STUDIES: TONAL APPROACHES 2

August 11, 2014
DOORWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW Pens in STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA journal.

DOORWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. DO NOT PIN: YOU WILL BE IN VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT. TOMBOW Pens in STILLMAN AND BIRN ALPHA journal.

I am interested right now in light appearing through rectangles.
Um…That’s about it.

 

STUDIES: LIFE DRAWING CLASS

August 2, 2014
FIGURE STUDY: 10 minutes, FLOWERGIRL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. Pitt markers on toned paper.

FIGURE STUDY: 10 minutes, FLOWERGIRL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. Pitt markers on toned paper.

Trying to make 10 minutes worth an hour.
The other sketches in my regular sketchbook are helping me to see simply. Or more simply, faster.

Knowing where to place a mark and the appropriate quality of that mark is a persistent challenge.

Looking at JOHN SINGER SARGENT’S WATERCOLORS and seeing a whole world of abstract possibility in a recognizable form…

STUDIES: TONAL APPROACHES

July 31, 2014
OUT THE WINDOW: TONAL STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW MARKERS + Stillman and Birn ALPHA JOURNAL

OUT THE WINDOW: TONAL STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. TOMBOW MARKERS + Stillman and Birn ALPHA JOURNAL

Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead
of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won’t know
what it is until I succeed in doing it.

ALBERTO GIACOMETTI
Studies. Studies. Studies.
Things happen when you are DOING THEM, and not just thinking about them.

WORKING THE DARK

July 27, 2014
THE DRINK, watercolor sketch. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

THE DRINK, watercolor sketch. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

The terrible thing about sunlight is it shows the dirt.
BRIGID BERLIN

MUDDY WATERS

July 27, 2014
BACK TO THE WAVE, watercolor sketch. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

BACK TO THE WAVE, watercolor sketch. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

We have deep depth.
YOGI BERRA

When in doubt: sketch.

URBAN SKETCHING: SPLASH PADS

July 27, 2014
SPLASHPAD: Huntersville, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

SPLASHPAD: Huntersville, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

It’s a moment that I’m after, a fleeting moment,
but not a frozen moment.
ANDREW WYETH

Splash Pads are a great place to practice gesture drawing, because the activity is so frenetic there is no time to get fussy about perfect contour drawing. The human drama is also compelling: seeing people engage in a group activity even though most are strangers at first.

SPLASH PAD: Kannapolis City Park, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SPLASH PAD: Kannapolis City Park, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Tentative splashers hang back and observe. Those with brio go berserk roaring like monsters. There is the silent spoiler, who jams the jet with a bucket or foot. The malcontent screams to get wet and then screams to get dry.

July in the South is HOT.

Splash Pad: Kannapolis City Park. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Splash Pad: Kannapolis City Park. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sitting in the shade near a splash pad will guarantee a cooler location for an urban sketcher! You can find one in the local park or in the middle of an upscale shopping mall, just a step away from STARBUCKS.

TRY EVERYTHING: Listen to what you see…

July 24, 2014
FIGURE STUDY: STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON JOURNAL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. LAMY SAFARI pen, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen, NEOCOLOR 2 crayon in gray, Davy's gray watercolor wash

FIGURE STUDY: STILLMAN & BIRN EPSILON JOURNAL. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. LAMY SAFARI pen, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen, NEOCOLOR 2 crayon in gray, Davy’s gray watercolor wash.

I have taught my students not to apply rules
or mechanical ways of seeing.
JOSEPH ALBERS

Back drawing the figure regularly after a hiatus of more than a decade.

Clocked a lot of time in dark studios in the past, mostly in New York: Spring Street Studio ( a.k.a. Minerva’s group ), SVA, PARSONS, ART STUDENTS LEAGUE, … the list goes on and on.

Back then, I was using CONTE CRAYON, pencil, or charcoal. Now I am using ink. If the drawing is not truthful in the first few meaningful strokes, all the erasure in the world probably won’t help. Ink keeps you honest. Ink forces you to be AWAKE: every moment, every stroke.

5-minute study. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

5-minute study. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved.

The best book: JAMES McMULLAN, HIGH FOCUS DRAWING

McMullan also has an OPINIONATER blog about approaches to drawing called LINE BY LINE.

Check him out!

5-MINUTE STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen

5-MINUTE STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN, Noodlers Ink, Pitt artist pen

 

SNIPPET TIPS: TOOLS & APPROACHES ON THE GO

July 22, 2014
BAR STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN

BAR STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN

Brevity is the soul of wit.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Using ten or twenty minutes to draw has really taught me a lot in the last two years. The amount of time it takes to wait for my entrée is often enough to quickly describe the moment. Now I have a greater appreciation of what can be accomplished in small increments. These snippets add up on the page and in positive experiences at the end of a week, month or year. Whether drawing from observation or illustrating an idea, sprints of practice can show progress rather rapidly. IMPORTANT NOTE: In general I wait a bit to let ANY INK dry into the paper, if the paper is sized.

Below are some tools I like to use for snippets. Sometimes I combine all 3 tools in the same sketch.

