Saturday, January 29, 2011

X's and O's

Pam Huggins aka PAMO and I are doing a pictorial tic-tac-toe game. I am "X" and she is "O". The idea is to counter each other's moves and do a semi-coherent complete comic from first square to last at the same time! I have posted the last square (bottom right) above. It was great fun to draw PAMO!! I had to do the last square or Pamo would have won!

Pam has brilliantly summed up our collaboration - in cartoon- at her blog here. (If you haven't seen her cartoon on what we have done, you have got to go there - it is great fun!)

Other moves in our tic-tac-toe game are in posts here, here and here. Hmmm, looks like Pamo hasn't posted all of her squares - but we will have the whole tic-tac-toe board online for you to see if we ever finish!

Well it's been a long day, I'm tired and have little to say. So I leave you with this thought:

Life is like tic-tac-toe:
A bit of a puzzle,
A bit of a game,
And if often we can't get ahead,
We usually don't get too behind either.
And the most important thing
Beyond all else,
Are the x's and o's.
Don't you think?

(Yes, I always wax poetic when I'm tired.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Out and About

Sometimes in the field you see something unique to draw that is not really uncommon at all but represents a great swath of people.

You need only get out of the house - open the door a crack. Yes, a crack. And draw what you see.

If she only knew.

This was a quick sketch while I was sitting at a Target with my wife and son. I colored it yesterday.

Here is a page from my Moleskine. Not untypical. Three opportunities to sketch. Three unwilling - or at least unwitting - subjects. I colored these yesterday as well, and then decided to try and unite them with a background (something new for me). In my mind they are three members of a family, or three characters in a story, and some drama is afoot. You might notice a fourth figure as well. The yellow is much more subtle than is shown; for some reason, the scanner magnifies the color's intensity.

Some of you have asked what I carry around in order to sketch/paint in public. I will share this because you ask, not because I in any way believe that this is the way to do it. I have seen a great many other options in artists' blogs online.

My wife bought me a flexible 6" x 9-1/2" case at Barnes & Nobles that says "Sketch" on it. I like to think that it looks like one of those cases stuffed with money for a sizeable bank deposit. Only without the money. I have much more in the case than I ever use. I carry whatever pad I am drawing on separately, and usually keep my pens in my pocket. It's not that they wouldn't fit, but I never want to be caught anywhere without my pad and my pens.

Here are all the supplies laid out on the table, more than I ever take out. Here are the extras: I have more brushes than I ever need. I figure you never know when you want a certain size, but the truth is that I never use more than 1 or 2 in a sitting, so it is sort of silly carting all of these around. I've just begun bringing a pencil or charcoal pencil with me. I worship pens so these are largely ignored. I have a waterbrush that I never use, and sometimes I have a cotton ball or gauze. Sometimes I carry pages of watercolor paper in a tiny manilla folder that I cut down to size.

Now, the essentials, aside from 1 or 2 brushes: There is my travel palette in a green carrying case I got at the Army-Navy store. I cut the bottom off of a water bottle that makes a nice flexible container for the water I dip the brush into. I have a flat tray for mixing that I bought for $1 and that I prefer to using the case itself (I have never used the case). I have a white piece of paper so I can test colors, a napkin or paper towel, and a watertight container with water in it. One great advantage is that I often sketch in eating establishments so water and napkins are plentiful and free.

Here is my palette. For now, I use Winsor & Newton Artists' Watercolors, and the colors I take with me are: Cadmium Lemon, Transparent Yellow, New Gamboge, Winsor Orange, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Indian Red, Permanent Magenta, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Manganese Blue, Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Viridian, Permanent Sap Green, Ivory Black (virtually never used), Winsor Violet (virtually never used), Payne's Gray, Rose Madder Genuine, and Brown Madder (Great for skin tones). I need a darker red.  [IMPORTANT UPDATE:  I have removed Rose Madder Genuine and Burnt Sienna from the palette because I have learned that these are fugitive colors.  I have replaced them with Permanent Rose and Perylene Maroon.]

I have this palette because the colors were among those recommended in the book Exploring Color by Nita Leland.

Most are half-pan, but after a discussion online about the fact that you can mix more with tube colors, I started buying tubes. So the pans on the right are filled with paint squeezed from tubes.

Happy sketching!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Three Men Waiting

Sketching people in public has its drawbacks. People are always on the way to somewhere else. And sometimes I get tired of sketching folks sitting in chairs.

But now and then I am lucky.
Sometimes I find people that are waiting.

Like the man on the right. He was one of a large group that was standing because there were not enough seats to go around. I had to sketch fast because I had no idea how long I had - either he or I would be called away soon. I was called first, but just as I finished the sketch.

And like the man on the left. His stance was different than that of the average chair-bound restaurant patron. There was an air of expectation about him. Another fun sketch.

And I? I am waiting for people that are waiting. And if, after waiting, I discover waiting for me, the waiting person, then it's been worth the wait. Don't you think?