Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sketchbook Brigade - Urban Sketchers Tucson

Agua Caliente Park sketch-out
At our latest meeting of the Sketchbook Brigade (a sketcher's group here in Tucson) I suggested to our leader Robin that we add on to our group name Urban Sketchers Tucson, and she agreed!  There is a global organization called Urban Sketchers, and numerous satellite organizations for local groups of urban sketchers.  The global Urban Sketchers is pretty cool, with their motto, "See the world drawing at a time", and they even have a manifesto which outlines their definition of "urban sketching" (which is basically a sketch of a location--it doesn't have to be in a city--done on location).  This falls right into a major component of Sketchbook Brigade activities!

Our most recent sketch-out was last Sunday at Agua Caliente Park on the far north-east side of Tucson.  It was my first time there and I was amazed at what must be hundreds of mature palm trees.

Another recent sketch-out was at the Sweetwater Wetlands where we tagged-along on a meeting of the Tucson Plein Air Painters Society.  As you can imagine, living in the desert tends to draw us to the few wetland areas in Tucson to sketch the novelty of it.

Sweetwater Wetlands sketch-out

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sketching everyday but slacking in the posting!

Though I do indeed spend many hours a day on art, sketching every day, trying to learn, refining my tools and process, enjoying what other artists post, I've been a slacker in posting!

Well, to start, here is a page from one of my sketchbooks I did today.  I walked outside to a saguaro in our neighborhood that always catches my attention every time we drive by it.  It's got so much character and is not the standard shape for a saguaro.  I've been meaning to sketch it, and this morning I finally did.  I intended it to be a regular plein air sketch, but after I finished drawing the saguaro I didn't want to "ruin" it by drawing the other stuff around it (a mesquite tree devoid of leaves, the roof of a house).  So I wrote my thoughts about the cactus, and the word "resiliency" came to me.  Then I added a border and Q. Burnt Scarlet to fill the frame.  For a finishing touch, I re-drew the border with a fountain pen containing Private Reserve Velvet Black ink (a water-soluble ink), and touched around the border with a damp flat brush to allow the ink to spread.

I have been trying to draw from life more.  It's so tempting to sit comfortably at my desk and sketch from photographs, but people say it's better to draw from life, so that is what I'm trying to do.  Even if it's a vacuum cleaner!

So I've been watching Brenda Swenson's DVD Sketching Techniques With Watercolor, and I am just soaking it up!  Her work is amazing, both her fine art pieces and especially her sketches.  I have to admit that even though I know that tools don't make the artist, I recently ordered some of the tools that Brenda uses.  I ordered that palette she likes, the Heritage (aka Mijello) 18-well sealable palette.  And since I have to fill that palette  with fresh paint, and many of my favorite paint tubes are low or out, I had to order several new tubes of paint (but first I had to decide what paints will make the final 18 for the palette).  Then I noticed the brushes she uses, the Loew-Cornell 7020 Ultra Rounds, so I had to get a set (sizes 14, 10, 6) of those.  Besides, my two rounds are kind of old and can be moved into my plein air kit.  And that flat she uses, the daVinci 5080 20mm, that looks interesting.  I've not used flats hardly at all, but maybe I should.  My only 3/4" flat is 10 years old that I bought from my art teacher at the time.  Maybe the daVinci one is better?