Month: November 2018


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Last week I did a sketch at Cabela’s outfitters. My mom was looking at some clothes and I wanted to pass a little time. I chose to sit at the cafe area and work on my one-point perspective skills. I used a pencil to sketch in a few parallel lines and find my eye-level line, then I began sketching in the display racks in front of me, the floor, the pillars and items for sale. At first it wasn’t coming together well and I had to make a couple adjustments in my lines. I inked it in, then began to add washes of light color. After they dried, I passed over it again, deepening values. An employee came by and asked me what I was doing, so I told him “Sketching” and showed him my work. He wanted to know why I was doing this. I described my sketching classes and how I wanted to create another example of perspective to show them, plus I was waiting for my mom. He worked in the archery section and knew all about people waiting for other people while they went to the gun shop, so he seemed satisfied with my answer. Once I got home, I deepened values a little more, went back with my pen to accentuate a few more details and added the splatter paint. I have learned many times as an artist that sometimes you have to push through, even if a painting or drawing looks like a train wreck. Often with a little work, you can save it and get it to a place where you are satisfied. But it’s the pushing through “the ugly time” that is hard, when your instinct is to quit and trash it. I pushed through and got a sketch I am happy with!

Como Conservatory Sketches

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My Thursday sketching class ended last week with a sketch-out at Como Conservatory. I have sketched here several times, often in the Sunken Gardens, so wanted to try something different on this visit. I chose the Tropical Rainforest trail (indoors) and wandered around looking with my students for sketch subjects. I passed the fish, snakes, lizards, and other tropical animals. As I rounded the path, I saw this huge tree (I think it was real but I’m not entirely sure) with foliage growing off of it. I liked the stump at the end with the value changes and the greenery hanging off of it. Luckily a bench was nearby, so I sat down and got to work. Yellow birds flew over my head in the canopy, I hoped they wouldn’t poop on my head! A mouse ran across the path a few feet away and I noticed a mom and boys trying to find it in the bushes. As I checked in with a student who was sketching the “sloth tree” (minus a sloth), I was glad I took a slice of time to be in this warm humid place with lots of birds chirping.

My second sketch was outside in the Japanese Garden. As I stepped out into the chilly cloudy weather, I wondered what I would find. Someone inside had noticed fallen leaves on the pond, so I thought that might be a nice sketch subject. Having seen the garden in the summer with lush green foliage, I was not prepared for the exquisite beauty of the orange and yellow leaves, beautiful rocks, dark water in the pond, and greenish-gray pine needles of some of the trees. As I started down the trail, a garden volunteer with a nametag saw me and began telling me the story of the Japanese garden, the architect, and how it is a sister garden to one in Nagasaki Japan. She pointed out the four lanterns, the rocks with his face in it, and other delightful garden lore. It was fun, but left me with 15 minutes to complete my sketch. I worked quickly in pen and added watercolor after I came home. I love the quite beauty of this sketch… it has quickly become a favorite!