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Watercolors from Nova Scotia – Trip #1

rock at prospect nova scotia watercolor painting

One of the funny tricks my mind plays is confusing thinking through doing something versus actually doing it. Well, I swore I posted all my urban sketches and en plein air paintings, but I guess I didn’t! 

Lets start with a few from October, 2017. Around that time of year, I went to visit some family and Nova Scotia and took my painting supplies with me. I’ll likely do this from now on, since visiting Nova Scotia and not painting might as well be a crime…what a beautiful piece of Canada.

peggy's cove nova scotia watercolor painting by karolina szablewska en plein air painting
9″x12″. Watercolour on 140lbs watercolour rag paper. The ragged coastlines of Nova Scotia, featuring a prominent rock painted entirely on-location. The painting aims to be accurate while being loose and gestural. ~2017 | PRINTS | BUY THE ORIGINAL

This is one of my favourite spots to revisit every year, and so I will leave it vague as to where it is. Only locals really know how to get there, and I think it should stay that way instead of being trampled by selfie-taking tourists. Not that there isn’t an abundance of landscape at any stop in the road, should you choose to paint yourself. Just this place in particular…is special. This painting was completed entirely on location in about 2-3 hours.

peggy's cove nova scotia watercolor painting by karolina szablewska en plein air painting

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Inktober – Favourites & Further Thoughts

Inktober - Favourites & Further Thoughts by Karolina Szablewska

The past couple years, I’ve done the Inktober art challenge. The first time I tried it was in 2016. Legitimately, my art practice was kind of non-existant in the fall and so it was a good motivator. It’s fun to think about how much life changes from one autumn to the next.

I never got around to making a blog post dedicated to what I did, so I’m going to make on this year as I decided not to do the challenge. Usually, when artists do Inktober, it’s to be more productive and create art daily. For me, that’s less of a problem…I feel like I make enough art now. So my other motivator was to play with inks, but I’ve been using oils more this year than usual and want to stick to working on my series. It was definitely fulfilling to see that I can indeed organize myself and get pretty far, especially if some ink drawings were taking most of the afternoon to pull off and I didn’t always feel on top of the world like it’s common not to during the change of seasons.

One issue I’ve had with the art challenge was the prompts. The first year, I didn’t use any prompts. The second year, I used the official prompts and found them somewhat repetitive. If I were to do a challenge such as creating for 30 consecutive days again, I would probably plan exactly what I’m going to do. One of my ideas was to do figure drawing, then use the base as a pose to design a character on top of. Another idea is to plan a comic book I can draw in 30 days.

The biggest benefit from the art challenge was forcing an idea to happen. I think I genuinely came up with some unique ideas I would have otherwise not have created at all had I not done the challenge. I would not have experimented with inks and learned new techniques and tricks.

A few of my favourites Inktober sketches:

yellow pepper cross section drawing
9″x5.5″. Ink on bristol paper. PRINTS

This pepper you may have seen before. My favourites I scanned immediately. Apparently it makes a great wall tapestry because some people bought one on Society6 (have a look).

inktober teeming nova scotia watercolour sketch
5″x5″ watercolor and ink sketch on 140lb watercolor paper. Inktober Prompt for 2017 – Teeming, as in teeming with trees in the wilderness of Nova Scotia.

Whether others do or do not, I really love this little sketch. The colours, the texture, the simplicity, and the memory it brings back for me. This is one of those I’d love to blow up into a huge print to emphasize all those qualities. I really like that the sketch is essentially one type of line and hand movement, over and over.

inktober crab
6″x8″, ink, 2016. Drawing of crab for Inktober 2016. | PRINTS

I remember this crab well because I never quite played with colour inks before. It feels very fresh and simple, and I like that. There’s different shapes, textures, lines, colour, organic marks.

Inktober - Favourites & Further Thoughts by Karolina Szablewska
A small sketch with ink, gauche on top of a streak of acrylic paint. Inktober 2017 – Swift

This one is fun because it’s completely an experiment. I like to put old paint in a sketchbook like this and sometimes draw over it. I haven’t quite found the right medium that sits on acrylic paint, since this didn’t work so well. It was hard to control and cover with.

 Hippoglossus Hippoglossus watercolor
7″x10″ ink, watercolor on bristol paper. Comic about the confusing existence of a Halibut. Inktober 2017.

I was in Nova Scotia, so it seemed appropriate to think about fish. I was reading about halibuts since I remembered they are a type of flat fish, and the whole situation of their existence became somewhat funny.

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Upcoming Exhibition: I AM NSCAD Group Expo.

I’m excited to announce one of my comics will be displayed during the I AM NSCAD group exhibition at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in downtown Halifax. The work will be up for sale, and a percentage of the profit goes towards NSCAD scholarships – which I have benefited from myself, as a Harrison-McCain Entry Scholarship … Read more

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