Fall still life painting – under painting

Underpainting of a still life of pumpkins and flowers
Painting a fall still life, acrylics

I started a still life painting in October, laying in the underpainting in two class sessions of three hours each. The photograph on the easel helps me remember what the flowers looked like when fresh. The blue tape sets the boundaries of my field of vision and keeps my gaze consistent over the weeks. There is a spotlight to the right of the gourds which casts dramatic lighting and shadows.

Fall still life underpainting, acrylics
Fall still life, underpainting, acrylics

Pandemic Sketchbook: thumbnail sketches

During the first three months of staying at home, I drew in my sketchbook almost daily, but then I slowed down. To break through the ‘artist’s block,’ I recently made some thumbnail sketches of what’s blooming now in my garden. The small format is very easy and liberating and got me back to the drawing board.

Sketches of flowers
What’s blooming now, thumbnail pencil sketches
Small sketches of a small blue flower
The Blue Flowering Weed, thumbnail sketches

Pandemic Sketchbook: Zinnias, collage

Collage of zinnias
Zinnias, multimedia

Zinnias on my deck, collage and oil pastels.
Underneath the layers of glue and hand painted paper is the television schedule from the newspaper. That little bit of a Pandemic Past-time reference got covered up. Whoops. Can you find the paper towels I use to blot my watercolor brushes? Or the glossy advertisements for patio and landscaping companies? ‘Safer at home in the suburbs’ – maybe that should be the title. Try collage as a ‘way in’ to your artistic subconscious.

Pandemic July 4th: what’s blooming now?

Fireworks aren’t blooming in the skies of the USA’s small towns this July 4th, but wild raspberries, wild garlic, and Bee Balm are making a natural red, white and blue sky display. You will have to imagine the colors. In this nature journal drawing, I used a black pen and ink wash.

Ink drawing of raspberries, Bee Balm and wild garlic
Bee Balm, Garlic and Thistle, pen and ink

Pandemic Sketchbook: botanicals in color

Four drawings of plants
Four Botanicals, watercolor

Four color sketches of what was blooming in May and June during our strict Stay at Home phase in the New York City metropolitan area. I bring back leaves and blooms from my daily walks, or from my garden, to draw in my studio. These were sketched in pencil, then watercolor or watercolor pencil added next, and sometimes they were inked as the last step. I love seeing video demonstrations of nature journalists sketching outside with their portable camp stools and tiny sketching kits, but the comfort of my small indoor studio is so tempting. Now that the sticky, hot northeastern USA summer is here, my air conditioner is also very tempting. Maybe plain air painting is in my future, but not the near future, I suspect.