Orvieto, Umbria, Italy.....
.......is full of narrow winding streets, unexpected archways and out of the way shops. We were there for a week ahead of the workshop I was teaching so I could get over the jet lag. I became somewhat of a human being somewhere around two in the afternoon and headed out to sketch a bit.
It is fun for me, while one part is doing the drawing, for the other part to just enjoy watching it fall together. I looked first for where I could find a 'yardstick'.....something in the scene easy to draw but could be used to figure out where everything else should be.....and I chose the long side of the doorway on the right side. Then I began, but didn't finish right away, the step up into the store from street level. At that point I had a sense of how it was going to fit together and hopped over to the little pumpkin sitting on a box next to the door.
In color, and I did a color sketch later, the orange of the pumpkin in front of the gray brown of the boxes and the green of the foliage was pretty outstanding. In markers and gouache it just became part of the pattern of plants, boxes, and wine bottles. The canopy I slowed way down to do so I could keep the gentle curves and overall shape.
It was a scene with a lot of stuff. The challenge was to keep all of that 'stuff' in check so it wouldn't overwhelm the scene but yet give texture. The street alone was all cobblestone which is only subtly stated. Oh, and there were lots of people passing by but none stopped long enough to get put in. The shop owner kept peering out through the display trying to figure out what I was doing.
A couple of days after getting back I had to get our transmission serviced. The woman had some computer questions and the owner spent a short time, maybe three minutes, showing her what to do. With little time to think I grabbed the sketchbook and got just the basics of the figures in before they began answering phones and running around the office. Occasionally they would return to positions similar to this.
My 'yardstick' this time was the edge of the computer screen and the doorway behind the two of them. Then I put in all the other parts of the scene and used the markers to provide form and guide the eye. Notice how the computer screen and the guy's shirt are the only placed where I used the darkest marker. Your eye can wander around but gets sucked right back to that area. There were lots of dark areas in the scene that didn't get stated just to keep that effect.
By the way, I have a Marker Workshop this Saturday with a couple of open spaces and I have the materials you need for sale (at cost) so all you need do is sign up and show up. 9:30 to 4:30 on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Contact the Winslow Art Center HERE.
If you can't make the workshop be sure to check out my book (recently expanded and updated) in the page tab up at the top.
I also have a portrait workshop early in May that you can also check out. Limited spaces.
Thanks for looking.