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.

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.


Adriana Burgos, Ebenezer, Ink wash study en plein air


Studies of an oak tree

On labor day weekend this year we went camping to Jekyll Island. The park was full with people getting the most out of the end of the summer and we enjoyed a great weekend there. Saturday was rainy so we spent a lot of time sitting under the awning of our camper and either reading or drawing.

I worked on a small study of an oak tree from direct observation. Oak trees abound in the south and this particular one is a very impressive old one. For this study I focused on the tree itself and the ones on the background aiming to achieve a sense of  depth through atmospheric perspective (less contrast and detail in the background).

Study of an oak tree from direct observation in silverpoint

Study of an oak tree from direct observation in silverpoint

My nine-year old son Felipe, joined me and worked on his own observational silverpoint drawing.  I recommended that he look at the negative shapes and draw the spaces in between the branches to deal with the complexity of the subject and he did a great job!! His loose marks and linear build up of value are impressive and his composition very dynamic. Children are such natural artists. They never seize to amaze me.

Silverpoint drawing by my 9 year old son Felipe

Silverpoint drawing by my 9 year old son Felipe