Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sketching Elements

Truck sketch
pastel pencil on 7 x 5 Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa
I have wanted to do a larger painting of an old sugar mill on Kaua'i for some time now. In front of the buildings was this great old rusting hulk of a truck. I wanted to include that as my focal point. Unfortunately, it totally intimidated me. I did a colored pencil sketch a while back, but I wasn't happy with the truck. I awoke this morning with renewed ambition and confidence about the truck. Just in case, I decided to do a more detailed sketch before I start on the larger work. I have a few things I need to work on because I couldn't see details in the photo I was working from. I am sure Photoshop will help with that. The most interesting thing is how much fun I had doing this.
Katherine Tyrell posed a question this morning about artistic productivity. She wanted to know what we did to be more productive. For me, it started when I realized that I paint best in the morning when I am fresh. I don't bring all the aches and pains of the day to the easel if I come to it first thing. The problem was, I left for work by 5:00 each morning and I knew that 3:00 A.M. painting wasn't going to work. I finally determined that I could figure out a way to paint at work. I am there fully one and a half hours before my start time, and I decided to put that time to the best use for me as an artist. After working through some strange set-ups where my sets of pastels were open on several nearby surfaces, and my working surface was almost flat, my wonderful husband gave me a Heilman pastel box with easel attachment for my birthday. I love it. I come in each morning and open the box on my desk. I put the easel in, tape the pre-cut paper to the board I have, and begin the sketch. I keep a pile of photos near my desk and go through them the afternoon before to decide what I will paint the next day. If I have time, I will do a value and placement sketch. Since I started painting in the morning last summer, I have done well over 100 paintings/sketches in sizes ranging from 5 x 7 to 9 x 12. I work in an elementary school library and I leave my daily paintings up for the students to see during the day. That has been another inspiration to keep at it. I really enjoy my time in my "studio" in the quiet of the early morning. It isn't long enough, but it is better than waiting until the weekend.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

I'm tempted to ask why you're arriving at work an hour and a half before you need to be there - but will pass! ;)

That sounds like a very neat set-up.