Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Library Sketches and Musings on Plein Air


I am working on a few of long term projects, one in graphite, one that will be pen and ink with colored pencil and a small watercolor painting. While I am making slow progress on all of them, none of them are quite ready to post to the blog so today you get a few sketches that I made yesterday while on a trip to the Library.

I have mentioned before and shown photographs of either the tress or flowers from the two dogwood trees that are outside of the Library. Above is a quick drawing of one of the pink dogwood blossoms. I actually sat outside on a bench beneath the tree to make this drawing. I added the colored pencil at home.


There weren't a lot of patrons in my line of view while at the library yesterday so instead of a figure drawing you get this drawing of a chair that was across the table from me. I had a go at sketching in the upholstery fabric the chair was covered in. Hmm, not wonderful but it was a fairly quick sketch, so not too bad either, at least it looks like a chair.


This is a quick sketch of the white flowering dogwood tree, drawn from the same bench. I was mainly trying to capture the way the trunks and limbs grow with just a suggestion of the masses of leaves and flowers that crown the tree.

I know drawing and painting plein air is what a lot of artists love to do, but I admit I find it very distracting to be outside. I hate being uncomfortable, and bugs are not my thing. I enjoy walking, but movement usually keeps the bugs at bay while sitting in one spot tends to attract them, well at least to me.

I don't think I spent more than 20 minutes sitting outside and drawing yesterday, which is really not long enough to make a painting. In that time I was distracted mainly by 2 girls (well teenagers) chatting on their phones and just being teenagers and also by others who were just walking by. The two drawings I made are really just quick sketches not real drawings, making an actual painting is going to require both more concentration and being able to spend more time at it.

At least yesterday I was in the shade so wasn't hot, or cold, it was a lovely spring day, but still I didn't feel like sitting long enough to do more detailed drawings. Bother, I do admire those who can draw and paint outside and some part of me would like to do it, until that is I actually get outside, then I am restless and find it hard to focus. I suppose I should just push myself to get out there and draw and paint, maybe I will learn how to focus and ignore distractions like bugs, people and temperture, maybe.


Above is another of my plant drawings, this one I am not quite sure of the species, I think it is actually field pennycress, but the seed pods which would identify it for sure weren't very developed on the stem that I brought home to draw. I have in the past drawn and colored plants outside in their natural habitat and there are some plants/flowers that I wouldn't pick even if I found them, but the above plant is not native to North American and is considered a weed so I have no hesitation in picking it and bringing it home to draw later.

The best way to actually learn a plant is to draw it, so I will be continuing with this series of plant/flower drawings. Done in my sketchbook, graphite first, then pen and ink and then colored pencil.


This I believe is a close up photograph of some blooming broom. Scottish broom is I gather from some quick research mostly a yellow blooming plant that has escaped from the garden in some parts of the US and is considered an invasive pest. These particular bushes are growing in a garden area in what once was a school playground and is now more or less a park. Not having photographed these before I took the time to go into the park and make photographs. They are pretty bushes covered with these pink blooms but I hope these don't spread, we have enough invasive plants here in the northeast we don't need more.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.