False Start, Fine Finish!

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Original sketch

Original sketch

Red Barn at Renfrew

Red Barn at Renfrew

The Story Behind the Sketch:

It was a pleasantly cool day at Renfrew Park and Museum, Waynesboro, Pa. I sat on a park bench underneath a large locust tree that let go of its tiny dry leaves every time the wind came up.They swirled around me, lending an air of magic. I had decided to do a landscape this time, as a change from my usual studies. I had only packed a some cheap colored pencils and inexpensive tablet, but hey—this was just practice, and a way to relax for a couple of hours outdoors.

The Technical Stuff:

Paper: a thin-papered–but acid free—sketch tablet from Big Lots; Pencils: Crayola, Rose Art, Schoolio, others

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

I started the drawing once, and found it just didn’t have the proportions that made me happy; I wanted the barn smaller, anda little higher on the paper, to get more of a feeling of distance in the scene. I guess I finished it to about the halfway point, with most of the elements at least sketched in,  & brought it home with no intention of completing it. Then my husband saw it & exclaimed, “That’s a nice sketch!” so I gave it a second look. A few days later I darkened and detailed  some areas while on the phone with someone. (This seems to be a good time for me to sketch!). It sat again for a week or so, but then the Paint-out Group unexpectedly ended up at Renfrew again,  and I had the opportunity to finish it on location. I think this added a richness to it that I wouldn’t have achieved in finishing it from a photo. Theres’ just  something about being there…

 


Today’s Excerpt from ‘Pages':

Poem "TheseThings"by Kathleen Renninger51NnGI8iifL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pages+from+a+nature-lover%27s+diary&sprefix=Pages+from+a+natur%2Cstripbooks%2C328

NOTE: 

All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

Wagon Shed, Wind and Water

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Wagonshed in progress

Wagon shed in progress

Wagonshed  Sketch in water-soluble graphite

Wagon shed Sketch in water-soluble graphite

The Story Behind the Sketch:

Artist friends George & Charlie & I were set up out in a field sketching this old combination stable and wagon shed ( & corn crib, I believe) . It was an attractive scene, with interesting large rock formations in the foreground. We had stood up to get ready to go for lunch when a big wind came along & took everything—I mean, everything–the chairs, umbrellas, tables; our supplies were scattered everywhere. It so happened that I had just drawn a dark area in the opening at the left of the building and added water to it to intensify it—a litlle too much water, letting quite a pool in that area. I figured the air would dry it while I was gone, but the wind had other plans. As you can see in the first photo, it simply blew the blackened water down into the lower part of the drawing, letting a streak. )

The Technical Stuff:

Paper: Canson XLMulti-media spiral bound sketchbook. Pencils: Graphitone water-soluble graphite (light, medium and very dark). Brushes: Niji Waterbrushes, flat, and small ( pointed)

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

I used the light grade of Graphitone to sketch in the main shapes, then started toning & adding contrast with the darker grades , spreading, blending, & intensifying with water. While the grass in the foreground was actually one of the lightest values in the scene, this was in incidence where  discretion was the better part of valor. It would have almost required masking fluid to cover that area, especially the stems of plants growing tall against the rocks. Choosing to make this area darker than the rocks seemed prudent, and still made for an effective rendering. I also had to decide to limit the detail on the rocks, or they’d have become  too dark.  The tree foliage was done by “scribbling” & then extending the edges with a damp brush. I  ended up using a kneaded eraser to remove some of the detail from the roof to gain a little more of a sunlit look, & better contrast. I got lucky while stroking vertical lines into the siding on the front of the structure; at one point my pencil was just damp enough to let a very textured stroke or two—which I feel added to the overall effect quite nicely.

As far as that nasty streak left by the wind, it wasnt’ hard to turn it into a plant stem. (When you can’t get rid of your mistakes, camouflage ‘em!)

 


Today’s Excerpt from ‘Pages':

Titmice on Clothesline

Titmice on Clothesline 

51NnGI8iifL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pages+from+a+nature-lover%27s+diary&sprefix=Pages+from+a+natur%2Cstripbooks%2C328

NOTE: 

All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

Gardening Season

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Notes and sketches on this year's garden

Notes and sketches on this year’s garden

The Story Behind the Sketch:

This year my hubby & I planted more veggies & many in containers. Being novice gardeners, we have had some disappointments, as well as  successes—but in any case, it’s been an adventure, watching how the seeds or plants have grown & are forming their fruits. It occurred to me that I really ought to be keeping records, both for the sake of getting better results in the future, and simply for the enjoyment of it. Keeping written lists or charts is okay, but I figured I might as well take the opportunity to do some sketching with it.   
The Technical Stuff:

Paper:Canson XL Multi-Media tablet.  Sketching materials:  prismacolor colored pencils, ( & various other brands), ball point pen, graphite school pencil, Tombow watercolor markers.

