It was raining quite hard when I left to paint today. I momentarily contemplated staying home and painting in the studio, but the pull of the outdoors, of looking at the clouds, of capturing some of the soft spring colours was too strong. When I looked towards the west, there seemed to be a break in the cloud cover, a slight lightening towards the horizon, so I pointed my car in that direction, hoping to find an open field of some sort, maybe with a structure on it. On a road near Hudson, I found what I was looking for. Painted on Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper, 15″ x 11″.
One of my favourite models at life drawing is Johane because she looks like a model from a Toulouse Lautrec painting. It might be the way she piles her hair on top of her head, or maybe the curve of her nose — I’m not sure — but she’s an excellent model who probably has some dance training, judging by the way she holds herself. I haven’t been to life drawing in four weeks, and that made my painting a little bit rusty. I was happier with my three-minute pencil drawings today.
Next time you go out sketching, try this. Instead of starting with the mindset that you have to come home with a finished piece, think of your outing as a time to experiment. Make some small squares or rectangles (I used the inside of my viewfinder to create the shape) in pencil before you go out. When you get out in the field, use each of the outlines to try something different. You can experiment with colour, value, composition, texture or wetness. There is something very liberating about working in this small size, especially if you use a bigger brush than you think you might need. I used a pencil first but I think that next time I may go straight to brush which I imagine will be even more fun.
Here’s another drawing from my “stuck at the airport” few hours yesterday. This man was not as industrious as I was. He alternated between sleeping and napping. Then he put on his hat and glasses and slept again. Clearly he had been stranded there longer than me. Drawn in a Handbook sketchbook with a mechanical B pencil.
It’s not a great day for air travel. The snow in Denver caused my first flight to be late and that made me miss the next flight, and the new flight was delayed and then cancelled because of mechanical problems. Glad I had a pencil and sketchbook with me!
The view from the Lost Gulch trail in Boulder, Colorado is quite dramatic. Way in the distance you can see the white peaks of the Rocky Mountains, appearing and disappearing in the clouds, and below that a series of hills getting darker and greener below me. I didn’t have much time up there — snowflakes were starting to fall — but I managed to grab a few minutes with brushes and paint to capture the drama.
It’s much too nice in Denver. Bright blue skies, trees leafing out, tulips in bloom, people eating at outdoor cafes and wearing shorts. That means it’s sketching outdoors weather. Except I’ve forgotten the accessories required for that, including bulldog clips for holding pages down in the wind. And a hat. It will take a bit of time to adjust to being outside. But all of that is really unimportant when you have a view of the big Colorado sky above the white-capped mountains. (Excuse the poor iPhone shot please.)