18 January 2014

Sketch journaling

I don't do too much spontaneous (or even planned) sketching or sketch journaling--I never seem to be sitting in one place (other than my reading chair, in which I am otherwise occupied) long enough to capture something. But this morning I had to take my car to the dealership for its 30,000-mile service, and an hour into the two-hour wait at the greasy spoon across the street, having finished both my breakfast and the book I brought along to pass the time, I pulled out my lovely little sketchbook my friend Anarda gave me for my birthday last year (which I faithfully carry around just in case) and did a little sketch of a stretch of this industrial area of not-quite-Glendale. (I watercolored it after I returned home.) Although my dealership is called "Glendale" Kia, I have my suspicions that it's really Atwater Village or even Los Angeles proper, since it seems too far away from anything recognizably Glendale.

This kind of sketching is good practice in observation. Nothing is ever quite where it should be, and details get compressed or expanded to fill the page, but at least it's a sense of the street. Drawing with a pen always seems to render a rather cartoonish result for me. I should make more opportunities for this kind of practice.

12 January 2014


This one was a long time in coming--I took my trip the first week of October, and I'm just getting to this in January!

This is a window on the 18th century farmhouse at Bandouille, with grape vines framing it (and yes, there were grapes, though not in this picture). There are a few overworked sections, some weird shadows, and a few details I lost that I wish I'd kept, but I'm pretty happy with it. I love painting windows, and stone, and old wood. I am less confident with foliage, especially specific foliage, but this has at least the feel of grape vine. I did a pale wash of Naples yellow (Daniel Smith) cut with gray behind everything, so it gave a nice dull warmth to the "whites."

I focused exclusively on painting this afternoon (instead of splitting my attention between painting and TV), and therefore missed two hours of fashions on the red carpet at the Golden Globes, but I'm glad I did--I at least managed to get the proportions and angles right! (see previous post) This will be a nice reminder of my trip to France.