Posts Tagged ‘urban sketching’

DRAWING AUGUST: One sketch a day…#DrawingAugust

August 4, 2015

Illustrator Katie Kath Boyd is challenging everyone to participate in DRAWING AUGUST. Do a drawing everyday for the month of AUGUST.

So, I am game and willing to play. Daily drawing practice is remarkably useful! Like calisthenics for your mind! This is a TWITTER activity ( #DrawingAugust ) and since I do not TWEET but SQUAWK…my results will be posted here. Catch up with Katie’s work for the month here.

Most of my sketches will probably be from life, capturing whatever seems interesting at about 8:30 each evening.

Cherry tomato harvest. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Viarco watersoluble graphite

Cherry tomato harvest. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Viarco watersoluble graphite

Dome under construction. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Viarco watersoluble graphite.

Dome under construction. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. All Rights Reserved. Viarco watersoluble graphite.

EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN through the known

July 2, 2015
Dad and Me. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERED. Do not reproduce, or PIN ON PINTEREST. CARAN D' ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 crayons on CANSON MI- TIENTES paper.

Dad and Me. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not reproduce, or PIN ON PINTEREST. CARAN D’ ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 crayons on CANSON MI- TIENTES paper.

There are things known
and there are things unknown,
and in between are the doors of perception.
ALDOUS HUXLEY
Presently engaged in a positive struggle with the medium.
This was a phrase a teacher wrote in my evaluation as an early art student.
Maddening and puzzling at the time,the comment confused me. Consulting a MAGIC EIGHT BALL would have been more useful. Or perhaps a basket of fortune cookies would have been more satisfying. At any rate, I probably responded with a snotty THANKS KRESKIN and moved on…continuing to positively struggle with the medium with no appreciation of what that actually meant.
Later years proved the brutal honesty of this assessment: experimentation IS a positive struggle with a medium. The only way we learn ANYTHING is through playful experimentation.
It is way too hot to sketch on location the past week, but I wanted to learn how to manipulate CARAN D’ACHE NEOCOLOR 2 PASTELS to get some specific effects. Selfies are a good way to manage a new medium. If results are heinous, adding a mustache and a gnome hat are viable options at the end of a session! Antlers are even better.
Pastel is like poetry: it is a short ride to SUPERBAD. Pastel needs to have a sense of immediacy,variation in mark-making, a measure of authenticity, and lack of artifice. One needs to know when to stop. Knowing when to stop is the hardest thing to learn and almost impossible to teach. We need to find the borderland between done and overdone on our own.
Refraining is the most potent meditation.

PAINTING WITH CRAYONS: Caran D’ Ache NEOCOLOR 2 + Stillman & Birn Zeta

June 19, 2015
BETTER PART OF SHADOW. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT REPRODUCE or Pin on Pinterest.

BETTER PART OF SHADOW. copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT REPRODUCE or Pin on Pinterest.

Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic,
so what you see is not what you see.

PHILIP GUSTON
I really want to paint. In oil. In pastel.
But, it is sensible for me to avoid solvents and toxicity issues for health reasons and because there is not a dedicated ” work sink”. EXCUSES EXCUSES…CRY ME A RIVER….
So I have been muttering about exploring casein but slow to pull the pin on that grenade, when there are plenty of art supplies in studio. * {I still have a set of egg tempera in a drawer because at some point I realized I would have a better time dropping beans in a bottle with my nose rather than pick away stroke by stroke like a monk in the Middle Ages}.
Can I reinvent my process with existing materials, to get a painterly experience without fumes, pigment dust, or cruddy brushes? MAYBE. Let’s not give in to a failure of imagination before July.
The pastel yearning can be answered with Caran D’Ache NEOCOLOR 2 watersoluble wax pastels.
The painterly yearning can be addressed by starting with a toned ground which will allow me to manipulate surface paint into smudges and smears. I used Daniel Smith’s watercolor ground with a touch of M. Graham gouache for tint, based on a recommendation from my friend Janis ( a superior watercolorist and pigment poobah of the highest order ).
The need for a versatile surface can be answered by STILLMAN + BIRN’S ZETA mixed media paper.
Working alternately wet and dry with these crayons has opened up some new possibilities in life drawing sessions.  Just beginning to apply some ‘know- how’ to interpreting some other ideas to this method.
Just might be a painter’s summer yet!

TRAVEL LIGHT

February 8, 2015
OUR TOWN CINEMA, DAVIDSON NC. Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will  be in copyright violation.

OUR TOWN CINEMA, DAVIDSON NC. Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation.

I decided to travel light at the end of 2014, using a very small sketchbook that could fit in my coat pocket. Most of these sketches use a fountain pen and a few markers.

BRICKHOUSE TAVERN, DAVIDSON, NC. Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will  be in copyright violation

BRICKHOUSE TAVERN, DAVIDSON, NC. Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation

The journal is 4.25″ x 6.25″ in dimension. The reduction in size helped me to loosen up and simplify the drawings.

PANERA: CONCORD, NC.  Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation

PANERA: CONCORD, NC. Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation.

Rapid sketching is valuable because it reinforces the importance of gesture, and lets you eat your meal while it is still hot!

TOAST: DAVIDSON, NC  Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation

TOAST: DAVIDSON, NC Copyright 2015 ELLEN WARD, All Rights Reserved. Do not Pin on Pinterest: you will be in copyright violation

CHARLOTTE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: URBAN SKETCHING

October 24, 2014
THE ORCHESTRA. copyright 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THE ORCHESTRA. copyright 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

CSO: BACHTOBERFEST PRACTICE. copyright 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

CSO: BACHTOBERFEST PRACTICE. copyright 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Urban Sketching: Listening to Mr. Turner

July 18, 2014

If I could find anything blacker than black, I’d use it.
J.M.W.TURNER

BAR- B- Que Truck @HERBFEST, KANNAPOLIS NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

BAR- B- Que Truck @HERBFEST, KANNAPOLIS NC. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.