Category Archives: sketch

tiny happy people on the beach sketch

fine point pen and charcoal

The people are far away and they have to be small for the painting I’m working on. If I put closer people and umbrellas in the picture the background guys will be totally hidden. I still need to sketch some kids doing their sand excavations then I’ll have enough people sketched for the painting. At this point I’m still comparing the sizes of figures that will fit in the scene, where their heads fall compared to the horizon and where their feet are on the sand. A lot of the people are tiny tiny, as small as I can draw. The painting might be ok without any people. All it really needs is the brightly colored umbrellas and tents and a few dots for people in the water far away but I’ll sketch more and decide later. Some sand castle builders in the foreground might be nice.

This close up is larger than I drew it.

How do you like that dog? You knew that was a dog, right? Ok my job is done. hahahaha

Wings of Chance / acrylic and palette knife

Wings of Chance is the name of this day lily.

The weather is much cooler today and it was cloudy. I was glad to get to the garden and paint this flower because they’re calling for rain 4 or 5 days in a row and I don’t know how much I’ll get out this week.

It will be great next week when a whole bunch of these day lily buds all bloom at once. I might get a piece of watercolor paper stretched for a painting of 3 or 5 flowers and some buds. I’ve been looking for some red spider lilies that I painted a few years ago with oils. I’d like to try again with acrylics. But what I really wish I could find is Tiger Lilies. I’ve been looking around for a few years off and on and haven’t seen any.

That was fun to scratch through the red and yellow paint. I like glomming it on thick and scratching through it and smearing it with my palette knife.

These flowers on my little black sketchbook are just for practice. When I do my finished painting I might use my cake decorating bag and pipe the stamens in the center of the flowers. Then I’ll have a contrasting sharp line next to my smears. I’m not sure if I should do the background for a finished painting with acrylics and a palette knife or if I should do a watercolor background.

Day Lily / acrylic and palette knife

A few day lilies are blooming! This one is tints of yellow ochre with a tint of a red violet line. I should have mixed some red in with my violet but it was too hot out there! I had to take a couple breaks and sit in the shade because when I was standing in the sun painting sweat was dripping onto my paper! I kept spraying my little palette with water but the paint was drying as I was working on it.

They’re calling for heat again tomorrow then a chance of rain for a few days. If I go when they open at 9 I might be able to paint another flower but if it gets later, forget about it, too hot for me! Guess I’ll have to look for shady places soon but this weather is unseasonably hot! I might have to turn on the AC! My apt. still feels ok so far but I had AC on in the car.

honeysuckle / acrylic and palette knife

It was warm, sunny and humid today, some clouds , light breeze, I knew it would be crowded at the botanical garden and it was slam packed today but I wanted to check on some buds not open yet and not tomorrow either but soon, some day lilies.

I decided to try to paint honeysuckle on a path at Pleasure House Point. That path also has some pretty purple wild flowers and a tree with white flowers along with a ton of honeysuckle. It smells great! I didn’t know so many people would be on that path. I moved off the path a bunch of times for people walking through then I went to another spot where there’s more room to pass another person. A lot of people still went by me. So I finished this at home.

I’d like to do another painting of honeysuckle (my old favorite scent) but I need to find a better spot to paint. At least I got an idea of the shapes I want to make.

I really like this little black sketchbook, 5.5″ x 8″ for sketching flowers with acrylics and a palette knife. I can hold the sketchbook and my palette, which is a plastic lid, in my right hand and I’m left handed so I hold the palette knife in my left. It’s not tiring and I don’t need an easel or taboret. That makes it easier to move off the path if I want to. And I’m traveling light only taking a few colors. I’ll look for another sketchbook this size with different colored paper.

irises on green paper / acrylic and palette knife

This is more practice with acrylics and palette knife. Today I mixed some colors instead of using them straight out of the tube. A couple times I estimated the exact amount of a color I needed and a couple times I overestimated. The colors mixed nicely.

I want to keep practicing with acrylics and a palette knife because it gives a more abstract look than a brush and also I think I might ruin brushes with acrylics. I’ll try to paint more flowers. I’ll watch for day lilies, water lilies and those lilies called butterfly ginger. I’d like to try to paint all those again, this time with acrylics. Maybe by the time I go to Maine in Oct. for Plein air camp I’ll be able to try a landscape like this.

recent sketches

This might be too complicated and difficult and too big. I bought a 36 x 36 canvas because I draw large and I want to fit both the pitcher and batter in the scene.

I had to tape pieces of paper together to make the 36 x 36 and the canvas is too big for the little space on the back stairway landing so I used my drawing board and kept moving the paper around to draw different areas and folding the excess paper behind the drawing board while it was on my easel. The paper is a few inches larger than 36 widthwise here, but it will be ok. The pitcher and batter will both fit in if I take the excess off the left.


This little bit of architecture is giving me a problem. I can’t even tell you how many times I drew and erased on my first paper and still didn’t get it right. I decided to try again and came out with these and they are better but to my naked eye when I’m comparing to life they look too large and I drew them this size before. I don’t know if I’ll try one more time or if this will do. I’ll decide later.

