Category Archives: Drawing

Limited Palette

On November 14 I attended another online art session sponsored by the National Gallery of Art. The theme was working with a limited color palette and was led by artist Maud Taber-Thomas. The artwork used as our inspiration was from a current exhibit Sargent and Spain.

The National Gallery of Art offers Virtual Studio every 2 weeks or so, and there are multiple sessions on each topic (which are free!) to fit your schedule, and you can attend multiple iterations. Sign up at virtualstudio@nga.gov – just send them an email asking to be put on the list for the newsletter.

Our focus was to copy aspects of several artworks by Sargent. After reviewing tonal gradients we got to work. I did two of the three artworks (the third was of gourds hanging in a lot of leaves and I just could not muster up enthusiasm for it, it seemed cluttered and visually too noisy for me).

I used India ink and acrylic inks.

The first artwork was Venetian Interior. (the link showing the actual work as it appears in the NGA exhibition – you might enjoy taking a look to compare it to what I did).

Here is my version in black and white tones.

The next artwork was Camprodon, Spain. I used the complementary colors of blue and orange (with some black and white).

I’m not a big fan of Sargent, and I really hate copying someone else’s work. I know that it’s a time-honored method of learning art principles, but that’s not where I am these days. However, I decided to put pen to paper and see what emerged. Every bit of drawing practice helps me get better at expressing things the way I want to.

Plus, I did enjoy learning more about Sargent’s body of work and imagining what it must have been like to tour Spain and its environs 130 years ago or so. I reminded myself that all the people he depicted are long dead, and yet here they are, looking out at me as if they would speak. I found that quite moving and a testament to the artist’s vision.

Moral of the story: there is always something to be learned even when your mind is made up not to, so.. lighten up and listen a bit. Art, like life, can surprise you.

At the coffee counter

I drew this scene from a photo I took at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, PA, at the coffee counter. The man on the right was a tall fellow, all right, but the counter is also a bit lower than normal, so he looks quite imposing.

Pens, glue, playing cards

I took some photos at the grocery store and chose this image as one I wanted to draw. I love the variety of items crammed in this small space and I enjoyed capturing their details.

Here is the original photo:

Here is my drawing. Pen and ink, 8″ x 8″. October 2022.

Out for the trash

I saw this beat-up chest of drawers next to the trash can, ready for pick-up, outside a building in Ardmore, PA, a few weeks ago. It was water-soaked at some time and its veneer was peeling. I hate to see a nice piece of furniture brought down to this condition. So I made this drawing of it so it could have one more moment of attention.

Another Array of Tiny Images

Here is another decorated paint brochure from the home improvement store. You may remember other similar works I have done in the past. (Search this blog under the term “brochure” to see more of them.)

What I do is, I take the name of the paint and draw something in the tiny space that illustrates the words.

I favor these white/off-white brochures because the black pen shows up so well. But, you can do this with any color (I have) – just use a contrasting pen color.

Come on, give it a try, it is fun!

Here are the individual pages, closer up.

Sketch the World: 4

Back in the winter I participated in an online workshop with the Plastic Club of Philadelphia in which we visited a site called Window Swap and drew quick sketches from the scenes we chose to view.

(Look here for a full explanation of the site and the process.)

We drew pictures from everyday scenes from all over the world. It was so much fun that the club offered a series of sessions in May 2022 in which we did the same thing – we chose a window scene and drew for only ten minutes, producing several drawings in our individual styles over the course of an hour or so.

I will be showing you some of my results in a few posts.

Here are some pictures from the fourth session. In order, they are scenes from Italy (location undocumented); Alexandria, Virginia, USA; Czech Republic; Montreal, Canada; and Oregon, USA.

The sketchbook I used was about 5″ x 8″. For this group of pictures, I did some cleanup and refining of the compositions later on.

Sketch the World: 3

Back in the winter I participated in an online workshop with the Plastic Club of Philadelphia in which we visited a site called Window Swap and drew quick sketches from the scenes we chose to view.

(Look here for a full explanation of the site and the process.)

We drew pictures from everyday scenes from all over the world. It was so much fun that the club offered a series of sessions in May 2022 in which we did the same thing – we chose a window scene and drew for only ten minutes, producing several drawings in our individual styles over the course of an hour or so.

I will be showing you some of my results in a few posts.

Here are some pictures from the third session. In order, they are scenes from an unknown city (I forgot to write it in the margin of the page); Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Massachusetts, USA. The sketchbook I used was about 5″ x 8″