Monday, April 16, 2012

The Point of the Exercise

Inspired by James Gurney, I’ve decided to get down to business and make my field sketches more painterly. Sharpening my skills in this way is going to require both better observational skills and sketching memory. My fast sketching skills are pretty good but my observational skills in the field are a bit rough and I am ready to work on that.

Chili sketch
Today was my first day exploring this new style of sketching. After exercising my horse and turning him out, I sat down to sketch one of the other horses at the barn. I took my time (what a concept!) and that proved absolutely delightful. For my subject I chose “Chili,” a chestnut Thoroughbred hunter. He was sleepy in the mid-afternoon sun and so was the perfect model. I started out by getting the shapes and color masses right. After that I added color slowly, remembering the details as I went. Although Chili had wandered off  before I was finished with his sketch, he was a gentleman and came back over for more modeling when I asked him to.

Here’s Chili and I posing with his sketch.
Many thanks to Brenda for taking the picture
and to Kristi for letting me borrow her horse.
I was using a new sketch kit today. It’s a limited palette of watercolor pencils and Neocolor II crayons. I am using it in a Stillman and Birn Gamma series sketchbook. This is a very light kit and perfectly suited to sketching animals in the field. Thus far the S&B Gamma sketchbook has been a dream. The paper is sensitive but did not buckle from washing. It’s fairly smooth but did well with pencil and also with the ink sketch that I doodled (not shown) while waiting for my page to dry.

My new sketch kit
What a delightful day! I feel good about my progress today and look forward to more careful sketching adventures later in the week.