so what you see is not what you see.
Posts Tagged ‘wrightsville beach nc’
so what you see is not what you see.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gray toned drawings can really conjure a sense of place and light quickly.
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!
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.
JOHNNY MERCER PIER in the morning. © 2014 ELLEN WARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Noodlers ink in a LAMY SAFARI , watercolor wash ( lamp black, davy’s gray ).
Sunscreen, umbrella, hat, water, towels, t-shirt, beach book ( THE BEST UNREQUIRED READING edited by Dave Eggers. I give it 4 stars ).
The list is lengthy if you are on the pasty side and heading for the beach.
When I looked at my fully stocked pencil case, the large fistfull of PITT artist markers & the full palette of watercolors, I realized that the experience of “BEING THERE” should be primary and not the experience of ” DRAGGING THERE” all the bits and bobs one might WANT but does not NEED to describe the moment. The length of that sentence describes the feeling perfectly. TOO MUCH.
Doubt Faber-Castell designed the markers to bake on the sand anyway.
I filled 2 LAMY SAFARI pens with NOODLERS BLACK ink, carried a tiny palette with LAMP BLACK /DAVY’S GRAY, and a single flat brush. A paper cup held water for the limited washes on the beach. Less was definitely more.
One toddler was a sand-eater. He seemed to alternate between throwing gobs into the air and filling his mouth. I yelled to his mother “SAND-EATER” and she replied, ” Yeah. He does that.” Can’t stop the tide. Clearly can’t stop a dedicated sand eater. With at least 4 or 5 other boys under her charge, I guess she would know. No doubt a lot of sand has worked its way through them at one time or another. Probably puts ALL-BRAN to shame.
A tour of the harbor was full of facts about the history of Wilmington, but I was more interested in spotting some of the dolphins and sea turtles seen on the earlier trip. At 3 in the afternoon it was incredibly hot, so I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a fully shaded interior with intense daylight outside. Just a pen was enough to commit the experience to memory.
What I have not drawn, I have never really seen.
Here are some sketches using several monster big bamboo pens and a brush, with the old standard Higgins waterproof ink.
I think a paper that has some tooth and weight really helps, as the bamboo pen does not move like a felt tip or a brush. By really concentrating on mark-making it is easy to begin thinking more abstractly. Soaking the bamboo pen in clean water before drawing also makes the experience much more friendly for sweeping strokes and fluidity.
This summer I am concentrating on expressive rendering, trying to move quickly and let serendipity take the reins.
So I am working big or really tiny, because mid-size lets things get a bit ” too real and controllable”!
Sometimes one needs to consider kicking it old school. Like Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, the first European artist in the New World. He could be considered a visual journalist, a sub-sub-sub-urban sketcher! I am presently reading his story PAINTER IN A SAVAGE LAND by Miles Harvey, and thinking about how he might have worked. Sent along with an exploratory party, he was included to record the first encounters with
Native American tribes and the flora/fauna of what is now Florida. No doubt he used a dip pen and ink at some point to sketch his subjects. There are few tools today which can rival the variety of expressive marks that a dip pen can create. It is one of my favorite sketching tools, because the medium lives in the land right between painting and drawing. For all its possible precisions, the most interesting ink drawings are open and painterly in my estimation. It is perfectly suited to quick sketching, and with a brush can include tonal washes for depth.
My preferred nibs are by Gillot. Higgins Black Magic,FW Black, and Yatsutomo sumi ink are my usual choices. This medium is very inexpensive so if you have not tried working with dip pens, collect a few different types of nibs to begin ( crowquill, mapping, calligraphy). Paper with a degree of tooth is easiest to use, because the bumpy surface slows down the line and gives the artist more control. Fabriano Artistico is a good versatile surface that will also allow you to use watercolor washes as overlays.The AQUABEE SUPER DELUXE sketchbook performs in an outstanding manner with nibs and ink. I will admit I did not like this sketchbook due to the way water color wash tends to float on top of the paper, but it handles ink better than Bristol Board!
WHEN YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO START…
…make some rules and begin. Certainty is no guarantee. Although we often like to believe in certainty and predictability as providing us with “good” results in life…often the opposite is true. When I get bogged down in a ” No Start” frame of mind it is a miserable place to camp. There are a few ways to hack through the situation, and one is simply to do one crucial part of your creative process differently. UNCOMFORTABLY.
Invent some arbitrary rules for the creative process and follow them. Exchanging the usual materials for ones with which you have ABSOLUTELY NO COMFORT is a tactic I use frequently to jumpstart a drawing. For about 6 months, I chose to draw only with 3 brushes using India Ink. One brush was gnarly from age and lack of proper cleaning! It was my best tool! Drawings took place in the sketchbook and on rough paper. Some were drawings from life, like this one in my sketchbook on the beach —some were more abstract and illustrative.
When you purposely invent a situation to challenge your drawing ability at any level, it forces the powers of perception to adapt and change in response. Challenge and growth seem to be linked. Improvisation fosters unexpected results, and a shift in materials is about the easiest way to approach this place of directed spontaneity. Cut paper is an excellent way to draw, eliminating line altogether! It is disorienting at first, until you invent your cut paper language over the course of several drawings.
Starting opens the door to improvement!
6 am at Starbucks waiting for the runners to come in from the Quintiles marathon, Wrightsville Beach, NC. Foggy, dark, and rainy — I staked out a puffy orange chair and took a stab at the breakfast sandwich. MOLTEN LAVA HOT. The bacon slipped loose and did a searing chin slap. NICE and SUPER LADYLIKE. That is my way. Not so sure of my ability to draw folks so close in proximity w/o feeling intrusive—so my urban sketching people skills need some practice. It is a bit weird to eyeball someone ten feet away AND HAVE THEM EYEBALL YOU BACK! The Number 6 Subway rules are in my blood: eye to eye contact is confrontational.
The courtyard was a really great place to relax with lots of runners talking about the race and their plans for the next day. Visited Airlie Gardens that morning and saw a 500 year old oak that could be used as a condo for Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.
Sketching a family at breakfast worked AOK since I was peering from the 4th floor and somewhat anonymous. Several large cats wandered about, uninterested in petting but possibly in it for the sausage! Well, who isn’t?