Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Drawing in the Dark

I'm picking up from Barbara Week's post: Drawing in the Dark. I love to draw the night. Seeing what you're doing is really a challenge. It feels kind of crazy, like driving without headlights.  Drawing the darkness outside from inside when it's winter is particularly difficult. Any light used to illuminate the page and the palette causes reflection, making it difficult to see out.

Here's a watercolor, "Star in the Window", of my backdoor neighbor's house here in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was done on the longest night of the year (2011) from a second floor window. It's a good thing I'd memorized what color is where in my palette:

"Back Door Light", a Neocolor II, was done a few nights later, looking out another second floor window to my side neighbor. No moonlight, only the illumination from under the door overhang and the reflection off a more distant house as seen through the silhouetted trees. I really got eye strain from doing this one and all my crayons ended up on the floor. It was hard to keep it all together, working in the dark.

"Moonlight from Lapa" was done on the first night I was in Lisbon for the Urban Sketchers Symposium this past July. We were staying in a flat on the top floor of a building that was on one of Lisbon's many hills looking out over the Tejo River. There were no screens on the windows (therefore no reflection to contend with) and the moon cast more than enough light to see. This night sketch was a cinch.

This was done at a laundromat in downtown Cedar Falls for an Urban Sketchers Theme of the Week. Inside was bright. What was outside was unclear--I drew what I saw, but it came across as an almost abstract smattering of lit shapes and colors.

From my bedroom window, I drew in the dark, hardly able to see what I was putting on the page for "Moonrise and Contrail".  When I turned on the light to look, I added white to the moon and its rays.

This was my first drawing of the night.  It was 1977, I was backpacking in Crete with a friend. We were sleeping out in the Samaria Gorge. The moon was SO bright. I was too scared to sleep; we were told there were scorpions. I sketched a lot on this trip. I had only one drawing tool: a technical pen with black ink.

If you'd like to see a few more here's Moonrise over WaterlooHouse Across Clay Street, and a twilight cityscape of Portland, Oregon, when I attended the 1st Urban Symposium, July 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Fun, Marcia! And you brought up an important point, knowing where your colors are on your palette. Even if you're NOT working in the dark, that helps with speed and accuracy.


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