I was in San Diego a few years ago and had the opportunity to do some sketching. I brought a Canson 11” x 14” Montval watercolor sketchbook and decided to explore some panoramic views. Unlike my usual guerilla speed technique for grabbing as many images as I can before moving on, these sketches took a lot of time to develop. I sketched them on location and painted them later in my hotel room, a local restaurant and my studio.
It is difficult to work in the field with the book open so I worked on half of the scene at any one time. I did this by locating the wire seam within the scene, marking some key elements of the scene on either side of the wire as a reference, and then continuing the sketch, moving outwards from the center. In some of the examples shown here, I have aligned the seam with an architectural element such as the edge of a building, a light pole or a tree. I used both sides of the paper.
Notice the use of negative space in some of these images. Leaving some of the paper white allows your eye to rest. In addition to leaving some of the paper blank, I left some of the line work unpainted, letting the sketch dissipate into the background.
I initially blocked out the scene with pencil, establishing the horizon line and vanishing point, and locating the major shapes. Once I was satisfied with the design and composition, I did a loose pen sketch using a Sanford Uniball Micro pen, accentuating some of the lines with a water soluble Pentel Sign Pen. I painted everything with Holbein watercolors, adding accent touches of Titanium White after everything had dried.
Regarding the subjects, the first four were done during a trip in 2015. The last one was done late in 2017.