I’ve been having fun playing with my watercolors, and decided to try a new type of project. While I have a comfortable grasp on drawing portraits, I haven’t spent much time adding color to them.
While my sis-n-law was visiting and trying on a hat that I crocheted, I snapped a quick photo of her. Currently in the middle of re-reading the Harry Potter books, it occurred to me that the image would make a great illustration of a witch.
I quickly sketched her out and added some color to the sketch. Definitely not my best drawing, but as a proof-of-concept for a new-ish style and the addition of color, it worked fairly well.
After years of practice capturing every detail and trying to draw realistic images, I am trying to develop a looser, sketchy style. I love the zig-zags in the hat and the wrinkles in the bottom right corner of the shirts, so I’m making progress.
A fun experiment, one well worth repeating.
I’ve always loved the intersection of pictures and quotes (the stick figures series is a prime example). So when I stumbled across a new drawing-plus-quotes project while reading a watercolor book, I couldn’t wait to try it!
Not only do I get to peruse my quote collection, but I got to try out a new watercolor technique. Win, win!
The heart and rose are on post-card sized watercolor paper. After finishing the painting I added in the quote with a drawing pen.
Ashley on her bicycle was the first painting that I did in this line. It’s not yet complete, as I haven’t yet added in a fitting quote – though I do have a couple of them picked out. This is a larger work, nearly 8×10″.
Not sure what happened with that “antenna” sprouting up out of Ashley’s head – re-painting the image will give me more practice with the procedure and the materials and hopefully end up more as I intended it. 😀
Only a few miles up the road from Guadalupe Mountains is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Even though I spent a few hours exploring the cave, and no matter how fascinating, dramatic, and visually stimulating it may be, it’s a bit of a challenge to draw in the dark. Plus, as patient as my wife may be, she does have her limits at times.
Here’s a quick rendering of the Chandelier, one of the prominent stone features.
After leaving Big Bend it was time to hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a couple of days. It was evening by the time the RV was settled, so I only had time for a quick hike to a nearby spring and a bit of time to sketch out the Frijole Ranch house.
Of course, the first order of business the next morning was to hike up to Guadalupe Peak – not only the highest point in the park at 8751 feet, but also in all of Texas!
During a quick break I started sketching the true trail markers, rock cairnes. I need to add some background (a trail and second cairne) for context, but this is a good start.
Up on the peak, after eating lunch I pulled my sketchbook back out to capture the back side of the most famous landmark in the area, El Capitan. The pencil line in the background is the road circling off in the distance. I couldn’t quite decide what to do in the distance and will probably just end up erasing the pencil lines and letting the monolith stand on its own. Additionally, it was pretty hot and there was no shade or breeze for relief, so a quick sketch definitely won out over a watercolor option.
After leaving Brant’s I headed further west in Texas to visit Big Bend National Park. Even though it was hot (and I’m out of practice with the heat, so it felt pretty miserable) I explored the park for 4 days. Of course, I carried my trusty little moleskine pocket sketchbook everywhere. In addition, on bigger hiking days, I tucked a few sheets of watercolor paper into my daypack and a mini art kit.
On the first day in the park I hiked into the Santa Elena canyon. Tucked in the shade of the cliffs, sitting next to the Rio Grande river, it was nice and cool. I loved taking a few minutes to capture the scene. The cliffs on the right, across the river, are Mexico.
The next day included a hike up to Emory Peak, the highest point in the park. After reaching it and enjoying lunch, I pulled out my watercolors and tried to capture part of the scene before me.
It was hot and humid, so it didn’t take long for my watercolors to dry out. As they did, I pulled out my little sketchbook for this quick render. It’s a zoomed in view of a slightly different angle of the Chisos mountains.
After getting back from the mountains, I zipped around on my motorcycle for a bit more sketching and painting.
The bright buildings in Boquillas, Mexico, really stood out against the natural desert backdrop of the mountains.
I sketched out this fun tunnel that leads down into the Rio Grande Village campground, where we stayed during our visit. Later I’ll go back and add some watercolor to it. On one of the trips out of the valley the timing was perfect and the sunset was highlighted within the tunnel. Of course, that was heading the other way on the road. This direction gives layers of mountains to play with and a big sky above them.
I’ve discovered that I’m not great at sitting and listening – I end up distracting myself through some chain of thoughts or another. Taking notes doesn’t help as speakers tend to spend longer on a point than it takes me to write down the bullet point.
Sometimes sketching helps. I stay (at least visually) focused on the speaker which helps me to keep my mind from wandering so frequently.
Visiting a childhood friend in Texas and attending Wednesday night church service. It was hard for me to not start a second sketch of everyone else in the rows in front of me… but I figured that would distract me from the lesson too much!
I love cajun and creole-inspired foods. So how could a trip through Louisiana be complete without stopping for a meal in New Orleans? After stuffing myself with delicious creole staples (beans and rice, fried chicken, jambalaya, etc) at Dooky Chase, it was time to walk some of it off through the French Quarter. Down by the waterfront we paused to take in the view. I sketched this building, the home of Jax.
I’ve really been enjoying the gnarly Oaks that are covered with Spanish Moss. While stopped for a couple days, visiting family, I pulled out the watercolors and painted a tree from the back yard. It was pushed over a few years ago in a tropical storm but hasn’t given in yet.
After leaving Big Cypress we headed north to Gainesville to visit family for a few days. Central Florida has lots of older treas, grown in gnarly shapes and covered with Spanish Moss. They’re fascinating!
After leaving the Everglades, we headed to Big Cypress National Preserve. Though it’s not a park, it is managed by the National Parks department. The two border each other, so it was a quick trip. Unfortunately, we only spent a little bit of time there – it’s definitely worth a longer visit and more in-depth exploration!
The boardwalk in front of the visitor center was directly over a number of gators in the channel, offering wonderful, close-up vies. There were also turtles, and plenty of fish floating around. After the visitor center closed we continued on to a picnic/rest area and checked out the area. Then we cooked breakfast for supper and moseyed along our way.