View Full Version : DK's Sketchbook #2 - Pen & WC

05-08-2010, 11:26 PM
I just started this sketchbook today. Finally got around to using the Koi watercolor sketching kit I bought last fall. I've never done watercolor before, (or hardly any painting for that matter) so this was a bit of an adventure. I had a lot of fun so I intend to continue filling this book with similar sketches. The sketchbook is an 8" X 5" moleskine type.

C & C's Welcome!


Today my sketching ground was Murray Park. This was sketched on the creek that runs through the park near the East end. The water really was green, but not quite that green. I started by sketching lightly with an HB mechanical pencil then I used a Prismacolor 005 black pen and a Faber "S" sepia brown Pitt pen. I then colored it using the Koi watercolor sketching kit.


This sketch was also at Murray Park today. This is in the wonderful arboretum there. The crabapple tree was blooming like nothing I've seen before. Unfortunately I'm not skilled enough to capture that beauty and color very well, but at least I tried.


I decided to try an architectural subject. I forgot to check what the building was, but it was a convenient subject being across the park from one of the few benches along the pathway.

I'm not really a journalist but I did write notes on the backs of the sketches when I got home about the circumstances of the sketches and my own comments about them.


05-09-2010, 01:12 AM
These are quite nice, David! I've always liked the pen and wash style, and you've done some very nice sketches here. For your 'too green' water, since you're new to painting, do some reading about color theory. With a limited set of colors as in one of the small watercolor sets like you have, mixing becomes important. I always take a small color wheel with me and still periodically use it, even though it's mostly programmed in my brain now. Adding a complementary color reduces the intensity of a color, so adding a touch of red to your green will 'gray it down' and by varying the mixing, you should be able to get close to the actual green of the water.

05-09-2010, 02:04 AM
Good sketches, David. You did a fine job with the pen and wash. Keep at it and you will learn quickly.


05-09-2010, 12:10 PM
Nice sketches. It takes some practice to learn watercolor. I'm working on that now, myself. It's not easy.

05-09-2010, 12:51 PM
These are great! I'm in awe of the building and vehicles, I never yet have managed to get cars in good proportions unlike animals, trees, flowers or people. I may have to focus on that sometime. Wonderful combination of pen studies and watercolor washes. Your washes are expressive and varied, it's loose and powerful.

I like the greenish color of the water in your first one, it's elegant and comes closer to the hue of water reflecting sky than others. Often the water is a colder (greener) blue than the sky in many places.

I love the Moleskine watercolor journal. It's handy, convenient, just the right size for life studies of anything and easy to take with if I'm going somewhere. I've got one that's mostly full in a thread in the Watercolor Studio forum and many of the paintings in it are pen and watercolor. I also really like the Sakura Koi pocket set for convenience, the water brush is fantastic for being able to paint on location without carrying water.

05-09-2010, 04:28 PM
I've always liked the pen and wash style, and you've done some very nice sketches here. For your 'too green' water, since you're new to painting, do some reading about color theory

Thanks. I actually have been doing some studying on color mixing for a couple weeks now. I've been mostly practicing that with acrylics, the watercolor is totally new for me, I'm sure I'll get better with it.

I also really like the Sakura Koi pocket set for convenience, the water brush is fantastic for being able to paint on location without carrying water

Yes, it's a lot of fun to play with, and much easier than hauling a whole "plein aire" setup around just to play with color. I am able to fit the Moleskine, Koi watercolor sketch kit and a couple pens and pencils all in one fanny pack. That allows me to do some walking/hiking easily then when I see a scene that I gotta get down on paper it's all there ready to go. One thing I might add is a normal brush cut down to fit inside the Koi kit. One issue with the water brush is gravity alone keeps it very wet, makes it hard to do fine detail or apply more opaque applications of paint.

Thanks for all the great comments guys.


05-10-2010, 07:44 AM
Nice start on your journal, David. Watercolor sketching of foliage scenes en plein air is a tough go. Ask me how I know! LOL.... I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress with that through the journal. Good job with the building and cars!

is this a Watercolor Moleskine?


05-10-2010, 08:38 AM
I too am liking the watercolour and pen drawings, especially the pen drawing, very nice. I like the lose gestural quality.

05-10-2010, 11:21 AM
It's a very nice start, indeed. :)
You were very brave to take the plunge and sketch on location. It's more challanging, but also a whole lot more rewarding.
Now that you tried it, how do you like your new sketching kit?