AFTERNOON LIGHT. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

AFTERNOON LIGHT. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

PENTEL HYBRID TECHNICA GEL PENS
These pens have a roller ball and are water resistant once dry. They come in several point widths. I like them particularly for really fast, scribbled sketches. A ballpoint pen is a really humble tool and is capable of great variety. I like to use pigment ink for longevity, so I prefer to use these pens rather than the kind used in most office supply. The gel ink gives a really smooth line and rarely develops the dreaded BLOB-ITIS I remember from high school. BLOB-ITIS creates greasy wads of ink on the edges of the rollerball, landing unpredictably on a sketch in defiance.

A scribbled sketch generally takes only a few minutes. I try to create a condition of light and emphasize the overall shape of objects or figures.

KANNAPOLIS CITY PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI with Noodlers ink

KANNAPOLIS CITY PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI with Noodlers ink

LAMY SAFARI FOUNTAIN PENS
These fountain pens are great because they are rugged, easy to use, and are relatively inexpensive. The marks have an expressive quality that is difficult to mimic with a technical pen, and the mess of carrying a dip pen is not a factor. I use Noodler’s BULLETPROOF INK for permanence or completely compromise and use a LAMY cartridge. The NOODLER’s ink is waterproof so I often prefer to use it if I want to place wash on top.

KANNAPOLIS STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN with NOODLER's INK

KANNAPOLIS STUDY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. LAMY SAFARI PEN with NOODLER’s INK

A fountain pen sketch really makes me conscious of the types of lines I am creating and reinforces the idea that all drawing is abstract.

DOWNTOWN CONCORD, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. PITT ARTIST PENS & HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

DOWNTOWN CONCORD, NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. PITT ARTIST PENS & HYBRID TECHNICA PEN.

FABER-CASTELL PITT ARTIST PENS
These pens are available in a full complement of gray tones, which are excellent for developing drawings on the go. I usually buy the BIG BRUSH pens because I like to cover a big area fast. The fine-line markers are really nice to render detail. I always have a large black BIG BRUSH pen to fill in large areas rather than crosshatch into madness.

CABARRUS PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PENS WITH WASH

CABARRUS PARK. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. HYBRID TECHNICA PENS WITH PITT ARTIST PENS

Gray toned drawings can really conjure a sense of place and light quickly.

WILMINGTON NC SNIPPET. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. DEAD BRUSH WITH INK.

WILMINGTON NC SNIPPET. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. DEAD BRUSH WITH INK.

THE DEAD BRUSH
When you have a brush that has died you have nothing left to lose: bring a small bottle of ink and work with the dried old crusty hairs. You can throw it away if you choose when you are done!

 

 

WILMINGTON LIGHT

July 18, 2014
detail, WALKING AWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. watercolor on STILLMAN & BIRN DELA paper

detail, WALKING AWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. watercolor on STILLMAN & BIRN DELTA paper

 WALKING AWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. watercolor on STILLMAN & BIRN, DELTA paper

WALKING AWAY. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. watercolor on STILLMAN & BIRN, DELTA paper

 

A little color injection in a summer of B/W sketching.  A view of WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, just under Mercer pier as the sun nears noon.

Urban Sketching: Kannapolis ‘ Brew’ pub

July 18, 2014

I was always a sucker for the theme to CHEERS:

” WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME…”

BREW PUB: KANNAPOLIS , NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Pitt artist pens and Micron pens in a STILLMAN & BIRN ALPHA journal.

BREW PUB: KANNAPOLIS , NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. All rights reserved. Pitt artist pens and Micron pens in a STILLMAN & BIRN ALPHA journal.

A brew pub has been established in town and with good dinner specials it seems that a local crowd is gathering on a regular basis. So it is nice to revisit a setting  that reminds me a  bit of the local pub in my hometown.

Coming from a place that had SERIOUS IRISH, the pub atmosphere was a part of life.

SERIOUS IRISH means that:

• There is a brogue in your immediate family.

• Green beer on ST. PATRICK’S DAY is not a possibility.

• You know what the word ‘egit’ means because you were dubbed so more than once for good cause. The time you dropped your brother down the laundry shoot would be one such time, for example.
• TRIFLE is not a small thing but a gelatinous- love it- or- hate it blob.

• When you landed in really hot water, the entire HOLY FAMILY is invoked by name…ending with JOSEPH. Dad’s are always the last to know.

• Your mother has made her own BAILEY’s, with more strange ingredients than a witch’s brew.

• Irish soda bread is a fiercely guarded recipe, committed to heart and rarely written for posterity.

• Stew is a lifestyle.

• Ham is as important as air.

TR’s ALL AMERICAN is the hometown pub in NY. If I showed up there today I would find classmates from grammar and high school. Stories at the bar chase a person from first grade well into middle-age. Nobody ever forgets anything in these places: the room is dark and the memory is long.
The decor has changed little over time. It reminds me of a  funeral parlor with forest green wallpaper, lots of wood, and TEDDY ROOSEVELT memorabilia. There will be  SERIOUS IRISH there, despite the numerous changes in management and menu.

There is no SERIOUS IRISH here and now in KANNAPOLIS, but I expect by this point I take it as a ‘ TRAVELER’ and bring it along on my own. At least there is a local place than can conjure the ambiance if I squint.

 

 

 

 


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