Tuesday, 23 June 2015

MY SKETCHBOOK - pages 21 through 30.

Occasionally, in the course of maintaining a sketchbook we make a not so great sketch. Yes, it happens. It's as if the sketchbook is ruined, that it's has a blemish, and our first thought is to remove the offending sketch. But, you shouldn't because as I've stated before, a sketch is but a sketch, it's a rough idea. Good, or bad, each sketch contains a memory. Should you make what you think is a bad sketch the solution is to simply write a message at the bottom of the page to yourself saying something like, "a not so great sketch", then go on with the next page. Often when I look back, sometimes years later, I realize that although the sketch wasn't that great, the memory of the moment and the reason that I attempted this effort, still exists. Remember it's only a sketch, and was not intended as a masterpiece.

The reason that I'm going on about my "leave everything intact" policy is that while scanning this sketchbook I discovered that several pages have been cut out. Why, I don't know? I can only hope that I used the sketches as reference for drawings, and that they're in a folder somewhere. Perhaps, I removed the pages before I adopted my "leave everything intact" policy. It's a mystery that will no doubt never be answered.

Memories are gold as one ages.....

It was late afternoon, early evening, and I had just finished walking the marsh when I noticed an owl beginning its evening prowl. I quickly made a rough sketch that later, back in the studio, was turned into a drawing, and a small watercolour painting. I believe that I may still have the drawing. The painting has long since been sold.

I used this sketch as reference for a small watercolour. Instead of ducks, however, I painted a pair of Canada Geese coming in for a landing.

Reference also for a painting, a large painting, again substituting Canada Geese for the ducks in the sketch. I believe that I called this painting, "TINY MARSH".

The date on this sketch should read December 21/87.  Puzzling as to just why I'd write 1983. It couldn't have been a memory lapse due to old age, as back then I would have been a young 56 year old. Must have been a cold day, and my fingers were numb. One of those mysteries with no answer. I do recall making the sketch, however. The snow was late in coming that year, and I went for a walk in the Copeland Forest surfacing on Horseshoe Resort's cross-country ski trails above what was called "Heart Attack Hill. As I reached the top of the hill a bird of prey, most likely a Red-tailed Hawk, flew over the crest of the hill. I later used the sketch as reference material for a painting of a Snowy Owl launching from a fence post. A good painting as I recall.

This was an idea for a full sheet watercolour. The painting, however, featured only one soaring Red-tailed Hawk.

A study, one of many, for an etching that never got printed.

I was relatively close to a couple of artists. We sometimes all exhibited at the same festivals. We often spoke of getting together, and doing some sketching. On this one occasion we met at Buckhorn, Ontario, and between reminiscing we jumped in our cars, and went off sketching. It was interesting to learn that some of the artists not only never sketched, but couldn't draw, and made exclusive use of photographs to make their drawing and paintings. Slides, projectors, and tracings to make their paintings that were ultimately turned into limited edition reproductions by a printing press. Art?

There were times when I tired of attempting to realistically portray wildlife, and played with doing something more graphic in nature. I made a whole series of waterfowl paintings layering on Prussian blue in stripes of varying intensity, then added realistic geese and ducks. This was an early study for the series.

I turned this quick study into an acrylic painting. I mainly painted with watercolour, but on the rare occasion I'd turn out a small oil landscape, or an acrylic painting. They quickly sold. Some think that oil paintings are the "real thing". I suppose that they must be for if you tour the National Gallery, or any major gallery for that matter, you're hard pressed to find a watercolour painting. Perhaps, I should have switched mediums......

Canada Geese, a successful reintroduction program gone viral. Used to be, back in the 1940s, or thereabouts, it was thought that the giant Canada Goose had gone extinct. However, a small population was discovered out west somewheres, and a breeding program was begun. Years later the success of the program has become a nightmare with Canada Geese everywhere fouling beaches and parks. God help us should the reintroduction of the Trumpeter Swan, a much larger goose, become as successful!

More BLACK 8" X 10 "  More sketches to come........

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