Saturday, March 15, 2014

What do you see in your blobs?

One of the artists I admire and whose blog I've been following for some time is Karen Blados.  I was first drawn years ago to her precisely-drawn sketchbook pages, but in recent months I've noticed an evolution in her art.  Now I am seeing her be a lot more free with the paint, and it looks wonderful!  One particular post ("Kind of Controlled Chaos") gave me inspiration to try this for myself.  You start with paint blobs on your paper, then you construct a drawing in ink that is perhaps suggested and guided by the paint blobs themselves.  Then you further develop the painting with more paint and ink, all using your imagination as your guide (with a healthy dose of understanding where form shadows should go!).

I started with some paint blobs myself, using Permanent Rose and Opera Rose with touches of violet and yellow:

Though I would have loved to draw in cone flowers like Karen did in her work (I just love cone flowers!), that isn't what I saw in my blobs.  Instead I saw a different kind of flowers suggested by the blobs (I doubt these are real flowers!):

It was difficult for me to do this drawing based only on the blobs, because I am so used to using a live or photo reference.  But once that was done, then came the relatively easy part of deepening the colors and values on the flowers (and adding a leaf), then playing with a spatter for background:

This was freeing to do, though a bit of a stretch for me!  But fun because I could really amp up the color more than I might of if I had been using a real photo reference.  I recommend trying it!  What do you see in your blobs?

Visiting a Different Desert

We are back from a week in the deserts of California--a different, drier set of deserts than the relatively lush desert here in Tucson.  Since the mid-1990's we have occasionally enjoyed watching the professional tennis tournament at Indian Wells, now referred to as the BNP Paribas Open (it has been in previous years referred to as the Newsweek Champions Cup and the Pacific Life Open--it depends on who the sponsor is, I guess!).  So while there we often bookend our time watching tennis with camping and rock climbing at nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

What characterizes Joshua Tree NP the most in my mind are two unique features:  the gritty, fascinating (and fun to climb!) rock formations, and the Joshua trees the park is named after.  There are also palm tree oases in the park, but we don't often make to those areas as we focus mostly on the rock climbing.

Of course, while there I found many interesting sketch subjects!  My husband was very gracious in allowing me ample time to do this, usually in the mornings and evenings when the light is the best (and it's a bit too cold to rock climb!).  In the image at right, I started drawing the grouping of young Joshua trees just before dawn so by the time the sun rose over Ryan Mountain I was ready to paint the sunrise glow.  I then turned myself around to face the rock formation behind our camp, fully lit by the early morning sun.

While at the tennis tournament at Indian Wells I spent most of my time watching tennis, but I did manage to get a few sketches in too.  This year saw the unveiling of the new Stadium 2 facility, and while sitting in the stands one morning I sketched a portion of my view across the way.

Those familiar with the desert know that the nights can be quite chilly, even this close to spring.  I photographed my husband (in his down jacket) enjoying our nightly campfire.