Thursday, May 23, 2013



A while back I did a quick sketch of a truck (see below). Not the most profound thing in the world.

The sketch, that is, I was pretty impressed by the truck.

I painted fast, as I was unsure how long it would stay put. When I saw the driver get in the cab, I managed to snap a quick shot with my phone, through my windshield, before the truck pulled away.

The sketch seemed like a runt compared to the actual thing. So on a recent weekend while the girls were away, I cleared off the kitchen table and on a piece of plywood, taped the majority of a 30 X 40 sheet of paper I've been cowering from for about a year.

It was a little daunting having an expanded playground (or maybe I should say battlefield), but I learned much from the experience. The photo and the sketch left many of the details up to the imagination. 

So I just winged it. Especially on the undercarriage.

Though the structure underneath would probably make a mechanic howl with laughter, I'm fairly pleased with the result of the underpainting with respect to the lamps. I played with an idea on the small sketch that I tried to use to more effect on the large one.

Rather than my usual quick shadow underpainting, this time I did an initial large bleed of bright warm colors, then my shadow pass, holding back most of the colored areas. As I layered glazes to define the forms, I selectively held back areas I thought would catch the colored light.  This produced a halfway decent impression of the lights illuminating and reflecting on the dark shapes there. I did a similar thing on the main body of the truck, using somewhat randomly colored bleedy washes underneath a fairly monochromatic series of glazes to try and give the impression of grease over dull metal.

Watercolor 101, I know, but something I had yet to try out.

So much for the old cliche. Woof.

Below are the small sketch and a work in progress snap. 


  1. Hard to believe you've only been at the watercolor thing about a year.
    Love this

  2. Cat lover, ( I looked it up). Don't believe the hype. Just a quick glance at the post on this blog puts it at something closer to six years. That fact alone is probably enough to move me from the fast track to the short bus. But I keep telling myself, the map is not the road.

    Rob, Thanks. Are you a mechanic by any chance?

  3. As a matter of fact, I was grease monkey for a few years!