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

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.

Ebenezer

Adriana Burgos, Ebenezer, Ink wash study en plein air

 

Beach studies

“Ocean and sky study”, Adriana Burgos sketchbook study in oil pastels

Looking through my old camping journal,  I found these studies done at Hunting Island South Carolina. The first is in oil pastel which is a very fun medium for a painterly approach. The format of the drawing is 5.5 x 8.5 so there is not much room for details and meticulous drawing when using the oil pastel. It was a cloudy summer day and the water was choppy.

The drawing below was done with water-soluble watercolor pencils by Derwent. I really liked this set of colored pencils because the colors were not too saturated. There was a good number of earth tones, and greys. Here I drew the landscape first and then quickly captured the figures of the kids through gesture drawing. The children in the drawing are my boys Nicolas and Felipe with Raquel from our adopted family in Savannah with whom we share great memories.  I really like this piece as a study for a large drawing or painting. The great thing about sketchbooks is that you can revisit them and if a study stands the test of time it might be worth developing into a large piece.

Kids on the beach

“Kids on the beach” Adriana Burgos, sketchbook study in water-soluble colored pencils.

 

 

 

 

 

Life is fleeting

Life is fleeting, it goes by in a flash. I found some of my drawings of the boys from 2007, Felipe my youngest was just a baby and Nicolas must’ve been about 3 1/2. Now they are 9 and 12 and  getting so big. Before I know it Nicolas will be as tall as me.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about life stages and how age affects our body movements and gestures. These drawings of my kids’ early childhood contrast the ones I have been doing of my late father. The depiction of early life, late childhood, youth, midlife, old age is becoming really interesting to me. I remember back when I did the baby drawings of Nicolas I was afraid they were maybe too sentimental, but now I am so glad I did them and I see that work as part as a greater narrative.

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.

Study of cypress trees in warm and cool colors

George L. SmithThis week I am sharing an observational sketchbook study I did on one of my recent camping trips to George L. Smith, a Ga state park with beautiful landscape. There are rows and rows of cypress trees in a lake. The swampy feel is unique to the area and can be so mysterious. I love the pattern made by the receding trees and the way they reflect on the water.

This was my first developed drawing with copic markers. I picked a blue grey with sepia to play the warm against the cool colors. These markers are great for layering thus achieving several gradations of value and color. I also added fine lines with copic multiliners. The drawing was done in my multimedia journal, next time I will use the marker paper.