Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Descending to Driftwood

 “Descending to Driftwood”

Graphite 8”x4-3/4”

Paper: Hahnemuhle Nostalgia 190g/m

A beautiful tree with so many contrasting features of lights/darks, focus/blurring, rough/smooth and ultimately the struggle of life to driftwood.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Old Burl Tree

Old trees are rich in textures.  Unusual growths such as burls and trees in various states of decay can create marvelous maps of grains, bark and areas of organic abstraction.   Afternoon shadows curve across the trunk adding three dimensional form.

Old Burl Tree
Minimalism Art Sketchbook

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Drawing Clean Edges


On the previous post, Experience the Landscape, I mentioned the technique of using a ruler to clean the drawing edges after using the chamois to smooth out the graphite.  Here is a short video showing the method I use to create sharp edging.  

Materials used are: 

  • small drawing board
  • plastic t-square ruler
  • mars white eraser 

Place the paper on the board, lined up at the edge of the board.  Lay the t-square on the paper and make sure the paper and the ruler are squared up.  Line the eraser to the edge of the ruler and run it down the outside edge of the ruler.  I carve a chisel edge on the eraser for a sharper line.

This works particularly well on shaded skies.  I do not use this technique for areas with heavier applied graphite as it will smear and press the graphite into the paper.

Photo of finished drawing unframed 

Experience the Landscape

It is more than just a drawing.  I experience the view through my pencil. The air is crisp, the wind is calm and the view is spectacular. 

Serenity I
6 x 9”
Arches Hot Press paper

When choosing a landscape to draw, I tend to select scenes that generate a mood.  This mountain scape just embraces relaxing and calmness.  My heart rate lowers, I breathe deeper and slower, my mind clears of all the chaos and hustle of daily life.  

The first step in this drawing this was to create a even tone background shared by both the sky and water.  This was done by applying crosshatching lightly across the entire page then using a chamois to smudge the graphite to a smooth finish.  To create crisp edges, I use a small t-square and mars eraser and erase the overage to a crisp edge.  As long as the crosshatching strokes and chamois-smoothed graphite is lightly applied, the graphite sits on the surface of the paper and can be easily erased.  The Arches hot press paper lends itself well to this technique.  

The next step is to remove areas of the graphite for highlights by using a kneaded eraser.  The mountain is rendered using vertical pencil strokes starting at the edges with firm dark strokes tapering to lighter ends.  And the trees are used in dark strokes forming the pine tree branches and the bushes.  The water is so calm that the tree reflections almost mirror the trees but are slightly less defined.  Gentle breaks in the tree reflection show slight waves of the water.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Coastal Weathered Tree - Part Two

This beautiful tree has been shaped by it’s environment as the Oregon coast is rugged with strong winds.  Even though the reference photo is heavy in black silhouette, lightening areas of the needle bunches and branches adds depth to the tree. The sun is glowing through the tree and reflected in the water.  The grass and broad leaf plants are textured in the foreground.  

Reference Photo by Karen Hendrickson, Oregon coast


Coastal Weathered Tree - Part One

Step one:  Shading the sky is the first step to a landscape.  Applying the graphite in a light cross-hatching layer and then using a chamois to create a smooth even tone.

Step two:  I use a t-square and mars white eraser to remove the graphite on the edges, creating a crisp, straight border.  

Step Three: Cloud formations are created by using a kneaded eraser to lift the graphite from the paper.  Additional applications of light graphite, blending and lifting of graphite are used to build the clouds.

Step Four: After the sky is established, the middle and foreground areas can then be started….

Small Sketches


My blog has been neglected for way too long!  The last post was over 6 years ago.  Over the past few years, I have focused my attention to smaller drawings and sketches.  This collection is a sampling of these.  The smallest is approximately 1-1/2” x 2” and the largest 3-1/2” x 4”.  Using a smooth paper in a sketchbook called “Minimalism Art”, I am able to shade a background with graphite and then smooth it with a chamois.  Now the entire surface is an even tone base to start building up the darks, shapes of trees , textured grass and reflective water. A kneaded eraser is used to lighten areas of clouds or the sun.