I sketch to gather information that could later be used for a
painting. I am not concerned about producing pristine work, it doesn’t matter
what it looks like. If it is roughly
done no one needs to know, it is not going on show, the only person to use it
Most of my sketching is done outdoors in graphite pencil or
ink in an A4 sketchbook. Sometimes I use
watercolour, but this entails supplies of water, brushes, tissues, etc, all of
which, need to be carried. As an
alternative, using coloured pencils is convenient as they can be mixed like
paint and usually just add colour to the main focal point, not the complete
sketch. Once drawn I record descriptive information.
This starts with the name of the
location, the date, time of day, direction of the sun or light source and the
weather conditions. Added notes try to
convey colour and character of the scene not just basic red, yellow, blue, etc.
I next add tonal information. This is determined by weather conditions, the direction
of light and is easily done using numbers. Gwen John used a scale of ten. I find this too much, so I use a scale of 4
where 1 represents the lightest tone (other than the sky), and 4 the darkest.
This range is a bit restricting so for intermediate tones I use 1˝, 2˝, 3˝,
giving a scale of 7.
method of sketching provides a convenient way to quickly record a lot of
information using minimal lightweight equipment, particularly if on holiday
with others who do not paint.