Thirty minutes of rain and snowPosted: December 3, 2014
A few weeks ago a friend recommended that I try a field sketching technique from painter Edward Norton Ward. Instead of using sketchbooks, Ward tapes down a number of quarter sheets of watercolour paper onto a support board. When one sketch is finished, he removes the tape and under that he has a new sheet of paper. I was curious about this painter whose work I had never seen so I ordered his book “First Impressions: Sketching Nature in Watercolor”. He paints in a wonderfully loose way and many of the sketches in the book are painted in less than thirty minutes. What??? Less than thirty minutes. Sounds like a challenge if ever there was one. So armed with my taped quarter sheets, and knowing that I had to be at school in less than two hours, I set out on this rainy, slushy and snowy day to find a place to paint. The sketch below is what I managed to do (in my car) in that amount of time. No lines added after, no work done at home, and mostly painted with a 1″ flat brush. It’s a great exercise that forces you to look at the big shapes and also to try to get the values right the first time. And as the name of the book suggests, it really is about capturing that first impression. It’s something I will definitely be trying again.