Warm Thoughts for a Cold Morning

I am up early as usual. Before the crack of dawn. It’s a lovely 26 degrees outside. I have coffee in hand and I’m ready to start off our day with some artwork.

I have to caution you, my reader. I am all over the place with my hobbies. Everyday, I get to play with my fountains pens and inks. I am always writing about something. Writing out tasks in my daily journal. Writing about my fountain pen/ink experiences in another journal. Creating writing samples to share on social media. There is something wonderful about putting a beautiful nib with beautiful flowing ink onto a blank page or sheet of paper. Sigh!

I have days when I want to play with my watercolors. Or I have a need to sew a few masks. I have my tools within an arms reach and when the mood hits me I’m ready to go.

One day. Over the summer. I picked up my graphite pencils and drew this shell:

A sketch of a shell that Hubs and I found on a beach in Antigua. Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle

It only took a few years to get enough nerve and several attempts to draw a shell. From a picture. From memory, as well. The ridges. The shiny and smooth edges. The shadows. All those curves.

I squinted a lot when I created this sketch. My mind likes to play games. When I see something I immediately see all the beautiful colors and then scratch my head to figure out how put this on paper. Using a pencil.

I started with a quick gesture sketch to get the outline of the shape and placement using an HB pencil. I like using my Pentel Energize retractable pencil with a .7 lead. I have several of these scattered around my house. It feels good in my hand.

You can see from my sketch there appears to be some light washes over the shell. I used my Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencils to create the various shadings and lines. I took my damp watercolor brush and applied a bit of water to soften the lines and also to create the pools of dark color for the shading. While squinting all the way.

A few years ago, I had an art friend look at my sketches. He mentioned that I needed to be bold and go darker with my pencils. Make the artwork…pop! Hahaha! I’m still working on it.

I learned a valuable tip in my charcoal class I took two years ago. Do not erase my initial lines until I’m happy with placement, shape, and composition. I could not figure out when I tried to draw two same size ovals, one would be wonky. I would erase the bad oval and try again. Same wonky oval would appear. Erase. Draw. Another wonky oval. My teacher said to leave the wonky oval and sketch over it. Now, erase the bad lines. A second oval appeared. My light bulb moment.

Enjoy your day!

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