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

I had been fascinated with the cucumber vines all along; they have a grace which I had not expected; their flowers and tendrils adding interesting shapes & curves.

I like this paper. It is much nicer than what I think was the former version, Canson XL watercolor paper. It’s a very bright white for one thing. ( So bright, that the white Prismacolors look cream-toned on it!)

I’ll add photos to my journal, and once it’s all assembled, I should have a record of this year’s gardening experience that not only reflects facts and and figures, but the beauty and fascination I found in these growing plants.

 


Today’s Excerpt from ‘Pages from a Nature-Lover’s Diary”:

Rabbit and Squirrel Face Off

Rabbit and Squirrel Face Off

51NnGI8iifL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pages+from+a+nature-lover%27s+diary&sprefix=Pages+from+a+natur%2Cstripbooks%2C328

NOTE: 

All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

A Quick Impression of “Magic”

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Japanese Stone Lantern on Boulder  with Japanese Maple

Japanese Stone Lantern on Boulder with Japanese Maple

The Story Behind the Sketch:

My artists’ group has been painting at the home of friends, Pat & Mary Ellen, who are extraordinarily creative, talented, and “spiritual” in their own unique way. These qualities manifest themselves in the property that surrounds their house; large boulders have been strategically placed to create focus points that  harmonize with the landscape. Serene oriental figures and decorative plantings accent the scenes. At this time of the year, two ponds are graced with Canada geese and goslings, and lined with forget-me nots and other wildflowers. A bamboo “forest”  creates an in interestingly-textured wall along one side. There is an almost “magical” aura about the place—- and a variety of subjects that a person might render—-but on this particular day I chose to do a quick impression of one of the boulder, lantern, and planting, combinations. The sun was creating an interesting contrast on the rock itself, which is what really caught my eye. 
The Technical Stuff:

Paper: Morilla sketch tablet, a fairly smooth paper but with just enough tooth to hold the pencil well. Pencils: Derwent 2 and 3B graphite for most of the sketch, with 8 & 9B used for the darker areas.

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

With the soothing sound of a waterfall in my ears, in combination with the lovely sound of Pat’s flute-playing, doing this drawing was definitely a relaxing experience. I did not hassle myself with trying to add a background of the appropriate tone. Just a sketch of what I was focusing on was all that it was meant to be.


Today’s Excerpt from ‘Pages from a Nature-Lover’s Diary”:

 

Downy Woodpecker and Juvenile

Downy Woodpecker feeding Juvenile

51NnGI8iifL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pages+from+a+nature-lover%27s+diary&sprefix=Pages+from+a+natur%2Cstripbooks%2C328

NOTE: 

All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

Smokehouse in Winter

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Pointed Roof Smokehouse

Pointed Roof Smokehouse

The Story Behind the Sketch:

Now that Spring is here in all its glory, I can look back and remember Winter fondly for all the wonderful “moody” scenes of farm buildings and grounds that it provided. One such is the Smokehouse pictured in this drawing.  At first I was in doubt that it was actually was a smokehouse. Upon asking a few friends who are familiar with farm structures, on e told me that he had seen two identical buildings on a farm; the one that was on higher ground was a smokehouse, the other , in a depression, was a spring house. Since this building sat on somewhat of a hill,  I decided it must be a smokehouse. ( Further confirmation came when I  later saw that it was being used as a shed for a garden tractor.) 
The Technical Stuff:

Paper: Morilla sketch tablet, a fairly smooth paper but with just enough tooth to hold the pencil well. pencils: General’s 3B graphite for most of the sketch, with 8B used for the darker areas. A stump ( paper tortillion) was used to do some blending in areas.

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

At first I thought I’d be smart & try to do the whole thing in 3B pencil, just to show it could be done. I gave in to the temptation to use a softer grade, though when it came time to do the dark tree on the left. I decided from there that the shadowed side of the building and some spots in the grass could also benefit from a using the 8B . I still couldn’t get the tone I was after in spots. though, so I used the stump to blend & give me overall “color” in the grass, and both sides of the building—as well as softening the appearance of the trees and background.


Today’s Excerpt from ‘Pages':

From here on out, I’ll be adding a new feature to my posts, an excerpt from my book, ‘Pages from a Nature-Lover’s Diary’. ( For any of you who are following my other blog, of the same name), please excuse the fact that this material has been covered there as well. )

Indigo Bunting and Goldfinch eating Dandelion seed

Indigo Bunting and Goldfinch eating Dandelion seed 

51NnGI8iifL._AA160_

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pages+from+a+nature-lover%27s+diary&sprefix=Pages+from+a+natur%2Cstripbooks%2C328

NOTE: 

All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

Happy Spring, Everyone!

