Poppy Garden – sketchbook watercolor

“Poppy Garden” – approx 9 x 12 watercolor

Tuesday afternoon I had the opportunity to join my friend Wendee for some sketching and painting in a nearby garden that is filled with billows of California poppies. Do you detect a seasonal theme here? I didn’t have time for a big painting but I wanted to do a reference sketch that I could take home to use for a larger watercolor or oil painting. It contains just enough information to describe the scene without being too detailed. I can paint the smaller touches from memory. Or leave them out, as the case may be.


  1. DebMc
    April 10, 2008

    Lovely. Do you find a photo would be ‘too’ real? Does a watercolor sketch capture more of the feelings you have when looking at the scene? I’m comfortable with photography, but find I can’t always capture the mood I experienced while on location.
    I enjoy following your creative journey.

  2. Karen
    April 10, 2008

    Good question, Deb. I see a photo and a reference sketch as two different things. The photo captures all the details, but the sketch may come closer to the feeling. Often, even when I use a photo ref I have been to the location recently enough that the feeling of being there is still quite fresh.

    Photos are deceiving because they often put everything in sharp focus, which is not how we perceive. There’s the artist’s challenge – to create the perception, not necessarily the reality.

  3. Tami
    April 11, 2008

    Definitely that time of year! Interesting thread you have going there on sketches vs. photos. Couldn’t put my finger on what the “problem” was with a photo, but it is that it puts it all in sharp focus…This would make a stunning oil painting.

  4. wendy
    April 12, 2008

    A lovely free flowing painting. Exudes a feeling of joy. Better than a carefully detailed photo-like picture. I only use photos as a referencea if I don’t have time to stick around a location for more than 15 minutes. The pictures I did at the Botanical Gardens needed a few photos so I just ran in with Peceli’s camera a couple fo days after the first visit which was with a group of women and I only had 5 minutes to sketch that time.

  5. Linda T
    April 14, 2008

    So beautiful, and a great sketch. It has the feel of being there, which of course you were, and I bet any other piece that comes from it will have the same feel.

  6. Sunj
    November 22, 2010

    I see a photo and a reference sketch as two different things. The photo captures all the details, but the sketch may come closer to the feeling..

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