Sketching shells

So this is how my art day went yesterday (with the exception of starting to knit fingerless mitts).   I thought, ok, I’ll paint a shell.  Got out one from my nature box to sketch and it was WAY harder than i thought it would be. I got lost in the ribs of the shell, the perspective, differentiating the actual colors of the shell from the shadows created by the side lighting, etc.  I was going to give up.  But then I thought, no keep trying.  start again, it WILL get easier.  And in time, it did!!

Shell sketch 1

So this is sketch one…it’s a bit taller and rounder than the shell is in real life, but I thought it was decent.


Then I tried it again and you can see, I think, that this one is a looser better sketch. More vibrant.

I thought, Ok, you’re done.  Don’t press your luck.  Sketching is as important as painting, more so, to fully understand the subject before being able to paint it.


Then I had another stiff talking to and told myself, it’s ONLY paper and pigment.  What harm can it do?

So this is the in progress painting it’s on Aquarius II 80 lb paper, on a pad, 15×22 so it’s much larger than the 6″ sketchbook the sketches were in.

Even if it goes nowhere other than this stage (but it will), I LOVE the wet in wet deep color blending of the triangular shape at the peak of the shell.  Just watching that move and richly settle into the paper was glorious.

The blue of the shadows is not as vibrant as the photo.  Same palette:  ultramarine, alizaron crimson, winsor lemon.  I had purchased paper awhile ago, various kinds and weights, and so I’m starting to learn what I like and don’t like.  I”m definitely leaning toward Arches cold pressed.


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