First Try On The Rise

First Try On The Rise by Sarah Sullivan

First Try On The Rise

Today we drove about 50 miles to Telluride Colorado where I will be sketching while my husband works here for the the next four weeks. What with breaking down our old campsite and moving into the rental here I never did get a chance to sketch. However, yesterday I finished two sketches of the same scene. As is often the case, the first sketch  became a stepping stone to a second better sketch and I thought it might be interesting to write about how the above unsatisfying first sketch helped me make a better second sketch.

The scene was a a stunning view of a backlit forest just below a lookout point and was so complex with all the trees, rising hillside and lighting that it was overwhelming. Although I knew my emotional reaction to the scene, I did not know what pictorial elements caused my reaction. I made a few quick thumbnail sketches but did not get a sense of direction from them. I finally decided to take my time, relax, get into a nonjudgmental frame of mind and just draw what I saw. The resulting sketch is the one you see above on this post. 

When I finished, I left this sketch on the easel, stood back several feet and and became judgmental. I asked and answered questions such as, “What do I like about the actual scene? Does my sketch capture what I like? Are there parts of the sketch that I like or dislike? Does the sketch have depth, distance, rhythms? How can I rearrange the sketch to better capture what I like?”  I made a few more thumbnail sketches and then began on the second sketch, the one I posted yesterday. The thinking work of sketching is hard but it makes a big difference in the quality of the finished sketch. 

This is a pen and watercolor sketch on white 9 X 12 watercolor paper.

About Sarah Sullivan
This entry was posted in Deliberate Practice, Landscape and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to First Try On The Rise

  1. tprevey says:

    I enjoy hearing about your thought process as you work on a painting

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fern Gratia says:

    I, too, get value from your writing — after my emotional reaction to your work.

    Liked by 1 person

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