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From My Sketchbook

still life graphite drawing of a potted plant philodenron

Today I drew a philodendron in my oil painting class sketchbook. Our professor wants us to experiment with the eraser as well as the pencil. Borrowing a technique from Betty Nelson (author of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”), I laid down a medium tone with a B pencil, then used a paper towel to smooth it all over.
sketch by Dawn Pedersen sketch by Dawn Pedersen
Then I lightly drew in the contours with an HB pencil. I used my pencil as a measuring device to correctly recreate the height, width, and relationships of things from my perspective. This is called sighting.
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
I completed the drawing below in about two hours. I used the 4B for toning, and the HB for thin dark lines such as the tiny veins in the leaf. I used a kneaded eraser to pick up highlights. I also used it to erase the negative space around the plant and pot. This leaves a really nice atmospheric texture. Then I came back in with a soft value for the simple table surface.
I gave the drawing a final pass, darkening the darkest values, and creating further contrast where it was needed. It is important to keep the finest details only on the closest objects and let things get a little less defined as they recede into the distance. This adds to the illusion of depth. It’s part of the concept called atmospheric perspective.
sketch by Dawn Pedersen

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From My Sketchbook

still life graphite drawing of a clock and small decorative container

My new oil painting class started last night, and it’s going to be challenging. In addition to the several oil paintings we will complete, we need to keep and turn in a sketchbook. Every two weeks we need to complete 7 pages in the sketchbook, and they should be good pages: lots of time invested in each drawing. I’m guessing one hour at least per page. I spent over two hours on a single drawing tonight, so I guess I was a bit ambitious with the still life I arranged. It has reflective surfaces, geometric shapes, wood grain and other textures, in addition to the hard and soft shadows. It shows a favorite vintage clock of mine (a Baby Ben from Westclox), along with a vintage paper maché box from the Philippines.
This drawing is a little under 9″ x 12″, completed with an HB pencil and kneaded eraser on 90-lb. paper. I don’t like to use blending stumps, opting instead to create changes in value with the pressure placed on the pencil or with successive layering. this way the texture of the paper can do a lot of the texturing work for me.
Still life by Dawn Pedersen 1-17-07

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From My Sketchbook

drawing of a clothed woman sketchbook

Last November, a former art history classmate contacted me through MySpace and said he was starting up a new figure drawing opportunity. The concept is pretty cool. The models are in a variety of costumes, rather than nude. It’s weekly, on Tuesdays. It has really helped me brush up on my drawing skills. Unfortunately it will conflict with my oil painting class starting this week. I wish I could do both.
It’s called Pompsicle, and if you’re an artist in the Sacramento region, please go. You’ll enjoy the experience (and you’ll help it keep it alive until the spring semester is over.)

Alternative Clothed Figure Drawing
Every Tuesday night in Sacramento
Pompsicle is a weekly clothed figure drawing session in Sacramento, CA. Artists of all experience levels are encouraged to come! It’s fun. We draw (or paint) from a different live model each week. Some are super cool “real life characters” like goths, punks, beauty queens, club kids or cowboys. Or our model may be some one who has a lot of great costumes in their closet and wants to show them off.
The drawing sessions last 2 1/2 hours and are un-instructed, though we’d be happy to give you some informal guidance/tips. Just ask.
Pompsicle happens every Tuesday night at Jim Ferry’s 19th St. Studio. The studio is in association with 20th St. Art Gallery.

Here are some drawings from my sketchbook of various models at Pompsicle:
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen
sketch by Dawn Pedersen