My husband has been off work the past 2 days, and Andrew, my 13 year old, has been on his 8th grade trip to Chicago. It’s been wonderful. My husband and I have been out taking walks at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park, having lunch out, and relaxing and having coffee at local cafes. One such cafe is Shaw Coffee Company, in “the hill” section in St. Louis. I love the interior of this place. It is spacious with high ceilings, being as how it is an older building. There is an old fashioned coffee roaster that they still use. Today, it was not in use. I enjoyed sketching this in pencil first, then in charcoal. After I got home, I added some hilights with off white pastel pencil. I started to use a stump to blend it out all the texture, but decided to just leave it be.
By the way, Shaw Coffee Company makes some darn good coffee!
My husband, son, and I decided to go to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Illinois. On the way to the hike, I’m reading an issue of Artists’ Magazine, and there is an article on a specific technique for how not to get all bogged down in detail. It was great timing. The article said to see your scene as just an arrangement of large abstract shapes, and to draw a rough line drawing of these shapes in pencil or charcoal, and then color them in, and then work on from there. It was very helpful. I decided that for the next several months, I would do just that. And, I would be very intentional about simplifying what I saw, and not feeling compelled to record every small detail. I would also figure out what I liked about the scene, and then make that the focal point.
My guys wanted to hike, and I wanted to sketch. All of the redbud trees were in bloom this day, and it was sunny and warm. Gorgeous! It was another windy day, so this time I painted from inside my van. Today I would experiment with oil pastels. I’m not used to them, and they are big and blunt, so not much detail.
Here is what I came up with. It has a completely different look than regular pastels.