Tag Archives: pencil sketch

The Mourning Doves Are Biding Their Time

pencil drawing of doves in bare tree

Biding Time, pencil and watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

The birds are returning, and this sunny morning when I filled the feeders I heard quite the chorus of mourning doves. They’ve always inhabited my trees, and now while they are still bare I can see birds clustered in each of them—especially as they watch me with the seed headed for each feeder.

The mourning doves tend to settle in one place for a while, commune with each other, sing for a while, then sit quietly as they consider moving off to do something else.

These doves are waiting in the maple tree outside my bedroom window, a scene I often see and always enjoy.

The branches of the ancient maple tree vary in texture and even color, the larger branches and trunk carrying old gnarled scars from years of storms; this tree has been my guardian since I moved into this house and is very, very old. The details of the branches and twigs were so inspiring to me and I visualized a large, detailed pencil drawing, even imagining my pencil drawing the darker edges, blending the smooth areas and sketching detail in the rough areas to create the shadows.

Still, it was the doves who led me to the beauty of the scene and it was only a matter of time and lots of reference photos before I decided exactly which one I wanted to draw.

The scene I finally chose to draw was a bright overcast day when a snowfall had melted from the branches, leaving them a little wet and more colorful than usual with the little bits of moss that collect on the undersides, and the shadows are muted and soft.

detail of biding time

Detail of dove with branches.

I chose to create this drawing in pencil for the simple clarity of line and the delicacy of shadow. Pencil was my first medium and one I return to regularly with a comforting familiarity, losing myself in the variety of lines and textures a simple graphite pencil can achieve, and so it was with this drawing.

I added very slight watercolor washes to show the bird’s breast tarnish and the contrast of blue on the upper feathers, and the slight gather of moss on the tree branch. Loving the pencil, I still wanted to give the birds and branches dimension against the flat white background. Well I remember my hesitance with the first washes of color, holding the brush, filled with paint, away from the sketch, afraid to begin for fear either my idea of adding color wouldn’t be successful or I would simply screw up this pencil drawing I’d spent three weeks drawing. Eventually, I got over it, and it worked out just as I had visualized.

detail of biding time

Detail of the other dove.

I sold the original to a loving home, but have a quality giclee matted and framed.

detail of frame and mats

Frame and mat on giclee print.

The signed giclee print is 18″ wide x 12″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free marble mat 1″ matte black wood frame, framed size 18″ x 24″. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

You can find this print in my Etsy shop.

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Daily Sketches of My Cats

pencil sketch of three cats

Three Cats, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

You’ve all seen my finished artwork, now here is a chance to see the underpinnings of that—the humble, simple sketch.

This is one of my daily sketches of my cats, done in pencil on drawing paper entitled Three Cats, signed and dated 12/3/11 of three of my kitties curled together on the bed. From the left is Jelly Bean, Mewsette and Giuseppe. I could picture this one as soon as I saw them, and it was all I could to to sneak soundlessly away so I didn’t wake them to get my drawing pencil and pad.

I endeavor to do at least a small sketch each day as a warm-up to my aesthetic senses. I’d fallen away from this for a while just in the busy-ness of every day, but I’ve been happily at it again consistently enough that I can post one nearly every day as well as my daily photos. Both of these activities give me the incentive to do more and different work, to experiment, to be inventive and “in the moment” with the subject and also with my ideas, something that’s rare in my daily tasks of commercial art. In addition, I can share it instead of finding these things years later in old sketch books.

steinlen book

Steinlen Cats

And I was also inspired to keep sketching cats and to share them by my copy of Steinlein Cats, a Dover large-size paperback including just pages from Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen’s sketchbooks featuring his sketches of his own cats. A few of his poster designs from before the turn of the last century are iconic, as I mentioned in a post about a photo of mine that reminded me of one of his compositions.

And rather than keep them all to myself, I’ll be selling a few of them as well. What we hang on our walls is extremely personal, but I’m a big proponent of having at least one piece of original art that was created by hand, and sketches in their simplicity offer such an intimate relationship with the artist, sharing a moment and something touched by another human. I offer the signed sketch alone for $25.00 for you to frame, and all will be fairly small and fit into a pre-made frame. I will also offer to sell it matted and also matted and framed. For examples, visit my new gallery in my Etsy shop entitled Daily Sketches, Cats etc.

