Dusting off an old sketchbook

Elena and the spirits

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.

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.

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It’s summer!!

It’s summer and now that school ended, it’s time to reflect, re-charge, spend time with the family and get busy in the studio. To kickstart the season, I went camping to the beach in North Florida with my husband and two boys. We enjoyed a nine-day getaway, which was a great way to wind down from a busy and rewarding school year.

On this trip, we visited Hannah Park for the first time and really enjoyed the beach and the bike trails as well as the lush wooded campground. As usual, I packed up my favorite drawing supplies and sketchbook and worked on some nature studies of the vegetation and trees around our site.

In a couple of these drawings I set out to explore warm and cool temperature relationships by using the brown and the black or gray.

I enjoy working with different media. Pen pushes me to explore value and mark-making through line, while sanguine and graphite offer more flexibility. The latter allowed me to mass, using the side of the drawing tool while also layering some line work and taking away with the eraser. Pen is less forgiving and forces me to make decisions through the additive approach of mark-making.

In both pen drawings, I set out to create emphasis in the compositions by developing some areas further and gradually easing to a contour line drawing.

Hannah Park, pen study

I have found that when working with this medium, I enjoy emphasizing negative spaces to bring out the positive, something I admire in Corot’s landscapes which inspire me greatly when it comes to plein-aire work.

These nature studies take up quite a bit of my sketchbook work and I find it interesting because I don’t consider myself a landscape artist. The main motivation for these sketches is my love of nature and the act of drawing from direct observation. The process of recording what I am seeing allows me to really experience a particular place and I find it meditative.

Observing natural forms

There is perfect design in nature and botanical forms offer beautiful subjects to study pattern, movement, repetition, form and shape. Today I am featuring some old pure contour sketchbook drawings from plants and fruits found in my kitchen. I enjoy observing nature through different drawing methods and although my preference is a structural approach, I find pure contour to be a great process to work from complex subjects. To read about my thoughts on contour line drawing you can click on the red letters.

An old sketch re-visited

It is interesting when old notes still resonate. Last week I was looking through several old sketchbooks and found a gesture drawing of my boys at play. I drew it a couple of summers ago, while they romped through the sprinklers. Today I worked on a refined sketch using the original as reference.  These images speak to me of childhood through the physical movements.

Sprinklers

Adriana Burgos, Study for “Sprinklers” based on a quick sketchbook drawing. Ink, watercolor, charcoal, sanguine and pastel

For today’s piece, I started out with ink and watercolor and then added layers of dry media with charcoal, sanguine and pastel to develop surface and emphasize shape and form.

sprinklers progress

Adriana Burgos, Study for sprinklers in progress ink wash and watercolor.

Using only a quick drawing as reference forced me to rely on memory, gesture structure and a familiarity with anatomy. Exploring the co-relation of gesture and memory to construct images is very beneficial for my artistic expression at the moment and I look forward to seeing where this process will take me.

Mixed media karate sketch

The sketchbook is a great platform for media exploration. I was experimenting with ink wash this week, playing with warm and cool temperatures. This drawing was based on one of my quick karate sketches while observing my kids’ classes.

I love the immediacy and happy accidents that happen when drawing gesturally with ink. A lot of the warm against cool relationships of the drawing are mainly in the negative space surrounding the figure. For the background I applied brown, black and blue ink and let all the colors run into each other with wet into wet marks. After the wash drawing dried, I emphasized a few areas  with white and blue chalk and black charcoal.

The end result is exciting and has inspired me to explore gestural drawings with ink wash more. Studies from the karate sketchbooks will be a great point of departure for more work like this.

with bow pole study

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Adriana Burgos, Mixed media sketchbook study, 2016

Southern landscape in ink wash

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.

Ebenezer

Adriana Burgos, Ebenezer, Ink wash study en plein air

 

Trees at Magnolia Springs

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.

Trees at Magnolia Springs

Adriana Burgos, Study of trees at Magnolia Springs, sepia pen and graphite on sketchbook paper 2016