Drawings and the passage of time

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.

restless sleepFelipe, 9 months old

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.

Nicolas sleepingStroller

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

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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.

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

 

Study of tree with quote

I found this study of a tree from last year as I revisited old sketchbooks. Next to the drawing, I wrote a quote by the great writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I did this little drawing right around the time that Garcia Marquez passed away, his novels and short stories have been a great source of inspiration for me as an artist so I spent time reading about his legacy . Looking through some articles, I stumbled upon this quote:

Detail of study of tree with quote

Detail of study of tree with quote

” It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Wise words, I hope to never stop pursuing my dreams…

Adriana Burgos, Sketchbook study of a tree in graphite

Adriana Burgos, Sketchbook study of a tree in graphite

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

Limited palette drawings

I don’t consider myself a landscape artist but when I go on camping trips with my family I love taking time out to draw nature from direct observation. These two studies are journal entries from my camping sketchbooks. The first  is a watercolor sketch of the woods in Stone Mountain. I did this while sitting at our campsite looking out to other campers among the woods. I used my travel watercolor kit and chose to work with a limited palette of earth tones. Limited palettes in color drawings keep the composition unified and can be a fun challenge for the artist, since it requires a simplification of the observed space on many levels, shape, form and color. This was done during the fall, so there was a red brown and orange dominance in the space as the leaves were turning.

The second image is a mixed media drawing done at Driftwood beach in Jekyll Island this summer. I chose to use copic markers (which can resemble water color at times), graphite and multiliner copic markers. The great thing about using markers is that they are immediate and easy to use on the go, no need for water containers and brushes or palettes. They are great for color studies and their transparent quality allows for subtle value and color effects. It is important however to consider the paper you are using. In this case I worked directly on my multimedia sketchbook instead of working on the marker paper. The porous quality of my sketchbook causes the markers to bleed through. I don’t mind it much since the sketchbooks are very personal in my case. Once again I explored a limited palette, in this case, focusing on warm against cool temperatures, which is a fun way of using minimal color in a drawing. I enjoyed the balance between large value and color blocks and fine linear buildup with graphite and multiliner pens.