I know that many of you come to my blog for furniture makeovers, tutorials, antique finds, and home decorating inspiration, but I couldn’t take a piece of furniture or my sewing machine with me on the plane to China! What I could take, though, was my sketch book.
I was painting a portrait a couple of weeks before I went on my trip and the thought occurred to me that time completely slips away when I’m engrossed in a sketch or painting. Well, that sounds like a perfect activity to bring on a 14 hours flight – just the kind of place you want time to run away from you.
So, I brought along my sketch pad and some inspiration pictures to work off of. I actually got overly ambitious and even brought watercolors, but I never had the chance to pull those out.
I had an “art afternoon” with Katie before I left and she brought along a book of Rembrandt sketches to use as a reference for studies. I made a few photo copies of ones I liked and that’s where I started. I had never tried to sketch off of someone else’s sketches, but it was such a great exercise. I learned a lot just in copying the direction of his pencil strokes and the values he used to create depth. (I know I misspelled his name in the sketchbook!)
Those were pretty quick sketches, so I moved on to a portrait, since those take me a bit longer.
This one was off of an old sepia-toned photo of Maud Fealy.
My Maud looks a little happier than the actual Maud, but I’m generally happy with how it turned out, especially since I was sketching on a tray table under a single reading light!
I also took some time to sketch while I was at the Great Wall. I honestly felt a little eccentric and was self-conscious as people kept looking over my shoulder. I had it in my head that I wanted to sketch while I was there, though, and I had traveled 14 hours to get there, so I wasn’t going to NOT do it just because I felt a little silly about it.
I didn’t sketch anything remarkable, but I tried to capture the shapes and values that I saw and I finished it up on the plane on the way home.
The mountains just behind the wall ended up getting a little darker than I intended. The shadowed side of the wall should be darker, but I know that for the next sketch I do.
Here was the section I was sketching…
And I sketched another portrait on the plane home as well, this one of a child.
The right eye (our right, her left) is a little off, but I erased it and redrew it so many times that I finally just let it be a little off! Sometimes you just need to finish something and then try it again.
I am playing catch-up this week, but I am hoping to squeeze in some time to do some sketching and painting. It has become my therapy!
I had to take Calvin to an endocrinology appointment today, but I’ll be back in the studio tomorrow and slowly, but surely, we’re making some progress on pieces for Lucketts…