Broken Ankle Sketch

Broken Ankle Sketch

Broken Ankle Sketch

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.

Ambulance Sketch

Ambulance Sketch

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.

Broken Ankle Photo

Broken Ankle Photo

Jim

The Orchard

The Orchard

The Orchard

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

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

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

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

The Orchard – Journal Page

I then used a hairdryer to heat up the drawing which erases the orange highlighter.

Jim

The Flowers That Bloom in May

The Flowers That Bloom in May Cover

The Flowers That Bloom in May PDF (10.5 MB)

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.

The Flowers That Bloom in May” – PDF (68 pages, 10.5 MB)

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Sebright Gardens Sketch

Sebright Gardens Sketch

Sebright Gardens Sketch

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.

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Founder’s Square

Founder's Square

Founder’s Square

Saturday I drove to the Oregon Garden. Cold and clear. A perfect day to get out for a walk in the garden and catch up on my homework for Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Foundations course. Founder’s Square is a large open structure that’s used sometimes for outdoor weddings. In the summer it’s surrounded by vegetable gardens. Up the hill is the garden resort. I knew ahead of time that I wanted to sketch either the resort or the large structure which is Founder’s Square. I have walked here many times and photographed the location from various vantage points. The view of the resort did not appeal to me. So, I walked around the square to pick the best angle for context. I wanted to show the structure’s placement in relation to the gardens and resort. I was also looking for depth and composition with a photographer’s eye. I picked a spot that had a foreground, middle ground, and background (for depth) and that was out of the way of foot traffic (although there was hardly anyone else around).

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Constructing Volumes

Art Books

Art Books

Week 4 assignment for Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Foundations course. We are learning to construct volumes. In this exercise we first draw a wireframe outline as if we can see through the objects. I used a red Pilot FriXion erasable pen. Then we add black ink, and then watercolor. I erased the red lines with a hairdryer (heat erases the FriXion ink, cold brings them back). These are three of my favorite art books – “Art and Visual Perception” by Rudolf Arnheim, “Van Gogh’s Flowers and Landscapes” by Janice Anderson, and “Varieties of Visual Experience” by Edmund Burke Feldman. I’ve been practicing drawing straight lines. I think it is starting to pay off. My lines are looking less wobbly. It’s hard to get the angles and sizes right. I didn’t get the top book right to start with and that effected everything else. Also, lettering is hard when it’s on a slanting surface. I didn’t know how to do white lettering. I used a white charcoal pencil, but it didn’t show up very well on the light blue book. Also, I need to practice doing background washes. I should start with a juicier mix and work faster.

Jim

People Practice

Eye Doctor Waiting Room

Eye Doctor Waiting Room

Drawing in the eye doctor’s waiting room. The place is crowded today. Lots of interesting faces. Some closer, some further away. Getting better with practice at capturing likeness and pose.

Stillman & Birn Zeta series spiral bound 5.5 x 8 notebook, Kaweco Sport fountain pen with extra fine nib, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink.

I also did one sketch on my iPod Touch just to compare.

iPod Touch People Practice

iPod Touch People Practice

This was done using the ArtRage app. I was fighting the user interface. It’s hard to select colors and change brushes.

Jim