I had the pleasure of listening to Pennsylvania watercolorist Glenn Blue as he discussed some of his drawing and painting techniques.Over the years, Blue has traveled throughout the world, including Venice, Rome and Salzburg, and took classes with many talented artists during his travels. Blue creates marvelous watercolor paintings that have a realistic quality. Creating atmosphere and capturing the scene in a way that only Blue can imagine – whether he is bringing in bright sunlight shining through the trees on a wintry morning or that misty, foggy scene in the city. Through his vision and imagination he creates beautiful, realistic, watercolors full of atmosphere.
One of the things Blue talked about was the importance of continuing to practice your drawing and sketching. He will sketch any object from cars to evergreen trees to people walking down the street, filling up sketch books. He also discussed the importance of creating shadows, lights and darks and a range of values as you are practicing your drawings.
He then explained how these sketches can help with final art pieces.Like a musician practicing for his next big performance, you have the knowledge of how to proceed with your painting; you are prepared . For example, if you already practiced and know ahead of time exactly how to draw an evergreen tree, you will be able to successfully include it into your painting, even if you don’t have an evergreen tree in front of you to draw from. You’ll know evergreen trees are not perfectly shaped symmetrical trees. You will know exactly how and where to include the lights and darks on the trees and where that interesting, long shadow is going to land on those snow covered fields in your painting.
This is how practicing sketching and drawing techniques can help in your final pieces of art work. I know from my own personal experience that I often refer back to my sketch books, not just for ideas, but also as reference for a project I am working on. (Today those projects are bleeding hearts and bunny rabbits).
It is refreshing to hear an experienced, professional artist like Blue discuss the importance of drawing and sketching. No matter how knowledgeable you are and no matter what medium you prefer – from watercolor, oil paint, or paper sculpture– continue practicing drawing and sketching. It helps all of us continue to learn and grow in the craft and learn about the world around us.
Time to go do some sketching!