Questions about sketching: part 1

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I have had friends visiting and the opportunity to travel around Italy during the last few weeks. Now I am catching up on my blog and collecting my thoughts from the inspiring past few weeks. A while back I wrote a post wondering what you the reader wanted to know about my process or paintings, Serena was the first to write with a handful of good questions!

Can you talk about how sketches and drawings inform your painting work?

I always have a sketchbook or at least a few pages of good paper and a pencil or pen along with me. Sometimes I need to get a quick sketch down of someone who walks by and then I scribble a few notes around the sketch as reminders of color, sounds or smells. Often the sketch stays just as a sketch but sometimes I go back to it and am inspired to re draw it. If it is of a location in the city or landscape I will take the sketch out and revisit the location to study the area for a more complete composition or to capture a different light.

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Do you use sketches you make now to help create paintings in your studio later?

Yes I like to have the sketches I have created up around me in my studio space. Sometimes I will have a series of sketches from a day or trip and even though I only develop one of the ideas into a larger painting the others help me remember the atmosphere of the place or the people that were around me.

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What kind of supplies and kit do I bring?

In Milan I have a small assortment of supplies, the supplies I use the most are a small watercolor set that I have had for 10 years, a few pencils (usually 2H or a drafting pencil) and black ink (pictured in the top photo). however I also have a small set of water crayons and a few prismacolor pencils. The crayons and pencils layer well over watercolor. I have been using a lot of Fabriano paper since arriving in Italy, I like the watercolor blocks for working outside. It is almost like having a little desk to work on. last summer I worked on maple boards ( the CSA project was created on maple “artboards” ).

How long do you stay in one spot?

There are a lot of unpredictable things that happen when working outside, people, weather, pigeons… The hardest part for me is getting cold. I love the light of early morning and evening. These are beautiful times to be outside but are usually chilly. I have knit hand / wrist warmers that I wear when I am working outside (a fantastic handmade pair from my friend Mary). This week I was out drawing in the courtyard at the Pinoteca di Brera, the sun was low in the sky and a lot of interesting people were mingling around, however I could only sit for so long on hard cold stone!

One Response to “Questions about sketching: part 1”

  1. Serena Says:

    Your experience and stories are enormously encouraging and helpful. Photos too! Thank you, Dana. – Serena

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