Creek Study in Snow, 4" x 8", charcoal, 2001 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Creek Study in Snow

Creek Study in Snow, 4" x 8", charcoal, 2001 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Creek Study in Snow, 4″ x 8″, charcoal, 2001 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I call this “my private beach” along Chartiers Creek in Carnegie. You can’t keep me away from water, not even in winter. When the creek is low, this area is above water level, ranging from a few inches to several feet wide, right at a bend in the creek. The opposite bank is a steep hill, and depending on the time of day and weather and lighting I see marvelous reflections.

I remember looking at the complexities of all the twigs and the ripples and the reflections and wondering where to start. I believe I began with just marking a few tree trunks with simple lines and lightly sketching the edges of the creek with two lines. So I did with this, standing in the snow, mesmerized by the light ripples of flowing water just slightly distorting the reflected trunks of the trees on the hill. Even if I wasn’t working on white paper in black charcoal, the contrast of the scene flashed out any color in the trunks or water.

After that, charcoal sketches usually go quickly, without the extra decisions for colors. To look at it now, it’s a simple sketch. Getting it from complex to simple is a big step.

This sketchbook was 5.5″ x 8.5″, so this little sketch is 4″ x 8″.

For years I carried a small fanny pack with sketchbooks and mostly black and white media like pencils and charcoal and ink pens, and would stop and sketch when I found an inspiration. A decade or so ago I designed note cards, note paper and notepads with the black and white art I produced. Note cards and greeting cards went out of style for a while but I see interest coming back. I should bring those out again.

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