Ocean sketch notes

Homework for my ocean painting class is to make 2 sketches, any media.  They can be 60 second thumbnails or more comprehensive sketches from life or any reference. I encourage students to study paintings they like.

2 ” thumbnail sketch, pencil on paper
6″ composition and color study (2 h pencil)
seashore watercolor
I worked into the above sketch with more color and pencil (a darker pencil this time)

Cityscape Providence, RI


This morning I scoped out our cityscape location for friday’s class.  There was an exercise class meeting in the same space/time.  I was delighted by how helpful the instructor’s advice was to my own endeavor:

“Practice makes progress. You’re stronger than you think. Keep breathing. Geronimo.” Indeed.

The painting is available on etsy.


My process for this sketch

  • Loose sketch in pencil to give myself a chance to feel through some of the shapes
  • Began the painting with paint
  • Focal point was the clump of yellow trees
  • Made marks for the lightest bits: yellow and orange
  • Tried to keep things very small indeed!
  • This panel was not designed for watercolor, dried slowly, beaded up.
  • Moved around the composition to let the paint dry
  • Used white to mix neutrals
  • Deepened the darks
  • Added the burgundy pen, tried to keep a very light hand


Carpet shop interior sketch class

carpet shop watercolor sketch

From our class at Loominous Rugs in Providence, RI.  Once again our approcah was to choose a focal point and build the picture around that. 8″x10″, Watercolor and pen on aqua board panel.

Below is a photo reference of my subject, heres my approach: I

1. chose the ornamental grasses as my focal point 2. worked small in order to make room for a ground plane 3. emphasized the colors and shapes that pleased me 4. compressed the space so that I could fit in more shapes and colors 5. put the brick wall on both sides of the carpet 6. changed the shape of the carpet in the foreground.


Flowers with initial color impression

color impression dp2263_3_copy

On the right is a scan after my first pass: a color impression with the intent to preserve the lights.  Its helpful to have this window on the past now that I have worked into the painting.  While I enjoy the definition and deeper color of the final, the first pass has an openness that feels great to me.

persimmons on Masons plate

And a plate of Persimmons.  Both from yesterday’s watercolor class.