Brenda Swenson: Don’t Carpet Your Rut
What if_smAny form of repetition can be a rut: technique, subject matter, perspective, lighting or paint colors. The quote, “Don’t carpet your rut”, reminds me not to get too comfortable doing the same thing. Painter’s can get in a rut because we want a successful outcome every time. Anything that’s repetitive is playing it safe. If you want to grow it means you have to take a risk. The risk can be large or small.

If you find yourself in a creative rut…start climbing out! I begin by thinking, What if? How many ways can I sketch or paint a subject differently? The answer is countless.

The more effort and imagination I put into exploring a new approach the better the experience will be. The object can be quite simple. The images don’t need to be very big, 4×6 or 5×7 will do. I sketch the subject numerous times mixing drawing and painting techniques. This is a great way to explore new ideas by investing a small amount of time.

 

Pens: Bamboo Reed, Fountain, Disposable, Ballpoint…
Ink: waterproof, soluble, colored…
Drawing Tools: Pencil, Charcoal, Markers, Brush…
Papers: Watercolor (cold or hot press, rough) pastel paper, Japanese papers…
Paint Colors: Regular Palette, Triads, Tonal, Warm or Cool…
Painting Techniques: wet-into-wet, flat or graduated washes, glazing…

The examples are listed in the order completed. Each drawing took less than 3 minutes and were painted in 10 minutes or less. For me it is important to keep the exercises quick and fun.

#1 Drawn with a bamboo reed pen dipped in liquid watercolors. Painted with regular palette of DANIEL SMITH Watercolors.
#2 Drawn with a fountain pen dipped in sepia waterproof ink. Value study with sepia pencil and painted with Lunar Black.
#3 Drawn with pencil. Painted with regular palette and Payne’s Blue Gray. The new Payne’s Blue Gray mixed beautifully to create rich glowing darks in the background.
#4 Drawn with a fountain pen with blue waterproof ink. Painted with the newest 8 colors from DANIEL SMITH Watercolors. I love putting these new colors to work!

Now it’s your turn. Once you start, you’ll see endless possibilities.
I’m sure you can add a few of your favorites to the list!

Happy Sketching!
Brenda