Learning from photographs

I’m trying to do this more often: take photographs of my work in progress. Most of the time, I forget but when I do remember it’s great to look and learn.

My most common mistake? To not stop when I should.

You can see that really clearly here. Perhaps I needed a little more work on this one after I took that first shot, but I really didn’t need to go as far as I did with it, especially with objects as easily recognizable as these.

Most of my on-location painting is done in one quick pass. And then I never touch the piece again. But a post by Barbara Tapp on facebook- check out her work here– reminded me that many of my sketches could do with a unifying wash. It’s one of the quickest solutions to a piece that seems to have too many random bits to it, too much detail or not much focus.

So I tried it on this very quick sketch I did on a rainy day. A dark wash over the hills holds them together slight better in the piece at the bottom. I guess I could’ve gone the other way with this one too, and darkened the sky, but left the hills alone.

For this next sketch of a sign for my other blog, vintagesignsanjose, I felt I wanted the Ritz Cleaners sign to stand out more and not have to compete with the sky and all the white space on the page. So I added a darker wash over the sky and a warm wash over the buildings.
Of course there’s always the danger of overcorrecting a piece and killing the original intent and spontaneity, but you never know until you try. And if you do go too far, but took photographs of your work as you went along, alteast they’re there to remind you of how much better the piece would have been, if only you knew when to stop 🙂

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, How to, san jose, Silicon Valley, Vintage Signs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Learning from photographs

  1. Belinda Ramscar says:

    Hello Suhita
    Thank you for sharing the information about unifying washes and showing examples. It truly makes a difference. They come alive. I will be giving it a try.


  2. miatagrrl says:

    Ah, yes — sketchers’ 20/20 hindsight. 😉

    – Tina

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice idea about the unifying wash – I’ll try that!


  4. rosjenke says:

    Great post and sketches. I often take a photo to see my sketch through different eyes. I can often see what else I need or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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