Watercolor Sketches– Santa Barbara Backcountry

The pencil is there for scale.  The crack in the sidewalk reminded me of what they say– that when you find a fault, you shouldn’t dwell on it.  But here we are dwelling in earthquake country and quite happy about it.   I had fun backpacking Memorial Day weekend with a fun group, several of whom are geologists and point out really cool things about the shape of the land and the fossils hiding in plain sight.  Here are a couple of watercolor and gouache sketches that I snuck in between the rains.

Watercolor Sketchbook

I have been playing with watercolors recently.  I can make a study of a painting in a fraction of the time it takes to make an oil painting, so it gives me a great way to explore compositions and experiment with design ideas.  It has been a great way to get out my creative energy when I don’t want to commit to a whole canvas.  

Fellow artists might enjoy this way of making an inexpensive watercolor sketchbook.  I cut a bunch of paper types that I like working on and took them to the copy shop to have them spiral bound.  I mask the frame with painters tape so it leaves clean edges when I pull it away.  

You can see on these first two that I often make a pencil sketch before I start painting to figure out the design and value patterns before I begin splashing color.  I used to paint with watercolor a lot when I was in high school, but haven’t used it much since.  It is fun to rediscover and I think that doing these is going to help me discover new ideas for my oils.