Recently I’ve been working on a few pencil drawings of subjects from my sketchbook. I create these drawings before I do the pastel color study for the final oil painting. The goal of the pencil drawing is to define the values, the darks and lights of the piece. The pencil drawing can be small, so I use an image area that’s roughly 6″w x 4″h — I work on 9x12 Canson Mixed Media paper (the same I use for my pastel drawings).

The first drawing I recently finished (seen above) is a view from the Lower Salt River, located just east of the Phoenix metro area below Saguaro Lake. I often kayak the Lower Salt, and this piece was done from a photograph I took on one of my kayaking trips. There’s a small sand beach about 2 miles south of Saguaro Lake where I stopped to cool off on a hot summer day, and shot several photos from this location. The main feeling I was trying to capture in this piece is the bright sunshine, looking in the direction of the sun.

The second drawing (seen below) is of an imaginary landscape, that’s actually based on a blurry, grainy photograph my daughter took out of the car window with my phone. When I found the photo in my photo stream, I was really intrigued by it, and did a number of sketches in my sketchbook of possible compositions and combinations of elements. I settled on one composition, and planned on doing a couple of different variations of it in pastel and oil, varying both the cropping, the elements, the values and the color.

When the drawings are finished, I frame them in an 11x14 black frame with a white mat that has an 8x10 opening. If you’re interested in buying any of my pencil drawings, they’ll be available here for sale on the site soon!

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