Sitting Figure

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Sitting Woman

Sitting Figure

I liked the way the model sat on the platform, centered by a hula-hoop and leaning against a wall but was at a loss about how to finish it when I drew it last Thursday. Today I added more paint to the foreground and background areas, trying to influence the eye movement of the viewer by using the direction of my rough brushstrokes to lead the viewer on.

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What’s with the view to her left?

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a woman with attitude.

What’s with the view to her left?

This model had attitude, and it showed in the way she sat and evaluated what was going on out towards her left side.  I liked the way I captured her expression in this sketch but felt it lacked the context needed to reflect her personality.  Today I went ahead and added a western background. Now I wish I had put in a fence or corral

This is a gouache and pastel sketch on 12 X 12- inch black paper.

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Hold That Hat!

Abstract Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Woman holding onto her Hat

Hold That Hat!

I spent some time today looking through old sketchbooks. This was an unfinished sketch. Today I added gouache color and made it more abstract.

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Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a woman waiting


It was the last pose of the morning, and our model seemed to radiate a sense of waiting. She sat on the edge of her stool, leaning back but not at rest. She looked off into the distance as though she were remembering and planning. Was she perhaps waiting for the morning to end, or waiting to address an issue that was on her mind? All I know is that she appeared ready to get up and step away and that I enjoyed trying to capture it all.

This piece started off as a line and gouache sketch on black paper. When I got home, I imported it into Procreate, an app on the iPad, and added the blue, red, and brown into the background.

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The Campanile at SDSU

Sketch by Sarah SUllivan of The Campanile at SDSU

The Campanile at SDSU

We had a somewhat overcast morning, which made the colors outside seem especially rich. Or maybe it was the spring green on the treetops. In any case, the campanile, or bell tower, peeking over the communication building at San Diego State University caught my eye, and I worked to capture it.

This is gouache sketch in a sketchbook with black paper.

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Stone Family

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Sculpture by an unknown artist

Stone Family

When we were in Mazatlan recently, I bought a small sculpture made from stones, seedpods, wire, and wood. The way the sculptor, using simple materials, was able to say so much impressed me. I have been sketching the piece because I like its rhythm and message.

I would like to acknowledge the sculptor but all I know is that it is a part of the Osuna Collection and purchased at the La Querencia Galeria in Mazatlan.

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Spring Nudges Santee Lakes

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of Santee Lakes

Spring Nudges Santee Lakes

The San Diego Watercolor Society met this morning at Santee Lakes, just east of San Diego. We are moving into spring here, although without as much green as usual since we have had very little rain. The bare trees across the distant hills gave a consistency to the background and a contrast to the small Live Oak trees in the foreground.

This is a 12 X 17-inch gouache sketch on black paper.

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The Painting Group

Sketch of a Painting Group by Sarah Sullivan

The Painting Group

Our model is in the center of the room. She rotates with each new pose, and sometimes you get 20 minutes of sketching her back. Since I was not taken with this particular pose, and I am always working on capturing people with a minimum number of brushstrokes, I thought to include the other artists in this particular sketch.

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Fog at Torrey Pines

Sketch of Fog at Torrey Pines by Sarah Sullivan

Fog at Torrey Pines

It was a foggy morning at Torrey Pines State Park this morning. The mist was indecisive, coming in and out and confusing me by showing and then obscuring the vista. Eventually, I just went with the flow, painted what I could see, and stopped worrying about a consistent background.

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Admiring Cherry Blossoms


I stopped by the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park today to find that the cherry trees are in bloom. There were many people walking along the canyon paths and admiring the beauty. Using my iPad, I tried to capture both the lovely spring day and the admiration that people feel for the blossoms.

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