Get Outside and Keep Things Simple.

16 April, 2017. At the start of this last week I found myself desperate to draw. I introduced the last assignment of the semester to my drawing and painting students, and began to sketch alongside them, toying around with a colored ground, an Omni-Ball Deluxe pen, and a white Cray-pas. It felt so academic…I needed to get outside!

Keeping things basic, I headed out on several occasions for an hour or two of bike sketching. This is simple enough: stow a pen and a couple scraps of paper into a bike bag or jersey and head out with no other purpose or destination in mind than to explore. I find that some of the most satisfying excursions happen when I open my eyes up to places I visit slowly on foot or by wheel. This was a little house I’ve bicycled past a thousand times before, but today it just needed to be sketched. Using a Pilot Varsity and hitting the line work very minimally with a water brush creates a very pleasing monochromatic wash effect.

A little further down the road I encountered this very cool community service project, something I never noticed until today. In fact, I’d ridden past it and was already a dozen yards down the road before it occurred to me what I’d seen from the corner of my eye. I turned around to investigate further. (Pilot Varsity and water brush)

I’d issued a “mini-challenge” to our USk group earlier this week to draw people doing yard work. It seemed appropriate for the weather, and to my chagrin I realized I hadn’t participated much at all in the challenge. Yard work was taking place in the yard behind my studio and I quickly scribbled out my impression. And then I hopped on my bike and headed back out into the world beyond my drawing table. (Pentel Pocket brush pen)

This sketch of the Clay County Archives Museum is such a “post card” moment. A part of me feels like making a tighter version of this sketch in a larger format. The larger part of me prefers to overlook such preciousness and simply enjoy the energy of the sketch. (Pencil and watercolor)

OK. No actually bike sketching took place here because it’s my backyard, but it’s included because I sketched it right after I got home and put the bike away. (Pentel Pocket brush pen)

And then yesterday rolled into view. A beautiful morning to ride and get in some bike sketching…although if I am to be perfectly honest, I got in a lot more biking than sketching!  (Pilot Varsity and water brush)

My takeaway for the week is twofold:

  1. Get outside! (Breathe and enjoy the freshness of spring.)
  2. Keep it simple. (This applies not only to the drawing, but to the tools and the method of encounter as well.)
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