Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sketching in Asheville

We picked up Daughter at the end of her first year at UNC Asheville this week. I can't believe her first year is already behind us. She really made the most of it, worked hard, played hard, started a dance club, and made impressions that have greatly expanded her view of who she is. I think she got more than her time and money's worth - and she made us very proud.

While she finished her semester, however, Youngest, Dearest and I did some touring in Asheville, including the Biltmore House grounds and gardens, and the NC Arboretum. These two sketches were done on location, but the hour in front of the subject was only enough to catch the lines with pencil and memorize the colors and light. Inking and watercolors were applied later, in the hotel room. This Biltmore gardens sketch is the most elaborate and detailed I've done to-date - and I spent about 3 and a half hours on it. It was good to go this far, and to see what I could do with the fountain pen and the little watercolor field kit which is all I carry on these trips. I'm pleased with the result. The conservatory building creates a particularly beautiful backdrop for this garden, and this sketch catches much of my feeling for the spot. The orange bricks against the cool greenish brown stucco is gorgeous.

The second sketch is of a complex redbud tree that is a central player in the perennial gardens beside/behind the main visitor center. I've loved this tree since the first time I saw it, with its crazy weave of branches and the red heart shaped leaves. It was still early in the year, in Asheville, and the leaves were still small and registered as individual red shapes, rather than a mass of overlapping darker shadows. I believe I did a better job, in this sketch, with the depth of the tree branches, using detail, line, and cooler colors to better effect than I've been able to previously.

Sketches are approximately 10 x 12. Lamy fountain pen with Noodler's brown ink, and Cotman watercolors.


Pagan Sphinx said...

My youngest is graduating next month and has decided to stay in Boston where she has some prospects. I am thankful for that but I'm now feeling the empty nest more than ever.

These are lovely. I've been enjoying your traveling sketches. How wonderful to be able to capture where you are with your pencil. The only way I'm able to do that is with a camera.

Enjoy having your daughter home for the summer.


Summer Kinard said...

I love these sketches. Your drawings of trees and houses always remind me why the soul is so well expressed through trees and houses. The colors in these sketches seem more vivid, and the definition of the lines is evocative of sunlight.

susan said...

These are really inspired drawings, Steve. I was very impressed with the ease of your technique in expressing the elegance of both subjects. I love the clarity.

Odd Chick said...

the details in both of these sketches make them almost magical, fantastical. you seem to create this kind of magic with color and line- yet these are real objects and places- you've given them a touch of fairy dust somehow.