11 January 2015

More assignments

This week's Sketchbook Skool class is with the charming Koosje Koene. I enjoy listening to her talk and seeing her sketchbooks, but the lessons for the week were rather slight:

1. Pick something simple and draw it with colored pencils;

2. Go outside and paint "on site" in public so you get used to ignoring people while you paint en plein air. 

I actually haven't used colored pencils before, so that one was a good exercise for me. I didn't have any regular colored pencils, but I did have four colors (red, blue, yellow, and green) of watercolor pencils that I haven't gotten around to trying out yet, so I used those instead. Here is a tomato:

Colored pencil is kind of a pain! You have to build and build and build to get the combination of colors and the coverage you want, and I found my result rather unsatisfactory: My tomato looks more like an apple, because the texture of the page gave it that grainy look, whereas a tomato is smooth smooth smooth. I have to admit that I vastly prefer my watercolors--swoosh, swish, and you have some nice even color. But the pencils are good discipline, and when I see what people like young adult author Maggie Stiefvater (who is also a fine artist!) do with them, it inspires me to try a few more.

I have drawn and/or painted outside around other people more than a few times, so this one wasn't so scary for me. It was a bit rainy today in SoCal, so I took myself out to breakfast at the Lakeside Cafe--it's a place I've been meaning to try for years, and since they have a covered patio that looks out over a small manmade lake and the Los Encinos Adobe, I thought it would be the ideal place to sit inside while drawing the outside, and it was.

The adobe is rather unimpressive--honestly, it looks like a refurbished Motel 6, if there were parking places (instead of the charming little lake) in front of the lined-up doors and windows! So after I drew it and finished my coffee, I went across to the other side and drew the Lakeside Cafe from the perspective of the adobe! I didn't like that drawing as much--I had perspective problems--so I only watercolored the one.

I haven't much experience with painting water, so the lake came out messy and not very water-like, especially because I put the water in from memory after I got home. I'd like to go back there sometime when I can really take my time, set up in the park, and do a "real" painting (no ink, and on watercolor paper) to explore painting water on site.

I'm hoping next week's lesson is a little more challenging. But regardless, it's getting me to draw and paint, and that was the point!