Sketchbook Sunday

Here is a little sketchbook painting I did last sunday. One of my new years resolutions this year was to sketch more often in a sketchbook. I talk a little more about it here. Sundays are typically the best days for me to do that because they are my laid back days that I take off from my work side of art (i.e. Commissions) and most other responsibilities. I typically wake up early before the rest of the family or do it during quiet time.

If your wondering why I posted a “sketchbook Sunday” video on a thursday it’s because I had originally planed to record and share one of my sunday sketchbook paintings and share it as a bonus video. However, my computer died on Saturday night so I couldn’t edit the video I recorded for my Thursday video and had to change my plans. I ended up recording  and editing this video on my phone and pushing it back to my normal Thursday slot.

For this painting I used a fine point Sharpie for the outlining and Gouache for the underpainting. My gouache palette is a mix of both M Graham and Windsor and Newton paints. For the Colored pencil details I used my Prismacolor pencils. I was fun to be able to use them because I don’t use colored pencils very often or do mixed media very often.

This ended up being a fun little exercise that was a nice break for the commissions I have been working on. Its fun to see how I have really started looking forward to these sketchbook sessions when up until a few months ago I had hated working in a sketchbook.

What about you? Do you use a sketchbook? When do you typically work in it? Let me know in the comments below.

-Lauren

 

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Vacation Sketches

If you have read some on my recent posts you know that I have been traveling. I recently just got back from a family vacation where we visited our extended family. Typically, when I go on family vacations I am not very good at taking time to sketch in my sketchbook regularly. After a day of wrangling kids and traveling I usually just pass out as soon as I sit down. Often I end up only painting one-maybe two sketches.

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Picture of a Pie on the night before pie day

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This trip I decided to try and take time to paint and draw everyday except traveling days.  Overall, I did pretty good. Some days I only got 10 minutes to paint other days I would sit down for a couple of hours to do it while we watched a movie. When I had longer amounts of times to work I would try to do multiple sketches and not spend more than 30 minutes on each piece. There were a few days that I ended up skipping because they were just way to busy like the day we went skiing.

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A kid free ski day is worth skipping out on sketching for

The sketches are far from perfect but I am hoping that sketching and painting these quick pieces will help me gain more confidence and speed in my painting and drawing process.

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My daughter wanted me to paint a castle
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This sketch was done on loose watercolor paper and then was glued into my sketchbook

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With the mushroom paintings I tried experimenting with different styles of painting. The top one I wanted a softer look so I kept the contrast and lines a lot softer. Whereas the bottom one has a lot stronger contrast between lights and darks, pen and ink details, and more texture in the painting style.

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My moms tulips were starting to pop through the snow but hadn’t bloomed yet so I decided to paint a bloomed one.

Now to unpack and get back to work on bigger projects!

-Lauren

Vacation Art Supplies.

Hi Guys! Today, I am showing you some of the art supplies I am taking with me on my vacation this week. This isn’t my most compact set up because I will mostly be painting while hanging out with family instead of plein air painting. When there is several feet of snow on the ground and the temperature is below zero plein air painting isn’t very appealing.

I am taking my Gouache pallet. This is filled up with mostly M. graham Gouache and a few Windsor and Newton colors. I chose gouache because I could choose to work in thin light washes similar to watercolor or chose to paint more opaque. I really liked the versatility that this provides.

My sketchbook is a Global arts watercolor sketchbook in the 8.25×5.5” size. The paper in this sketchbook handles watercolors well and is also nice to draw on. It’s a good size where it doesn’t take up to much room in a bag but still gives me enough space to draw and add detail.

I will also be bringing a small spray bottle for wetting my pallet, a few sheets of loose watercolor paper , an assortment of white taklon brushes, a pentel brush pen, a fine point sharpie, a Pentel sign pen (waterproof ink), a number 2 pencil, a 6B graphite pencil, white rubber eraser, and a pencil sharpener. For this trip I am also taking a cleaned out ice cream container with a screw on lid to use as my water cup. You might wonder why I am bringing it if I am going to be painting at people’s houses. It’s because not everyone has disposable plastic cups available to use and I don’t want to use a container that will be reused to for eating like a cup or mason jar.

Another art related supply I will be bringing is my 360 happy planner. I will be bringing this to work on schedule and plan upcoming projects for my shop and YouTube. I found 5+ hour road trips are great opportunity to brainstorm and plan.

