Sunday, July 31, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Trip To Monterey" Pt.1

Hello, everybody...I made it home from my Monterey Adventure in California! I got in late last night, and slept like a log. What a terrific vacation and "creative renewal" time...I really needed it!

I must confess something right off...I didn't create as much artwork as I thought I'd have at the end of the trip. What I'm posting today is everything I drew or painted. However...I took 850 photographs!!! I won't make you look at all of those, so it'll take me a while to sift through them over the next couple of weeks, and pick some of my favorites. An artist could fill up a lifetime drawing and painting the interesting and beautiful things out there. But I knew my stay was short, and the camera was the best way to capture the beauty. I hope to create some studio paintings from some of the pictures I took. I was exhausted from wandering, climbing rocky beaches, and driving up and down the coast seeing the usual tourist spots! Okay...enough of an intro...let me show you a few sketches.

This location was just a short walk down the road from where I was staying. My late wife, Cathy, had always loved pastels, and often wanted me to try them. I wasn't fond of the powdery mess, fixatives, etc. But I thought I'd give it a go. I had read a book on the flight out about working with pastels...should have read it before I left. I really was not equipped with the proper set up. I had minimal colors to work with, and the wind was blowing my paper everywhere. I needed an easel and paper mounted on boards. I was not happy with the results...I much prefer oils (but didn't want to haul them on the plane).
So, I decided to try again with my usual pens and watercolor washes. I often prefer the line drawings without color, but it was so gorgeous out there, that I went ahead and added the washes (as seen in the first image at the top).
Here's a sketch of the famous "Cannery Row" done late in the afternoon, as the sun was starting to go down. I need to clarify that...I assumed that the sun was around somewhere, but you wouldn't know it by looking. MOST of the time, the skies were gray and looked the same in the morning as in the evening. If you didn't have a watch, you would not know the time of day with all the fog. Only occasionally did I get a bit of "sunny California" during the mid-day. I'm told that it's pretty common along the coastal regions. (I can't really complain about having to wear a jacket in the chilly wet was a nice break from the blistering Kansas heat!!)
Here's a dry-docked boat that I drew, while waiting for the Monterey Aquarium to open. Usually, I don't do a lot of journaling, but thought I'd write more on this trip. Click on the image to enlarge might be able to read my "chicken scratch" handwriting.
One morning I went down to the "Fisherman's Wharf" to draw. It was early, and there were few people roaming. This is another example of wishing I'd left the drawing un-colored...though adding washes helps define some of the shapes a bit better. Those are three little seals swimming in the water.
My hotel was in a quaint little town called "Pacific Grove", which is on the North-Western part of Monterey. The "A" marks the spot for "Sunset Inn".

In the downtown part of "P.G." (as the locals call it), there was this great looking gnarly tree that caught my eye. Spent about 2 hours sitting on the corner drawing it, chatting with passers-by.
After having fun drawing the tree above, I decided to try a mixed-media approach with the pastels. I sketched up a cyprus tree with ink pen on gray pastel paper, added opaque washes of water color, drew some with the pastels, added more washes, then redefined a few more of the lines in ink. I felt a bit better about the outcome this time.
One wonderful discovery was a diner called "Coco's". I ate there every morning for breakfast. I didn't feel guilty loading up on the heavy-duty food, because I sometimes skipped lunch if I was in the "exploring zone"...just forgot to eat a couple of times!
Okay...this one need some explanation. When I was at the Aquarium, this guy walked by. I couldn't resist, and took a sneaky snapshot. When I had to go back to the hotel to recharge my phone and camera batteries, I drew this sketch from the photo viewer in my camera. I'm afraid the guy's challenge to find shorts that fit the front of him, left a major "wedgie" in the rear. (If this is also what I look like, would someone please tell me? The joke may be on me after all.)

As with most of my trips that require flying, I feel obligated (or perhaps bored enough) to draw stuff in the airport and on the plane.
Finally, I leave you with a few "designs" that I found in some of the wonderful rock formations all around the beaches. More to come...stay tuned!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Trip To Monterey" Prequel

Just wanted to let you know about a cool trip I'm taking on Tuesday, July 26. After hearing about vacations that friends have been going on this summer, I started thinking, "Well, Warren, what's stoppin' you from taking one yourself?!" I've been working hard painting rooms in my house for the last month, and am ready for a break. My daughter, Jenni, has been to Monterey, California a couple of times, and I was totally taken in by the gorgeous photos she took on her trips there. So...Monterey...HERE I COME!! I'll be out there for almost a week.

I've purchased a new sketchbook, watercolors, pastels, pens, and (the best part) a new Stetson hat for my "artist retreat". I plan to wander aimlessly, with no ipod, no computer, no deadlines, and no art directors. I want to just "be" for a few days on the beach, scanning the rocky coastline for interesting treasures, taking photos, and sketching whatever I feel like. I'll have my phone, of course. I'll even meet up with my daughter, Jen, and her beau, Brad, for one day, as they drive down from Lake Tahoe.

I'll be posting the sketches and photos from my adventure upon my return. Stay Tuned!

(The image above is some Photoshop magic using pictures taken by Jen, and my late wife, Cathy. However, if I find a cute Seagull to wear, I may ditch the Stetson...I kind of like the look.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Life Drawing Session #2"

Got a chance to go to another Figure Drawing session at work this afternoon. Decided not to show all of the sketches...just those that I was fairly pleased with. This time, I chose to use a brush pen with brown ink for the drawings (instead of pencils or charcoal), then I added some watercolor washes here and there. It's a bit risky with the can't undo the mistakes. But it was a nice challenge and I was glad to have my workload unexpectedly lighten so I could go draw for a couple of hours.