Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sketching on a Sunny Winter Day

Last week I grabbed advantage of the beautiful weather, grabbed my sketchbook, and did some stuff. I started with a few (crappy!) watercolour washes, let them dry, then drew on top. The goal was to get the "feel" of what I was looking at, not so much be precise in representing it accurately.

This first one was done beside the little seasonal trickle of water that skirts our wetland; the melt is causing a lot of runoff, so the trickle was burbling along very merrily. Clockwise from upper left (interpreting my chicken-scratch) are the reflections off the moving water with reeds & grasses at the edges, then the movement of water across a rill, submerged pebbles where I just drew the dark areas kind of around the pebbles (not exactly negative space drawing, but it kind of worked out that way), then finally the reflection of a twig as the water moved the reflection.
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrNext is a stand of alders at the edge of our little pond, with conifers in the background. This is pretty much all about interpreting the negative spaces.
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrOnce again, the weather was beautiful today, but it looks like it's changing, so I wanted to get out and get some more sketches done.

This first one is of the winter aconite (or Acontium) poking up through the leaf litter in a little patch of sunny garden out front. They, together with snowdrops, are probably the earliest little flowers to poke up out of the ground around here, and even then, they're quite late this year because of the heavy snow load we had around Christmas and New Years (there is still snow on our field). Anyway, I did a semi-blind contour drawing with sepia-coloured Pigma pen, then built up the painting. I was trying to keep the glow and delicacy of the flowers, and the loose and messy nature of the leaf litter.
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrNext up was the hazelnut outside our living room window. I parked my stool by the bird feeder and was scolded a few times for interrupting the dinner party, but they continued without a bother nonetheless. I loved the way the flowers of the hazelnut glow in the winter sun, especially against the deep darks of the conifers in the background. Plus, the shadows on the snow were just delicious; I had a lot of fun mixing the colours for them.
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrFinally (and I was getting kind of cold by now, so I didn't spend as much time on this one), the old Gravenstein apple tree, all gnarly, pock-marked and in need of a winter hair-cut (Dave's not been over in time yet to do so). Mostly, I had fun dropping wet colours into wet.
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrNow, I am definitely not comfortable with watercolours, and am not someone to follow when it comes to using this media, but I sure like to use them in the field for sketching, and adding colour.


Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Sarah and Jon said...

Your watercolours look wonderful!

Robyn Sinclair said...

Many aspire to such loose and lovely watercolour sketches.

Thank you for following my blog - I'm now looking forward to following yours. Great printmaking links too, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! What beautiful sketches!!!! NICE, nice job-


Unknown said...

Thanks Jen, Sarah & Jon!

northwoods trekker said...

Hi Amie

very nice sketches and wash application
I am very fond of the fourth image in particular with the shadows cast in the snow. Beautiful, really reminded me of watching movement of the aft. sun

Katka said...

All your sketches are fantastic but I specially like hazelnut. The light you've captured there is beautiful.

Janet Davis said...

These springlike images are bizarre to me, here on the northeast coast of Newfoundland where spring brings northern pack ice, not flowers!

It's lovely to hear another artist sound unsure of her own talents- i always doubt my own ability.

Your sketches have a great sense of freedom and love of your environment. I quite enjoy your writing, as well. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Thank you Brian, Katka & Janet.

I had a wonderful time doing the snow shadows, so I'm pleased that they look right. And yes, the hazelnut is my favourite, too!

Janet - we are very lucky here on the West coast with our early spring flowers. It's a pleasure to take the time to appreciate them through observation for sketching them.

Yes, I am regularly unsure of my abilities, but especially in watercolour! I have been greatly encouraged by the supportive responses to these sketches, so I'll have to keep practicing and try not to get so discouraged by the medium.