Past Sketches

Today was a busy day. But, I planned for that. It so happens that I was looking through some of my old sketch books in the garage, in a renewed attempt to straighten up. I am not even up to the point of de-cluttering, having back-slid since my first attempt in what seems like years.

In 2011, I was sketching every day. I was just dipping my toe in the watercolor arena, so to speak. The drawing below demonstrates my sparse use of color at that time. I was drawing fairly detailed, small-scale sketches (the sketchbook I used was one of the larger ones I used, at 5″x8″).

Sketch: From hospital window, view of 59th Street Bridge, NYC

View of 59th Street Bridge, NYC (2011)
5″x8″ Watercolor Sketch Book

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I only had a chance to do an underpainting today. I wanted to change pace from the variegated washes I’ve been doing for the past few days (Sky Practice, Vivid Sky, This Sky’s Crazy).


I began with lemon yellow. Instead of using my palette, I squeezed out a dab of it directly in the middle of the soaking wet paper. I blotted around the edges so the yellow stain was confined more or less to the center. Since I love the warm yellow of gamboge, I dropped a few dabs of that color in the middle of the colder lemon yellow.

Surrounding the yellow field, I painted opera rose.  This is an almost fluorescent pinkish red that I am hoping will come through the painting I intend to overlay on this background. Finally, I used one of my blues (my palette has several fresh splotches of blue, so I’m not 100% sure which one it was – it was on the red side, so it might have been cobalt blue).  I blotted up most of the excess water and painted the four corners with a greenish blue – probably Prussian blue.

Watercolor: Abstract - central yellow to red to blue - underpainting

Abstract 101814 Underpainting

Like you (hopefully), I am looking forward to see what happens with this painting tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Past Sketches

  1. Up until my late teens, I only sketched in pencil. I made the odd attempt at producing full colour paintings, but I found I was always more comfortable with graphite on paper. Seeing your sketch above reminds me of the affinity I’ve always had with that particular medium. Though seeing your watercolours always awakens that urge within me to want to return to painting. I suppose when I was a kid my reluctance to use colour was more to do with a fear that I just wasn’t proficient enough to reproduce the colours of the world I saw through my Synaesthete eyes. I wanted to paint with light. and the paints I had available to me just weren’t rich enough. With age and developed skill, this of course changed somewhat. However, my love of photography has satisfied that desire to a great degree, particularly now with digital photography, painting with light has become an option.
    What came first for you Jack, was it the drawing and the painting, or the photography? Or did they both evolve simultaneously?
    I always find your work fascinating and inspiring. I hope this Sunday treats you well my friend.



    • Thanks, M. Drawing came first for me. I have a picture of myself when I was 10 years old or less, showing off a drawing I made of some mountains. My family and I must have been on a camping trip. I always wanted to be able to be able to remember enough people I knew. For instance I could remember my mother’s face, but I couldn’t draw it. So, I’ve been more of a drawer than a painter. I’ve only been painting for about 4 or 5 years, I think. I’m sure I was afraid of putting color on the page, although not from the perspective of a synesthete, where colors awaken other senses. To this day I have trouble matching the color on the page with the color I see or want.
      Thank you for your kind words, M. Happy end of Sunday to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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