Thursday, 24 October 2013


I'm can't say enough about the value of sketching. The sketch can be but a few lines quickly scrawled on a scrap of paper, or something more detailed in a bound book, but however made their value is priceless. When I'm out hiking I do take photographs of various scenes that seem worthy of a painting, but later viewed I often find myself wondering whatever possessed me to take the photograph, as the scene has somehow become flat and uninteresting. If on the other hand I've actually been inspired to find a place to sit and to taken the time to get out my sketching materials and study the landscape, all of the details of the moment come back when I later view the sketch.

Island - Lake of Two Rivers, Algonquin
Pencil Sketch 
Such was the case when a friend asked that I make a painting for her. She enjoys Algonquin Provincial Park and, for reason that I won't go into, she is unable to explore some of the more remote areas, so it became a bit of a challenge to come up with a scene somewhat familiar, something that she could relate to. I visited my sketchbooks and came up with a small sketch of the island in Lake of Two Rivers. Not the best of sketches, all the same it brought back memories. I had made it years ago late one autumn. I remember that it was cold and damp, end of the season, with only a few aspens holding onto their leaves. It was getting on to dusk as we were passing by Lake of Two Rivers and the island caught my attention. We stopped at the entrance to the campground, and as the campground was closed and the gate down we parked and walked down to the beach. Finding a suitable view I sat down on my camp stool and hurriedly began to sketch. In the middle of the sketch a park warden approached and reminded us that the campground was closed. We acknowledged that we were aware that the campground was closed and would leave just as soon as I completed my sketch. I completed my sketch and packed up and more, or less, forgot about the sketch until this past spring when I stumbled upon it in an old sketchbook.

Viewing the sketch I recalled just how colourful the foliage had been that autumn and I began to play around with making thumbnail sketches. Settling upon one of the thumbnail compositions I made a more detailed pencil study, followed by a watercolour sketch. Finally settling upon a composition and theme I proceeded with the watercolour painting, which you can see started with a sketch.

Thumbnail Pencil Sketch

Detailed Pencil Sketch

Watercolour Sketch

Island - Lake of Two Rivers
Watercolour Painting   9" X 13"

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