Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sketchbook Tuesday - Lilacs!

A recent page from my sketchbook with a quick sketch of my lilac blossoms and a quote that I liked for trying out a new pen. The pen is okay, it's an Elegant Writer pen, but not waterproof so I don't know how useful it will actually be for me. It may get added to Kiddo's stash of marking pens.

I have been thinking lately about the purpose of my sketchbook journals and how that fits with things that I would like to try out. Are my journals about the finished pages or are they about the thinking process, working out ideas? Actually they are both, and there are many pages which you never will see. And there are pages like this that are part experiment, part record of daily life. Sometimes I think that maybe I should have a "messy" journal along with this sketchbook journal. Laura Frankstone had an interesting post on this topic a few weeks back on the Artists' Journal Workshop blog. And I do feel about journals much they way she does. I greatly admire other artists' beautifully designed sketchbook journals but mine do remain more organic, more messy, for the most part. How do you approach your sketchbook journals? Do you separate the journals for more "finished" pages from a "messy" journal? Or let it all happen together?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marsh Walk

Marsh Walk
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is #57 of my 100 painting project. It is a another view of the marshes at Botany Bay on Edisto Island, SC. Remember when I did the thumbnail exercise? This is the first painting the sprung from that process. I have noticed that the further away I get from the original reference, the more I work in terms of color, as in color field painting. A move toward abstraction? I don't know. I may just have to find out though.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sketchbook Tuesday - sketching spring

Last Friday was a typical spring day here in our mountains. The thermometer was trying hard to reach 60 degrees F, it was overcast and quite breezy. A friend had organized a sketch outing for our girls and ourselves so off we went to a nearby park. With the breeze, papers had to be weighted down and even palettes wanted to blow over. When the girls tired of sitting still sketching they ran off and played kick ball. My friend and I shivered under layers of sweaters and jackets but managed to get some sketching in. Above is my attempt. A sketch with a brown colored pencil, filled in with watercolor and finished off with more brown colored pencil.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Marsh Song

Marsh Song
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Here is #56 of my 100 painting project. It is a view of one of the marshy areas surrounding Botany Bay on Edisto Island, SC. It is such a serene place to visit, unspoiled by development and with a very rich history. Many of my paintings have been inspired by this place, and I suspect there will be more. (Ironically, when looking for a good link to more information about Botany Bay, the best one I could find features a photo that looks to be taken in the same location as my painting above. So now you have to check that out!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sketchbook Tuesday - again!

Yeah, I am going to try posting sketches regularly on Tuesdays again. Having a schedule is a good motivator. Something predictable and sure. We'll see how it goes.

So here is a sketch I did last week on one warm and sunny afternoon. I sat on our back deck, turned so that I could see the drive and side yard, and sketched our blooming forsythia while enjoying the sunshine. Most of our yard is wooded, with an understory of Rhododendrons, which provide a nice, rich green backdrop to the bright yellow of the forsythia blossoms. For this sketch I began with Prismacolors, my new favorite, "Espresso", and an old favorite, "Chestnut", to sketch in my scene. Somehow the pencil lines don't intimidate me the way ink lines do. Then I put in the watercolor and finished off by re-stating some of the pencil marks.

Now I have noticed that our recent rains have knocked most of the blossoms off of the forsythia. And it's supposed to get cold again. Winter still has a foot in the door here but spring still comes with determination in its own good time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Something a little different

Early Spring
mixed media on paper
4.5 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This is a little mixed media experiment that I worked on last weekend. While browsing art blogs last week I came across a post on one of my favorite artists blogs, Vivien Blackburn's, Paintings Prints and Stuff. Her work posted, "A muddy lane in February" immediately caught my attention. I have long been a fan of her art and was intrigued by her explanation of process with this work. So I tried my own version using a reference of an early spring scene I had photographed while on a walk in a local park.

I used a spare piece of Canson Edition paper and began with Neocolor II crayons, sketching in areas of color. This I brushed with water and let dry. Then I went in with colored pencil, adding some of the smaller elements and softening the intensity of the Neocolor washed a bit. After that I added pastel, bringing up some of the lights and then more colored pencil to define some of the details.

This was a fun way to work with much more immediacy than using colored pencil alone. What I like about Vivien's piece is the softness combined with the expressive marks, allowing for a quiet energy in her piece. And this is where I feel my mixed media falls short. Perhaps it's a fear of pushing the media. Of course this is only one of very few attempts I have done with mixed media. It is a method I would like to explore further, but probably not any time soon. For now, I'll remain content enjoying Vivien Blackburn's beautiful art works.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Inspiration and grief

Yes, I am still here. We have had a tough time these past few months with my father-in-law's illness and passing a couple of weeks ago. I did manage a few sketches but have found it difficult to return to a working rhythm due to the sadness overshadowing our days. I know some artists are able to find solace in their art but I couldn't seem to get there. Yet when I think about the kind of person my father-in-law was, I know I should look to his influence for guidance. He wasn't one to sit around. He was always on the go, always busy, out there doing. I feel privileged to have had him in my life.
So here are a couple of sketches from my spring journal, although I haven't been happy with any of them so far. The top sketch is of a jade plant that belonged to my mother-in-law and stayed in her lovely sunroom, cared for after her passing for years. It lives in my house now, in a brand new flowerpot. And a trip to the grocery often results in subjects for inspiration, as with the peppers above. Spring is coming slowly to our southern mountains. I am so looking forward to warmer days with loads of blooming inspiration.


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