There is a stack of sketchbooks in my studio filled with sketches done over the years during my boys’ karate classes. These quick sketches are exercises in composition, gesture and analysis of movement, they are also the point of departure for the Karate series.
Today I am sharing a mixed media drawing and the sketchbook pages that inspired it.
sketchbook gesture drawing
Sketchbook gesture revisited
The top line drawing was the quick gesture drawing done on site at the dojo, its generalized character is the result of rapid note taking. The next image shows the same drawing embellished with mixed media marks and color. This later version was the inspiration for a piece titled “Warm up”. Due to the minimalistic nature of the initial gestures, I relied heavily on memory, imagination and a little bit on direct observation while developing this drawing. The subject matter and the mixture of materials which include water-soluble graphite, acrylic wash, charcoal, sanguine and chalk pastels were conducive to energetic mark-making. My focus here was on gesture, rhythm and surface development. To capture the gesture, I paid close attention to the tilts of the three moveable masses of the figure (skull, ribcage and pelvis).
Adriana Burgos “Warm up”, mixed media, 21″ x 29″
I am pleased with the resulting sense of movement and the surface quality that emerged from the layers of material and look forward to future media explorations as the series grows.
This end of the year I had the opportunity to get away with my family for a week. We stayed by a lake in the woods around Stone Mountain. It was a great way to bring in the new year, we did some hiking, sat around bon fires, watched the kids play out all day in spite of the cold and spent time with family and friends. I got to work on a small silverpoint drawing which I will share in a future post because it could use some refining.
I am however sharing a journal drawing from our trip to Stone Mountain three years ago. It’s always great to find time to draw on our nature getaways. This two page spread is a landscape study in warm and cool temperatures to show depth. It is part of a written journal in which I record our family’s experiences when we go camping. Keeping journals and sketchbooks is a great way to record life experiences, I hope my children will look through these journals in the future and find many of the memories we have created together.
Adriana Burgos, Study of woods in black and sienna, 2014
In this particular sketch, I used sanguine, graphite and charcoal. Using the red and black is always an interesting challenge, because although the drawing is still a value drawing, the temperature shifts from black to red brown offer an added quality that allows me to manipulate depth through value contrast and temperature.
I look forward to sharing new memories through sketchbook drawings this new year.
I have come to love the mysterious quality of the landscape around the area I live. This summer I started working on the South Land series, a body of work inspired by places I visit periodically in the Georgia and South Carolina low country. The natural resources here include marshes, beaches, swamps and woods. In this series, I am combining images from sketchbook drawings, and my photographs into narrative compositions. Always an avid reader, I find inspiration in literature and I believe the juxtaposition of figure and landscape creates a sense of story worth exploring.
Adriana Burgos, thumbnail sketches for “Fort”, graphite on paper
Today I am sharing some thumbnail sketches and a preliminary sketch for “Fort”. The thumbnails are about 3″ wide and were done with graphite in my sketchbook. The larger comp is roughly 15″ x 11″ done with sanguine pencil. Although the small graphite drawings were meant to be different ideas for a single piece, I intend to develop several finished drawings based on these. My main objectives here were to experiment with shapes in relation to the picture plane, placement of the elements, movement and depth. I was having fun with the effect of directional lines across the space. The orientation of the branches and tree trunks create a choreography of linear structure that I find striking.
Adriana Burgos 2016, “study for Fort”, sanguine on cream stonehenge paper,
The final pieces based on these studies will be large charcoal drawings. This is the ideal medium to continue my experimentations with value to create a sense of atmosphere. I hope to be posting progress soon!
As the years go by, time seems to fly past us. It is often through our children that we realize just how fleeting life can be. As a mother and figurative artist, I have done a number of drawings of my children, many of them while they were sleeping. There is something beautiful and intimate about people in slumber. My most recent sketch dealing with this subject is one I titled “Restless”, it depicts Felipe trying to nap in our most recent camping trip, after a difficult night because he wasn’t feeling well.
It seems like yesterday when Nicolas and Felipe were only babies. With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to post sketches of my boys at different ages. Below, you can see my most recent drawing of Felipe next to another of him as a baby. These were done nine years apart, both during family camping trips. The passage of time evident in the physical appearance of Felipe in each sketch.
My fascination with drawing my children hasn’t changed. Motherhood is a great adventure and one worth exploring through art. The drawings of my children go beyond description, the process of drawing is a record of my emotions and deep love for them.
The sketches below are of Nicolas, my firstborn. The first is one of a series of drawings that led to my first explorations with silverpoint, (two of these are featured in this post on silverpoint, https://adrianaburgosdrawing.wordpress.com/category/drawing-techniques/). The second is one during his toddler years after a walk in the stroller. Once again the juxtaposition of these images is evidence of the passage of time. Nicolas will soon turn 13 and is already taller than me. I look to the drawings of him as a baby as an important stage in my development as an artist.
