Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17

Frustrated with watercolor, I decided to keep this one pen only. And anyway, it is drawn from an old black and white snapshot from the '40s or '50s... it almost doesn't seem right to add color that's not in the reference photo.

I loved going to Gramma's house as a kid. She seemed to have endless collections of extraordinarily fascinating stuff: globe pencil sharpeners, boxes and boxes of sparkly costume jewelry, a real working organ, a giant barn full of old things. All of which I was allowed to play with.

May 16

Our new shed looks so lonely without any shrubs or trees around it.

May 15

Our new elm trees; "baby trees" as our older daughter calls them as she's giving them hugs and telling them "it's okay, don't cry!".

May 14

I confess, I was so tired the evening of the 14th that I skipped my daily sketch and did two the next day.

This and the next one are drawn from just inside our front door on a very rainy day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 13

The same sketch with an in-progress photo. This painted lady on a hill is in Illinois, believe it or not!

May 12

Better still. I think I'm just pressing too hard with that one pen I've been using.

May 11

A little better. I went back in with a different pen and added some more detail. Still not happy with something, but I can't put my finger on it.

I've tried working from clear digital photos, clear printed photos, blurry digital photos, life (both out the window, as in this sketch, and plein air), and I am not liking much of anything I'm producing.

May 10

I really don't like this one.

May 9

The town in New York state that I'm originally from was founded in the very early 19th century, and it still has many homes in use today that were built prior to the 20th century. Many have original elements intact: original windows, a hitching post out front, initials of the first owners carved into a pane of glass circa 1830.

Here's one example of one of those houses; this one was probably built around the mid 1800s judging by the style. It stands next to a road that used to be a heavily traveled Native American trail, or so the story goes.

I seem to be struggling quite a bit lately to produce a decent sketch.They seem to be getting worse rather than better as my Every Day in May challenge continues... I don't know if it's the fault of working from very blurry Google street view images, or if it's my pen, or the paint, or the artist herself (and her ever-present fatigue).

May 8

More armchair travels.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A bonus

Here are a couple sketches I did of views out the windows on April 29th. You'll see from my scribbles that everyone was incredibly fussy that day. Sketching actually seemed to help... not the children so much, but me for sure.

I started drawing in this sketchbook last fall, then forgot about it when our second daughter was born in November. I was putting away some stuff and found it again, and decided to try using watercolors in it -- it's fantastic!

(Derwent sketchbook, various brands of watercolors, various brands of watercolor pencils. All work beautifully in this book. These in particular are done with watercolors and Faber Castell Pitt pen.)

May 7

I needed a break from green, so I went through my box of old photos from western NY. This is from a walk I took with my dad.

Before the kids, I used to travel back to NY a couple times a year. Not so much now; now we go just for important surprise parties, weddings and funerals. It's surprisingly difficult traveling with two little ones and all their gear -- I had no idea they needed so much stuff!

Anyway there are old, abandoned but still intact train tracks like this one all over town. My dad and the dog often walk along this track in particular: it takes you from the center of town out west of the village through some fields. Very pretty scenery.

May 6

I love spring; it's my favorite season by far: the warmer temperatures, flowers, everything budding and blooming, the soft greens and surprisingly vibrant pinks and purples... even the rainy days are beautiful.

Except rainy days are not so fun when you're two years old and want to go play on your new swingset.

This, as well as many of the spring sketches I'll be doing/have done this month, was drawn from the window of one of the rooms in my house -- which I guess makes it faux plein air, because I'm not actually outside. (With a baby and a toddler, I can't fathom the idea of trying to sketch and keep an eye on them at the same time!)

May 5

A somewhat unsuccessful attempt at portraying an apple blossom. I am out of practice; it's kind of a stiff and lifeless drawing.

See the entire apple tree under the May 6 post!

May 4

View from the top of the tower on my daughter's swingset. I sometimes see a horse trailer parked by one of the barns, but have never seen horses... wonder why?

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 3

This one is pretty terrible. I didn't have enough time to sort out the shadows, so it doesn't look quite right. Plus, the perspective is off.

Next time I think I'll try watercolor first, then pen. Usually I do it the other way around, which results in a drawing that's tight and self conscious.... like this one. Not my best work.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 2

I think I've stumbled upon a theme: landscapes in my tiny Derwent sketchbook of places important to me. Heavy on the armchair travel via Google street views.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 1

I definitely recommend Derwent sketchbooks for watercolor and/or watercolor pencils and pen. They are fantastic: the paper is a bit more thin and smooth than I'm used to, but takes washes quite well, and holds up to minimal scrubbing.

Initially I was skeptical, but I have to say, this has been my favorite sketchbook for this medium of all the different brands I've tried over the years. In fact it's such a nice surface, it's actually fueling my ambition and making me want to fill it with landscapey things of all sorts.

I discovered that the town I grew up in, in western New York state, has recently had many of its roads and streets added to Google's street view. I love seeing all the places I used to know so well -- how many of them changed and how many look exactly the same.

This is the view from right in front of my old house.

It's Faber Castell Pitt pen (S), watercolors (various brands), on Derwent sketchbook. 6" x 4".

Friday, May 1, 2009

Every Day in May

I'm making it public: I am committing to draw every day in May!