A typical November day, drizzling rain, moist air and a colossal grey sky with slowly moving clouds. I tried hard to capture those thin clouds that smoked from the wooded hill named “Burgberg” in the background. I have been there on top to meet the “Schreckstein” which translates to “the stone that scares you”. And indeed the name is justified. It is a big black massive landmark that suddenly appears in front of you while you walk on a narrow path through dense woods like a ghost from the nowhere. It is said that some wimpy lap dogs (not laptops) passed away by heart attack when meeting the “Schreckstein”, at least some pale bones lying around there suggest something like that, if nothing worse yet.
As usual the thing is done down from the sky and from back to foreground. The grass around me and the thicket, that constantly whispered in my back, had been spaded by hordes of wild boar. Only recently a whopping number of seventy of them had been laid down on a single hunting afternoon. Unfortunately the sketch does not show these circumstances at all, instead it pretends a peaceful loveliness that seems to scorn the creator being a scared cat.
This small gouache sketch with a view on local vine yards was done on the 1st of November in sunshine. I taped the paper to get a clear borderline, I had seen this on Nathan Fawkes Land Sketch blog.The autumn foliage is at its peak at the end of October to the first days of November. Only a couple of days before there was snow falling. It was quite dangerous to go into the woods, but I could not resist to take some images of such a phenomenon that occurs only every 40 years as meteorologists said.
At the end of October and beginning of November the colors of autumn seem to peak in our forest and gardens here. I was on the way into the woods but decided to stay on a meadow with some fruit trees and an old garden shack near the forest edge.
I am experimenting with primed paper in one of my sketchbooks. This gouache sketch was “hard work” as I had painted the paper first with some abstract acrylic colour pattern which then was covered with a layer of white wall paint. The wall paint is hydrophobic to some extent. Some spots on the sketch need hours to dry. I had to apply a bit of gouache color, that floated a lot on the surface of the paper. The next time I will sand the wall paint layer to see whether gouache colors will connect easier then.
The re-print of the entire forest diary sketchbook is now available as color paperback in the Blurb bookstore. The book preview shows the all 158 pages. The size of the book is 6X9 inches, it has more than 100 images,the book weight is 275 grams. 61 gouache sketches, done on site between January 2009 and October 2011 in the forests of Maulbronn,Germany, are re-printed on double pages. As the original sketchbook covers on front and back are re-printed too to book contains a mini version of the original sketchbook.
Apart from the images there is an introduction and notes on sketching gear. Seven image series that show sketches in intermediate state illustrate the sketching process. The book is for people who are interested in sketching and painting outdoors and nature diaries. Collectors of sketchbook art might be interested in the re-print of this sketchbook project dedicated to the forests.
At the seam, in the middle of the double pages, the layout was adjusted to compensate the loss that occurs by printing/binding in the middle of the book. This is visible in the online book preview,but will not show in the printed book.
I made some adjustments based on the proof print I had received recently from Blurb. The colour print in paperback is a new option for Blurb customers. The colored pages are printed “semi matte” on white coated paper, which is quite similar to the appearance of the original sketchbook paper. The image quality is remarkable, a real 4-colour picture print. From my point of view coloured paperback books are a great addition to Blurb books and worthwhile to check out.
A couple of days ago I went to the same place I started the forest diary sketchbook on a grey afternoon in January 2009. I started with a humble sketch in ink, black and white,which still reminds me of those insecure days when the financial crisis hit.
Now at beginning of autumn 2011 the scenery is much different with lots of leaves and the undergrowth developed and the general outlook is not that grim anymore, but life has changed a lot and permanent since 2008/2009 for many of us.
Until end of the year I hope to finish a paper back facsimile re-print of the entire sketchbook with some extra text and “technical” information on these sketches. As usual I will publish on Blurb (Editionh on Blurb)
The acorns were coming down almost like rain and hit my sketchbook and color trays. No wonder that the soil around me is disturbed by wild boars.
I proceeded in this sketch again from back to front of the scenery.
This gouache sketch was done rather quickly without building a background first. Instead I started with the tree trunks in black and added the other elements step by step and modifying colours by sketching wet in wet.