I should clarify something - most of these sketches were finished up in our KOA Kabin or motel room. Purists may recoil at the idea - so be it. I don't care how or when the piece is finished, so long as I capture the spirit of the scene.
While on site, I made it a point of nailing down the position of all the features of a landscape, and spent time developing the basic tonal relationships, as well as indicating textures and details. I reckoned that I could push the values to their extremes later, in the comfort of my nest, and I rarely used my white colored pencil or chalk until that point. For extra emphasis, I occasionally relied on white casein or gouache paint applied with a small brush.
My memory of the scene, the values I had already laid down and what I felt to be important in creating a focal point all guided where the brightest lights and darkest shadows needed to be. In the future, I may use a little black ink for those deep shadows, and this, combined with the white paint, will give me a complete range of values.
However, there are inherent dangers to sketching on the road.
1. Sometimes, one's water bottle is empty at the worst possible time, and a few drops of a name-brand, carbonated soft drink, heavily laden with caramel coloring, has to be pressed into service as a means of thinning paint and cleaning a brush.
2. At other times, one will discover that peanut butter on one's fingers WILL leave a greasy blotch on one's paper . . . even in what should otherwise be a pristine, untouched sky.
3. Car lights, air-conditioning and phone battery-chargers should not be allowed to run down the car's battery while the car's occupants are inside their hermetically sealed bubble, blissfully sketching away. Luckily, this artist's wife is a master at popping the clutch while this artist and a historic site guide pushed the vehicle down hill.
All right - enough chatting.
Site of the original, historic Jamestowne, Virginia settlement.
The original stone wall, sunken road and Innis House on the Fredericksburg, Virginia battlefield. The beauty of the site belies the horror of what happened just beyond that wall in December of 1862. (Can you tell I had a peanut butter sandwich while drawing this? Can you spot the stain? I sure can.)
The Gilpin House, Brandywine Battlefield, Pennsylvania. THIS is where our car battery ran down.
Little Round Top, sketched from amidst the rocks of Devil's Den, Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, Pennsylvania. I left out the hundreds of tourists swarming over the site.
A simple sketch taken while we and a few thousand visitors waited for several thousand more visitors to form up in the distance and cross towards us on the site of what is commonly called Pickett's Charge, a key moment that effectively ended the Battle of Gettysburg.
I hope to add more sketches this summer, so check back in.