Tag Archives: graphite

Mountains and Trees

Although I have take a few photographs since my last posting, none have been really interesting in terms of “good art or craft.”  However, I continue honing the few skills I have sketching.  My two latest are “St. Peter’s Dome” and an original sketch of a bare tree which was then manipulated in PSE to produce a long winter shadow.  I was asked to turn that last on into a note card, and the pdf file which will print notecards from the Tree in Winter image is located here.

Tree in Winter is not yet on my pixels page.

Tree in Snow small

My other effort which is on pixels in its full size at this location is “St. Peter’s Dome,” a graphite pencil sketch on 60 # paper.  It was an interesting exercise in tonal range, a subject which still gives me ‘issues.’  The image was rendered from a photograph of Colorado’s St. Peter’s Dome mountainous area.

St. Peters Dome Small



This is my sketch of Ingrid Bergman as she appeared in Casablanca — a movie I have always found to be as much about style as about acting and writing.  The gallery is posted at this link — here.  I think this will be my last of the classic movie stars — unless something or someone particularly inspires me.  I have branched out into landscapes drawn from imagination and enjoy doing those, but more importantly, I feel I am now ready to go back to black and white photography and see what I can produce.  Meanwhile friends “we’ll always have Paris.”  (grin)


Sketching evaluation

For those of you who followed this concept, I began around the first of February — maybe a week or so earlier — to try to teach myself how to create pencil sketches.  Access to a learning center where I lived abruptly closed this year, so that left me to figure this out by myself with the use of those youtube teaching videos I could find.

I have just about completed my first sketchbook and I can look back to see how I progressed – a kind of self evaluation in some sense.  I began sketching things I could see, and noticed I was able to produce a recognizable hand — in proportion and with appropriate shading — right out of the barn.

I progressed to some landscape scenes and discovered that I was very heavy-handed with a pencil.  I had to go back and learn pencil use skills, something I figured I had conquered in first grade.  Pencil skills included the ability to reproduce four shades of gray which along with the white of the paper would give me five B&W tones.  That turned out to be quite a challenge which took a couple of weeks to conquer.

I progressed to portraits and found I had a real problem with proportions of the human body – I call this my “cubist” period.  It was necessary to study each component of the face (overall shape, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears) individually.  It took quite a while to reach adequacy.

At that point my sketches began to look like human beings, just not the people I was drawing.  More practice and study led me to the concept of a very light sketch underlaying the sketch itself.  I knew painters often sketched a rough out of their work before applying paint, but it never occurred to me that a pencil drawing required the same thing — or at least in my case looked better if I did.

I discovered that all of this work about ways to affix a range of tones to the drawing really improved my photographers eye for lighting a black and white photograph.  And I also found that I can interpret a scene in color as gray shades, something quite new for me.

I’m returning to landscape drawings, but for those interested here is a link to those sketches I thought were good enough to post on my photography webpage.

Been a long time

Its been a long time since I posted.  For those of you who follow this you know that I went through a very long photography dry spell.  So long, it turns out, that I spent my time learning a new medium.  Now I admit I am not all that good, but in learning how to do pencil sketches I learned a lot about tonal values in gray scale.  My black and white photography has popped because of the knowledge (although I have nothing yet to post in that format).

I was taken by the graphite pencil artists who could render an image in near photographic quality.  My studies showed  they were able to produce as much (or more than) nine values within a gray scale — white being the tenth.  My instruction and ability so far allows me to produce four shades of gray.

So – my first pencil sketch – of one of my two favorite historical subjects – the American West.  This is my interpretation of a contemporary photo of Bat Masterson – lawman, gunfighter, and eventually newspaper celebrity.  More to come.  Original drawing here. More items like this here western sketches art for sale