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Sketches: observations & plans

May 22, 2017

As I come back to working large, I have been doing more sketches. I am an impatient artist and would prefer to dive in and just start painting. However when I just splash in, I dislike the results at least half the time. When you are working on larger canvases, it is prudent to plan. Sketching means gathering visual information and making plans. It enables you to think small before jumping in large. A small sketch isn’t intimidating, and it can be scrawl-like. Here is a sketch made by Pierre Bonnard who is one of my favorite colorists. While he could and would make more detailed sketches, it wasn’t unusual for him to dash these off as the reference for a more complex piece



I sketch from life, from famous artists like Thomas Gainsborough, and from memory.


One of my goals in my landscape paintings is to create a painting that looks like a landscape with an economy of  paint strokes. I  like to draw, but when I am painting landscapes, I want the quality of the paint,  and the directness of my lines to convey the feeling of being outside, with the simplest means possible. It helps to have a strong idea of where I am going before I start pouring on layers of paint.  So I make sketches.


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