05-10-2010, 07:57 PM
s this a Watercolor Moleskine?

I don't think it's actually Moleskine brand, but the paper is heavy for doing light water color washes. I just looked, I guess the brand name is "hand.book"

You were very brave to take the plunge and sketch on location. It's more challanging, but also a whole lot more rewarding.

I actually prefer sketching outdoors from life. I have a hard time motivating myself to work indoor from photos. So far no one has seemed to take much notice of me and I've been doing it since last summer. People say I'm kinda scary looking, so maybe that's why passers by leave me alone. :lol:

Now that you tried it, how do you like your new sketching kit?

I love it. It's the most convenient way I've come across to sketch with color. My only complaint would be that the brush is always quite wet no matter what you do. I've now taken a small flat brush and cut the handle down to fit in the case with the water brush so I can do some semi-dry brush work as well now.

I'm a big automotive buff and this Saturday is a big day for auto enthusiasts here. It's big annual automotive swap meet and a real good car show along with it. I plan on taking my sketchbooks with me when I attend. I've never sketched cars as a primary subject from life, let alone vintage cars so this should be a fun, new experience. Unfortunately it will be difficult to be invisible while doing it. So far the weather forecast looks perfect, I'm excited.


05-13-2010, 09:57 PM
David, what a fantastic, fun start to your journal. I'm also a fan of ink and watercolor, though I don't really know what I'm doing when I do them. Your colors are great - will have to check out that Koi kit you mentioned. I love that you just found scenes around you to paint. What a fun day that must have been. Hope we see more soon!

05-16-2010, 07:04 PM
I ended up not doing any sketching at the auto show, it was just way too crowded. One very cool thing at the show, one of my favorite artists, Stanley Wanlass had a display of a couple of his hot rods and several of his sculptures. I took at least a dozen pics of each! That was awesome to me to be able to see his sculptures in person.

I did go on a little road trip and hour East of here today and did a couple sketches, one in WC only and one in pen and WC. Unfortunately I got a virus on my computer the other day and it won't let me scan or even download photos off my camera. Don't know when I'll be able to post updates on my sketchbook again.


05-16-2010, 08:45 PM
That's so frustrating. Looking forward to seeing those sketches when you get your computer cleaned up and repaired. I had a virus last month and it drove me nuts for an entire day. Fortunately my daughter's a serious geek and helped me sort it out.

05-16-2010, 09:40 PM
It appears I have my computer back to normal, here are the two sketches I did on the road today;


I decided to try watercolor without the pen. This is on a frontage road of I-80 about an hour East of Salt Lake in a place called Echo Canyon. I found a shady place near a red rock outcropping and spent a half hour or so doing this. I was all by myself, this area gets few visitors. It would have been very peaceful if not for the interstate and train tracks nearby.


This is an old gas/service station in the very, very small town of Echo, just a few miles from the rock outcropping in the first sketch. The scene of a vintage red and white gas station in front of hills with red rock outcroppings was too much to resist. I had no shade to work under here though, though it wasn't hot as long as the breeze was blowing. I did sun burn the tops of my knees though. :lol:


05-16-2010, 10:19 PM
Glad you got the computer fixed David. The watercolor is super. Great gas station sketch.

05-17-2010, 02:18 AM
Good sketch of a rare sight. A service station. Now a days, it's usually a gas station/ 7-11. Those rocks give the sketch a very arid look. Too bad about your knees.


05-17-2010, 10:02 PM
It appears I have my computer back to normal, here are the two sketches I did on the road today;


I decided to try watercolor without the pen. This is on a frontage road of I-80 about an hour East of Salt Lake in a place called Echo Canyon. I found a shady place near a red rock outcropping and spent a half hour or so doing this. I was all by myself, this area gets few visitors. It would have been very peaceful if not for the interstate and train tracks nearby.


This is an old gas/service station in the very, very small town of Echo, just a few miles from the rock outcropping in the first sketch. The scene of a vintage red and white gas station in front of hills with red rock outcroppings was too much to resist. I had no shade to work under here though, though it wasn't hot as long as the breeze was blowing. I did sun burn the tops of my knees though. :lol:


David, both of these are gorgeous! The red rock scene is magnificent, it doesn't need penwork at all. Wonderful perspective and distance, it's so big and so natural. Fantastic scene. Good composition too.

