I intended to do one of a scene I shared this morning on Instagram but this was the view when I sat down in my studio to sketch.
I mean, how could I not?
I pencilled in a rough outline first because I often start too big and don’t capture what I want. Pencil first helped with that.
Then I picked out the important bits with my trusty Pigma Micron (love those pens). The watercolours are from my Winsor & Newton travel set, mostly using cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and raw sienna.
I like the blue into the cliffs for shadows because I’m focusing on deeper colour. When I looked back over my first sketches I wasn’t satisfied with the colour. Too washed out. I find myself drawn to other people’s sketches with pops of colour. So obviously it’s something that speaks to me. Time to stop playing safe.
Right now the outside world is still pretty gray and brown and it has a definite influence on my palette. I may have to really let loose and make it up as I go!
Yesterday was another rainy, overcast day and all I wanted to do was hibernate until the sky turns blue again. So I looked at the forecast for the next 14 days.
8 days of rain!
I may end up covered in moss if I stand still too long, so I fought off the hibernation urge. Instead, I finished moving (see what I did there) back into my summer studio where the light is wonderful. Not quite summer sunshine but at least there’s a glow. All of which helps lift the mood.
After I finished putting things away, I completed a painting and still had some time to spare. So I did today’s sketch sitting by one of the studio windows, overlooking my neighbour’s place. Wish I could show you the inside with its driftwood furniture. Cute as can be.
Because I’m the artist and I get to make up the rules, I painted a summer day, complete with sunshine and wild roses.
Today is raining and overcast. Too many folks on a flood watch right now but here in Margaretsville we’re okay. Most of our water drains into the Bay of Fundy, which means the waterfalls are spectacular along the cliffs.
This time of year the whole landscape seems grey and brown. The one spot of colour is the red door on the Art Shack down by the dock which I can see from my studio. Unless the sun comes out. Then the bay and sky become a brilliant blue. Here on the Bay a “Blue Day” is a good day. But for today, it’s the red door that calls to me.
I used my Daniel Smith colours for this sketch.
Payne’s Blue Gray is perfect for overcast skies and bay.
Their Pompeii Red and English Red Ochre worked well for the ironwork along the edge of the dock.
Peryline Scarlet for the door.
Lots of others as I experimented but the surprise for me was Buff Titanium. Perfect for the cement barrier at the head of the wharf.
Drawing is first about taking something with all the senses, letting what is simply be as it is, without judging it. – Jeanne Carbonetti, The Yoga of Drawing“
Call it what you will
I love sketching. While it’s a good creative warm-up, it’s even better as an antidote to the distractions all around me. It reminds me to pay attention because the world is a pretty amazing place.
Sketching is available to anyone because there’s no need to call yourself ‘artist’. No need even to share what you produce. I have pages and pages of sketches for ‘my eyes only’. You can even throw away what you produce because it’s NOT about the product.
It’s about being present for that moment and really noticing the world again.
It’s all about curiosity
Sketching makes me pay attention and examine small details.
It shifts me out of auto-pilot and helps me to let go of preconceived ideas about how the world around me ‘should’ look. When I really get into flow, I focus in without judgment about the object I’m studying or what my hand produces on the paper.
Perhaps ‘doodle’ is a better word because it strips away that serious artist overtone. It’s about curiosity and taking a closer look.
Carpe Diem and Sketch
Keep it simple and your tools handy so you can do this anytime, anywhere. Seize every opportunity.
Choose a pencil or fine-line marker that you like. I prefer a marker because my lines feel more confident. The energy is just different when I know I must commit and can’t erase. I also keep a few watercolour pencils with me because I like colour but it’s not necessary.
The paper itself isn’t important. While it’s nice to have sketchbook, the back of a napkin also works. As I said, it’s not about the end product but the process.
Then just do it.
Sketch something in your environment right now. Start by taking a second look.
Is the top of a mug really round or something else when it’s in front of you. How do the shadows fall? Is there a glint of light on this somewhere? How do the pieces line up? Or not? Is the top bigger than the bottom?
You get the idea.
Then just make some marks on the paper. Once you start, it gets easier. Don’t judge the marks you make. They’re not important.
You only need a few minutes. Do it on your lunch hour or while the kids nap. It’s a practice you can squeeze into any schedule and can help you feel more grounded because for those few minutes, you’re paying attention.
Invisible Rule holding you back?
If you’re hesitating I’ll bet the conversation in your head sounds something like “I could never do that.”.
Who made up that rule?
Change the inner dialog to a curious question — “What if I tried this?”.
I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
Hard to find creative time in a busy life?
I’m putting together an online course that can help with that.