Since breaking my ankle I haven’t been able to get out on location to do any paintings. So, I’ve been working on the iPad. It’s been a while. I’m having to re-learn techniques. I did the above painting in ArtRage. It was an experiment in using metallic paints and the new Glitter tool.
Below are other paintings I did. In addition to using ArtRage I also used iColorama, Distress FX, and Sketch Club.
This morning I was looking at the sketch I did in the ambulance and began wondering how realistic or accurate a sketch has to be to capture a moment or describe an event.
The lines are shakey. My foot is barely recognizable. Most people would judge it a “bad” sketch. Yet, for me, it takes me there and I remember everything. The EMT who was riding with me was named Patrick. I remember what we talked about during the ride, how long it took, what the route was, that the siren was not on…everything, and I realized that the amount of realism in the sketch was irrelevant. A sketch is a diagram of an experience. There is a crossover to other senses and memory neurons when you draw and it works much like a certain smell or melody does to trigger feelings or memories.
So, today, instead of doing a carefully layed out drawing of my surroundings, I’m doing a quick pen sketch. The proportions are all wrong, the objects look wonky, and the lines look scratchy, but that’s the place and situation all right. There is my bag of pens and pencils, my medications, my sketchbook, my foot in a cast, my crutches, and all the surrounding mess that is our family room and a bit of the kitchen. When I look at it, I know that the lines look that way partially because my wrist and arms hurt so much from using those crutches and I know that the pain in that foot has kept me awake for two nights. That is the magic of sketching. It’s a process of observing through movement of the hand and arm. The extra time and effort it takes makes it much more potent than a photograph. At least for the artist.
I’m starting to get the hang of this sketching stuff. My proportions are getting better and I’ve developed a process I like. I start by framing an area in my journal with blue tape, and then I lay out the scene using an orange erasable highlighter.
The Orchard – Layout
I divided the frame in half both vertically and horizontally and sketched in the major shapes in each quadrant. Then I drew the blackest blacks with a brush pen.
The Orchard – Brush Pen
Finally I added detail with an extra fine nib pen mainly drawing the darks rather than the contours.
The Orchard – Extra Fine Nib Pen
This is a small sketch – 5.5 x 3.5 inches. Here is what it looks like on the journal page.
The Orchard – Journal Page
I then used a hairdryer to heat up the drawing which erases the orange highlighter.
During the month of May I challenged myself to draw every day. I chose as my theme the flowers in our backyard. I’ve been spending the last month and a half writing a journal about the project, which contains a gallery of all my sketches and field notes about my methods, materials, thoughts, and discoveries.
This morning I drove north to the Sebright Gardens for my first visit. Salem’s Artists in Action group was meeting there for one of their Paint the Town outings. So, in addition to checking out the garden I also wanted to meet the group. I talked with Melody and Merren and learned about the group and their activities and meetings. Both were very gracious and welcoming.
Today I’m testing my homemade paint box before I take it out on location. I set it up on the back porch on top of my small Sony tripod. I’m painting with Holbein Acryla Gouache on a 6×6 inch canvas panel.
This is my second try at painting a pair of paintings at the same time. I like it. It goes faster than painting two separate paintings because you save time preparing and mixing the colors. I worked back and forth mixing a color once and applying it twice.
Today I drove Kris up to OHSU in Portland for an eye exam. The view from the 11th floor is spectacular. You can see three bridges spanning the Willamette river with Mt. St. Helens looming in the background. I sat near the window in the lobby to do this sketch.
Practicing more on the kalimba today. I’m trying to play double notes. This is an improvisation. You start a rhythm and then make up variations on the spot as you go. I played this in the den and recorded it using a Blue Snowflake USB mic connected to my new MacBook Air. I used Audacity to record, edit, and save as an MP3 file.