Marina, Sequoyah Park

Marina, Sequoyah Park

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It Figures

Hello from wintery Oklahoma! Ice and snow have arrived here but compared to other ice storms I have known this one is not the worst. We still have power and it is starting to melt off today.

Most of the sketches this time have figures in them. I have been going to a couple of life drawing groups in order to sharpen my figure drawing skills and I think I can see some improvement. In any case I have been enjoying it very much and plan to continue going to the groups as much as possible.  While I have been working with the figures I have also been experimenting with different media and tools and a new, old pen purchase has set off a small flurry of pen sketches, like the one at the left.

I am beginning to get the itch for some on location and outdoor sketching  and am planning a sketch crawl with friends at Gilcrease Museum this Saturday and it would be great if the weather would allow some sketching on the grounds for this winter challenged sketcher.

One of the things I like to do when I get new paints or colored pencils is to make charts like the one above to try out all the colors and get an idea of the range before I start using them. The chart above is for Derwent Drawing pencils. They come in a range of 24 with lots of nice subtle shades for drawing animals, figures and even landscapes. After making the chart I tried several sketches to become familiar with them because I planned to use them in the life drawing.

Three faces of Maisy was one of the first with these pencils. This was done in a Stillman and Birn Zeta sketchbook and i even noted some of the color numbers on the sketch.

I also used the Derwent pencils for this sketch of an afternoon tea at Dragonmoon Tea House in Tulsa in the same sketchbook.

I also use the pencils along with a few watercolor pencils for doing some drawings from the model at Tulsa Art Center. These were done on various tones of Stonehenge paper in the handmade sketchbooks I showed a couple of posts ago.

Above is another one done on the same paper with the same materials.

This last one is one of my favorites, I liked the pose and added some brown De Atrementis ink along with the other materials.

I was still doing some ink and watercolor in my regular sketchbooks, this one is in the Stillman and Birn Zeta of the last remaining jelly beans from the holidays.

Anther project I have worked on recently is going through old sketchbooks and making labels that number and date each one. There are many older ones that I didn't find but I did find sketchbooks going back to 1979. It was fun looking through them. I am currently working in several sketchbooks at once but I am creeping up on 40 sketchbooks!

Above is a sketch from the winter of 1983. I can remember sitting at the dining room table making this sketch looking out my back window and have narrowed it down to either right before or right after my youngest son was born.

I would love to find a nice book shelf to display my collection of sketchbooks but I can't figure out where I would put it so for now they are tucked away in a couple of file drawers.

Sometimes instead of reading in bed I sketch in bed. Here are a couple of small sketches done in the Handbook journal that I keep in my purse. I have a little sketching kit I keep with me that has a couple of Pentel Multi 8 pens and these were both done with ball point pen and some colored leads in those pens. The one of Purrlie on a white fur comforter and the other of a flower bouquet I received
for my Birthday.


One of the other little side projects I got involved with recently revolved around finding an old pen on Ebay. This is a Waterman 0512 with a gold tipped flex nib from about 1910. It was missing a clip but looked in good shape so I bought it. I have wanted to know what a really flexible nib would feel like and draw like and this one was reasonable as these kinds of pens go. At first I could not get the ink to flow but with a little help from members on the fountain pen network I was able to clean it properly and get the nib realigned and that is all it took for this lovely old pen to start performing for me.

It felt wonderful when the ink started to flow, just call me the pen whisperer.

Once the ink was flowing I just couldn't put it down and started trying it out with some sketches. Here are three faces of my friend Lynn and some doodle sketching at the bottom also in the Zeta sketchbook which is very pen friendly with its smooth thick paper.

Another drawing above with the new, old pen. This is a view of the Boston Avenue methodist Church in Downtown Tulsa, also in the Zeta.

Here is another drawing with the same pen and sketchbook of a friend holding a very fancy swan teapot.

I also had to try some self portraits or selfies if you prefer. The ink I put in the pen is my own mixed grey from 3 parts De Atrementis Document brown and 2 parts blue.

Once more back at the modeling session at Tulsa Art Center I did the above of Tyrone. I haven't taken my old pen out sketching yet so this is done with a Falcon and brown ink, the colored pencils and watercolor.

I've also been going to a session with models to work from at Whiteside Park and this is the first one from there. This is the same brown ink and watercolor on the Stonehenge paper in my handmade sketchbook.

Above is another sketch from the Whiteside group with the same materials.

This is a sketch from the session last Saturday at Tulsa Art Center. I decided to work larger with ink and watercolor and what I discovered is that the Stonehenge paper I had been using is not so good for large watercolor washes. the paper absorbs the paint so fast that it is difficult to do wet in wet color blending. I ended up using some colored pencil in this one also.

On Sunday I decided to try the same model for another sketch for two reasons. One was that I wanted to try another paper that I might want to use for the model sessions where watercolor is my main interest and the other was that I wanted to have another try at the position of the hands. Above is my ink drawing with a little watercolor pencil. I think the position of the hands and arms are much better in this one and I like the addition of the leaves behind the models face. The paper I used is Fabriano Artistico 140 lb hot press. I like Fabriano paper and had used the cold press before with good results. Another one I want to experiment with is the Fabriano Artistico 140 lb soft press which is in between the very smooth surface of the hot press and the medium textured surface of the cold press before I decide which is going to work better for me. Soft press should still be smooth enough for the pen work with a little more texture for the watercolor but I won't know how it works for me until I try it. For the colored pencils though I really like the Stonehenge and I enjoy working on toned paper so much that I may try using a watercolor wash to tone the Fabriano paper before I start the drawing as another possibility.

Above is the second sketch with the watercolor and some colored pencil added.

Monday was a bad weather day with snow and ice so I spent most of the day drawing and painting. Here is the last sketch for now. Mack, Maisy and Purrlie all cuddled up and staying warm in the living room. All this figure drawing should help me to capture the kind of location sketches of people that I enjoy so much.

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