Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Oh, No – Not Another Challenge!


5/22/22 These distant houses were sketched from our deck.
I usually feel like I can't really see them well, but
I realized I could see them well enough for value studies.

As you’ve seen in recent posts, I’ve been making lots of compositional studies. They’ve been influenced by Ian Roberts’ videos and especially the 30-day challenge he recently gave his oil painting students. Working alongside them, he made a compositional study daily for 30 consecutive days (shown on Instagram). Much more than thumbnails, they are all lovely graphite drawings. If I had made them, I would have no need to take the next step to oil paintings; the drawings look fresh yet finished.

Still in recovery from my grueling 100-Day Project, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to yet another durational challenge, but I wanted to give the process an uncommitted try. The ones I’ve made the past couple of weeks have taken only a few minutes each. Compared to drawing from my head, these are a piece of cake! I love wandering about in the neighborhood with no particular destination in mind, just looking around to see what compositions attract my eye. It’s enjoyable and relaxing, especially on a temperate day. I’m learning to observe composition and values more closely. It’s definitely worth doing.



Masochist that I am, I have decided to try the 30-day challenge during the month of June, when I hope the weather will cooperate. The sketches don’t have to be done from life, so I can use photos if I want to (though you must know by now that I will likely do most of mine from life). He recommends using graphite so that tones can be modulated easily. I will try graphite sometimes, but I also love using a red Field Notes, which can show three values easily (red as the middle value with black and white).

Shown here are more “practice” sketches from the past couple of weeks. I’ll post my official 30-day challenge sketches in batches.




5/24/22 I love alleys... they are often full of trash cans!



  1. This is a good month for a challenge...mostly nice weather and the time of year to have lots in bloom instead of bare trees. I will be watching for you sketches.

  2. Tina, I have really been enjoying reading your recent posts about composition and thumbnails! Enjoy your challenge! I'm a big fan of that one sketch with the light on the garbage can lids.

    1. Thanks for noticing the highlights on those trash lids! And I'm glad you are enjoying the composition posts... I'm somewhat obsessed at the moment!


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