A location as pretty as Filoli Gardens in the spring calls (I can’t explain it, do you feel this way?) not so much for straight up sketches that capture the scenes as they are, but for lots of experiments. There is no better sketcher to go on a jaunt with that in mind than Nina Khashchina. To watch her fearlessly try new things (using printmaking techniques on location is what she was experimenting with this time) always inspires me to push my work a little more, and to not worry too much about results.
Here are some sketches from the day. Loud and unmodulated? Yes. More than a little out of control? Yup. But if I never push it too far, I fear I’ll never find that sweet spot I want to stop at and my work will land in too safe a space.
My first impression at Filoli was that spring had taken over the place and things were literally bursting into bloom before my eyes. And I let that feeling lead my sketches for the day.
Did I know where I was going with this next one? No. But a generous quantity of the brightest liquid watercolor, applied directly on the page with a dropper started the piece. It never came together but it was a fun wild ride to have paint dripping everywhere as I sat among the tulips.
Iris, daffodils and a flowering peach tree. Slowly, my pieces start to calm down, just a tad. And I’m reaching across, and stealing Nina’s supplies and trying things she’s playing with today.
We have time for only one more quick sketch before we leave so we choose the already wilting pink blossoms of a magnolia tree and I attempt to capture the “pink everywhere” feel of a tree that is shedding petals everywhere.
Here are some pictures of Nina and me from that day. Spring is a short season where I am in California, so I really need to get out some more and draw more before it is over.