Usually, I sketch during daylight hours and stop when it gets dark. However, there are also great scenes at night. This was my first attempt at a night sketch. I found it challenging to capture the intensity of the darkness in the valley, the contrasting bright streetlights, and the subtle colors of the surrounding residences with my watercolor set. Although the watercolors allowed me to meld scenes and colors together to create a somewhat abstract atmosphere, I would like to try a different medium too – perhaps pastels – to express a different quality of these nighttime scenes. A series of night sketches using different media would be interesting. How would a different medium communicate the mood or subjects in the same scene?
Winter solstice was last Sunday. The temperatures have dropped into the high 70’s during the day and high 60’s at night, and strong winds and rains are hitting us; it is winter.
Harald and I tried to sketch through the torrential downpours in Manoa yesterday from a sheltered spot. We had a nice vantage point from which we could see (or not see) the valley and downtown Honolulu. At times, the rain was so heavy it would almost have been more accurate to leave the page blank.
Harald: Being stubborn, I stuck to pen, although this might not be the best choice if the task is to capture a scene that is barely visible through layers of mist, clouds, and rain. I tried to convey the limited and variable depth of the view by adding detail and value solely to foreground objects, while trying to only hint at the expanse of houses along the bottom of the valley and the hills in the distance. I think it worked partly, but I am again unhappy with my inability to reduce a scene to the utterly essential. Not that this was crucial, but it is something I would like to be able to do. Resolution: sketch more!
Sebastian: I started off with a geometric pen sketch, using different crosshatching techniques and line consistencies, hoping it would impart depth and a feel for the weather. After recently trying crosshatching with watercolor pencils, I wanted to continue exploring the same technique with a traditional medium – pen. However, I found that watercolor depicted this windy and rainy scene best.
The three of us – AJ, Harald, and Sebastian – went out for a short sketch on Wednesday afternoon. We geared up and headed out to find a neat spot in Manoa Valley. We did not have to walk far before one of us pointed out a house, view, tree, or – even – bush of interest.
AJ: I chose to sketch the curbside area of a residential property that presented many different shapes to draw as well as a mixture of natural and man-made elements. In addition to the challenge of making the objects recognizable, e.g., the trash bags, I tried to preserve the lighting as accurately as my skills would allow. We were out on a windy afternoon so oftentimes the shadows would change quite dramatically.
Harald: I made a point of not looking for a particular scene. After all, rewarding sights to sketch are literally everywhere! So I took up position on a curbside bench and sketched what lay straight ahead: a hedge and bits of palm trees projected onto the outline of the mountains on the other side of the valley. Being frustrated by my recent attempts at using watercolor pencils, I kept it basic: 2B pencil. I managed to still be under-equipped though because I had not brought a sharpener. The depth of the scene, light and shadow, and the complexity and detail of the vegetation proved hard to capture. I think I shall try a different approach next time: less naturalistic and more abstract, perhaps even geometric?
Sebastian: I set up on a curb and started sketching an enormous tree arcing over the street. It provided an interesting pairing of shadows and lights – a challenge. My sketch did not capture the depth and contrasting values of the scene the way I wanted, so I am interested in returning to this spot to experiment with different media.
Our chapter had its second event on Saturday afternoon at Iolani Palace. Although the night before and morning of the event were rainy, the weather was beautiful for our outing. It was great to see returning and new sketchers.
We had planned to do a sketch crawl to capture several historic and architecturally interesting buildings in the surrounding area of downtown, however Iolani Palace proved to be enough of a challenge and captured our full attention for the afternoon.
After sketching we shared ideas on how to use and make portable watercolor sets. Anita showed us her clever use of an empty gum dispenser inside an Altoids tin to create a very portable setup.
I am currently experimenting with many different media and am never sure what I want to use on any particular occasion. This is a sketch of most of the art supplies I bring when I go out sketching. I have a watercolor set in addition to watercolor pencils (which I’m still figuring out how to use), four different pens (a red, blue, and black needle-point pen and one brush-like ink pen), a small set of oil pastels (which I have recently discovered to be good fun – as are crayons), vine and stick charcoal, a set of graphite pencils, and at least one sketchbook (preferably one for dry and another for wet media). A goal of mine at the moment is to challenge myself more with charcoal and graphite, which are media that I do not use often.
These are a few of my recent sketches focusing largely on plant life in my neighborhood and the outdoors, which, due to changing weather conditions received interesting raindrop splatter marks.
It has been rainy and windy the last few days, but I slipped in a sketch last Sunday at 17:00 as the sun set. Looking at the pair of shoes I sketched, I should probably consider having a warm-up period.
Afterwards, I did a sketch of the sunset. I liked the stark contrast between the bright orange sky and the dark green leaves of the tree in the foreground. Rain clouds were sneaking up behind me so I had to finish the sketch indoors.
Here are a few of my sketches from January to March of this year. In many, I tried sketching a different subject (e.g., cars, birds) or using a different medium (e.g., quills, ink brush pens) or technique.