Rain Comes Across the Meadow

Sketch of a Rainy Meadow by Sarah Sullivan

Rain Comes Across the Meadow

It has been really rainy here in Telluride this year so I have had a lot of opportunity to observe how the rains comes in across the mountains and hills. It is just beautiful and I wanted to convey this in a sketch.

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

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Another Meadow

Sketch of a Telluride ski slope meadow by Sarah Sullivan

Another Meadow

This is another sketch which, like yesterday’s, is mostly about learning to paint meadows. However, this one is painted from a photo because by the time I got up to where this meadow is on the Telluride ski slopes it was raining pretty hard. Overall, I like the composition and the grass in the foreground, although I wish I had left more of the black paper showing. I think with some work on the mid-ground area that I could get a sketch I would be pleased with. 

I am pretty sure this is the meadow I want to paint for my final large painting before leaving Colorado. The weather report tells us that it will dry out on Tuesday or Wednesday so I am hoping to climb back up and spend the day there.

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

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Aspen Meadow

Sketch of a green meadow with flowers and aspen trees by Sarah Sullivan

Aspen Meadow

Right now in early August there are huge meadows filled with flowers and rimmed by aspen trees, mountains and sky in the San Juan Mountains. Before I leave Colorado next Friday, I plan to do a large painting of one of these meadows. I am getting ready by sketching small meadows in a 5 X 8 inch sketchbook with gouache and pastel.  This meadow has huge daisies and I need to work on getting them to seem in proportions with the other flowers. 

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Like Matisse’s Windows

Sketch of the view of the San Juans from a condo window by Sarah Sullivan

Like Matisse’s Windows

For the last three weeks I have been thinking about the view from the window. It is so beautiful and the framing of the vista by the window sets the view off splendidly. I looked a few times at some of Matisse’s window paintings, which both motivated and intimidated me. Today I stayed inside and gave it a try. 

This is a gouache and pastel sketch on black paper in a 12 X 12 inch Derwent black sketchbook. 

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Rafting the Mighty San Miguel

Sketch of children Rafting the Mighty San Miguel by Sarah Sullivan

Rafting the Mighty San Miguel

For the last two days I had my back to the San Miguel River and the mountains above it while I sketched thickets of cottonwood trees. The San Miguel is very shallow in this section and perfect for beginner rafters. Both days I could hear the sounds of children as they floated down the icy river with their families or camps. Today I turned my easel around, moved closer and did my best to capture the beauty of summer and the pleasure people find in it.

This is an -in-the-moment sketch, not a particularly thought through sketch. It is similar to my sketch, Telluride Street, in that it is an attempt to capture the essence of something wonderful in a spontaneous way

This is a gouache and pastel sketch on black paper in a 12 X 12 inch Derwent black sketchbook. 

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Same Place, Same Time, Different Lighting

Sketch of a Thicket of Cottonwood Trees by Sarah Sullivan

Same Place, Same Time, Different Lighting

I started this sketch yesterday after making the preliminary sketch that I posted yesterday. This morning I set up my easel in the exact same place as I had yesterday in the Telluride Town Park, expecting to be able to pick up where I left off. However, instead of an overcast sky, we had our first day of sunshine in two weeks. Although I had the reference sketch, I paid more attention to what was in front of me and made many changes to the painting. 

The sun brightened the mood by lighting up the foliage, tree trunks, branches and ground. I was able to see detail farther into the woods and may have gotten carried away with trying to capture it all. 

This is a gouache and pastel sketch in a 17 X 12 inch Derwent black sketchbook. 

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Preliminary Sketch 

A Preliminary Sketch for a Forest Painting by Sarah Sullivan

Preliminary Sketch

If my goal for the day’s sketch is complicated, it helps a lot to make a preliminary sketch or two. That way I can work through some of the challenges without worrying that I will wreck my work. My preliminary sketches are often in pastel and usually take 5 to 20 minutes. Today’s sketch of a path through a thicket of graceful cottonwood trees at the Telluride Town Park was definitely complex and so I developed this preliminary sketch to use as a guide. Since I did not finish the painting, I am posting the preliminary pastel sketch. 

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Tree Trunk

Charcoal Sketch of a Tree Trunk by Sarah Sullivan

Tree Trunk

Sketching a close up of a tree trunk is an unusual choice of  a subject for me as I mostly like to tell a story with my sketches. However, I was taking a class called, ‘Why Draw a Tree’ and we were looking closely at the parts of a tree. We used charcoal, conte crayon and erasers to show the rough texture of the bark. 

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One With the Couch

Sketch of three men napping by Sarah Sullivan

One With the Couch

I sketched this last night shortly after sketching, End of the Last Day of the Workshop.  Today I added watercolor and ink to it. Although it is not as well drawn, I like it because it shows these three tired out men sinking into a nap and becoming one with the furniture, perhaps the best ending of all to two weeks of hard work together.

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End of the Last Day of the Workshop

Sketch of 3 academics as they review the workshop they just led by Sarah Sullivan

End of the Last Day of the Workshop

I sketched these three lifelong colleagues two weeks ago on July 17 at the start of the workshop they were organizing together. Their workshop ends today and they are in the same living room sharing some last thoughts. Sketching them again was a perfect way to end these two weeks for me. I have enjoyed watching their interactions and hearing their talk because of its undertones of friendship, common purpose, and high expectations. 

I focused on showing through their body language how comfortable they are with each other as they converse. The relaxed posture and gazes as they look at each other show  a willingness to hear and be heard.  And, as in the July 17 sketch, I also show how tired they are, which is what happens when people work hard together on common goals.

On the July 17 sketch I used a gel pen; today I used pencil which was a mistake because it was too faint to reproduce well. The pencil sketch is on a 14 X 17 inch white drawing paper. Using iPhoto I was able to darken it and then import it to Procreate where I added color. 

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