Quick Sketching In The Cold

I started posting my sketches to this blog as a way of maintaining a history of them.  It’s since morphed into a way of sharing with others but that original idea remains, although I long ago stopped posting everything I draw.

And this week has been a cold one.  The beginning of the week had us enjoying -32 to -38C temperatures.  The 58C difference between our inside and outside temps stretched our house heating system to its limits.  But on Wednesday is “warmed up” and we needed milk so I decided to walk to the store to get some.  It was -16C at the time but the walk is only 3-minutes in each direction and so I headed off.

And here’s the crazy part.  That morning I’d seen Alissa Duke’s post of some quickie sketches she’d done of the backs of cars and I couldn’t help but see every rear-end of a car as a target.  It was nuts but I drew several really quick, really frozen sketches.  By the time I got to the store I was frozen, though each sketch took less than 30s.

The funny thing is that you can actually see the shivering shakes in some of the lines.

But since pursuing the oil colors, purposely putting my pens down, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed pen sketching.  When I got home and warmed up I drew this guy from a reference photos used by a YouTuber to do a very detailed charcoal drawing.  Let’s just say mine was less detailed.  Then again, mine only took a few minutes (grin).

It was fun to lay down some ink again.  We’re back to really cold and a blizzard is swirling outside.  What kind of stupid people choose to live in a place like this?


More Watercolor With Oils

I continue to experiment with recreating watercolors I have done in oils.  I’m interested in this for a couple reasons.  First, I’m not just learning how to oil paint; I’m learning how to drive a brush, color mixing, and how to shape objects with paint rather than ink.  Thus, I see watercolor <-> oils to be a two-way educational process for me.  So far I’m learning a lot if learning is measured by the number of mistakes I’m making.

Here’s one of them.  I took yellow paint, created two tones (one too brown I think) and quickly drew three bananas.  This took me about five minutes and it shows.  I messed up the dimensions of the middle banana and didn’t render any of them very well.  But, as I said, it only took me five minutes to make these mistakes (grin).

At one point I also decided replicate a sketch I’d done on a park bench during pre-pandemic times using pen/ink/watercolor.  Here is is, done in oils.  I don’t find it bad but it smacks too much of the original pen and ink sketch.  I didn’t notice this until I was done.  Some habits die hard.

Field Sketching vs Oil Painting

The title of this post is probably a misnomer, but I can’t think of a better one.  Truth is, I’m comparing what I’ve done as a field sketcher to what I’ve tried to do as a neophyte oil painter.  Sort of apples and oranges but the apple and orange were both done by me and they’re both apples.  Does that make sense (grin)?

Ok…it was September of 2020 and a lull in COVID lockdown was in the air.  We went apple picking at an orchard on the south side of the St. Lawrence.  Everyone was enjoying being outdoors, climbing picking ladders and filling bags with apples.  I relied on my family for the picking while I wandered around looking for just the right view of apples and a mix of leaves.  I’m sure people thought I was nuts as I walked around and around trees, moving from one to another without picking a single apple.  But I found the spot.  So I sat down on my tripod stool and drew this with my fountain pen (S&B Beta sketchbook).

When I got home I added watercolor.

Fast-forward to 2022… and we’re in lockdown (again) because of Omicron.  I wondered what would happen if I tried to replicate one of my sketches with my very limited oil painting skills.  So, I applied a couple light coats of gesso to an S&B Beta sketchbook and went to work, using pencil to draw the closest replica I could from the original watercolor.

I’ve got to say that my limited abilities reared their head when it came to replicating the original.  Also, my pen and wash style relies so heavily on the pen lines to convey their msg that I struggled more than a little bit without them.  Still, the result kinda sorta looks like the original, though the watercolor apples look better to me.

This was an interesting experiment.  Painting in a sketchbook with oils works pretty well except you can’t close the sketchbook for a couple days.  This might slow me down as a street sketcher (grin).



Painting Oranges In Oils

I’m still plodding along, trying to figure out oil painting while also learning lots of stuff about color mixing, and the nuances of foresaking my pen and ink style.  I’d like to think I’m getting a bit better at it but there is more failure in my results than successes.  Reminds me of 2012 and my beginnings as a sketcher.  We learn from our failures so I must be learning a lot (grin).  Here’s my latest, a pot of oranges.

It’s 2022 and our province is mostly locked down as Omicron ravages our population.  We’re lucky in that Quebecers have largely embraced vaccination but still, COVID hangs over us like a wet blanket.  If the biology is sound, however, it looks like we may actually have a decent summer of sketching.  I sure hope so.  Cheers, everyone.

Christmas Movie Sketching

My daughter has been home for the holidays and so we’ve been playing games, goofing around, and we’ve watched an endless (to me) stream of Christmas movies.  I heard on the news that they released 146 new Christmas movies this year, as though there weren’t already enough of them.  Most are little more than a rationale to fill the screen with Christmas tree decorations while providing a place for romance novelists to ply their craft.

My wife and daughter control the remote during the holidays, so in the name of family unity I watched a lot of Christmas movies.  Eventually, though, I tired of expending energy trying to stay awake and I got out pointy devices and a 4×6 sketchbook and spent time doodling.

Most of the results were incomplete, poor drawings because I was just drawing stuff that flashed by in the movies. I’ll spare you all of those.  But sometimes I’d see something, try to draw it, it would disappear, and I’d continue to some point of semi-completion.  Here’s one spawned by a guy walking with a big rain hat.

Other times I’d draw some object in the room, like this coffee cup.  I’ve come to realize that our living room is really boring.

I grabbed some oranges that I am doing as an oil painting and drew them rather too quickly with pencil.

And then there were times when I’d just draw from my imagination.  I’m never quite sure how to use this word, imagination, as I’ve seen a hundred photos of steam locomotives coming out of a tunnel but I use the word here to suggest that I had no model before me, photographic or otherwise.  These little doodles kept me awake so I consider all of them, even the ones I don’t share with you here, a big success.

Yesterday we got a just below freezing day with no wind and I went for a walk.  I’d just come out of our indoor farmers market (selling xmas stuff right now) and I was removing my mask, which is required indoors in Quebec.  A woman came out, stopped in front of me and, I think started putting on her gloves.  I’m a fast-draw artist and so my 4×6 book and pen were in hand before I even thought about it and I dashed this off in the time it took her to put on her gloves and walk away.  It felt good to draw a person.  I haven’t done it in…eeek….years.  Will this COVID thingie ever end?