Lily Pond at Balboa Park

Gouache Sketch of the Lily Pond at Balboa Park by Sarah Sullivan

Lily Pond at Balboa Park

Our plein air class met at the Balboa’s Botanical Garden today. I sketched there but by the time I left I had a very over done sketch. Later when I came home I used my overdone sketch and a photo and did this one. I like this one because it is simple and the darks of the paper have a rhythm that sets off the lily pads.

This is a 9 X 9 gouache sketch on black paper.


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Flowers and Figure

Gouache sketch of a woman looking at some flowers by Sarah Sullivan

Flowers and Figure

We worked on quickly capturing gesture with a minimum of lines during the first portion of the figure drawing class this morning. Then we had several 20 minute periods of time to capture a figure using gesture and to place her on a page with a background and foreground. This is my favorite of the group, mostly because of her toes.

This is a gouache sketch with some pastel lines on a 9 X 9 sheet of black paper.

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Editing Sketches with Apps

Editing Sketches by Sarah Sullivan made with traditional media with Apps on the iPad

Editing Sketches with Apps

This was an interesting afternoon. I went back and edited some of my sketches from the week with Procreate, Snapseed and Photos, all apps on my iPad.

In the sketch above I adjusted the tables in front of the two figures by using Procreate to enlarge two tables, add in an extra table and change the color of the tables as well. I made the man look more pleasant using Procreate and the background more cheerful with Snapseed and Photos. For comparison, the original October 5 sketch, which I painted using gouache, is just below on the left and an another edited sketch which I felt was too dark is on the right.


The large elephant below is from October 4. At the same time I also sketched a small child as she looked at the elephant but did not like her legs and especially did not like the way the elephant seemed small. This sketch is below on the right. Since I usually post my favorite sketch if I do more than one, the large elephant won out.

Today with Procreate, I was able to adjusted the elephant so he filled the screen. Then I selected the girl and some of the fence and put them in the lower corner of  the page, giving a better impression of their relative sizes.


On Friday I posted a gouache sketch of a hallway, which is the larger of the three sketches below. With Snapseed today I wa able to brighten up the sketch and with Procreate I was able to alter the colors. I prefer the original of these but it was instructive to consider the possibilities.

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Gouache and Procreate Sketch of a pumpkin by Sarah Sullivan


Procreate, an art app for the iPad, recently had a major update and I thought that it might be fun to work in it this evening.

After sketching a pumpkin on black paper with a white pastel pencil and gouache, I imported it into Procreate. I duplicated the image and added a smaller version of it on the right. I went back to the large image and altered it by recoloring the shadow areas, emphasizing textures and adding the foreground and background.

Now as I look at this blend of traditional and new methods, I wonder what my last few sketches might look like if I were to alter them using Procreate.



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Gouache sketch of a hallway by Sarah Sullivan


I noticed the light reflecting along a hallway in Liberty Station this morning and took a photo. Later when I did a small 9 X 9 inch gouache sketch of it, I noticed how much I like the way the door frames the hallway. Now that I have sketched this fairly accurately, it would be interesting to change the colors and some of the shapes.

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Lunch Break

Sketch of two people taking their lunch break by Sarah Sullivan

Lunch Break

I started to draw the round table tops on an empty lunch court and then two people came along for a late lunch. Of course I tried to squeeze them into the sketch.

This is a gouache sketch with some pastel pencil lines.

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Sketch of an elephant by Sarah Sullivan


This is a pastel line sketch with a some gouache for color.

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The Sketcher

Sketch of a woman sketching in a park by Sarah Sullivan

The Sketcher

I was out with my plein air group today and sketched a fellow painter who was working under a nearby shade tree. The tilt of her head along with her hand raised a bit above her sketchbook suggested to me that she was thinking about what kind of mark to make next.  She seemed so focused on her work, so into her art, it made me want to work just as intensely.

Yesterday I worked with crisp color and lines. Today I went for a moody look with cloudy boundaries between objects. Although in general I prefer crisp color, cloudy colors seemed like the right choice for a sketcher sitting under a shade tree while immersed in her work.

This is a gouache sketch in a 9 X 9 inch Derwent sketchbook.


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Gouache Sketch of TWo Trees by Sarah Sullivan


I stopped by the zoo this afternoon and sat in the shade to eat my lunch. My destination was the giraffes but I got to looking at the two trees directly in front of me. They stood together, like a team, branches intertwined, with the light coming in from behind. I had to try to capture it.

This is a gouache sketch on black paper with a little detail in white pastel and black gel.

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Along the San Diego River

Sketch of the San Diego River in Mission Valley, San Diego CA by Sarah Sullivan

Along the San Diego River

This sketch is of a vista along the San Diego River in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. I am often surprised at how different this river area is from the surrounding high density residences and the hills that rise above the river valley. No matter the season, it seems much richer in plants, color and especially water. Today it already has leaves that are turning with the season and this is what I tried to catch in a general way by floating color into wet areas on my sheet of paper.

This is a gouache sketch with some pastel and watercolor pencil.

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