The service station out in the red rock country is awesome too. You're good with buildings and I can see why they'd need an entire garage out there -- someone coming from moister, easier climates will always have transmission problems or other serious car trouble as well as running out of gas. You make it look like an oasis in the desert, which it is. Magnificent!

I quoted to bring it forward for anyone who just checks the last page on threads.

05-18-2010, 01:18 AM
These are AMAZING works, so BEAUTIFUL and full of life and vitality.... looking forward to more works!!!!!

05-23-2010, 12:15 AM
Finally got out to sketch again, though the weather wasn't cooporating, I had to do this one from my car. It was difficult to find an interesting subject that I could park facing towards it. I took more time on this one, over an hour, I was trying to sketch more tight just as an experiment to see if I could. This apparently is a former Purina packaging factory or something of the sort. Now it appears to be some sort of home decor store, but they left the old silo (?) and other industrial looking stuff attached. This is located in an old, small town nearby called Midvale.



05-23-2010, 04:52 AM
David these are all really really good. I love pen and watercolour sketches and you have got a great touch with them, just the right amount of pen. Some great scenes, you are great with buildings. You can see you spent more time on this last one, but I like the looseness of the earlier ones just as much. I look forward to seeing more.

05-23-2010, 12:05 PM
This one is wonderful. Love your pen and wash style.

05-23-2010, 08:06 PM
David, the old factory turned store is so striking. I love the proportions and the conciseness of your style -- you say a lot with very few marks and soft washes. Well done!

05-23-2010, 08:59 PM
Thanks guys. There are some perspective issues in that one, and I really need to pay more attention to my colors, I should have grayed out the mountains in the background much more, that's partly to do with my lack of familiarity with watercolor though.
Before I went out and sketched this I attended a small art show held at a new retirement community. It obviously wasn't very well promoted, only two artists had work on display, but one of them had a lot, and most of them were watercolor and in a style I liked very much. I got to talk to the artist for few minutes and found out she is holding a four week beginner's water color class starting late January at a very reasonable price, I think I'll sign up. Also, she had her watercolor paintings priced to move, and they were so well done I couldn't resist, I bought my first original artwork.


05-24-2010, 01:13 AM
Love all your sketches of buildings :)

06-09-2010, 11:41 PM
It's been a while since I updated this book. I actually did two watercolor only sketches a week and a half ago but they were so bad I didn't want to post them. :lol: However, after looking at them with fresh eyes today I decided they aren't quite as bad as I originally though,


This was from Murray Park, (the park currently under water) from a week ago Saturday. I used the sponge method for the foliage. The building in the background is a hospital, one of the largest in the state if not the largest. It's across State Street from the park, a 6 lane main artery that runs through most of the valley.


This was at the parkway same day. It was an attempt to combine graphite with WC. It didn't work out that well, the graphite was used to give texture to the bark but it didn't show through very well so I had to use darker WC to make the texture show. I also tried to use the new Sakura fine water brush I bought a week earlier. For some reason the water won't flow through it so it wasn't very helpful.


I did this one today and I have to say it's my best WC so far. One of the things I love about having an interest in art is how it makes us see the beauty in things non-artists would most likely not take notice of at all. I was at the parkway, (the Jordan River is running as high as I've ever seen if not higher, but far from the flooding stage so the parkway was dry.) I decided to wander off my usual path to look for new subjects, (needed a break from drawing trees I guess) I discovered this odd little scene. It's some kind of drain system surrounded by natural plants. What really drew me to the scene was the splotchy color of the mold on the front face of the concrete box. Unfortunately I was not able to capture it accurately. I failed to produce matching colors and it's hard to do a fine splotchy technique with a water brush. No matter what you do to form them they return to a point very quickly. In spite of not capturing the subject very well I like the effect I did create.

I have a four day weekend this week starting tomorrow so I'll hopefully get out at least a couple times with this sketchbook., flooding and thunderstorms might hinder my efforts though.


06-10-2010, 12:46 PM
These three are cool. I like the sponged trees in the hospital painting, that's got a nice layout too. Cool tree trunk and I like the soft background behind it pushing it forward by contrast. That last one with the concrete box and vegetation is great. I love the pipes, the variety of plants and the texture you did get on the concrete. Well done!

06-10-2010, 01:05 PM
Those last few w/c sketches are terrific. I like that gas station with the rock ledges behind it the most.

06-10-2010, 01:54 PM
These are wonderful. I like the trees.

06-11-2010, 01:04 AM
Thanks guys.