Do you have any favorite art pallets or art supplies that you take with you on vacation? Let me know in the comments below.

-Lauren

Learning A New Medium

If you have been following my art journey for very long you know that the majority of the time I tend to paint in watercolor. Watercolor is a very translucent medium, this means that when you paint over an area you can see all the layers that are underneath it. When mixing colors in watercolor you add water to make them lighter and rely on the white of the paper instead of adding white to make the tint. This is part of the reason why working with watercolor is very different from all other types of paints. The way you mix colors and layer them has to happen in a unique way.

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Two eye study using gouache. I had difficulty making smooth blends on this piece.

Well I recently decided to learn a new medium called gouache. It’s a type of opaque watercolor, which acts like a cross between watercolor and acrylic paint. I originally bought some gouache to work on the Family Legends painting but I got frustrated working with it and ended up doing the using tinted ink in the sections I had planed on using the gouache for.

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First paintings using only Gouache

After that the paints sat on my shelf unused while I caught up on the holiday rush of commissions.I hate when good paint go unused especially, when I spent good money on them. I also knew that that my struggles with the paint was 100% user error given that I bought a highly recommended artist grade paint and had seen beautiful artwork created with it.

So after the rush of Christmas and later Valentines Day calmed down I spent time learning how to use gouache. I watched YouTube videos teaching how it works and how to mix it. Those videos really helped me understand why I was struggling with it and how to work around those issues. I realized my biggest issue was that I was using the wrong kind of white for mixing. I was using titanium white for mixing and given that its so opaque It would quickly make my colors to light and dull. I also had to be even more cautious of how wet my paintbrush was so I wouldn’t disturb the paint underneath. I typically work with staining watercolors and can usually add lots of water to my paper without disturbing the paint underneath. Another thing I learned about paintbrushes and gouache is that even though it is a cousin to watercolor it tends to work better with a slightly stiffer brush than what you typically use for watercolor. This helps to prevent too much water from getting on your brush and it allows you to more easily mix the paint.

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A profile study I did that I wanted to keep loose

Once getting used to the unique characteristics of the gouache I learned to enjoy working with it and what I love about it. I found it so freeing being able to add highlights over the top of a dark instead of constantly stressing about preserving the highlights. I love how it rewets so I can easily take a small pallet with me when I am in public and do some plein air and urban painting.

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My goal with this painting was to see how realistic I could get the Gouache.

I can’t wait to learn and experiment more with this medium especially with portraiture and figures.

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A 20 minute landscape study using gouache

-Lauren

Sketchbook Tour

One of my new years resolutions has been to get better at regularly drawing in a sketchbook. I often get so busy with commissions and projects that I don’t always have time to work on personal projects or try new techniques. I am hoping that by drawing and painting in a sketchbook regularly will not only improve my skill but also give me a few minutes each day to paint and create something just for the pleasure of creating. As much as I love doing commission (it’s the best job I could have) I need to spend some time creating pieces of work that are personally motivated so I don’t get burned out.

 

I have owned many sketchbooks over the years and have never actually finished one. I didn’t like having “ugly drawings” stuck in my sketchbook so I would either rip out pages I didn’t like or just hold off from drawing in my sketchbook until I got better as an artist. I think part of me was ashamed of my skill level for not being “good enough.’ It is kind of silly to think about now as a (slightly) more mature artist because the entire purpose of a sketchbook is for it to be a safe place to practice, experiment, and grow as as an artist.

Setting this goal for the year has helped me to FINALLY finish my first sketchbook. It’s far from perfect since I bought it a few months after I got back in to art in 2016. Some sketches have been torn out because I didn’t like them or used them for other projects. But  I finally completed the pages that are remaining.

It may seem silly to celebrate such a small and silly thing but when trying to develop a new habit it is always important to celebrate the milestones along the way. It is also a sign of my personal growth as I am now more accepting of my shortcomings as an artist. I always want to improve my skill level but I am no longer ashamed of my journey as an artist.

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A landscape sketch done in 2016
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A landscape sketch done in 2018

Another benefit of using a sketch book (and not tearing out the pages) is that I have also been able to see how much I have grown over the years as an artist. Being able to see tangible proof of my progress is so helpful on days when I feel discouraged.

What about you? Do you like using sketchbooks?

-Lauren