Backyard Sketchbook

I have a confession to make. I’ve always wanted to keep a daily sketchbook, but was never able to do it. What got me over the hump was an online class taught by the very talented Scottish artist, Jemma Derbyshire. I have finally met with some satisfying success.

Quick warm-up sketch

Quick warm-up sketch

Charcoal sketch

Charcoal sketch

Learning to see through observational drawings, value studies, color studies and explorative mixed media pieces with a playful and inquisitive spirit was the main objective in keeping a sketchbook. The expectation was to create a daily habit, even if for just 10 minutes a day.

Arbitrary color study of my pond in oil pastels

Arbitrary color study of my pond in oil pastels

Enlarging one of the color studies

Enlarging one of the color studies

I chose my backyard as the subject for my first sketchbook. I chose this theme because I have an emotional connection to it. I’m also inspired by the variety of shapes, colors and light at different times of the day, even when the Texas heat makes it unbearable to be outside.

Trying out a new color palette

Trying out a new color palette

Some of the sketches were further developed on large sheets of papers. At first I found this intimidating. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. By cropping a drawing that wasn’t quite working made it suddenly work! I also discovered that changing the color palette can make a dramatic difference. I discovered a few tricks that help me become a better artist.

This oil pastel sketch was a section from another sketch that I enlarged

This oil pastel sketch was a section from another sketch that I enlarged

I cropped the sketch of the Flowers into two sketches with works much better

I cropped the sketch of the Flowers into two sketches with works much better

Original colors of a sketch that I cropped to make it work better

Original colors of a sketch that I cropped to make it work better

Sketching the same scene in different colors

Sketching the same scene in different colors

Cropping the scene to make the composition work

Cropping the scene to make the composition work

Now, I intend to paint a new series called In My Own Backyard. I owe this to the inspiration I got from keeping my sketchbook.

Do you keep a sketchbook? I’m eager to hear about your experiences!