|5/89/23 Dogwood tree, Maple Leaf neighborhood|
Whenever I experiment with a new technique or approach using photo references, it doesn’t feel “real” until I try it from life. With several light-on-dark sketches practiced in the studio, I decided it was time to take the approach on location.
One advantage to working at home is that I have at my disposal lots of colors to see what works in a variety of dark-colored Uglybooks. On location, it’s tricky, because I don’t want to carry more than a few pencils, so I have to take a chance with a limited palette of tints that will work with most subject matter and in the Uglybook I’ve chosen to carry.
Real-life conditions are also more challenging. In the sketch on dark blue paper below, I had strong sunlight when I began, but within minutes the sun had ducked behind clouds, and suddenly the light and dark contrasts I depended on were less visible.
With nocturnes, it’s easy to draw only lights and darks because I can’t see midtones. In daylight, the darks should not be totally dark like night, but if I put in midtones, the brightest lights will lose some contrast. I usually choose to eliminate most midtones and focus on exaggerating the contrast between the lightest and darkest areas. Both of these sketches look a bit like photo negatives because the shadow areas are darker than they should be in daylight. I’m still working on that balance.
It felt good – and “real” – to finally try this in the field!
|Prismacolors and a white Derwent Drawing pencil are my current favorites for this light-on-dark approach.|