I Love My Gansai

Now that I’ve moved past that dreadful exercise on drawing an interior scene, I’m happily sketching various objects around the house. I recall reading once that anything can become interesting when we draw it. I agree — to a point. There are some things that might be “interesting subjects” for sketching, but which would not result in “interesting drawings” in the end. My opinion, anyway. Sort of like that set of gears I drew as part of an online session. Yes, it was an interesting project, but even had I turned out a perfect drawing, I wouldn’t really have cared much for it. I’m just not into gears that way, you see.

I am having fun this morning, however, finding and sketching different objects, and I’m having even more fun by then adding color with my gansai. Part of all I’m doing, of course, is looking at values, learning to shade, seeing where the lights and shadows fall. I do this first with my graphite sketching, and then I try to really bring out the values as I paint with my gansai.

One exercise in this “Still Life” chapter I’m working on today was to draw a bowl of fruit. I didn’t actually have an entire bowl of fruit around, though. All I had was half on an orange, and I ate that. Oh, well. Instead of putting together an arrangement of my own, I just used Barrington Barber’s illustration of a bowl of oranges as my inspiration. Here is my completed sketch — with gansai added.



Not a good photograph, and probably not really a very good drawing, but all the same, I enjoyed making this sketch and coloring it with my gansai. The more I use it, the more I love my gansai. If  you look closely, you can tell that it doesn’t work exceptionally well with graphite, but that doesn’t matter to me. I absolutely love my gansai. I love playing with it. I love using it to transform my “so-so” drawings into colorful pictures that make me smile.

With these oranges, I had fun painting them using 5 different hues, ranging from yellow through a dark, rusty red. It was fun blending these colors together as I tried to mimic my graphite shading with the gansai. I like the casual effects I get with gansai. My little paintings — to me, at least — seem to have a bit of character. They’re playful. They’re cheerful. They’re representations of my attitude toward art this summer:

Don’t try too hard.

It is what it is.

Taking that approach has helped me see myself and my art from, dare I say it, new perspectives. I’m not sure I could have found my way onto this path without my gansai. For some reason, even from the start, I’ve been comfortable playing with these Japanese watercolors. Whenever I open my set, which is nearly every day, I know I’m going to have a good time. And you know what else? I think maybe I’m learning a lot, too. I’m learning more about blending colors. I’m definitely paying much more attention now to lights and shadows. And best of all, I’m learning about what makes me happy.

Quick sketches. Bright colors. Simple, loosely-painted illustrations. I’m having a great time with my gansai this summer.


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