Long ago I took a class on linear perspective and vanishing points were taught and other architectural things which were complicated. A lot of times the vanishing point is off the edge of the paper. I decided long ago that I’d probably have to eyeball the angles. I can’t just enlarge a photo because the camera distorts linear perspective. So it’s not easy. I keep trying again until it doesn’t bug me anymore.

I need to paint the background before I start adding players and spectators so this could take a long time. Plus I was thinking of trying to paint a night game which, omg, I don’t know if I can do this.

I have all summer to sketch people at the games.

ship coming in on the bay
tiny person far away walking their dog on the beach

baseball scene plan

Out back of my apartment you can see the little league fields. They have 3 or 4 fields with lights. I should try to do a nocturn from my balcony.

When I moved in here, 2020, the games were canceled and it was very quiet. Last year they came back and it gets loud but I don’t mind.

The view is partially blocked by cedar trees from my balcony but if I stand in front of the neighbors back door I have a better view. It won’t be a problem if I block their door because the apt. is empty as of last week and the company replaced the carpet already. I never hear anyone on the back stairs but I hear people talking in the tiny back yard, then there’s a tall fence between the apt and the fields.

This looks like a difficult painting. First of all it’s not easy to estimate the angles for the architecture and the fences. You might be able to see how many times I erased to get this sketch and it’s still not right but if I draw it on canvas I can improve it a little more.

I need to sketch people watching and players. This could take some time, like months. And I already have a couple big projects started but I’ll get them all finished this year, for sure. hahahah

I need a big canvas so I can have more of the scene and more people in the picture. This is home base. I might buy a 36 x 36 because I’m in the mood to go big or go home. It will be great if it works out and nice to paint outside with out driving and hauling my gear.

sketch of a lotus pod / the last time this painting will ever be seen

I scouted a little park on Sandbridge Rd. where a little bridge goes over some backwater and there’s only a few places to park, which are always used when the flowers bloom. These pods were all around in the mud.

I like to look at dry sticks, pods, trees without leaves, wilted leaves and flowers, etc. Decay is beautiful. Long ago I liked to make stick arrangements. hahaha I guess a flower painting would be more marketable than a still life of sticks and pods but I’d really like to paint a stick and dead plant still life. I could take my time with that too, where with live flowers they die before I finish the painting and I have to buy more, or hurry up and paint the ones in the garden as soon as they start to bloom.

This is the painting I did a few years ago at First Landing State Park of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in the background. I was going to redo the waves on the bottom of the canvas but I just decided to throw it away and start again. Next time I’ll do better and maybe put a ship way out there or a wind surfer.

This is one of the paintings that I almost lost. Someone was planning to steal it from an art supply store that had paintings in the windows including this one. I just happened to go to the store and noticed the painting wasn’t in the window and the store manager searched and searched for it and finally found it hidden behind carts so I took it home. It was right at the door.

When I got home I noticed someone had priced it with a red marker then scribbled out the first price and wrote $40. I never priced it but I would have asked more than that for it even if the waves aren’t finished.

I’d throw it away or give it away before I’d sell it for $40. I had it behind some stuff but sometimes I thought about reworking the waves. Now it’s going in the dumpster because every once in a while I throw away art and try again.

I’m pretty sure it almost got stolen and I was happy to have it back but I can do better on another canvas.I need to buy another big canvas and get it primed and tinted.

post update / I stood the painting in front of the dumpster with a sign taped on it that said, free. I was gone for a few hours and someone took it. It was unsigned but they will know who did it. I hope it spreads good vibes to a neighbor.

tiny people for my sand painting/ charcoal

That painting I’m working on of the beach, I don’t know if you noticed this but the composition isn’t that great. The sea points to the right on a sharp angle and the dunes point to the left on a wider angle. The only focal point in the picture is an empty horizon on the right of the canvas. At least the focal point isn’t in the center of the canvas because that would be even worse. The art viewer’s eye will go there and stop and you want the eye to go around the painting. I decided to put some tiny people in the picture far down the beach. That won’t make it good but I think it will be an improvement. The art viewer will have something to focus on.

I tried to put a 2″ figure in a painting a year or so ago and I thought it was weak. Larger figures are easier. I’ll try again. I have to decide if their heads should be below the horizon like today’s sketch or breaking the horizon or above the horizon. It depends on if the people are walking on the wet sand and I’m standing up slightly higher on dry sand.

What I’d really like to do is paint them a little fuzzy so it gives the illusion of aerial perspective.

I can’t go back tomorrow and then we have windy and rainy weather coming in. This is a bummer because I’d like to work on the painting. It was 42F. today (Cold, my Celsius reading friends) and a cool wind off the water. I didn’t want to stay long so I only took my sketchbook. I saw bare footprints in the sand and some of these beach hikers were wearing shorts. Must be some tough kids around here.

my granddaughter / charcoal and chalk

I had a fun little baby sitting job this morning. I strolled her down to the park and she took a nap in the stroller. We stopped at a pavilion and I kept the stroller moving with one foot while sitting at a picnic table and sketching.

I feel out of practice drawing a face but this isn’t too bad for the first one. If I get another opportunity I’ll try again.

She’s 5 months old.