Witnessing how my boys blossom into their own individual selves is amazing. I see traits of both my husband and I in both of them, yet they are also their own persons. Even though they change and mature through the years, their essence is ever present. Continue reading
Late June is usually when I catch up with some home organizing and the studio is, of course, among my top priorities. As I was organizing my space, I found several old sketchbooks. Today’s images are sketches found in one of those books, these are for “Elena and the Spirits”, a narrative piece that I have yet to develop into a large drawing or painting
These images are idea development drawings of different speeds. Though not fully resolved, they are very important in the development process because they represent the materialization of an idea. Done, at least 15 years ago, they still hold my interest and I will begin working a silverpoint version as well as a large charcoal or mixed media drawing soon.
Adriana Burgos, Idea development drawing for “Elena and Spirits”, graphite on paper.
Adriana Burgos, Idea development drawing for “Elena and Spirits”, graphite on paper.
Many of the other sketches jotted in the sketchbook were developed into mixed media drawings or paintings and I will share them along with the finished pieces in a future sketchbook feature post. There are other sketches and written ideas that could be revised and developed further and definitely worth exploring.
Here is a little ink wash study I did years ago. This was done from direct observation at the Old Ebenezer Church grounds about 15 minutes from my home. The grounds of the church are beautiful, wooded with tall pine trees and large oaks overlooking Ebenezer creek.
I don’t usually work with ink wash, but it is a great medium to explore form and value. In this particular drawing I was exploring value to create a sense of atmospheric perspective, which can be achieved by decreasing the value range as the space recedes. In other words, a sense of deep space can be depicted keeping the darkest darks and lightest lights for the foreground and using gray values close in contrast in the background.
I’ve been thinking about dusting off my brushes and working some in watercolor and ink lately, so you might be seeing more water based drawings soon.
Adriana Burgos, Ebenezer, Ink wash study en plein air
This past weekend I was away on a camping trip with my husband and two boys. We took advantage of the long weekend in observance of the Martin Luther King holiday, and took off to one of our favorite Georgia state parks nearby, Magnolia Springs.
The weather was cold and windy, perfect for sitting by the fire. I did this little study on the camping journal.
At the beginning, I set out to do a pen drawing with my favorite sepia copic pen, but then I changed my mind and switched to graphite. I realized early on, that I was really in the mood for a drawing emphasizing big blocks of value. I created some of the value shapes with the side of the pencil and then layered with finer marks, an approach I wouldn’t have used with a fine pen.
I liked the end result and had a great time slowing down to take in the beautiful natural setting.
Adriana Burgos, Study of trees at Magnolia Springs, sepia pen and graphite on sketchbook paper 2016
Adriana Burgos, Sketchbook study of woods using pitt pens.
Adriana Burgos, Sketchbook study of trees in sepia copic multi liner
Adriana Burgos, Sketchbook study of trees in pen
This week my sketchbook studies are dedicated in loving memory to my dad who recently passed away. My father was an agronomist and worked as a college professor for many years. He loved plants and the outdoors and he instilled a love of nature in me. This is why landscape and natural form studies are a recurrent theme in my sketchbooks.
For me, an important part of drawing from nature, is the direct contact with the outdoors. The process of drawing plants and trees from observation can be meditative. When working on site, I aim to capture the essence of the space and my response to it. I marvel at the perfect design in nature and look out for rhythms and patterns in woods or on individual trees. I search for the characteristics of growth of the branches such as where they grow out from and what direction the limbs take. It’s interesting to compare and contrast structural characteristics from tree to tree. There are patterns in the growth of the branches, the leaves, the fruit, seeds or flowers. Careful observations of negative and positive shapes as well as analysis of vertical and horizontal alignments help me capture the correct shape and form.
I am forever grateful to have grown up with a deep appreciation for our natural environment and I hope to instill this in my kids.
Drawing on site is such a wonderful way of connecting with nature. Here is a little study of trees done in Savannah’s beautiful Forsyth park. I was focusing on the light and dark tones of the trees and the receding space. The medium here is charcoal and the whites were achieved by erasing into the greys and blacks.
Adriana Burgos, sketchbook drawings, charcoal on watercolor paper
Adriana Burgos, sketchbook drawing, charcoal and sanguine, driftwood
We are getting ready for our last family vacation of the year, a camping trip to one of my favorite places in Georgia, Jekyll Island. The island has beautiful beaches, marshes, rivers, gorgeous huge oak trees and beautiful driftwood along the water. This is a sketch I did on site at Driftwood Beach a while back. I was drawn to the beautiful shapes created by the branches. I look forward to more sketching this trip!