First of All: Happy New Year!
Dale and I wish you the best for this new year
Four years ago I discovered a site for artists, “The 100 Paintings Challenge.” The challenge was to paint 100 paintings in one year. At first I dismissed the thought, but it niggled at me. Maybe it would be good for me. I lived in an artistic cocoon where I didn’t associate with other artist’s very often. I didn’t paint as often as I should. I jumped in. Little did I know I was opening a whole new door on my creative endeavor. I soon found myself enjoying sketching more, growing as an artist, and blogging. Blogging! Blogging hadn’t been on my radar, but I realized I’d found a platform that incorporated my love of writing about Dale’s and my nature experiences and my sketching. As an added bonus I have a met, over the internet, a variety of interesting people and been exposed to a variety of art mediums.
But I digress. That little introduction was for the benefit of those who haven’t been reading my blog for a long time. What I want to write about today is my New Year’s resolution.
As a result of “The 100 Paintings Challenge,” two or three years ago I made a New Year’s resolution that I stuck to. I freely admit all too many resolutions have fallen by the wayside over the years. This was different. My resolution was to dare to try for more action in my animal sketches. The corollary to that is to forgive myself when I fall flat on my face. I have fallen flat many times, but I also feel I’ve grown in my ability to capture a variety of poses. I’ve learned that if I always stay in ‘the safe zone’ I don’t grow as quickly.
RESOLUTION FOR 2014
Now for this year’s art resolution. ‘Dare to be braver when painting light.’ Anyone interested in art or photography knows that the handling of light can make a piece sing …. or be dull. Sometimes I feel I capture magical light. The swan above is an example of where I feel light makes the little piece sing. I found the photo on another blog and so liked it so much I contacted the photographer, Susannah Anderson, creator of www.wanderinweeta.blogspot.com ,and obtained permission to paint and post it.
Light isn’t always sunlight. It can be moonlight.
Light can be the greyness of a snowy day.
Light can be sunny.
In all of these examples, lights adds to the very essence of the art. Often light can make the difference between an illustration and a piece of art, even if the art is merely a simple sketch.
I find it easier to capture light when I’m painting at home, painting from a photo that has already caught wonderful light. I find capturing light in the field harder. This pair of Canada geese is one of my favorite field sketches – because of their looseness and their light. I want to do more of these!
PEN AND INK
Of course the importance of light applies to pen and ink too. I actually think I’m better at capturing light in pen and ink than I am in color. When painting in color I’m too apt to just lean on color and forget about light. Pen and ink needs some shading to give form, so I usually think about the direction of light when pen and ink sketching. And if it is a grey day, I may use a little creative license and suggest a light source. Often in the margin of my sketch I pencil a tiny sun just to remind me where I want the light to come from.
Very simple sketches can have a feeling of light.