The Joy of the Watercolor Sketch

Ah, to be able to throw a little paint at some paper with a few lines on it and call it done! Inspired by the watercolors of Julie Zickefoose and Barry Van Dusen at the Artist’s Gathering last weekend, I took a couple of this week’s sketches and with the aid of a light table transferred them to watercolor paper. Looking at Julie and Barry’s paintings, I saw how they caught the light in the paint, how they caught the gesture and all the necessary information in a few brushstrokes with the least amount of reworking I’ve ever seen. Somehow looking at artwork in books doesn’t quite transmit the full impact, where seeing the real thing in hand does. I saw a few pieces of very nice watercolor painting in hand last weekend, and it just makes so much more sense today.

Here are the two little watercolor sketches. The birds-a Sharp-shinned hawk and a Northern Cardinal, were drawn from my window up here in the studio. While I was doing something else, I saw these two (not at the same time!) and grabbed the binoculars and sketchbook kept right at hand for just this purpose. And the paintings were done in about thirty minutes apiece. Fun and progress, and one hour service.

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