Welcome then to the dog days of Summer and an update from the sketchbooks from the past few months. I think I’ve been out a handful of times, with mounting regularity. Notably, the park has gotten much MUCH greener. And so this first pairing is dense and luscious. A silly comment, I know. But I started this project in August last year and for most of the time spent being keenly aware of how it holds onto it’s vegetation. Full bloom had until now escaped me.
This next group is from the beginning of July. My waterpen is starting to act up on me. And so there are material problems evident here. I’m nearly a year into getting my sketching back onboard and in particular working on landscape work which is new in my history. I find myself constantly reminding myself of things, basic lessons etc. The problems of reeducating yourself can be amusing when not infuriating.
So then, this first attempt of a verdant Island catches me focusing mostly on making the reflection with vertical marks. And managing the inks and the bleed. And, oh my god… where did my drawing go? Relax. It’s just a sketch.
This Willow, i’m calling it a willow, is the product of having just gone to the Sargent show in Brooklyn. Sargent’s dappled and daring foregrounds can be a lot of fun. So I took the opportunity to add the undulating foreground and have that contrast with the wilds of the hedgy Willow that sits on the Western shore of the mere. The tree makes more sense if you think of the dense contrast as a tumult of greens wrestling with the breeze. If the waterpen would have allowed, the background would have gone to soft gray but i was carving into the page to make it spit out any water.
Another example from that day shows me reverting to uniball and tombo pens. In the uniball i’m going back to a sketching and loopy greebling. The Kirby circles have become something of a default indicator in this style and i’m not sure i like it. It’s a fallback for me and I’m not sure i buy it. I don’t know… I’m a bit cranky today so maybe that plays into it. But the circles are starting to look more kitsch than authentic. Is any of this any good?
Mid July. I’ve re-upped on the tools. New waterpen with a new set of problems. It’s more like a sponge with a cap than a tool for good. I like the textures and weights in the following but not sure why the rocks have gone awry. Still with Sargent on the mind some. I haven’t conquered plein air sketching in sweltering heat. Even with a paper towel over the page, my sweaty hand burned through the page when working on the image after this next one. Hence the erratic bleeding below.
Some mechanical problems with the new waterpen but i just kind of want to drop the mic on this next drawing. It is AWESOME.
Finally, a jump to a new sketchbook and a view of that pair of trees on the southern shore. This time, I’ve included more folliage from the right. Don’t know why I like this pair of trees so much. For whatever reason, it reminds me Gary and Kathy.
I’ve started going through Carlson’s Landscape Painting book again. This time in earnest. I expect the character of the future works to be elevated on some additional perspective on approaching this topic. I’m going to try to avoid the tricks but keep the education. Some of that is applied to this first piece in the new sketchbook.
And the capper. I went for a final trip to the Sargent exhibition and decided to forge/forage through the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (adjacent) for some sketching. It proved a more daunting task than I’d have guessed on the front end. I found that the heavily manicured spaces were often too done for me. A lot of the creative choices were already made and the landscape didn’t require me at all. After a few hours of combing through the foliage, I rested near the final promenade near the exit and looked up at these tall trees in the waning afternoon light. I love the interplay of the foliage. The positive/negative space in the center was an idea that I cribbed from looking at some Frazetta sketchbooks last week. I like this little drawing a lot. Feels like a painting. Wish i’d been more sensitive with the trunks but I was dehydrated and losing patience with the day at this point. A quick fountain drawing accompanied this, ala Sargent, but it persists in my misery towards architectural rendering in freehand. Perhaps a “next” project.