Like an old horse with an extreme sway back, this old building hangs on... and on...
Old barns and buildings are fun to get into the detail because they are so full of textures and linear shapes. Various pencils, pen and ink, watercolor washes - are some of the the tools of texture to get your fix.
I did this sketch primarily with watercolor pencils. Then I used a very small and pointy watercolor brush sideways (after dabbing the excess water off first) and lightly dragged it across the pencil in one direction, with the grain of the wood. The pointy tip can get into the tiny dark cracks for detail. Later, I went back in with watercolor washes to add more variety of color and contrast.
I drew this free-hand without tracing. Working on my accuracy! (That is, my accuracy of asymmetry!)
For those of you who are not from around here, Bodie is a wild west ghost town in the high desert of California. We drove out there one day last summer, but it was spring there due to the high elevation. We spent the day, had a picnic among the wild blue irises, and took many, many pictures. It was a gorgeous day, wildflowers were everywhere. I would like to do more sketches from our photographs.
A little history:
Waterman (William) S. Bodey discovered gold here in 1859. The town was named after him and misspelled. By 1879 Bodie had a population of 10,000 and was known for wickedness, badmen and the worst climate out of doors. Killings were almost daily events. The firebell (behind the falling buildings here) tolled the ages of the deceased when they were buried.
In 1962 Bodie became a state historic park. If you look in the windows you can see old bottles, furniture and peeling wallpaper. I have heard that it is spookey on a windy, dark day, but it was so beautiful there, I did not see any ghosts!
Just before Christmas I came down with a cold/virus. So I took it easy. I just sat at the kitchen table like a blob and watched the various birds at our garden feeder through binoculars. Then I'd look them up in my Bird Book. It inspired me to do a little watercolor sketch of a Chickadee today. I noticed my hand was a little shakey. That's OK, you can't tell!
The weather has been variable! First snow, then rain, then snow, then rain, then more snow. Yesterday we had a Christmas party at our house for our family. Before they came, I started this sketch while having my morning coffee. Then it was: stuff the turkey, get it in the oven, and prepare for the young families and kids. It was a lot of fun. Two cousins running around the house and going crazy over little gifts in their stockings. Young babies being passed around for everyone to take turns holding. Ten of us gathering around the table for turkey dinner. After they left, we cleaned up, relaxed and unwound, and I had some quiet time to paint the rest of this sketch from memory. It is our backyard tree - one I am very familiar with - an old friend.
Here we are in Truckee, California. I finished this second version of a poinsettia. This was done almost totally with watercolor pencils and then brushing lightly with water. At the end it needed more darker darks, so I added a little Prisma Color pencil work (wax-based pencils).
I was doing a sketch in between making batches of honey roasted almonds for gifts this year, but then it was time to get the Truckee house dressed up for our holiday party for our family and grandchildren! So, here are some pictures of some of the house. It might be our last Christmas there....the house is for sale.
I bought a medium size poinsettia plant for the holidays to brighten the house. It is a good time to sketch them right now. Many of my last sketches have been from still life objects. It is my goal to hone my eye-hand coordination and try to accurately record the relationships of shapes as they are. What is neat about working from objects rather than photos is: if you're not sure about a petal or what is behind it, you can lift it with your pencil and examine it from different angles. You can't do that with a photo.
My sketches are detailed studies in my sketchbook - for practise and for reference for later paintings. Once I am very familiar with a subject I would like to paint it in a looser style or in a single stroke that suggests a petal instead of drawing it.
These are gorgeous little creatures that I've always wanted to draw or paint. Due to their fragile nature in captivity, they are best seen in the wild (off the western and southern coast of Australia) or in public aquariums. I did see one at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, and the Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium. I had to resort to a page from a National Geographic Magazine (I believe the photo was by Greg Rouse) to use as my photographic reference.
These little gems are related to seahorses. The sea dragon grows bony prongs from the spine, ribs and head that trail gauze-thin ribbons resembling seaweed. If they are not moving, they are totally camouflaged by the real seaweed. To move around, they beat transparent fins along their neck and back which gives them the look of drifting seaweed. They can grow to a foot long.
Welcome to my art blog! This is where I share my explorations and learning experiences in pastel, watercolor and oil painting. I have had this blog for about six or more years. I am currently entering many national and regional juried art shows. I have a website and sell my work from there as well. I started a group called Reno Tahoe Plein Air Painters a year ago and it has grown to about 40 active painters! Each year brings new challenges and exciting opportunities. I have made many friends among other art bloggers and enjoy visiting their blogs. I hope you enjoy your visit here, and click on the links to my website and the plein air painters to see more!