I was home most of the day today. It was the annual dumpster day and we had a lot of stuff for the dumpster so I took the day off, if not the dumpsters would have all been filled before I got home from work. My nieces were visiting. The oldest is 7 1/2. She has played around with art stuff but the typical child-like stuff. I got out my WC sketch kit to show her and see if anything sparked. It sure did. We spent an hour sketching things in the house together then went outside and did about another hour of sketching. I did give her tips here and there but didn't push her, I was concerned that might turn her off. Of course being 7 years old her attention span is rather short. I lost her because I spent too much time on this log;


I could see potential though, so I bought her a Koi kit and sketchbook of her own. The interesting thing I saw was then when she sketched from memory, (which is what she started out doing) she resorted to memorized symbols that are far from realistic. Then when we started sketching from life she at least got the general shapes right, so she does have the ability to see what's in front of her and at least crudely translate it to paper.

Hopefully the weather will be good enough to go hiking tomorrow morning and I'll have another WC sketch or two to share. If not I may just end up sketching with my niece again, (which may happen anyway.)


06-11-2010, 01:05 AM
Sorry, double post, dang connection problems or something.

06-11-2010, 12:09 PM
That log is great. The ink really does make it pop.

Wonderful that you are spending time with your niece and showing her the basics and getting her, her own supplies is brilliant.

06-12-2010, 01:23 AM
Thanks Debby. I got my nieces to pose for me tonight and took this photo;


The budding artist is the older one behind. I'll have to do a dawing of this photo some day. Actually, they are both budding artists. The younger one does some mean abstract chalk on paper. :lol: Actually, she does seem to have real good color sense, while non representational her chalk drawings have form and movement to them, she does seem to consider what she's doing before she puts that big old sidewalk chalk to paper. Or maybe I'm just looking at her work through the eyes of a biased uncle. :lol: Being a guy I have an aversion to the word "cute" but there's just no other word to describe my younger niece.


06-12-2010, 01:31 AM
The weather was far from perfect today but I didn't let that stop me from heading for the hills. I had to bundle up a bit though, but it turned out to not be quite enough. Memorial day I wore shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes in this same canyon, today I wore jeans, a sweat shirt and hiking boots. I should have added gloves and a ski hat to that list. Since the lower trail was closed due to flooding and high water I went higher up the canyon to a trail I'd never hiked before. The bridge at the trail head I started at on Memorial Day was gone, totally taken out by the flooding. Luckily they built the bridge at the White Pine trailhead higher and sturdier so it was unaffected. A lot of the trail had water running down it. There was patches of snow up there still, covering the trail in spots even. Soon as I saw those patches of snow I knew what I was going to sketch. I found this little scene with a rock pile mostly surrounded by snow and a little green pushing up an a small pine tree.


Not sure the snow read real well. Here's the actual scene, (remember to take my camera this time!)



06-12-2010, 01:44 AM
I hope you'll forgive me a small indulgence here. During the warmer weather months hiking and sketching are practically synanymous for me. When I hike I almost always take my sketchbook with me....and my camera. So, I'm posting a few photos from today's hike along with a little narration. If this annoys you let me know and I'll stop doing it.

I ran into this little fella hiking up the trail;


This is a smaller creek that empties into Little Cottonwood Creek. Normally this time of year this creek would be at least 1-2 feet lower. This was about as far as I hiked up, about 1 1/4 miles from the trailhead. It was cold and I was afraid worse weather might be moving in soon so I found my little scene to sketch. As I was nearing the end of the sketch I suddenly realized there was a significant drop in the temperature and I looked around and realized clouds were starting to fill the canyon so I hurried up and finished my sketch.


This was about 1/3 mile from the trailhead on the way back down, you can see how the canyon was getting cloudy.


Here is Little Cottonwood Creek at the trailhead bridge. Normally this time of year it's at least two feet lower than this;

Out of curiosity I drove to the top of the canyon where the Alta Ski Resort is, just a couple miles up and I found it completely engulfed in the clouds.


I took this photo on the way back down the canyon looking down into the Salt Lake Valley;


Quite a contrast huh? Brighter, no clouds and no snow, only about 1500-2000 ft elevation difference between here and Alta.


06-12-2010, 03:33 AM
David these are awesome photos. What an amazing area you live in, I am so jealous. What a great excuse to get out and hiking, I'd want to be outside all the time too. I really like your sketch, so well done. BTW both neices are cute :) I hope you keep sharing these stories and photos. Was that a squirrel?

