A quick sketch while beach combing on Texada Island. 

With your pen work you can quickly capture the main ideas of the area, then use your pencils to shade things in.  I love to do some crosshatch as well. When you put graphite over the crosshatching you get intriguing texture.
Detail from Little Tree Standing - the crosshatching in the shadow areas with graphite shading gives energy to the shadows. 

However, the real pleasure is in the pen work.  You will find that your pen is full of energy, dashing about on the page.  Your mark making will become loose and free.  You won't worry about shading as you know you can jump in with a pencil.
Detail from Little Tree Standing - Let the pencil and ink work talk to each other, going outside the lines gives a greater value range and more interest to the work.

When you add the pencil, don't feel that you need to shade every little thing.  Like watercolours (see last post),  the graphite can be inside and outside of the lines giving a loose and free flow to your work. I love that tension created by the line telling the story but the shading echoing it rather than religiously following every stroke.
Long Beach, west coast Vancouver Island, BC.  - Capture the Memory!

Your good friend, your sketchbook, is waiting, grab a pencil and pen and hit the streets or bush, wherever you like to sketch.

Looking for a starting point?  I will be happy to set you up.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art. Your sketchbook will soon be full of great memories and inspiration for the winter. 

In my next post I will have a few more ideas for that sketchbook of yours.  It will soon be crying out  for a lot more attention!

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Special Note to Fraser Valley Readers: 

The big Spring Show of all my new work is happening this week, Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1, 10-4pm at Mandeville Gardens, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby, BC. Come down and say hi.  (and of course pick up a new piece for your collection.)

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 Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Great post Wendy

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks. I know you like the graphite part, it is really nice to see the two work together!!