And before I go on, let me explain that pencil is phenomenally difficult to photograph or scan; you may see shadings on the paper, but just the drawn lines are there. I may have to invest in a better scanner again.

pencil sketch of abstract cats

Reticulated Kitties

This is called “Reticulated Kitties“, done in pencil on drawing paper, signed and dated 12/1/11 of four of my kitties piled up on my desk while I’m trying to work. On top is Mimi, on the bottom from the left is Jelly Bean, Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine.

This is drawn in a style I learned as “reticulation” where the entire drawing is done in one line, sometimes retracing a path to get to another point, using loops to make their toes, for instance, and zig zags to create detail and texture, but never lifting the pencil from the paper until the drawing was done. I was inspired to this by the cats themselves and their seemingly endless flowing selves as they piled on each other, though I did cheat a little and do a light sketch underneath as a basis for my one big line.

I had also intended to use a colored pencil, or even layers or shadings of colored pencil, but grabbed the old Ebony drawing pencil instead. That’s okay, there will be time for the other technique I’m visualizing.

I have a small pouch of art materials and a few various sized sketchbooks available in the house and out. Usually, these sketches are done in pencil, my first and favorite medium, though sometimes it’s charcoal, ink, colored pencil, ink and brush, whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, the greatest challenge to keep it quick and not get caught up in details, let the idea flow onto the paper.

Most often, the subjects are my cats because they are such willing models (if they like to eat they’d better be), though sometimes I’ll also wander afield, literally, and sketch in my yard or anywhere I go for errands.

pencil sketch of three cats eating

Dinnertime!, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

It’s Kelly, Mimi and Cookie enjoying dinner. No time for a sketch this morning, the usual time for sketches as warm-ups, but I knew I’d be gone all day, hoping I could get one later.

I knew I wanted to get this one, but also knew I’d have a limited time since they get their bowls before the young animals do and the three girls don’t waste any time once they get to it. I had my sketchbook and pencil on the sink and as soon as I set down the bowls for the kids I got right to the sketch.

This sketch is available for sale in my Etsy shop. Why this one and a few others, but not all of them? See below.

pencil sketch of cat at window

Cat At Window

This one from December 4 isn’t offered yet, partly because I’m not sure what to do with it and this is sometimes the quandary of the daily sketches. There were three cats looking out the window when I began, two left and Mewsette, who is here, moved, so I had a pile of guidelines, then went in another direction, adding in the patterned rug I have on the tabletop just as an experiment, and then also the branches outside the window. But it’s 11″ x 14″ (minus the tabbed edges on top where I pulled it from the tablet), and I just feel that’s too big. I’ve often cropped an original drawing down to the part of it I like, and in this case I like just this so it may be what I offer:

pencil sketch of cat at window

Cat at Window, cropped, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Every once in a while, they are meant for framing, and I’ve designed a series of notecards, notepaper and notepads using other feline daily sketches and also scenes from nature. Often I use them as illustrations for graphics projects I’m designing. I can easily create a digital file to keep if I want to use them for production, and still sell the original for someone else to enjoy.

They are all on Etsy

You can be certain I’ll be posting my sketches here with a link to the specifi art on my Etsy site, but you can also browse them here in the menu by choosing “Daily Images>Daily Sketches” or by visiting my Etsy shop in Daily Sketches, Cats etc.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


The Mourning Doves Are Biding Their Time

pencil sketch of doves on a branch

Biding Time, pencil and watercolor © B. E. Kazmarski

Something about the light today, this bright overcast with snow still on the ground, the birds sitting very still in the bare trees, reminds me of this pencil drawing which hangs near my desk here in my office.

What do doves do all day? Just kind of hang out waiting for something to happen? The doves always seem to have some purpose beyond just sitting there, but sit they will for hours, moving only slightly, perhaps waiting for friends to join them.

These doves are waiting in the maple tree outside my bedroom window, a scene I often see and always enjoy.

The branches of the ancient maple tree vary in texture and even color, the larger branches and trunk carrying old gnarled scars from years of storms; this tree has been my guardian since I moved into this house. The details of the branches and twigs were so inspiring to me and I visualized a large, detailed pencil drawing, even imagining my pencil drawing the darker edges, blending the smooth areas and sketching detail in the rough areas to create the shadows.

