Saint John’s Wort

Saint John's Wort

Saint John’s Wort

This is a pastel and gouach sketch of Saint John’s Wort on a bush in Inveneress California.

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Backlit Tree at Pierce Point Vista

Backlit Tree at Pierce Point Vista by Sarah Sullivan

Backlit Tree at Pierce Point Vista

We went to Pierce Point in the Point Reyes National Seashore in the afternoon.  The sun was shining and the visibility was excellent, a welcomed change from the usual weather for the locals.  There were a few huge trees on rounded hills above the sea and the vistas were gorgeous.  Although there were many tempting scenes to paint, I liked the way the sun shone through this tree and the shadow it cast on the ground. 

This is a pastel and gouache sketch on black paper. 

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Looking Across Tomales Bay

Looking Across Tomales Bay by Sarah Sullivan

Looking Across Tomales Bay

I am with my cousin happily sketching for three days near Inverness California. We had a great start this morning along the edge of Tomales Bay with some fog and gorgeous vistas. There was a lot of movement in the sky, water, hills and meadows and I emphasized it even further by making sure the strokes of the paintbrush or pastels were strongly visible on my paper. 

This is a pastel and gouache sketch in a 13 X 13 inch Derwent sketchbook with black sheets.

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Balboa Park, on the Sixth Avenue Side

Balboa Park, on the Sixth Avenue Side

Balboa Park, on the Sixth Avenue Side

I did such a quick sketch and then told myself I would finish it at home. I had no time yesterday and this morning I found that I like it the way it is, especially the rough shapes and the large expanse of black paper.

This is a pastel and gouache sketch in a 5 X 8 inch black Moleskine sketchbook.

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Agapanthus and Friends

Agapanthus and Friends

Agapanthus and Friends

I had more fun today painting in the back yard.  This is a gouache sketch on black paper.

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Along the Patio’s Edge

Along the Patio's Edge

Along the Patio’s Edge

This is a sketch of the edging along our irregular back patio in San Diego. It is amazing what a difference the end of the drought makes to our flower bed. For the past few years this bed featured dirt and now it has nasturtiums, jasmine and alyssum- and the flowers are still in bloom on solstice.

This is a gouache sketch on black Derwent paper.

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Thinking about the Shapes

Thinking about the Shapes

Thinking about the Shapes

I attended a one-day class today where we painted using a drawing supplied by the teacher. Although the teacher wanted us to use our time to apply paint, not draw, we did do a simple value sketch before beginning to paint. Our goal was to focus on the shapes in the space around the figure and then put the transparent watercolor paint into these spaces using a single stroke and a range of values. After painting he used soluble crayon to add line within the painting and along the border.

When I got home I tried the method with gouache on black paper. I used a drawing from July, 2015  as the basis for a quick sketch then tried to follow the plan we used in class.  I will need to keep practicing!

This is a pastel and gouache sketch.

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Discussion at the Fire Pit

Discussion at the Fire Pit

Discussion at the Fire Pit

This is the unfinished sketch from yesterday with gouache added today.  By the time I finished today I had unintentionally changed the mood of the sketch from upbeat to tense. The figure on the right now has his lips pursed and is looking down a bit grimly at an equation, the other is listening for the solution, perhaps showing a bit of a tired worry across his face as he waits.

This is a pastel and gouache sketch with the colors lightened a bit with Snapsead.

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An Unfinished Sketch

An Unfinished Sketch

An Unfinished Sketch

The day got away from me what with celebrating Father’s Day and obsessing over the details of a totally captivating book, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. I need an early start tomorrow and so this sketch will have to be finished later without my models in front of me.

This sketch is a good example of the first stage of how I have been working lately. I start by drawing in pastel on black paper. The pastel is responsive to my thinking. It is easy to smudge away so I can make adjustments to the sketch as needed. The smudges do not matter much, for the most part they can be painted over or erased with a kneaded eraser. When I have the basics in place I begin to add the gouache. This sketch will be similar to yesterday’s but I plan to leave more of the black paper showing in the bodies and especially in the facial features.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

How could I not keep sketching these two as they worked together, and how can I not think of their father/ son relationship as I sketch on this Father’s Day eve?

My father worked with his six sons, teaching them his craft, his values and how to be men. All six became awesome men and two became building contractors like our dad. My father’s influence was strong and in concert with our mother’s, was a gift to each of their children.

Our daughter and son in turn have worked with their father who shows them his craft, his values and how to be a decent human being. His influence is also strong and both of our children are caring individuals who earn their livings through sharing their thinking, like their father.

The gifts of a father to his children are interwoven throughout the child’s life.  Being a parent takes time, dedication, tenacity and love. Here’s to Peter and all the men who will be celebrating their role as teachers, caregivers and models today, Happy Father’s Day!

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