Sunday, August 21, 2016

Views of Portland from my moleskin watercolor notebook

These are some earlier sketches that I did while in Portland.  I really enjoyed my trip there.  There is a wide variety of great food and the public transportation makes it easy to get around town.  I had recently purchased a Moleskin watercolor notebook, that has 60 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 pages and decided to try it out.  The thread bound notebook lays flat which would allow me to create long or tall sketches across facing pages.  I found the 200-gm cold pressed paper absorbed pigment faster than other paper I have used.  Controlling the absorption by lightly wetting the area to be painted helped.  I used a Van Gogh watercolor Pocket Box, using a pallet of: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Red, Madder Lake Deep, Permanent Yellow and Azo Yellow Medium.

On my first night in town I had dinner at the Portland City Grill.  I had some great food and enjoyed a wonderful view of Portland as the sun set.  I did the below sketch while finishing my wine.

As the TriMet whisked me back to the airport, I did the below sketch of sunrise from the North Street Bridge.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Architectural reflections

Cities are interesting places to sketch.  There are lots of people, colors and lights constantly moving, day and night.  All this is set against a backdrop of oversized buildings sporting a myriad of shapes, designs and architectural types.

Neoclassical architecture style was popular in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, and is the dominant style of the federal buildings in DC.  However, there are examples of many other architectural styles in the layers of buildings. Egyptian Revival, Victorian Romanesque, Gothic, Neo gothic, Empire, Beaux Art, Craftsman, Contemporary, Modernist, Functionalist and Organic are just a few of the styles.

No matter the style, recently built buildings all boast expansive areas of reflective glass.  As an artist, I am drawn to the play of light and reflections on these buildings.  They provide unique images of life captured in glass, steel, stone and brick.

To the left is the sketch I made of a building's reflection as night began to fall and the final rays from the sun lit cast a yellow glow on it.  Before I could finish, a rapidly moving storm changed the blue sky to gray, whipped the wind up, and pelted my hotel window with rain and hail.

Capturing an image when light is rapidly changing is always a challenge, but this was more difficult than most.  At least I wasn't outside!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sketching at the Georgia Museum of Art

Once a month the Georgia Museum of Art is open in the evening for people who want to sketch.  On these nights there are few people at the museum besides me and the docents.  I take pad of watercolor paper and my watercolor pencils, but no water (liquids are not allowed in the galleries).  The museum has folding seats that can be borrowed for use in the museum.  I can sit and sketch a piece of art without being in anyone else's way; it's my own private art museum sketch crawl.

Not all art museums allow sketching, and sometimes certain exhibits are excluded.  Some allow access to different galleries at different times and others have sketching led by art instructors.

Why sketch or paint something someone else made?  I agree with Laura Murphy Frankstone sketching is cathartic, and sketching is a chance to indulge my interest in art work I personally find interesting.

Sketching can be of whole pieces of art or just sections of art, focusing on the design, use of color, use of negative space, or other elements.  Sometimes I go to practice certain things, but more often it is just for relaxation.  You can learn a lot from the art work of master painters, and seeing the art in person is inspiring.

The Getty Museum has shared some good tips for drawing in a museum.  If you're in New York there is a sketch group that includes outings to museums.  You never know who you might see sketching at the museum.