Refining My Scribbles

The COVID stuff has caused me to be somewhat apprehensive about spending a long time in one place while sketching and I’ve got to walk a lot each day as I build strength in my bad leg.  These two things combine to have me doing very quickly, fairly sloppy scribbles where I capture something in a couple minutes.

As time has gone by, however, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable being out and about and so the other day I slowed down a bit.  I’m still capturing subjects quickly but I’m choosing smaller subjects so I can be a bit more careful with my lines.  On this day I drew a couple tree bases.  I think I’m going to draw a bunch of tree bases as these were fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I’m posting, here’s another one I did in my backyard.  Chantal tells me they are snowballs… in summer (grin).

It Was A Perfect Day

Weather for many of us is weird this year, but I suspect we need to get used to weird.  We’re in the middle of another heat wave, with records set in Montreal and everyone crying that their beaches are not open due to COVID.

Have you ever thought of how different a plein air artist views weather from the rest of the world?  I have a love/hate relationship with sun.  Love it for shadows.  Hate it for how it blinds me when it reflects off my sketchbook.  Gardeners, on the other hand, want every photon our stingy sun will give us.

Generally rain limits my sketching opportunities and right now we aren’t getting any (should be thunderstorm time), but farmers are in dire straits for the same reason that I’m happy.

Wind…yuck from my point of view, though a slight breeze on a hot day is welcome.  I doubt the the windsurfers being dragged across the Ste Lawrence River by brightly colored kites see it that way.

We’ve been a couple degrees luckier than Montreal and while it’s blistering hot today, we had an absolutely perfect day a couple days ago.  Jodie and I headed to the small park that’s just south of our house, her with a book and me with sketching gear.  It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve sat on my stool and let the world drift away for an hour or so.  From a nice, shady spot, I sketched this old brick residence.  I think the building complex may be part of the church that is behind it but I’m not sure.  What I do know is that I had a perfect day.  We even made milk shakes in the afternoon.

Fabriano Artistico (7×8), DeAtramentis Document Black, Platinum Plaisir

Plants, Plants, Plants

I sometimes enjoy trying to draw a plant by carefully drawing each leaf while capturing the relationships between them.  It’s a real challenge in relationships and proportions but it’s good training for my visual cortex.  This was my attempt to do just that with a basil plant.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), DeAtramentis Document Black, Wing Sung 3008

Shari Blaukopf Teaches Light, Color & Shadow

Shari Blaukopf is known to many as an excellent plein air sketcher/painter.  She’s started to produce some really good watercolor course.  This is one of the reasons why I haven’t had many sketches to post; I’m taking one of them right now.

I don’t know who is doing the videography for these courses but I’ve not seen any better.  When Shari mixes paint on the palette, you see every swirl of the brush.  You see her apply every stroke to paper.  And you hear her explain every action she takes and why she’s taking it.  Anyone who has watched online videos knows that this is not typical.

What excites me about this workshop is that instead of selecting one or two large scenes to demonstrate how to inject light into your watercolors, she chose five small vignettes and one larger scene.  The vignettes are simple enough to sketch that you can do a bunch of them, trying over and over again what Shari is teaching.  I need over and over.  I have a bunch of copies laying around my studio, none of them are as good as what Shari presents.  This would be disappointing if not for the fact that edges with paint is a new thing for me.  I’m a pen and ink kind of guy (grin).  But I’ll get it… some day.

I have a dilemma, however.  I wanted to talk about Shari’s workshop but I don’t like to post any work done in workshops for a variety of reasons.  The most important one is that I don’t want to do any of the exercises with the idea that I’m creating something to display.  Also, I don’t like posting anything where someone else has shown me the path.  It just doesn’t seem fair.  I’m going to make a single exception here, however.  This is, I think, my second attempt at the third exercise of the workshop.  It’s very much over-worked because I can’t draw a straight edge with a paintbrush so I’m always “fixing” things.

Domestika – A Warning

I don’t live on Earth.  I live on planet Quebec and this isolates me from the many opportunities others have to associate with lots of artists and to see them work.  Because of this, I’ve become fond of online workshops.  I have a Skillshare membership and I’m currently taking Shari Blaukopf’s new workshop (more on this at a later date).

I’m here today to issue a warning about Domestika, an online service that is running ads everywhere about online classes.  I took one of their workshops, which seem to be smallish, inexpensive workshops.  The one I took was more basic than I expected but it was well organized and produced.  I was sufficiently satisfied with this to take a second one.  I won’t take a third.

The reason is fairly simple.  I downloaded a second workshop only to find that it is taught in Spanish.  That’s great for a Spanish speaker but I can barely speak English so it’s not for me.  Warning one: I saw NO indication that it was going to be taught in Spanish so beware.

Warning two: Supposedly, you have four days to ask for a refund.  I did it within 15 minutes.  This resulted in me receiving a canned msg saying they were very busy and that they’d get back to me.  In the 10 days since I asked for a refund, I’ve received three more of these msgs.  Just for variety they’ve also sent me a msg asking how I was enjoying the course.  In short, they don’t respond at all.  It’s cost me some money to learn this about Domestika.  Hopefully this post will save someone else some money.

Editor’s note: It took just over two weeks, and half a dozen “we’ll get back to you” notices, but Domestika refunded my money.