Today was one of the last days of the 2018-19 winter. So in tonight’s Intro to Watercolor Sketching class, did I celebrate the passing of Winter … or embrace the arrival of Spring?
No, I pulled out a photo of late summer and proceeded to create a demonstration piece. Now before my sketching colleagues tar and feather me, let me assure everyone that we have been working for the past few weeks from real objects, objects that were right there in front of us. This evening, I needed to prep them for a bit of landscape-based sketching homework. So, by having them do a landscape from a photograph in class, I avoided them going out into the breezy, cold, and dark outdoors tonight.
Each of the student picked a rural or urban landscape image photographed during the winter or spring. (I have a trove of old images that I have made over the years while I was out sketching or painting.) But me, not really thinking, I just grabbed a photograph and started my demonstration.
With my photo, I showed them several alternative ways that I might consider cropping it. Next, I demo-ed how they could avoid doing a detailed drawing and instead just lay in a few quick lines to get a sense of where the major shapes would be placed. We then created very quick images with large blocks of colors. Besides my demo, I shared a blog post by Mari French Early Autumn Sketching At Thornham Roadbeds and links to several more of her posts that I thought would inspire their efforts ( Burnham Overy Marsh , Reed Beds and Tidal Mud ). I really like her work and find her approach to sketching to be just wonderful.
After that I let the students develop their images with as little or as much detail … and in any direction as they wished.
As I moved through the class, coaching, encouraging, and occasionally stopping to do mini demos beside the students, I returned every once in a while to my demo piece and took a few minutes to continue developing this watercolor sketch too. This is the way it appeared as the class session concluded; all of preliminary pencil lines still intact.
Here it is. A bit out of place. Late summer’s golden light on mature foliage and a sky thick with milky humidity. Maybe it is wishful thinking?