Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Page from my Plein Air Sketchbook


Today’s plein air session is a good example of making the most of a sketchbook page.  The day was overcast and threatening rain at 9am when I arrived on location just south of the courthouse in Waxahachie, TX.  Anticipating a downpour before I could complete a painting on the “good paper”, I decided instead to work in my sketchbook….under the back door hatch of my Expedition.  I paint out of the back of my SUV often using it for protection from sun – or in this case - from rain that was already beginning to fall. It takes some pretty ugly weather to cause me to pack up and call it a day….especially when the day has only begun!

My favorite sketchbook size is 11 x 14 -  it gives me several options; I can use the entire page for one composition, or divide it up into 2, 3 or even 4 “minis”.  In about an hour and a half, I completed the 4” x 9” vertical on the left “Crossing on S. College” and the upper right  3” x 7” horizontal “Viaduct – Crossing on S. Rogers”.  - by this time, the rain was falling pretty hard and it was almost time for lunch, so I packed up & met 2 other artists (painting from their SUV’s as well) for lunch.  Afterward, we all went to Getzendaner Park, for the annual Chautauqua Assembly and set up our easels under the exhibition tent and spent the next couple of hours painting a “portrait” of the Chautauqua auditorium. The lower right 4” x 6” titled “Chautauqua” completed my day’s work in the sketchbook. 

Did you notice that even though I never saw a ray of sunshine today, I used my artist’s license and created a “bright & sunny” day with blue skies & fluffy clouds. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sketchbooking with Watercolor Workshop

LTYLER DEMOast weekend I spent 2 days in Tyler, Texas teaching a group of artists how to utilize a sketchbook in and out of the studio. The workshop took place in the studio of watercolor artist and teacher,  Wincie Caskey.  Wincie’s studio & home is located on a beautiful wooded acreage just outside Tyler, Texas.  In addition to being an accomplished artist, she is also a Master Gardener! Since this workshop included some “on location” lessons, the property surrounding the studio had excellent subject matter; flowers, trees, a garden, flagstone walk to a wonderful “quiet shady place” with a place to sit & just relax. 

Over the 2 day period the artists learned how a sketchbook can be valuable to an artist for notes, and for developing ideas in the studio as well as for recording information while on location. I demonstrated various techniques in watercolor using water soluble graphite pencils and “sharpie” markers.  I showed them how to paint “doodle” trees, and people.  The surface and texture of the paper in a sketchbook will vary greatly between brands, so in the process we also explored some quick brush exercises with various amounts of water in relation to pigment - an important step when using a sketchbook for the first time. 


After lunch, the group gathered up brushes, paint & sketchbooks and moved outside and painted trees, flower pots, bird houses & rocks.  Starting out with a sketchbook and watercolor is a good way to begin painting from life outside the studio.

This was a new experience for the group in that no one had worked “en plein air” prior to this workshop…and I must say that  everyone produced at least one good watercolor sketch that afternoon…a couple of them painted 2 or 3!P1050678 P1050679 P1050675 P1050676


WINNER   Judy won my demo on the 2nd morning!  This demo took only took about an hour to paint….but the lively interaction and questions from the group inserted between brush strokes expanded the demo time to about 2 hours!

I had a great time over in the “Piney Woods” of Tyler and plan to Joellen return soon.  Did I mention that one of the students was my cousin, Joellen? What a joy for me to have her in the class!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fort Worth Stockyards – 2 New Plein Airs

Many times I tend to overlook great painting locations close to home – such has been the case of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards district.  It’s been several years since I last visited that area and it wasn’t to paint – it was to attend a performance at Billy Bob’s.  Yesterday, I met up and spent the day painting with a group of area painters – had a great time re-connecting with a few I hadn’t seen for several months – and managed to complete 2 paintings in spite of the holiday crowd (hundreds of people by mid-morning!)


“Morning on Exchange Avenue” 9 x 12 Watercolor

Ft.Worth Stockyards2STROLLIN' TOWARD EXCHANGE - Ft.Worth Stockyards 

“Strollin’ toward Exchange” 11x14 Watercolor