Saturday, June 13, 2009

Acrylic sketching


With a house full of people off and on, I miss my time for drawing and painting, but do usually manage to fit in a little in between. However, even sketching with a two year old around is virtually impossible as she immediately wants to grab the sketchbook or the pencil as soon as she sees me with it. Providing her with her own doesn't work. So while she sleeps and others do what they must, I fit in some time to myself.

This is a 5 x 7 acrylic sketch of a rough sea in Pouch Cove. The waves were rolling, the sky was grey and the wind high. Painting moving sea is difficult. Its a matter of reality mixed with memory as you scan the water, trying to capture the changing light and movement. No two waves are the same, but they have similarities which help you achieve the overall effect.

I have switched to acrylic while my grand daughter is in the house, as the fumes from the turps are fairly strong and not good for her - likely not good for me either, but I am used to them. One day I'll get some less toxic cleaner/dilutant. I haven't done a lot of work in acrylic, tending to prefer oils. Acrylics do have benefits and drawbacks and I do find the quick drying time an annoyance sometimes. I know I can get a drying extender, but for the brief times I use acrylics, its not worth my while. For plein air sketches, acrylic is good and way less messy than oils to transport. The speed of application and drying can work to my benefit in on site sketching, then I can take it back to the studio to work on it further. There really isn't anything comparable to plein air for getting the light and colour just right in seascapes. Photographs just never seem to do it justice.

11 comments:

Jo Castillo said...

This is just gorgeous.

Lindsay said...

This is really beautiful. The rocks and the waves around them really are dynamic. Are you working on canvas or some other support?

Jeanette said...

Thanks Jo. I love the shapes and colours in the ocean.

I liked the overall shapes in this too Lindsay. I use canvas panels for outside work, as they can be tossed around with much fear of damage. :)

vivien said...

absolutely lovely, you've really got the feeling of those waves and the grey (but subtly coloured) day

Gina Cuff said...

I think you captured the scene quite nicely, Jeanette...I can feel the cool ocean spray against my face.

I love the mingled smells of turps and linseed oil so much! :)

~Gina

Lindsay said...

Having recently joined plein air oil painting geek-dom, I was wondering what panel you used and what size. I'm using fredericks about 9 x 12 and I find the holes in the canvas are huge and I'd like a smoother surface. I was thinking of cutting up old mat scraps to use. Just curious aboutwhat you use.

africantapestry said...

Beautiful Jeanette and ahrs off to you for doin it under the stress of a house filled with guests and weddings..!
Is the wedding preparationss coming along smoothly? Almost over, isnt' it?
ronell

Jennifer Rose said...

this has such a great sense of movement to it. I can almost hear the waves crashing against the rocks :)

Jeanette said...

Thanks Vivien. It was quite cool when I did this. Seems summer has reverted again!

I seem to have been at the ocean a lot this week with visitors wanting to see it. Today, the smell of the sea was very apparent. I love the smell of turps and oils too Gina.

Lindsay, I have a stash of these canvas panels that I bought really cheaply so I'm using them up. Canvas is ok, depending on whether or not you care about some of the background weave showing through or if you apply paint thickly to cover it.

I sometimes gesso over the panels to eliminate the weave, but to be honest, either way it doesn't affect how I paint or the end product. I may experiment with other mediums like cardboard or masonite panels too.

Thanks Ronell. You know, I NEED my time alone to paint or draw or I get cranky. So the wedding and houseguests have decidedly slowed me down in terms of art, I still find some time to fit in a sketch or sneak an hour to paint somewhere close by.

And the wedding is over along with the gift opening party. My daughter and her husband are now in Quebec City for a few days before coming back here for a few more days. Its a crazy few weeks and I'm exhausted mentally and physically, but fun too. :)

Thanks Jennifer, the sea was hypnotizing watching the waves roll in and hit the rocks. I could have stayed there for hours.

Lindsay said...

I'm considering using up some smooth light weight canvas fabric I had for a sewing project. I was going to try gessoing it and leaving it unstretched and un mounted while I work plein air...light weight too. and stretching it when finished. I'll let you know how this works. Hope you can share your experiments too.

Billie Crain said...

I could've sworn I commented on this one, Jeanette. Maybe I left something on FB? Anyhoo....you've really hit your stride with this one, IMO. You managed to capture not only the landscape and crashing waves but also the whole mood. Bravo!