Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Sketchbook Activity

Hi everyone!
Carol here.

I have been doing a variety of things this spring and summer.
One of them involved trout fishing.

I live near the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of South Carolina (USA).
They are a part of the Appalachian Mountains- which is the oldest mountain chain in the North American continent (about 350 million years old).
Needless to say the scenery is breathtaking any time of the year in this area.

My husband and I hike and trout fish in several places in the mountain rivers.
I am always amazed at how beautiful these fish are.
I decided to spend a little time sketching and painting them to familiarize myself with them even more.

It's true that we can simply look at something and think we know much about it. But if you spend a little time drawing it you know so much more about it. Add paint to the mix and you will be amazed at how much you missed when just looking at it.

I started out with the brook trout.
They have dots, specs and halos of an orange/red color on their sides that are so interesting.
It seems like everyone paints the rainbow trout but I love the shock of color on the brookie just as much.

I took a few photos for my own information then searched for clearer ones online and in books from the library. It's much easier to draw something when you have a really good photo, isn't it?

After my research and visual study, I came up with this sketch.

I darkened this sketch in PSE.

My original plan was to familiarize myself with the subject enough to paint a few small pieces as Christmas gifts.
I created a simple thermofax screen with the front 1/2 of the drawing since I knew that I was going to be painting more than one.
Then I pulled out the paint.

Here's a look at two pages in my sketchbook - one study is complete and the other three are "in work", all of them were started with a thermofax screen. You can really see the lines of it in the second page of my sketchbook studies. (I just noticed that I used two different screens for the fish.)

The painting on the bottom has been completed.
The upper one only has 2 or 3 layers on it.

The top trout has almost been completed.
The bottom one only has a couple of layers of paint applied.

I took the practice from these two pages in my sketchbook and created several small paintings.
I didn't use the thermofax screen on these paintings though.
Here's a scan of the simple drawing that I made in order to get started.

This wood block (it is actually a free sample block of wood flooring from a local Home Depot!). It measures 3 1/2 inches x 5 inches.

This is the completed painting.

I may have taken a little "artistic license" with this...

I love using the small blocks from the big box home improvement stores. You have to sand them before covering them in a layer of gesso. Sometimes the paint will still fleck off a little if it bumps up against something but they are fine for the most part.

Here's another one - even smaller than the one above.
It measures 2 1/4 inches x 5 inches.

The lesson in this long post is to really study whatever it is you are interested in.
Draw it.
Paint it.
Practice it.

Head over to my blog - I have other posts about drawing, painting and creating fiber art.
I also have an Etsy shop with tons of thermofax screens.
Maybe you'll find one that will help you with your painting!


  1. These are great! I will be borrowing your idea .... isn't that true that you notice more about an object after you've drawn it!

  2. Oh wow! You did a lot of homework and those trout look too good to eat!