Sketching Two Moments in Time

I have been so busy with classes and “studio paintings” for the last couple of months that it was nice to recently take out my sketchbook and just “play.” It is important to me to take a break from serious painting once in a while. There is something relaxing about not having to execute all of the “tools and rules” of design. My goal is to get enough on paper that I capture the essence of a place I have visited and write a little entry about the day.

So, I thought I would share these two sketches and a little bit about the days they represent.

At the end of May, I taught two workshops at the Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson. (By the way it is a great art school in a quaint little mountain town.) I was invited by one of the board members to have dinner along with some friends at his place, Waterfall Farm. It was such a delightful and interesting evening. It turns out that Doug has a trout pond literally right off of his front porch! Just before we arrived, he had caught our dinner and had it cleaned and ready to cook on his old-fashioned wood cookstove. Yep, no gas or electric range here. He is a master at cooking this way and dinner was delicious. After dinner, we were treated to two tours: one of his wonderful collection of original art pieces and one of his “sugar house.” Doug is also a maple syrup producer. He showed us all of the equipment and explained the process of making syrup. Unfortunately it was raining all evening so we didn’t get to see the waterfall for which the farm is named. I took the following photo of the trout pond through the window.

When I got home, I decided to sketch and paint his pond from the photo and send it to him as a thank you card. I also repeated the same scene in my journal pictured below.  As you can see, I changed the scene from a rainy day to a clear day!  As Joyce Hicks says, “Give yourself permission to change it up any way you like” and “Don’t paint it how it is!  Paint it how you want it to be!”

Trout Pond at Waterfall Farm
© Annie Glacken

Recently, my husband and I had two of our grandchildren spend the night so we could get an early start to go up to the mountains the next morning. The plan was for my husband and grandson to go gem mining and for my granddaughter and I to join the sketching group, High Country Nature Sketchers, as she loves to go out sketching with me.

Our group’s destination for the day was along the Watauga River located in part of the Valle Crucis Community Park. It was a great sketching location as we had plenty of flat area to set up our gear and it was unseasonably cool which was a nice break from the summer heat. To learn more about my gear, click on this previous post.

After my granddaughter was finished with her sketch, she asked if she could walk on the rocks that cross the river–which is more like a creek in this particular spot. I told her I didn’t mind her standing on the rocks along the side but didn’t think it was a good idea to cross as she might slip and fall. Well, the next thing I know, she walks up to me, soaking wet. She had been standing on the side just like I told her, but when she reached into the water to pick up a “pretty rock” she slipped and fell in. I think it was quite a shock to her as the water was cold and the weather cool. So needless to say, I had to cut my sketching time short so that we could go get her some dry clothes. Before I left, I took a photo of the spot I had been sketching so that I would be able to finish later at home. I think the grandkids had a fun day and it will certainty be one we all remember!

Fishing along the Watauga River
© Annie Glacken

In addition to the break from “serious painting,” sketchbook journaling allows me to capture and record these great memories! It is so much fun to look back through my journals as it takes me right back to a moment in time!

Below are the completed journal pages:

Trout Pond at Waterfall Farm
© Annie Glacken

HCNS-Watauga River
© Annie Glacken

As always, all images are copyrighted. Thanks!

13 Replies to “Sketching Two Moments in Time”

  1. Beautiful sketchbook and your writing is really pretty. Your country has perfect landscapes to paint. I have some sketchbooks but Im “blocked” in front of the first white page, and I’m afraid to begin something. I know it’s stupid and it’s only paper I can tear off if I don’t like the result. I’m not very handy with real landscapes, perhaps better in still life paintings. Or perhaps I’m too lazy ;))) have a nice Wednesday !

    • I know what you mean about fear of the white page. It can be intimidating. I think it helps to paint what you love–it doesn’t have to be landscapes. I began with sketching and painting fruit, leaves, flowers, and objects lying about the house. Also, you are right, you can tear it out if you don’t like it. I have even glued a new piece of watercolor paper over a page I didn’t like in order to repaint a page. Just jump in and go for it! I think beginning is the most difficult part!
      I hope you have a lovely Wednesday as well!

    • Lawrence, I often just skip over the first page. It gets me past the intimidation of it, and oftentimes I later use it as an index or table of contents of my sketches. I know some people start from the back and move forward. 🙂

  2. What a delightful story, both about the gentleman’s home & cooking, and about your granddaughter’s little mishap. You have a wonderful way of sketching, Annie.

  3. I love these sketches and your stories! Beautiful days, beautiful pages. This summer has been too busy for me. I need to do what you did… escape somewhere and paint for a while!

    • Hi Tonya, thank you for your reply to Laurence. Yes, it is important to have some time to just escape and paint for fun–with no agenda in mind. When art is your occupation, it can be difficult at times to not let the business side steal all of our recreational painting time! We need to guard some “painting playtime!”

      • I totally agree! I’ve been doing that more now that World Watercolor Month is over. I think that’s my last 31 day challenge because it makes me lose my focus on the pleasure of art. I love your phrase – painting playtime! What a wonderful way to celebrate our Maker’s world. Happy painting! 🙂

        • Tonya, I admire you for taking on the World Watercolor Month challenge–especially with having your business to keep up with as well. I know if I would have tried it, it would have turned into a “chore” by the end of the month instead of “fun.” I have to say though, that I enjoyed seeing everyone one of your challenge paintings! I love your beautiful loose style!