More Sketches – Boats, Castles, Boston


There’s something quite liberating about these small sketches. They’re quick to do and because of the small size brushwork and edges don’t need to be sweated over. And if one doesn’t work out – just do another one and it’s forgotten.

Corfe Castle sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5×8”

Boston Common sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5”x8”

Only 3 sketches today. The people in this one were the trickiest bit. A lot of watercolor artists tend towards what I call ‘stock’ figures’ in their paintings. I feel that spoils things so I wanted to get more of a sense of real people walking towards me. I think it succeeded.

Boston Common Sketches


More sketches today. These were all from photos taken in Boston common a few years ago. These were all fun to do and it surprised me how well they turned out. All done quickly in a 5×8” moleskine sketchbook with a quick preliminary pencil sketch and then straight in with colored washes.


Another view of the George Washington statue. This I was pleased with too.


swan_boats_boston_common_watercolor_sketch

This photo I almost skipped over which would have been a shame as it’s my favorite of the day. The swan boats came out surprisingly well.


boston_common_view_watercolor_sketch

Final one of the day. Again another view through Boston Common to the buildings beyond. Not my favorite.

Sketchbook Time

Still trying to get out of my painting funk. New strategy is to get away from the pressure of producing SERIOUS PAINTINGS and do a series of small things in sketchbooks. These are all in a 5”x8” moleskine which isn’t the most forgiving of papers but suits quick paintings. These were quickly done and much more fun.

Also while tidying I found this sketch which I wasn’t pleased with at the time but has quite a lot of charm now I have some distance from it.


Rocky Neck Sketch


It’s a couple of years since I was painting at Rocky Neck in Gloucester MA.   I did a painting on site which I wasn’t particularly happy with but still wanted to revisit the scene.  Before starting on the main painting of the day I tried out a quick monochrome sketch which has something worth building on.   I’ll keep this one in my back pocket for a rainy day.

The Zbukvic Emulation Experience – Multiple Sketch Day


After the french village post-mortem I was musing about how to go about simplifying my buildings paintings.    Going smaller was my first thought and all of these are done in a 5″x7″ Strathmore sketchbook.    The paper isn’t my favorite by a long chalk but it dries very quickly and forces me to work fast.    I wanted to do multiple copies of a fairly simple
Joseph Zbukvic

 painting and see if I could get better at seeing the big shapes and get the values.

So 4 small paintings done in a couple of hours.  You can see how things changed over the 4 paintings.   The first one is a little bitty.   I’m not getting the big value areas well and the colors are a little slapdash.  Paintings 2,3, and 4 are much better in both regards.   It was a really worthwhile exercise to do.   Seeing them all together shows a big difference to me.  Strangely I didn’t notice any difference as I was painting them.

Here’s the original Zbukvic image  – lovely isn’t it?


Birds again – Dusky Lorys, Lesser Bird of Paradise and a Blue Heron



Dusky Lorys.   the last time I attempted  highly colored birds it was less than successful.  In fact come to think of it there have been multiple terrible attempts.

For instance :


and let’s not forget


In comparison the dusky lorys came out pretty well.

In contrast there was also a blue heron – a little more subdued.
finally for a bonus bird I dashed off a quick lesser bird of paradise.  This is done in a 5×7 sketchbook with a waterbrush and pans.