Joan T
06-12-2010, 10:34 AM
David - It looks like you're in a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing your photos. I love using ink & wash to sketch when I'm in plein air. You have a good style with the ink and your shading. I love the painting with the silo and that fallen tree trunk. Nice work!!

06-12-2010, 10:43 AM
That log is great. I love the detail on it, the wood grain looks so natural and the vegetation's gorgeous around it. I can see why that took so long it distracted you from your niece too much for her satisfaction. I've got a six year old granddaughter who loves painting too.

Good idea to get her a Koi set of her own, I'm thinking of doing that for Sascha. I let her use mine and she did some incredible paintings with it, mixing colors and exploring painting from the negative space. I'd just done something by painting around it. She asked how I got white without using the white, so I showed her -- and then she did it herself. It's so cool how fast they learn. I hope your niece keeps that faculty of drawing what's right in front of her instead of resorting to symbols.

The scene with snow and pines is beautiful. I like the way you showed the photo too so I could see how accurate it is. You left off the heavier pine forest behind the small tree to make it stand out, which I think was an effective artistic decision.

Great photos you got on the hike. Wow, that's some serious flooding on the creeks -- so beautiful to capture in a photo, but rough to get out into. Floods can be dangerous, so I'm glad you are okay and didn't stay out after it turned nasty. So cool to be climbing right through clouds though.

Gorgeous drawings, great stories and photos!

06-12-2010, 11:19 AM
You certainly did get that lone pine in the snow spot on. The reference photo just confirms it. The photography and narration are delightful. Especially since you are filling in for us how it is to hike and sketch with you. Great stuff, and inspiring.

The nieces are, yes, "cute". There is no other word that will work. And that photo of them will make an awesome portrait.

06-19-2010, 10:39 PM
Joan: Thank you for your kind words. I'm a great admirer of your work as well.

Robert: Thanks for the comments. I'll try and remember to take my camera from now on to show photos of what I am sketching.

Debby: Again, thank you for your comments. I think my skills will have to improve greatly before I can do that photo of my nieces justice.


06-19-2010, 10:47 PM
Today I intended to go on a hike. Well, the morning got busy and my morning plans pushed into the afternoon and kinda tired me out and my foot and back started aching. I decided to go to Murray Park instead. This is the park that was almost totally under water just a week and a half ago. The park held up suprisingly well. I did see some damage to the asphalt path in spots, but for the most part there isn't any evidence of the catastrophy besides some leftover piles of sand bags and a couple small trees now leaning into the creek. The creek is still running quite high, higher than I've ever seen it myself.

I decided to sketch the only wide part of the creek, here is the ref. photo;


This is a good example of why photos generally don't make such good references. In person there wasn't nearly so much dark in the foliage, basically the color scale has been flattened somewhat. I'm sure a pro photographer with pro equipment could have done much better though. Maybe I should learn what all those fancy settings my camera has do. :lol:


And here's my sketch. No ink this time. I was going to use Joan's method of inking last, but after applying the water color I decided inking would not improve it. I definately need to work on learning how to mix my greens better.


06-20-2010, 12:24 AM
Your sketch is gorgeous. I think you're right, it's lovely as a painting and inking isn't needed. Sometimes it happens that way. Beautiful scene.

06-20-2010, 05:28 AM
Lovely sketch, it is so much lighter than the photo. I can see so much more detail in your sketch because of this. You have mixed a good range of greens that all go well together. I love the sense of floating down a tunnel through the trees.

06-20-2010, 02:08 PM
Lovely scene. Yes, photos can distort what you are seeing in real life. You've done a wonderful job on this scene. The water is great.

06-20-2010, 02:15 PM
That pine tree in snow sketch is great! I personally like seeing photos of scenery from hikes. Some of those would make good paintings - hint!

06-23-2010, 05:19 PM
Hi David,

Very nice work on your pen and wash! I think my favorite is the old Purina location.

07-02-2010, 12:26 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. Today I went on a hike up in the High Uintas, (details in my #4 sketchbook thread.) and managed to work in one pen and WC sketch;


I'm actually quite unhappy with this one, but you can't win them all. :)

Here's a photo of the scene I attempted to paint;



07-02-2010, 12:31 AM
David, this one your pen and watercolor sketch outdoes the photo. Thanks for sharing teh photo, but your painting is incredible. Well done! It's all misty and moody and gorgeous.

