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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Always Sketching

I belong to a group on Facebook called "In Your Sketchpad."  Then I started a group on Facebook I titled "Thirty Minutes (More or Less) Daily Drawing." There were too many illustrators in the first group who spent a lot of time making their sketchpads into charming, little books, art pieces on their own  useful, no doubt,  as sales material? 

Sketches are quick drawings.  Studies.  Fragments.  Exercises that serve to sharpen the eye, train the hand, get acquainted with the subject, study form, line and values.Sketches are where problems are spotted and solutions found before painting begins.   They are also beautiful, even if  rough and seemingly unsuccessful, for they reveal the artist's hand--the erasures, the corrections, the artist's state of mind. You can't do too much sketching.

Waiting  at Hospital Imaging, graphite, 6" x 4"

Syrian Refugee and His Kitten, graphite, 6" x 4"

Syrian Refugees Too Old To Start Over,  graphite 3" x 5"

The Artist's Eye, graphite, 4" x 6"

The Artist's Eye 2,  graphite, 4" x 6"

Getting Reacquainted With Gloria (Steinem), graphite 4 x 6"

Getting Better  Acquainted with Gloria (Steinem), graphite 4" x 6"

Of the sketches I did this week, The Artist's Eye #1 has a good chance of moving on to the easel.  I like the strength of that head.  I like the piercing eyes and the scowl, the scruffiness of his beard. Apparently when we're not squinting, we are scowling.  I still want to sketch that guy a bit more--not only his expression, but full figure.  His expression spoke to me, but so did his stance.  Another sketch or two will let me know which is more expressive.

There was a lot to be scowling about this last week.  But in spite of that, I did manage to have a milestone day when I walked back into the studio, picked up my brush and went back to work on my ladies Waiting At The Gate.  Evidently, I've relaxed a bit over our recent health problem--not mine, but my honey's.  My knees are back flexible and strong and able to stand at the easel and dance to BB, when I am not out cycling the neighborhood. 

I focused on the foreground in this week's session.  The print skirt and the details on the suitcase is what keeps this area alive, being that the darkest portion of the composition runs through the midground.  Gestural strokes in both areas will dominate.  While scumblng is the tradition with the Venetian Start Method, gestural allows me to soften details and simplify.


  1. It's nice to see all of these sketches together LInda!!! Awesome work as always!!!!!

    1. Thanks Hilda. I like to see them all together too. I can see the success or the failure of them more clearly. Meanwhile your portraits are becoming more and more brilliant. You definitely have the gift of beautiful skin tones.

  2. Brilliant sketches, and I love the depth you have already in 'Waiting at the Gate'. Putting me to shame girl!

    1. NEVER! I'm just inspiring you to pick up something and draw while watching Midsommer Murders and waiting for Roy to remodel your studio. (We also just finished watching a Doc Martin series. Not as good as Midsommer. I was disappointed in how it ended).

  3. It is great to see your sketches (I see most of them on facebook). They are beautiful studies of people!

    1. I know posting drawings or paintings via Blogger is redundant to FB friends,, but Blogger allows for more in depth explanations and an arena for me to see them in one spot all together. Viewed tthis way and in a different format, I can see more clearly what was successful and what wasn't. Right now, I am trying to handle pencils, the way I handle charcoal. The only drawing in this group where I came close was The Artist's Eye #1. It would be lovely if I could achieve the looseness I have with charcoal with graphite while sitting in the comfort of my living room where I don't allow myself to use charcoal and liquefying the graphite would be a bad idea too. Messy mediums are restricted to the studio. Sketching however is,to me what knitting is to others. I do it listening to the TV.

      Here too, comments and replies are a bit more one on one.

  4. Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better, physically and 'mentally.' Hope Ellis is going from strength to strength; been bad time for you both.

    I don't use FB at all anymore: I lost so many friends over me supporting the UK leaving the European Union (I wanted no part of the Union - we don't even share a common language!).

    I love your sketches, as usual, but can see why you prefer 'The Artist's Eye'. I prefer to paint men with dark-skins, beards, and meaningful eyebrows.

    I never draw/paint outside of the studio - same reasons as you - and my studio is highly organized chaos: I run from one project to another as the mood takes me.

    'Waiting at the Gate' is looking busier and taking on a life of its own. A portrait painter I know says that she knows when the portrait is finished when she can talk to the painting and get an answer. I think your ladies would have a lot to tell you soon, if not already!

    There's been more murders in Midsommer than there has been in Syria!! I think your 'Syrian with a kitten' is the best sketch, I love the highlight down the side of his face and the eyes of despair - brilliant work!

  5. Bonjour chère amie,

    J'apprécie chacun de vos merveilleux croquis... J'aime la spontanéité qui règne dans chacun d'eux.

    Gros bisous ��

  6. Beautiful sketches, Linda.! I couldn't agree more - sketching is SO important, probably the most important aspect of art. I had an interesting problem come up with one of my drawing students. She is very keen, and has shown much improvement over the past months. But I came to the realization that there is such a thing as dyslexia in drawing, in perception. I had to find a way to help her overcome the problem - she was becoming very frustrated. She is very fond of drawing from photos, an I knew [in my gut] this was wrong for her. So the last session, we bundled up and headed out to the park to draw trees. We had such a great time, the student's work was light years better, and she was thrilled.

  7. Great sketches , love have you kind of 'catch' people in the middle of something. I should be sketching more.