A new way to explore when traveling…. or even at home…. Nine Squared Walk’n’Draw!
It was time for me to make up a new game to play. I’m now working on Design and Temperature. In Susan Abbott’s workshop earlier this year, she emphasized the order of priorities when painting….. First comes Shapes, then Values, then Temperature and lastly, Color. With that in mind, I used the concept of my video “Twenty Steps” to create the new game I’ve titled Nine Squared.
Before the walk, I drew a grid of nine rectangles on nine sheets of watercolor paper. All I needed to bring with me were the sheets of paper, a mechanical pencil, a waterbrush, a mini Altoid tin with warm and cool pigment (I only needed two pans, not all three that are shown above) and my leather folder that I use as an easy-to-hold drawing surface that doubles as a folder to carry the paper.
I begin the walk, taking Nine times Nine steps in any direction (Eighty one steps). I stop, choose a composition, snap a photo and start my timer for nine minutes. In those nine minutes I determine my shapes and repeat them in two more rectangles. I leave one as the pencil drawing, paint the second as a value sketch in browns and the third as a temperature sketch in warm and cool pigment.
Like any of my games, I allow myself to break the rules on a regular basis. I do not stop in the middle of a busy street just because I’ve reach step number eighty-one. If there is a nice place to sit in the shade and I reach it at step seventy-three, I stop and sit down. If I need twelve more steps to get to a nice shady spot, I take those extra steps. The rules are simply a guide to force me to be more observant of every spot I pass through and to determine warms and cools to create stronger design.
Images: small en plein air watercolor sketches in Mountain View, California