Here is a little challenge I gave to myself last week, a two-hour study of a Nandina plant. These bushes have color that just pops in the gray winter landscape. I love how the deep reds in the leaves fades to green, and the bright berries are great to put in wreaths and other holiday decorations. I ran out of time to flush out the berries fully, but it turns out I love how they fade out of the picture. My medium was colored pencils on textured brown paper.
Drawing from life is an essential practice as an artist, and one that I have not kept up with too well lately. Life gets so busy sometimes it is hard to find the time and quietly draw (and often hard to justify to myself when there is so much else to do). With non-stop email, meetings, project deadlines, and other distractions, it is a good practice to retrain the mind to focus. It helps “fill the well” (my mental database) with new subject references and techniques. Sketching constantly also helps me approach illustration projects with more confidence when the time comes.
One of my goals for the New Year is to fill my spare moments with more sketching!