Tag 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

beach sketch / charcoal

The weather has been great lately and I finally got back out to sketch at First Landing. It was crowded and I sat behind the people on the edge of a dune. They didn’t know I was sketching them. Since I was slightly uphill from them the tops of the umbrellas were below the horizon and their heads were close to the water line. This isn’t the view I need for my painting but I might be able to use it somehow for my big beach painting which is on hold until I decide how to paint people in the scene.

A cargo ship went out to sea and I hurried to sketch it. The ships look so huge right there you think they will run aground because they are so big and close up but I think that might be an optical illusion caused by the sea. I’m not sure. The way the sand juts out right there might add to an illusion. Next to First Landing State Park we have Fort Story at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and they would let me go in to see the lighthouse. I might go in some day and see if the ships look too close but if I do go in they will check me at the guard house and do I really want to go on a military base? I saw the lighthouse long ago.

beach sketch and recent purchases for Plein air painting

This is watercolor paper with fine line markers. The paper got a little wet so it warped and you can see where I started by blocking in the general shapes with charcoal and erased it but charcoal doesn’t erase as well from watercolor paper as it does from pastel paper. It doesn’t matter. I might try to add some color to this. It’s just figure drawing practice for my beach painting which needs people.

I want to get a lot of figure drawing practice this summer and I’m kind of rusty at it. There were times in the past that I tried to draw moving figures. I think it takes a lot of practice.

I also need moving figures for my baseball game painting. I don’t know how long these paintings will take to finish. It would be better if I had around a hundred figures sketched then I could pick the best ones.

I bought these Crocs at the outlet store in Williamsburg for $42 and I thought, Wow! Crocs have really gone up! I had a pair from long ago and I remember they were cheap. Eventually I lost one in my travels. The last time I checked at the Croc store they were having a sale and it was so crowded I didn’t want to go in. They are very popular! so now I’m all trendy!

You can get them wet and I thought they might hold up well to beach erosion. The sand has ruined my other old Plein air sandals. I don’t know, I still need something else because when I walked over the burning hot sand in my Crocs it was getting in through the holes and burning my feet more than my old ruined beach sandals. But you really have to pick up your feet on that burning sand so I might give them another try because I was tired that day.

I bought this in the camp store at First Landing. They didn’t have umbrellas but I need something like this so I can go out on the beach more and stay longer and draw more. I think this is better than an umbrella because if it gets windy an umbrella might blow away but this won’t if I’m sitting in it. Plus, maybe I can spy on people and draw them without their knowing. I don’t want to worry any nervous people if I draw their kids without asking, because the answer would be no. That’s how it is but I need kid models for my painting.

This makes me tired just thinking about it. I struggled for around 1/2 hour in the hot sun trying to assemble it and took a break or two and tried again but couldn’t get it to go together right. I almost had it but not exactly. Following an instruction sheet isn’t my strong point. I know other people were watching me struggle with it probably waiting to see if I could do it. That happens a lot to your Plein air artist. People watch you struggle. hahaha You get used to it. Maybe they can’t put up the damn thing either. By then I had too much sun and my back was tired so I gave up. I didn’t get any drawing done. I’ll try to assemble it at home.

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.

Daffodil sketch / Inktense pencils

Welp, this didn’t come out as I hoped. I’m posting it anyway. I always post the good the bad and the ugly because it’s a blog. In fact the ugly stuff gets likes too, or maybe it’s my writing, I don’t know.

Why do I post the bad and ugly? That way you can see how much practice I go through to get something good. The ugly gets you one step closer to the beautiful, maybe next time. It’s a big part of art that people don’t usually see but artists know about all the failures they go through.

Art for me is divided up into a few different categories, the fun slap dash modern art attempts where I try to go with the flow and see if I get something, the time I spend experimenting, the time I spend doing sketches and planning and the time I spend trying to make a painting that I really like. All the aspects of art are important if you want to improve. Then as time goes by you get more good results but you still make a mess sometimes and you learn from the ones that don’t work.

The daffodils are starting to wilt but I’ll go back for tulips or day lilies or irises. They’re all on my list of flowers to paint.

Great Blue Heron sketches / charcoal

about 4″

This is the easiest kind of heron to sketch, the kind made of bronze. It’s a sculpture at Norfolk Botanical Garden called “Hunter’s Herons” that they donated to the garden in memory of someone named Hunter. The plaque doesn’t tell the name of the artist that made the sculpture.

around 2.5″

I sketched it from different sides. It’s not easy to see their legs because the sculpture has some sticks as part of the design.

That’s the only problem with herons, they’re camouflaged. I’d like to use these sketches in a painting some day. I’ll tape this to the wall so it doesn’t get lost or smeared. If I paint them small, which is how I see them in a scene because I can’t get close, they won’t show up in a large painting. I could paint them white and make them into egrets then they would be noticeable.

around 2″

I stood on the other side of the canal to draw these first so they are farther away. Then I went over the bridge to get the other sketches. A lady hollered across the canal to me, “Can you sketch me?” I yelled back, “How long can you stand still?” She yells back that she could take a nap and I yelled back to her, “All right!”

It was nice out but we have rain moving in so I’m glad I got out today. The daffodils are blooming big time over there. I might try to do a watercolor.

In unrelated bird news, the ospreys are nesting on the light pole out back again. YEA!

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.