Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tower Records and Books Today
This is the 8th summer teaching my college plein air watercolor sketch class. We meet every Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to about 1PM (depending on the summer heat) for eight weekends, and I teach my students how to block in composition lightly with a soft office pencil, detail and complete the sketch with a fine tip sharpie pen (non-water soluble), and then paint in color washes. We meet at a different location each weekend. Next weekend, we will be watercolor sketching at the Sacramento Aerospace museum where I did this Vietnam era F-4 Phantom jet last year. The other painting is a demo I did for my students today. It is Tower Theater, a Sacramento landmark. It still houses a theater that plays independent films and Tower Cafe that is a legendary restaurant serving dishes from all over the world. This watercolor sketch was drawn and painted on an Arches 140lb, rough, cold press watercolor block (as you can see). Drawing time was about 45 minutes and painting time about the same. I first painted the sky to help highlight the tower and reflect the tower's vertical structure. The foreground palm tree was not outside my picture frame so I moved it in and added another palm tree behind the building. There is a tree smack dab in front of the marquee, so I made sure to kick that bastard out! I always have various puddles of color in the mixing area of my palette, and I also utilize colors directly from the paint wells as I apply paint to paper. Areas of homogenous color truly suck, and you may quote me on that. The beauty of watercolor sketching is that the drawing is doing most of the work. Just add a few color washes and Bob's your uncle, Fannie's your aunt, you're done! What could be simpler?... Not!...practice, practice, practice and with the medium of watercolor, one can truly say that with no pain there is no gain.