07-02-2010, 12:50 AM
Thanks Robert....you night owl! :lol: It's almost 11:00 pm here right now and I"m struggling to keep my eyes open. :lol: Traipsing around at high altitudes for 5 hours might has something to do with that though. :D


07-02-2010, 02:15 AM
I've enjoyed browsing your sketchbook, David....lovely, loose style! :)

07-02-2010, 11:52 AM
Why are you unhappy with your painting? It captures the scene well.

07-02-2010, 08:44 PM
Another great scene here. I'd be tired after 5 hours of hiking too, if I could manage it in the first place. I am really enjoying your work.

07-02-2010, 09:52 PM
Well, it would have been very difficult to capture that photo in a watercolor sketch - but give it a couple of days, and you will see that your sketch will look like the scene you remember.

I sometimes put a painting that I'm not totally happy with away in my paper drawer for a couple of weeks. When I forget what it looked like in my mind I usually like it a lot better. The painting in my mind is always better than the one on paper. LOL

Vivien Maloney
07-03-2010, 03:59 PM
Hi David - Do keep posting your photos, I love seeing them. What a wonderful part of the world you live in and no wonder you go hiking. Very interesting to see your sketch done from life and your photo of the same area. There's always so much life in a sketch but the photos are good reference material to have as well. Looking forward to seeing more from this journal.

07-05-2010, 08:12 PM
Robert: I wish I felt the same way you do about this one. :lol:

Serena: Thanks, but my intention really isn't to be so loose, it just ends up that way because I still haven't developed the skills to acheive the sketch that's in my mind's eye.

Debby: See reply to Serenity. :)

Jacqui: Thanks. Long hikes really do take it out of me, but I enjoy doing them so much, I fact I wish I had the stamina to hike longer and farther. If I'd loose the 100+ extra pounds I'm carrying around I'm sure that would help a lot! :lol:

Michelle: Four days later now....I still don't like it. :lol: Some day I'll try it again here in the "studio".

Vivien: Thanks Vivien. Utah is really such a diverse place. I'm hoping to go to Southern Utah during the winter to escape the winter for a bit and sketch the desert and red rocks there. The Salt Lake Valley has become so crowded is kinda ridiculous though, but the convenience of being able to be in a canyon to go on a hike in just 20-30 minutes almost outweighs the downside. I can't wait until retirement so I can move somewhere more remote!

07-05-2010, 08:20 PM
I went on another day trip on Saturday. This time to a car show in a small city called Logan about 1 1/2 hours North of Salt Lake City. This city is actually quite remote, how it ended up with the largest annual car show in Utah I have no idea. The upside to that though is that after I spend a couple hours looking at all the cars I can go drive around on rural roads looking for interesting subject to photograph. Here are a few of the car photos I took;




As you can see there is quite a variety at this show. If you want to see more I have a bunch more photos in my Fokti here:


I found a gold mine of barns while driving around, all of them in a tiny town called Mindon. The density of barns in this small town is amazing, I have no idea why, I've never seen anything like it anywhere else. Here are a couple photos;




Again, I have many more barn photos in my Fotki;



07-05-2010, 08:23 PM
I didn't have time to do any sketching on location Saturday so I decided to do a sketch off one of the photos I took;


I only spent an hour on it. Lots of minor perspective issues and the wheels should be bigger. Here's the ref photo;


I'll try to do one of the barns tomorrow.


07-05-2010, 08:54 PM
David I really like your pen and wash work. Personally I like pen and wash to not be "perfect". I think the combination of pen and watercolours suit a looser style of drawing, I just haven't worked out the knack of doing it myself (yet!).

Vivien Maloney
07-05-2010, 09:50 PM
Great job on the pen & wash of the old car. Love your barn photos. American barns and sheds are so different to those in New Zealand and it's so interesting to see them. Will you sketch some of those you took photos of? I'll look forward to seeing your pen & wash sketches of them if you do.

07-05-2010, 10:59 PM
Good sketch of the antique car. Great photos you've got, looking forward to seeing what you do with the barn.

07-06-2010, 11:23 PM
Great photos. Those barns are cool too. My husband calls those old barns with sagging roofs and see through holes, "aesthetic". The sketch you did is great. I like how you just blocked in colors for the background. You can see in the photo where you got the blocks of color, but it works really well without the detail.

07-07-2010, 08:50 PM
Great photos of both the cars and the barns. Nice job on the car sketch. I love the barn with the sagging roof. Look forward to seeing the sketches you come up with.

