September 6th, 2016

Nature Journaling

Artist: Jan Blencowe, United States
Artist Statement: Nature is by far my favorite sketching subject. As a result, about ninety percent of my sketchbook entries are nature studies. Although a great deal of my nature journal studies are done right on my own property (because I believe that your relationship with nature should start right on the little patch of earth where you live), this particular entry was done on a day trip to Outer Island in Stony Creek, Branford, CT. It was a wonderful opportunity to explore a new environment and make use off the spotting scopes available on viewing platforms on the island, which look out into the Long Island Sound. When I’m working with live (and therefore moving) subjects I like to begin with a very brief sketch done with a mechanical pencil. Once the gesture is established I move right in with a fountain pen. I’m a big fan of economy of line, that is, saying as much as I can in as few lines as possible. I find sketches created that way have a boldness and a liveliness that brings power to the subject. I also use line work to establish some very basic value patterns. Once that’s done watercolors bring the sketches to life. After the sketches were complete I found a shady spot to sit and using brochures I picked up at the information center I was able to write some interesting facts as part of my journal entry. Cormorants and terns, the birds in this entry, both have some unique characteristics that I tried to focus on, as well as capturing them in some interesting poses.

MEDIA: Fountain pen, ink, watercolors
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Finish

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jan Blencowe is a Connecticut landscape painter, and a keen observer of the natural world. She keeps a nature journal, and explores and documents her life through visual and illustrated mixed media journals. Her work has been published in the recently released book, Artist’s Sketchbook: Exercises & Techniques for Sketching on the Spot, and Strokes of Genius 5, The Nurture Nature Center’s nature journal curriculum, and used in promotional materials for Derwent Cumberland Pencil Company, Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks, and Golden Artist Colors. Her sketchbook, Winter in Connecticut, is part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library in New York.

Outer Island cormorants and terns


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