travel sketches


As we drove East on Route 64 toward the Atlantic Ocean, we were blinded by the rising sun.

7:30 am Route 64 North Carolina, October 11, 2012

The reflection of light off the white paper of the sketchbook made it impossible to see the color as I brushed it onto the paper.  The experience was the opposite extreme of painting musicians in the darkness of pubs at the Blues Jams.

sketchbook drawing: watercolor painted en plein air, en route.  Watercolor brush and limited palette of watercolor in Altoid Tin.

A waterbrush and fountain pen make sketching and drawing while traveling a breeze.  As Tom drives, I sit in the passenger seat recording the weather.

7 pm on Route 75, October 7, 2012

Whenever we stop to eat, sleep or take a hike, I capture the moment in quick sketches, carrying pen, brush and paints in my pockets.

Popcorn Overlook, Chattahoochee National Forest, Rt. 76, Georgia

Cabins at Carolina Landing, Fair Play, South Carolina

I would have liked to stay a bit longer at Twin Falls.

Twin Falls, Reedy Cove Creek, South Carolina

I’m using a very limited palette.

Twin Falls, Ink and Watercolor Sketch

In my Altoid Tin I have pans of watercolor that I have squeezed from tubes: Aureolin yellow, gamboge yellow, cadmium red light, scarlet, magenta, french ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, phthalo blue and viridian.  I haven’t had the need for anything else … so far.

Sketchbook drawings:  All but the top drawing were sketched first in ink with a fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

Three days on the road and nothing but gray skies….

7 am Route 79 in West Virginia

A bit later on Route 79

The sun broke through only twice so far ……

10:30 am on Route 64, West Virginia

Once on Route 64 in West Virginia and once ….

Keeneland Race Track, Lexington, Kentucky

at the Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky.  We arrived early enough for me to do a quick ink and watercolor drawing before the races began.

My waterbrush and limited palette of the Altoid tin filled with five pans of watercolor pigments is working great for in-the-car-as-we’re-driving sketches as well as the carry-it-all-in-my-pockets touristy stops.

I’m getting a great deal of practice mixing an assortment of grays!

Sketchbook drawings:

Weather sketches ….. watercolor

Keeneland Race Track – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of the fork and sketch on my other blog.

Vintage Fork painted with Peerless Watercolor Papers

This is the drawing after I painted it using a waterbrush and Peerless Watercolor Papers.  The sketchbook has thin, lined paper, not the BFK Rives paper I use to make my handmade sketchbooks.

sketchbook drawing:  drawn first with Vintage Sheaffer fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by Peerless Watercolor applied using a waterbrush.

Color Scheme: Double Complements, limited palette –  yellow and purple, blue and orange

Another extraordinary view of morning as the sun rises above a body of water. Mist skates silently across the gentle ripples.

Maranacook Lake, Study No. 1

The tiny Altoid Tin is working well for me .  I wished I had a cool red rather than a warm red this morning, but I worked with what I had.

Tiny Altoid Tin Watercolor Travel Kit

The palette is cadmium yellow light, cadmium red, french ultramarine blue, sap green and burnt sienna.  I used all but the burnt sienna in the two studies of Maranacook Lake.

Maranacook Lake, Study No. 2

The sponge works well to keep the colors from spilling into each other when not in use as well as keeping the pigment from drying out.  I store the tin in a snack-size zip lock bag.

The contrast of the sky and the spring grass along the Wicomico in late afternoon is stunning.

Late Afternoon along the Wicomico River, 5″ x 5″ oil painting en plein air

I preferred the underpainting of Permanent Mauve to the underpainting of Terra Rosa for most of the Maryland plein air oil paintings.  The Permanent Mauve works better to suggest the brilliant light in the area of the Chesapeake Bay.  For me, the Terra Rosa only worked for the mid-day paintings.  Even then, I preferred the Permanent Mauve.  I’ll be experimenting more with variations of underpainting washes.  It’s great to get a head start on the mood of the environment with a quick underpainting wash!

Painting: 5″ x 5″ oil on gessoed birch panel.  Painted en plein air.

I ended up drawing several variations of the laminated wood salt and pepper shakers.

Trumpet Parts No. 85 with Laminated Wood Salt Shaker

When I travel, I bring my favorite trumpet part, “T2P2”, with me.  It hung out on the table with the salt and pepper shaker, urging me to keep drawing all those laminated layers!  I liked the ink bleed in the previous attempts, but it only worked well in the wider layers.  The ink overpowered the color in the thinner layers.  I drew this in pencil first and applied brighter colors to create a more realistic rendering of the salt shaker.  I even used perspective to draw in the ovals at different intervals and diameters before indicating the lines of the thin layers.  Whew…. I haven’t done that in a long time.

Sketchbook drawing/painting: drawn first with pencil followed by watercolor washes.

« Previous PageNext Page »