07-14-2010, 12:13 AM
For details about this sketch go see my latest entry in sketchbook #4. That's all I'm going to say here about this disaster. :lol:



07-14-2010, 02:07 PM
Looks like you had problems getting clear colors. Water colors are hard. I've yet to understand them and have only played with them a couple of times. At least you are using yours. It seems to me that you weren't getting the colors you wanted and got frustrated so didn't get the masses, lights and shadows you were looking for either. Don't give up, keep trying.

07-14-2010, 03:26 PM
I struggle with color in general, but with watercolor there's the extra challenge in that you can't cover or erase. Yes, this one went from bad to worse and worse again, I did essentially give up on it. I'll go back to pen and wash with this sketchbook until I learn how to actually paint with watercolor.


07-14-2010, 03:45 PM
Ooooo k! I have not yet looked at the rest of your journal (came right to this page cause I thought I had) and saw what I think is a lovely pastel watercolor! Seriously! It may not be up to the standard that you normally produce in your opinion, but I think its very nice :-)

08-06-2010, 12:20 AM
I wonder if they'll ever resolve the lost images problem? Anyway, I went on a hike today. It was a short one, just a little over two miles round trip, but that left me time to do some sketching. I hiked this trail before, a couple months ago when there was still a lot of snow on it, it's where I did the pen and WC sketch if the small pine in the snow with rocks in the foreground. Anyway, the weather was much more agreeable this time around though thunderstorms threatened in the distance but never arrived.

One the way up;


I took a photo last time at the creek crossing, it was quite the raging torrent before, still more water in it than usual for this time of year but far less than a couple months ago. (The trail at the bottom of the canyon is still closed darn it!)


This area almost has a rain forest feel to it;



08-06-2010, 12:23 AM
An the sketch;


Yes, I tried WC only yet again, but this time it worked a little better. I ditched the water brush, it just doesn't give me enough control. I used a 0/5 detail brush instead. For a sketch like this it was perfect, though if I needed to cover broad areas the water brush would have been helpful for that. I consider this to be my first somewhat successful WC only sketch.

Here's a pic of the subject;



08-06-2010, 12:42 AM
David what a wonderful area and great tracks. I can almost smell the lovely fresh air. ooooohhh. I like you wc sketch. I agree you get little control with the waterbrush though they are very handy. Better for bigger looser washes I think. I am still learning how best to use mine.

08-06-2010, 01:47 PM
Great sketch. Lovely terrain. I love seeing the profusion of green.

08-06-2010, 03:00 PM
Do you think that last photo would make a good painting? (the "rainforest") I'm not sure the composition would work too well.


08-06-2010, 05:48 PM
All I get for anything posted before "server change" are the dreaded RED Xs in a box. The photos came thru and the last tree sketch. There are dozens of ways to do each of these photos. They are all great and would make good paintings. Kurlie

08-06-2010, 08:11 PM
I'd go back and edit all my posts to add the images back but apparently WC only gives you so much time to edit a post, none of them are editable now.


08-06-2010, 08:15 PM
The "rainforest" picture would make a great picture. The only thing I might suggest is where it looks like the trail is turning a corner, you might take out a couple of the trees leaving an opening or "gateway" deeper in. Or something to make the trail vanish into the distance rather than abruptly ending no where.

08-07-2010, 02:18 PM
David, your watercolor sketch is gorgeous. I love the accuracy and detail. I can see why you wanted to use a fine detail brush for it given that style. It's gorgeous.

Your latest photos are fantastic too! I've been collecting yours in a special folder, can I draw from these too? It's so cool seeing the changes in the creek over the seasons, that's fascinating.

08-09-2010, 09:34 AM
nice one :)

08-09-2010, 08:03 PM
David, great work with the watercolour - you have some really wonderful ref photos to play with. Maybe make yourself a little viewfinder and move it around over the photos till you find a composition you really like or helps you to focus on an area. I find lots of foliage quite daunting (because I tend to like working on detailed areas) so it is sometimes helpful to blow up the ref larger and just focus on one area - have seen some great "abstract" looking works derived that way.

Vivien Maloney
08-09-2010, 10:20 PM
David - I like your tree sketch and I think ALL your photos would make good paintings. I agree with Jackie's suggestion about the viewfinder. They are also very handy if you're sketching or painting plein air as well (cuts out all the surperfluous detail and hones in on the focal point).

