So what’s a double fold out called?
It’s when both the right and the left pages fold out and you feel as if you’re going through the gate to the scene beyond. That’s what I wanted to achieve here, but first I needed to deal with the closed spread.
When all other ideas elude me, I paint my favorite models… pears.
I love how the plate and shadow bleeds off the spread and how the border stripe echoes the pears’ coloration.
But now it was time to tackle the fully open spread. When totally opened it measured 32 inches across, so wide that it was too daunting for me to just simply dive in. I took out my gridded notebook for some planning, and of course, more thumbnails.
I didn’t use any of these designs but you can see how I calculated the best focal points using the rule of thirds.
I mined one of my previous sketchbooks for a suitable landscape and as I painted I placed the skyline to blend with the edge of the plate. I may have been overthinking it but it turned out well.
32 inches of panorama.
Now that it’s done I’ve thought of a few other ways to handle a gatefold. Maybe next time I’ll handle each of the 4 panels separately, but unified by a single theme, like the seasons. Maybe I’ll draw a progression across the spread, like how a rose bud opens, blooms and finally withers.
So many options for me to try next, I know there’s more sketchbook modifying in my near future.
Just over a week ago I was able to spend a fabulous day sketching with 2 friends I found through Sketchbook Skool. We met at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to sketch together and catch up on all our various travels, classes and workshops.
We enjoyed the raptor visitor program and toyed with the idea of sketching the eagles but instead, we settled on painting the lovely view of the Ottauquechee River just a short walk from the main exhibit area. Landscapes have never been my forte so I jumped at the chance to practice, especially in the presence of my friends who are both more comfortable and more proficient at capturing the terrain.
Having decided against using my trusty fountain pen, I loosely and lightly sketched the rough outline of the marsh before pulling out one of my travel watercolor brushes. Sorry, I can’t remember which one; I only know I felt as if I was walking a tightrope without a net. Definitely out of my comfort zone!
Stillman & Birn Alpha 9″ x 6″, Daniel Smith Watercolors
The time just sailed by and only too soon we were saying our good-byes and scheduling our next get-together. Once I got home and really studied my spread I saw a few flaws that I thought were “fixable” using a few of the hints I gleaned during the day.
You can see that in my zeal to capture the reflections I totally neglected to draw the mountains that were reflected! Sheesh… what was I thinking! The other hint was to paint in a smudgy layer of color at the base of the rushes. Two small things that made a big difference.
Is it perfect? … far from it, but I’m pleased. I only know I have more practice time ahead of me… and with my friends encouraging me, I’ll enjoy every minute of it!