Today’s guest feature is a double doodlewash treat, showcasing the the talented pair over at Moveable Paintbox (follow them!): Elizabeth Hutchinson, from Prince Edward County in rural Ontario, Canada and Margaret Owen from Providence, Rhode Island. Together, they also teach workshops (with upcoming workshops in Virginia and Morocco!), have a Society6 shop.
Sketching is how I see and understand things and experiences. I use pencils and ink and watercolor and I paint in oil. I draw mostly every day and there is a notebook is every bag I have with pencils, just in case I have a few moments, in line, say, to set down something nearby.
About five years ago my great friend and fellow artist, Margaret Owen, asked if I might be interested in teaching a workshop together in Morocco. We’ve taught watercolor sketching there every year since in Marrakech and also in Essaouria.
I was trained as a classical oil painter and watercolor seemed just too hard, frankly. It looks like it should be easier, but it isn’t; it is far more difficult to control than oil and the color you see when you put it down is not the same thing you see when it dries usually (it dries lighter). But over these years I have really come to love how it handles and truthfully, how easy it is to travel with and how fast it is dry and ready to ship!
I think also that my watercolor practice has helped me loosen my grip on ideas I had and learned at school about what makes painting great; I am thinking about concerns like getting the drawing just right or mapping out and following a structured process. These days lines are not so considered as they are, I hope, felt. Also the overall finish of the work seems less important to being able to synthesize experience through the making of a sketch.
Also visit my oil painting blog here!
I started out as a classically trained painter and picked up watercolor sketching as a way to have a more immediate, on-the-spot sketching practice. Blogging with Elizabeth helps me to keep that daily quick sketch practice alive despite the tyrannical to-do list shouting its doomsday predictions about what will happen if I don’t attend to it.
But after years of seeing the magic that happens when I take time for more picture-making the quick sketches are on that list! If it weren’t for Elizabeth, I’d have given up many times over, but I see her sketches and they are, each one, a wellspring of inspiration. I often sketch to keep her sketching for my own enjoyment!
My sketch process is flexible: sometimes I start with the brush and keep it loose the whole time, sometimes its pencil or pen, usually I move between all three. I council my students to make watercolor impressions with their left hand because most everyone I have taught tends toward excessive rigidity. Surprisingly it is by releasing this need to control that the sketches feel more Accurate and true to life. In my better moments, I am able to follow my own advice.
I like little half pan watercolor boxes for ease of use: I want something I can open and close in a moment like the Sennelier travel set, and I work with watercolor or multimedia sketchbooks for their portability. I use a round, synthetic #10 or #12 brush for everything because of the wide variety of marks it can make from big to tiny. Sometimes I saw off the end of the brushes so they will fit in a corner of my purse and be ready, anytime, anywhere.
What I love about sketching is that it transforms the way I see. When I am holding a brush or pen, the world changes before my very eyes and becomes infinitely more interesting, a treasure box just waiting to be opened.
Also visit my oil painting blog here!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!