Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sketch Books

Since we are having a bit of a retrospective (10 years together as a painting group - Georgetown Cultural Centre beginning May 17 through June 2) I dug out my old sketch books.

Big Ones, Little Ones, Scraps of 'em

During the last several years I have adopted the habit of working from a larger sketch book in the studio and a smaller one en plein air.  The small books contain thumbnails and some "journaling".  That, along with colour notes and other observations helps bring the outdoors into the studio.  The larger studio books tend to be more exploration or planning oriented.  They too have thumbnails but there is often a series of them exploring possibilities.  Each page in the small books contains a days sketches, usually one, two, or three thumbnails.  Recently I have been adding potential names to the sketches.  The large books slowly fill the pages, sometimes a week at a time.  The small books seem to last about a year, the large two or three years.

The thumbnail that I currently use was not always so.  It is a check for composition, value, and shapes (derived from squinting en plien air and more from the mind in the studio - pictures are not very good in comparison) and a repository for colour information and observations.  I find that this up front planning cements my concept in place while I am in thinking mode.  This gives me a much higher success rate.  When I start painting and go to that other place (non conscious thinking) I am much more likely to stay on concept or be able to return there.

It wasn't always so.

1997, Bark Lake

Here it was basically a drawing and composition tool - scrawl covering the page.  What was squinting?  Lots of paper, little info.

More Info - Shapes, Values, Colours, Composition

Now the thumbnails are concise.  They are done by "painting" with the pencil as an extension to seeing as in squinting.  A more determined target or concept to paint from.  Interesting records.  Certainly shows the passage of time.  Now to do the same with paintings from the past.  It will be interesting to take a look at the time line and think about the evolution.

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