Friday, August 29, 2008

Polkadot Wednesday


Metro sketching benefiting a bit from the figure drawing class. Look and look and concentrate. In the upper right I am experimenting with diluting pastels with watercolors. I am trying to start a Color Journal but keep getting sidetracked. Soon!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bruised Pear

Old, tired pear with bruise front n' center.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monacacy Encampment

I stopped at Monocacy National Battlefield on the way home from Libertytown yesterday and discovered an 'Encampment' event being held on the grounds of the Gambrill Mill section, which is my favorite part of the battlefield. There was a group of Confederate re-enactors and a group of Yankee re-enactors. The Yankee group did a nice artillery demonstration. There were only six of them, but it wasn't hard to imagine that same sound, but coming from a thousand guns. Pretty scary.

I was sketching this view of the Confederate tents (they had slept in them the night before) when four of them came over to chat. To see what I was doing. And then one of them showed me his sketchbook! He had been working in it for years! It was chock full of delightful pen and ink drawings done with an historically accurate steel nib! (I should have asked him about his ink.)

His drawings recorded encampments and re-enactments that he had participated in. It was meant to be like the sketchbooks Civl War soldiers and their contemporary newspaper illustrators kept during the War. The other three guys looking over my shoulder pointed out buddies and relatives and recognized events they had attended from these drawings. This is testimony to how well the artist had captured likenesses! These were great drawings, very delicate and precise, and I urged him to take very good care of them! He just shrugged.


Anyway, these Confederate fellows were telling me about some of the odd questions that they get from onlookers during these kinds of re-enactments and encampments. I wrote some of the good ones down. These were NOT questions from children either:
-- How come all the battles were fought on National Park Service land?
-- Were all these monuments here during the battle? Is that how the troops knew where to go?
-- (and my favorite) Is that real fire?
-- (and the one I asked yesterday) So, who won?

Later in that same general area I got out my new sketch box and set it up to paint a small view of the edge of a pond and a path leading off into the dark woods. I learned a bit about the logistics of the set up and the limitations of the watercolors. (Gouache or the pastels will be much more fun!) As well as the odds of attracting folks who want to look and chat. I suspect that the sketch box all set up is a magnet. I actually enjoy this chatting part. Especially when they have to come some distance off the 'beaten path' to get close enough to talk. You do meet some nice folks! Which I did yesterday.

On the way home from there I stopped at Homestead Farm, just a bit south of Poolesville. I got the most beautiful peaches and blackberries. There were folks emerging from the orchard area with wheelbarrows full of peaches! Who were they? What on earth do you do with thirty pounds of peaches? Cobbler for a hundred!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer Slump


The Arf Arf Days of summer are in full swing. Note to Tourists: Stopping at the top of a moving escalator on Metro is generally not practical. You could get trampled!

Q: How many days until the beginning of hockey season?
A: 70 days and 1,686 hours.
Addendum: [sigh]

My Figure Drawing Class is going well, despite my sloth. I really enjoy drawing 'from the figure' and may sign up for open figure drawing sessions. Someday.

My experiments with pastels are going very slowly. The noteworthy mess that the whole enterprise makes is daunting. Despite that, I have a plan predicated on my friend Samter Petuel's stellar+inspirational example: a Pear A Day, with these variations:
  • different color schemes (analogous, complimentary, split complimentary, complimentary with the "discord"
  • different lighting effects, different directions
  • different points of view, such as straight on and from above
  • different kinds of strokes - cross-hatched, scribbled circles. layers, layers with intervening fixative
  • different surfaces
  • different colored surfaces
  • different kinds of pastels, hard, soft, pencils
The theory and framework are there. Where is the get-up-and-go? We'll see.