10-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Bringing this one back from the dead! I guess that appropriate for October. :D

I guess I got kind burned out on plein air painting, hauling all that gear around and setting it up so I dug out this old sketch book and my Koi WC kit. I go out plein air painting nearly every Sunday with another local artist. He recently got one of the Koi kits as well so at one of our stops we both did a pen and WC sketch, here's mine;


This is an old Methodist church in Eureka, Utah. I need a new pen, this one was trying to die on me the whole time. I'll try to use this sketchbook a few more times before the snow starts flying. Actually, Eureka is at a higher elevation than Salt Lake and this church actually had snow on the roof I just didn't paint it. We've already got snow in the mountains, and starting at only a few hundred feet above the valley.



10-10-2011, 04:24 PM
very appropo for October indeed! :)

Nicely done perspective and form on that church!

10-10-2011, 07:24 PM
Great sketch of the church.

10-10-2011, 11:06 PM
Thanks Rainy, Debby.

10-10-2011, 11:51 PM
This ink and wc sketch is great. I love the effects of the past-its-prime pen.

10-11-2011, 06:32 PM
Thanks EP.

10-12-2011, 04:50 AM
nice sketch of the tree and interesting to see the photos of where you walk

Joan T
10-12-2011, 12:18 PM
David, I missed a lot of your posts when I was away this summer, so it is fun to catch up on these! Great photos and sketches. I like your idea of taking just a few things at times for plein airs, especially if you're hiking. I really like the way that church came out.

10-12-2011, 12:39 PM
Thanks Vivien, Joan.

10-15-2011, 09:14 PM
I was a sketching animal today! I sketched in 3 different sketchbooks today, a total of nine pages. First I had an illustrated journaling workshop with Susan Jarvis http://www.susannjarvis.com/ for the morning at Wheeler Farm. There is tons of fun stuff to sketch at this place but it's a very popular spot for professional photographers and families, so you really have to get over your fear of people watching you to sketch at this place, even if you are in a group. I've found very few people even pay attention, even if you are being real obvious about what you are doing, at least here I think most people are respectful and try to not disturb the artists. I did get asked by a teen to see the sketch I was working on, but that was the extent of attention I noticed except for the occasional kid telling their parents "Hey, they're painting!".

Unfortunately I didn't have a good pen that was waterproof so I used one that wasn't which caused some problems, it also made thicker lines than I'm used to. I like the first sketch I did the best;


I was luckly this cow stayed still long enough for me to get her shape down pretty good. I also moved here so part of her was behind the shed. Susan walked over to me while I was doing this one and told me to experiment more with color, so I did. I know I tend to be somewhat literal with color so this was different for me. What's the point of attending a workshop if you don't try something new? :) I didn't mean to make the whole head blue, just the shadow side underneath, but it got away from me. :lol:

Then I went over to the chicken coop, those buggers are especially hard to nail down. It's like they all had ADD. :lol:


Then I quickly did this wagon. It was really interesting being all full of corn stalks unfortunately trying to add all that corn stalk texture with the pen that wasn't water proof caused it to get all muddy. I think I'll go back and try it again.


I guess I caught sketching fever. In the afternoon I decided to run up to the canyon and do some more sketching on my own. Before I went up I bought a new waterproof pen. The weather was perfect today, I didn't want to waste it because the cold and snowy days are coming soon!

I did this one on Big Cottonwood Creek. I cheated and used Chinese white for the white water, it didn't work too well anyway. Maybe I'll take some white guoache next time.


The colors are just about at their peak in theis part of the canyon so I tried to capture then in this one. I'm not very good at these big washes, this paper doesn't handle them too well either.



10-16-2011, 08:05 AM
very nice sketches - especially the cow and the creek - it's ok to use white if you need to :) no cheating at all

White gouache works much much better though or white oil pastel m(or candle) put down before the paint as well.

10-16-2011, 02:47 PM
what a great batch of paintings/sketches Dave! I really admire these. The colors in the chicken and cow are great and add to making them so fun to look at. Great drawing on the cow one, that one is my favorite.

10-16-2011, 08:11 PM
David, I really like the way you used the paint in these last few sketches. You're using it stronger, and letting the colors mingle and spread. Looking back at your first few on this thread, you've made major strides! The cow, rooster, and wagon are my favorites.


10-17-2011, 01:23 PM
Great sketching and painting. You are getting bolder with new subjects and color. Splendid stuff.

10-17-2011, 09:11 PM
Thanks Rainy, Jamie, Debby.