I delivered a Sketchy Memory drawing to a client this week that was loaded with milestone moments and significance. Firstly, the drawing was being given as a wedding gift (milestone wedding!) and the image was of the couple’s first big trip together (milestone vacation!) and it was my first paid Sketchy Memory commission (milestone art sale!).
I was so honoured to be making this drawing, and honestly, scared silly too. There were aspects of this drawing that were going to be a challenge which was great for my artistic growth, but I worried that I’d be able to carry it off for such an important gift. Luckily I had lots of turnaround time for the piece, so I could experiment and seek out help on how to do certain things… and redo it if I really messed up. Such confidence, ha ha!
Challenge #1 – a night scene. I’ve drawn them using a brush pen to ink in the night skies, but have never have painted one. Had to figure out colours and values, after I played a bit with the original photo to get more colour into it, yet still have it read as “night”. I found I had to plan much more than I usually do.
Challenge #2 – street light reflections. A big thanks to Shelley Prior, my current watercolour teacher, for giving me a quick tutorial on how to create this effect! It involved masking the centre of the light bulbs, painting the buildings behind full-strength and letting it dry, removing the paint from a circular area around the lights in an irregular pattern, removing the masking fluid, and then using a bit of her secret sauce, Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleed Proof White, to augment the rays of the reflection. And Shelley’s best piece of advice, practice a few times before I do it on the original!
So, another couple of milestones reached – painting a night scene and painting street light reflections!
Despite these artistic challenges, it was such a joy to hear this couple’s story from my client and to feel their love for each other as I drank in their image for the several hours of rendering this Sketchy Memory. I wish them a lifetime of happiness together!
(Image posted with client’s permission)
(5×7″ on Fabriano Artistico 140lb. paper, Platinum Carbon Ink, watercolour)