Quick Paintings and Quick Decisions

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Seated Woman
Quick Paintings Require Quick Decisions

I painted many 20-minutes sketches this morning of a model with the SDWS Thursday life group. 

A twenty-minute sketch does not give a lot of time for planning, measuring, and color choice. You have to be fast and trust your instincts. Later you can wonder about the orange in the hair, pink stripe on the forehead, or the proportions of the thighs, but in the moment you work at the speed of light and hope for the best. It is one of my favorite ways to paint.

This is a 13 X 20-inch gouache painting on black paper.  

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The Other Side of Torrey Pines

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of Torrey Pines
The Other Side of Torrey Pines

Pretty much every time I am at Torrey Pines State Reserve, I look west and paint a view of the Pacific Ocean. Today I turned 180 degrees, looked to the east and painted an outbuilding surrounded by Torrey Pine trees. This view reminds me of my brother’s cabin in Colorado and made me nostalgic for it.

This is a 12 X 17-inch gouache painting on black paper. I used a new paintbrush, a dagger brush, for a lot of the foliage and like it quite a bit.

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A Plein Air Thanksgiving

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan at Mission Trails PArk
A Plein Air Thanksgiving

I intended to make and send a Thanksgiving greeting, but time got away from me. However, I painted this on Tuesday at the nearby Mission Trails Park in San Diego, and got to thinking that it summarizes much of what I am grateful for as a plein air painter- views, plants, boulders, sky, and the opportunity to try to capture it all. So here is my card after all, Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

This is a gouache, colored pencil, and marker painting on a quarter sheet of black paper.

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Scooters Everywhere

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of Scooters and Riders
Scooters Everywhere

Last spring was the season for the e-bikes explosion, and this fall is the season for e-scooters. Scooters are everywhere in my neighborhood near San Diego State University, and ever so much fun to ride. The pathways up at the college are full, which means I have lots of opportunity for quick gesture sketches, like this one.

I hope to get more sketches tomorrow and then to develop a larger painting.

This is a gouache sketch on a 9 X 9-inch sheet of black paper.

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A New Father

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a new father
A New Father

My brother sent us wonderful photos of his newest grandchild, including the one this sketch is based on.  I did not succeed in doing justice to the preciousness of the child or the pride of the father, but I like this painting anyway. There is something about the way the young father is looking off into the distance that suggests he is feeling the weight of his new responsibilities, and it is a look I recognize. It may be that some of the worries I felt as a new mother became imposed on my nephew’s face. In any case, I like this sketch.

Posted in Body Language, Telling a Story | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

San Diego Gets a Bit of Autumn

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a Street in San Diego
San Diego Gets a Bit of Fall Color

We are getting bits of fall color throughout San Diego, now that it is mid-November. This is a street not too far from my house, but with a much more rural feel, especially if you position your easel so that the nearby homes are outside of the view area.

This is a gouache and colored pencil sketch on a 10 x 12-inch sheet of black paper.

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An Outside Table

Sketch by Sarah Sullivan of a woman eating at an outside table

An Outside Table

I was early to lunch and able to sketch a bit while waiting for my friend. I used colored pencils and gouache on a small sheet of black paper.

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