Friday, September 11, 2020

Sketchercize Day - A 10-Minute Start


I'm very fortunate to work on a lovely private island consisting of 3,000 acres of wild lowcounty South Carolina habitat that has over 30 miles of trails. My job requires a lot of computer time.  If I'm not careful, I can spend the whole work day with minimal movement... the bad health habit taking over for smoking!  In an aim to correct my ways, what better way than to walk and sketch?  It works for me.  Clears my head, gets me moving, brings me back fresh to handle the tasks at hand...

I keep a 3x5 inch Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook in my purse along with a business card sized palette made by Art Toolkit.  I actually have several of these palettes!  They can work very big for their size - and not always with a waterbrush.

This day I briskly walked to our Native Plant Nursery to see what was blooming.  I found some scarlet hibiscus still open.  But Lordy, it was so hot and humid!  There was no way I could stand in the sun for 10 minutes for a sketch.  The hibiscus kept calling, though.  I found shade from a nearby building, but the view of the flowers became almost laughable.

Good thing I know what they look like!  I set the timer for 10 minutes and painted as fast as I could.  Dang it was hot!  When the timer sounded, I collected my things and shot this next image so I could be closer and have a better reference to finish this page from.

I closed up my journal hoping that the fairies would visit and fix all I saw that was off putting.

When I opened the journal a week later, I was less disappointed with my original marks.  Mind you, the hibiscus were very, very loosly captured - as in I'd have to tell folks what they were, but no matter.  My aim was to make this page work. 

Out came my Faber-Castell sanguine pen to help add some definition and a few more leaves. Then painted a spent bloom behind a new leaf.  Nothing like a bit of copy to tie the page together.

I'm much happier with this page now.  I'd love to know your comments!


  1. I like both, but I can see that the second one has a more finished feel to it. I wonder if a very simple border around the first one would have given it a completed feel even without the addition of the spent blossom and more leaves. Thank you for included the commentary about your process and a photo of your tools.

    1. Thanks so for your input! I love learning from each new page created. Journals can be such great think books! And yes, my blog’s sole purpose is to share the behind the scenes, tools used, thought process in hopes to inspire my community to explore both art and nature. Thank you for following along!