Still, it was the doves who led me to the beauty of the scene and it was only a matter of time and lots of reference photos before I decided exactly which one I wanted to draw.

dove with branches

Detail of dove with branches.

The scene I finally chose to draw was a bright overcast day when a snowfall had melted from the branches, leaving them a little wet and more colorful than usual with the little bits of moss that collect on the undersides, and the shadows are muted and soft.

I chose to create this drawing in pencil for the simple clarity of line and the delicacy of shadow. Pencil was my first medium and one I return to regularly with a comforting familiarity, losing myself in the variety of lines and textures a simple graphite pencil can achieve, and so it was with this drawing.

I added very slight watercolor washes to show the bird’s breast tarnish and the contrast of blue on the upper feathers, and the slight gather of moss on the tree branch. Loving the pencil, I still wanted to give the birds and branches dimension against the flat white background. Well I remember my hesitance with the first washes of color, holding the brush, filled with paint, away from the sketch, afraid to begin for fear either my idea of adding color wouldn’t be successful or I would simply screw up this pencil drawing I’d spent three weeks drawing. Eventually, I got over it, and it worked out just as I had visualized.

The drawing is 22″ wide x 16″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free mat with 1/8″ charcoal acid-free mat, framed with a 1″ burnished gold metal frame with silver inner edge and nailhead detail. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

This is also available as two sizes of prints, one at 18″ x 24″ and one at 11″ x 14″. The 11″ x 14″ print is shown here.

All are available in my Etsy shop using the links below.

corner of painting

Frame and mats on original sketch.

Original sketch of “Biding Time

The drawing is 22″ wide x 16″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free mat with 1/8″ charcoal acid-free mat, framed with a 1″ burnished gold metal frame with silver inner edge and nailhead detail. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

detail of frame and mats

Frame and mat on giclee print.

Large Framed Giclee of “Biding Time

The signed giclee print is 18″ wide x 12″ high, matted with a 4″ tan acid-free marble mat 1″ matte black wood frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.

framed print of biding time

11" x 14" framed print of "Biding Time".

Small Framed Digital Print of “Biding Time”

This digital print is 10″ wide x 8″ high, matted with a 1-3/4″ white linen mat lined with a 1/4″ black linen mat and 1-1/2″ matte black wood frame. The backing is acid-free foam core and the glass is premium clear glass.


“Eye on the Sparrow”, note cards inspired by birds, nature and winter

sketch of junco

Snowbird

I feed birds at feeders all year, but in winter have many more feeders to enjoy, and as I travel around on foot or on bike I carry a little 5” x 8” sketchbook and small drawing paper scraps plus various pens and pencils, charcoal and ink. The stark light of winter, branches and shadows etched on fresh snow and the quick movements of birds make me leave the complications of my pastels behind in favor of quick sketches.

This set of notecards was compiled from years of little sketches I did for enjoyment and kept in the sketchbooks.

Eye on the Sparrow logo

birds in snow sketch

Birds in Snow

sketch of junco on snowy branch

Snowbird

charcoal sketch of chartiers creek in snow

Creek Study in Snow

pen and ink sketch of bare trees in snow

Light Woods

charcoal sketch of bare trees

The Path of the Elves

charcoal sketch of tree on hillside

The Sentinel

pen and ink sketch of an iron fence and bare tree

Wrought Iron Fence

pencil sketch of bare tree branches

Tree Study

charcoal sketch of small stream in heavy snow

Stream in the Snow

charcoal sketch of sparrows in a spruce tree

The Sparrows in the Spruce

Cards are 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″, blank inside with matching envelopes, printed in soy-based ink on 25% cotton fiber stock with a 35% recycled content.

They are available in packs of 12 with three cards in each of the four images. Packs or boxes of individual images or different combinations are available on request.

Writing Paper and Memo Pads

In addition, I also offer these images on 5.5″ x 8.5″ writing paper with second sheets matching envelopes and on 2.75″ x 8.5″ memo pads.

  • twelve sheets of writing paper, twelve blank sheets, twelve envelopes in a clear, resealable plastic sleeve
  • memo pads with 25 sheets

And Prints

I also offer these images as 4″ x 6″ prints centered on 8″ x 10″ paper.

Visit the Marketplace on my website for more information.


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