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Crocus in Oil Pastels

Crocus in Oil Pastels

 

The Story Behind the Sketch:

Our Spring flowers have been exceptionally gorgeous this year; I couldn’t stop taking photos of the breath-taking crocus. One I had taken one that was backlit by the sun & had a bit of a sun-flare in it inspired this drawing/painting. Now, I’ll admit that this is much more than a sketch, but I wanted to share it with all of you anyway. I really can’t decide if it’s a drawing or a painting. I’ve been told that  if the entire surface of the substrate is covered, it’s a painting. Still, when you are holding what amounts to a crayon in your hand and making strokes on the paper, isn’t it a drawing?

The Technical Stuff:

In truth, this is a “hybrid”, as I used water-soluble oils, which were spread with a brush after application, and regular oils which were drawn-on. Canson X-L watercolor paper tablet &  Pro Art Oil Pastels, Portfolio Water-soluble Oil Pastels, were the materials. In addition, a Cray-Pas colorless blender, and white, were used.

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

I almost threw it out at one point. I thought it was a failure about 30 minutes into it. It looked too “rough” ; I had to stand back 18 feet from it for it not to be confusing to the eye, to have it coalesce into the image I wanted. But I decided to trust myself. I’d pulled other works out of the fire in the past, & if I kept plugging at this one, I’d do the same. With some additional blending with a brush and using the Cray-Pas colorless & their white pastels, the image began to take on the look I wanted. (I did have to walk away & leave it a few times though,  sneaking back into the room to view it to see if it looked any different .  Did I think some art fairies would come in & worked on it while I was away?) Over the course of a few days, I had finally finished it & was satisfied. Sometimes, ya just gotta hang in there.

NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2013. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

Let’s “Face” It—–Portrait Sketching

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Armenian Dancer

Armenian Dancer Sevana

model in karate outfit

Wayne Bladen

The Story Behind the Sketch:

I”m priveleged to take part in something called the Wednesday Portrait Group , a group of artists who meet at the Y in Hagerstown Md . We pay a small fee at the beggining of each semester and a few dollars as a “model fee” each time we attend. A very dedicated member, Donna Mason, provides models for us, (and does much more), along with her husband Hal, who handles the finances and details of running the group. There is no teacher; we are simply there to draw/paint. But we all learn by seeing each other’s work, and everyone seems glad to share techniques and offer info on materials. 
The Technical Stuff:

The first sketch of the model Sevana, was done in Charcoal on Beinfang Raritan Drawing paper. The second was done on the same paper, in graphite. Various grades of pencil were used, starting with a 3B for the basic drawing. Pacific Arc Water-soluble graphite pencils were also used for the very dark areas, (dry application).

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

We have about 3 hrs. drawing time, minus breaks for the model. (Which benefit us as well; we need to stop , stretch, & look at our work from a distance every so often). Obviously, I didn’t finish Sevana ( she was holding flowers); I spent most of my time trying to get her lovely face & costume details right. I had better progress with Wayne, as I sketched in the entire figure first before getting too wrapped-up in the facial details. Using the time-tested method of holding up a pencil to gage the size of the head & using that as a unit of measurement for all other body parts, (comparing each), seemed to work pretty well .

They were both interesting models. Sevana educated us on the culture of her native land during breaks. Wayne, http://facebook.com/wayne.artmodel who has modeled for some famous artists, was very good at holding a pose, and I enjoyed talking to him about his occupation.

NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

New Blog, New Book, New Adventure

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Just to let you all know, I have started another blog which will chronicle my adventure in self publishing and marketing my book, Pages From A Nature-Lover’s Diary. You can view it here: http://sketchbook2publishedbook.wordpress.com/

Summer Thoughts

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Daisies in Oil Pastel
Daisies in Oil Pastel

The Story Behind the Sketch:

(Just a quick post here on this snowy day in PA.) I decided to try to lift myself out of the winter blahs by experimenting with the same oil pastels I used in the last post, only this time on black card stock, and choosing a nice summery theme.

 The Technical Stuff:

Stampin’ Up Black Card Stock, Reeves Oil Pastels and Pro-Art Oil Pastels

My Experience in Doing this Sketch: 

I had no idea if these pastels would be opaque enough to work, but they did pretty well. This medium seems to force me to loosen-up & use bright colors—which is kind of fun. ( And it’s okay to do something just for fun once in a while!)

NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2014. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.

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