I had an impromptu sketching session today at lunch; had almost 50 minutes free, so I went virtually to Cape Town once again, as part of The Virtual Paintout. After navigating for a while, I finally settled for the view. As I hadn’t planned, I could only use the few items I had at hand at the office: 32 lbs. Hammermill Laser Printer paper, felt-tip pens, a Sharpie and a four or five almost-dried-out Prismacolor markers. Really tempted into rendering with fluorescent highliters though… I’ll definitely try that sometime.
Yesterday I went on a family trip with my wife and son. We took with us some snacks, a cooler with ice, water, some cheese, yogurt and home-made ceviche for lunch. We drove to Guajataca, which is in between Quebradillas and Isabela, at the northwest part of the island. It was a beautiful and breezy day. We took turns driving, so both of us did our warm-up sketches on the freeway. After we had lunch we spent some time sketching. I managed to do just a few, as I wasn’t feeling that well, so we missed sketching at the most interesting spots. We’ll be back then sometime.
I did something I’d never done, that is doing two versions of the same sketch. In the first one I sketched directly with watercolors and in the second version I painted first with watercolors and then loosely sketched over the colors with ultra-fine Sharpie:
We wanted to sketch again today, but we were really tired to go out. I remembered I had seen a blog that people used Google Street View as a resource for visiting interesting locations to paint. We could have done it on our own and select any city we wanted, but decided it would be fun to participate with them, doing the same location as everybody else is doing this month, which is Cape Town, South Africa. Here is my sketch, done with watercolors and a sepia Pigma Micron:
It felt a bit weird; first, I’m not used to drawing from pictures, second, Google’s Street View photographs are taken higher than eye-level and third, you don’t feel the space. You don’t have the smells, sounds or the local coffee I like to enjoy wherever I visit. But hey, I don’t know if I’ll ever go to South Africa, and if I go, probably wouldn’t find this view. In short, it is not the real thing, but still fun to do it. I guess I will be doing some more of these.
Could somebody PLEASE incorporate Aesthetics 101 into Engineering Curricula? When an otherwise beautiful landscape is completely disregarded and desecrated with all sorts of “engineering marvels” we should really be offended.
Today I sketched the view from my work’s parking space. Not even mature trees can cover up and hide the magnificent display of towers, power cables, antennas, chimneys, cranes and transformers. It is like if they throw all the items listed on their catalog, shuffle them and place them all at once. I don’t even wanna talk about all the humongous signs that are sprouting (or pouring) across our island.
I know that bad taste is not a crime, but I’d bet anything that these people have to be in violation of at least one environment protection law. And, to make it worse, it also looks absolutely hideous…
Last Saturday Prof. Leytham lent me his Sailor brush pen so I could try it. It is designed for Japanese calligraphy, which brush can produce beautiful lines of different widths. I fell in love with it and will be purchasing one promptly. Tonight I wanted to see if the brush tip of my Copic markers would work in a similar way.
I decided to try them on one of my sketchbooks, a Hand-book with heavyweight sheets. These are supposed to take light watercolor washes, but as soon as the marker tip touched the paper, I got instant bleed-through. I was disappointed; I haven’t found a sketchbook that can take markers with minimal bleed-through. Well, in a very careless way I continued to try some of the colors. All of a sudden, I could kind of see one of the armchairs I have in my living room. So I went that way, trying to develop a bit of what I saw around me. Behind the armchair there are two balloons still alive from my wife’s birthday party three weeks ago. I kept experimenting with different colors with very fast strokes that barely touched the surface; I didn’t want to saturate the paper.
Well, the Copics’ tip won’t behave as the brush pen, but I still like the possibilities, even if this isn’t the right paper.
During the weekend, Andrew, one of the students from Norwich University had made a very bold and simple sketch. I told him that it would look really nice on a t-shirt. So I thought, why not? I have been playing with the sketches as a graphic in various forms, and I think I will go ahead and order one for myself! Check it out:
I will keep looking at different alternatives, but I really like this one…