Monday, October 28, 2013

beach plein air

I always have high hopes for doing a plein air sketch or two but it rarely works out on these beach trips. However, this time I took along a pack of watercolor postcards and a small sketching kit in addition to my usual sketchbook and watercolor set.
One overcast morning we drove over to the sound side of the island and I brought this small kit and postcards along. While the professor and Kiddo were walking with the dogs and looking for shells I sat on a bench and quickly sketched two views of St Helena sound.
That afternoon the clouds cleared and I brought the same little kit along when we headed down to the beach. I sat on a towel in the sand, with a dog on either side of me, and did two more quick sketches of the ocean while the Professor and Kiddo played in the surf and did more shell seeking.
I had to sketch quickly because the dogs are rarely still for long. They dig in the sand flinging it onto anyone or anything that happens to be in the way. They get excited if someone happens by. They lay their wet, sandy selves across my towel, my legs, my stuff.

So it takes a certain resolve on my part to attempt sketching at the beach. And no concern for the outcome of the sketches. I did manage to find a way by using the little postcards and a small kit that easily fit into our beach bag.
This is my mini sketch kit. It all fits into a plastic pencil box. Not a big deal if sand gets inside, which it did. And on the last postcard above, I added some of the white foamy bits with a white gel pen, not pictured here. I am planning to paste these postcards into my sketchbook as a way to save the sketches, and the memory of doing them, from that day at the beach.

Friday, October 25, 2013

it's about time

It is about time I posted to this blog. As I sit here looking at the snow outside my window it's hard to believe that just a week ago I was sitting at the table pictured above, listening to the warm ocean breeze rustle through the palm trees. We spent a few days at our favorite escape, Edisto Island, SC, and it was warm, it was sunny, and altogether very relaxing. And I did a bit of sketching in between ocean walks and enjoying wonderful meals of fresh fish. In addition to the palmettos, there was oleander blooming right outside our little rental cottage that I sketched in my journal.
From that same table you can get a glimpse of the ocean between the houses across the street. I love experiencing the color changes of the ocean and sky. I recorded the ocean and sky color once each day that we were there.
And shells, of course. Edisto Beach is famous for its shells. These were brought back and sketched at that same table. All of these sketches were done with watercolor only, in my handmade sketchbook.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

sketchbook :: algebra

Here is a recent page spread from my sketchbook that I worked on while Kiddo was doing her algebra lesson. It's nice, sitting together at the kitchen table, both of us working. I stay nearby to offer help when needed, but mostly I try to stay out of the way. Especially when it comes to algebra. Although if I had had the benefit of the type of math instruction that Kiddo is receiving, I may have actually learned something in high school math classes. But I didn't have "Bruce". That's what we call the voice of the math instructor from her lessons. By now, Bruce is like a part of the family. Kind and reassuring, he gently inspires his listeners with logical and detailed explanations for every single problem, and never belittles an error or an incorrect answer. It's always okay. Maybe you forgot to reduce to the lowest terms. You get another try.

My new sketchbook doesn't fit onto my scanner. I merged the two scanned pages together in photoshop for the above image, which is why you see a line. I could have "photoshopped" that line out but decided to just let it go. It's either this way or snap a photo of the page spread, but I have a hard time getting the color adjusted correctly from photos. Either way, I enjoyed painting our decorative gourds while we sat together, Kiddo solving algebra problems, and all the while listening to Bruce. Great days.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

early light

Frosty Fall Morning
7.5 x 9.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

We have seen some gorgeous days lately. Skies bluer than I ever thought possible against the changing color of the autumn leaves have been breathtaking. Yet it's the early morning light that is magical this time of the year. A slight frost on the grass, a little mist in the air, and the sun's glow peeking through those colorful trees promising another beautiful fall day. I enjoyed painting this one, with those playful shadows and that soft, early morning light. This is a view that I captured early one morning, just up the road while on the way to town.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Autumn Field
7.5 x 9.5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I love seeing the wildflowers this time of year. In autumn, the fields are alive with goldenrod and purple aster blossoms. This is painted from a view along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had such a wet summer here in our southern mountains that the wildflowers look more spectacular than ever.

I had been hoping to be making paintings with a little more frequency than I actually have been lately. However, life does tend to take over at times. Plus, I have an exhibit to prepare for that will be happening in at the end of November. Lots of matting and framing to be done. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

sketchbook :: autumn is a time of change

I sketched these leaves that has drifted onto our deck with watercolor only on the first page of my newly made Autumn sketchbook.
I want to approach this sketchbook a little differently from what I have been doing. I had been feeling that these books were becoming a little too precious. So I looked at all the options for purchasing a sketchbook and even tried out a nice spiral bound model, but just couldn't get past the quality of the paper. I like my watercolor paper best, so I put together a new sketchbook, a little larger for me, 7 x 10 inches this time. I think I am going to like this size. On this page spread I played with the composition for a watercolor painting with the small pencil sketch and practiced painting a field of goldenrod and asters with an old fan brush. I love it when the lavender asters and bright yellow goldenrod are blooming, as they are everywhere right now.
Here is the size comparison of my completed Spring/Summer sketchbook and my new Autumn sketchbook. I covered my new sketchbook with fabric left over from Kiddo's sewing project. She made curtains for her room to replace the ones I had made when I was expecting her a little over 15 years ago now. It was time for a change.


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