Monday, March 22, 2010

Shell Sketches

Yesterday I tried to paint some of the shells we brought back from Sanibel Island. I started with a few sketches, and then decided to do four quick small 4x4's on an 8"x8" panel. They did get a bit better each time, but I still wiped them all! The problem was in the values. I have trouble mixing very light colors, finding it easier to let the white of the canvas show through. That wasn't working for me on the shells. Looking around, I found a couple of examples that I like from my friend Mary Sheehan Winn. And Julian Merrow Smith has included a wonderful oyster shell in this painting. Maybe with this inspiration I will do better next time.

Above are a few sketches of the shells. The top and middle are different attempts at the same view. Note how making the hatch marks in the shadows of the middle shell more horizontal, and different in angle from the shadows on the shell itself, makes the shadow read better. I love the combination of all three shells in the bottom drawing. There, I used only a thin pen for the shadows on the shells, saving the thicker pen for the shell contours and the shadows on the background surface. Which drawing do you like best?

1 comment:

  1. I really like the composition of the 3 shells. I also like the 2nd drawing with its strong shadows. I know you'll get the paintings right and they will look great!