Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Annual Reading Challenge

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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:18 pm

Book #9
Maelstrom

by Taylor Anderson

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Destroyermen: Maelstrom (Book 3)

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy, along with the men and women of Walker, are once again at war. Having sided with the peaceful Lemurians against the savage, reptilian Grik, they now find themselves scrambling to prepare for the attack that is sure to come, searching for resources to support their forces—even as they look for allies to join their struggle.

Meanwhile, the Japanese juggernaut Amagi, also trapped in this strange world, is under Grik control—with her fanatical commander approaching madness. And soon they will have amassed a force that no amount of firepower and technology will be able to stop.

As the raging conflict approaches, Reddy, his crew, his allies, and his loved ones face annihilation. But if there is one thing they have learned about their new world, it is that hope—and help—may be just over the horizon.

I've come to really like this series, this book essentially sealing the deal and propelling me to read the other (so far) 7 books ahead if this one. I'm invested in the characters and really wondering where all this possibly goes over so many more books. All I know is the last quarter of this one had me on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to survive!!!
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:32 pm

Book #10
Archisketcher
A Guide to Spotting & Sketching Urban Landscapes

by Simone Ridyard

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Archisketcher
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I've always been drawn to architecture, and structures in cityscapes in general. This is generally refered to...in this wheelhouse... as being an urban sketcher. Strangely enough though, when I went to Art School (so many years ago now), sketching was never really covered in any great depth. Sure, I had drawing classes, of which many of the principles coverd in this book touched upon, but sketching as a sole art source itself just was not part of the curriculum. It was more a means to an end; setting a *blueprint* or *draft* to formulate the direction you would ultimately go in a final piece of illustration or painting, or even sculpture, pottery, and printmaking.

Even on those time when I go out to "sketch", I always end up with a drawing...a full drawing, with detail and precision to some degree or another. Certainly nothing in which I saw as illustrated in this book upon a quick flip-through.

I had long determined that I am missing something. Worse, I don't even know what it is I am missing. so, I saw this and another urban sketching book, and decided to pick them up to see if I could glean a path to what I am looking for. This particuler tome claimed....

With Archisketcher you will learn to spot and recognize a wide range of common architectural styles and characteristic features on structures from around the world. This book features two-page spreads presenting the work of artists who have their own interpretations of famous landmarks like, the Eiffel Tower and New York skyline or the neighborhood they live in like San Francisco, Montreal, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Packed with accessible, bit sized tips for spotting and sketching different architectural styles you will be an Archisketcher in no time!

Well, I already know how to spot and recognize a wide variety of common archtecural styles and characteristics, because....well....I was an architectural draftsman, and an Engineer Technician for the Army (civilian) for military housing who drew floorplans and worked on contract specifications. That knowledge started when I was in high school and enteredd into advanced architecture studies; and then oddball courses during and after Art School; and a love of architecture and soaking up everything I could from an early age. My intent out of high school was indeed, to be an architect. I studied Art, and got a job for the federal Government! Life indeed has it's own path in irony that still baffles me. But I digress...

I am on the search for soimething. I don't know what it is yet.....it has something to do with:
  • What is the real difference between sketching and finished artwork?
  • What is the purpose of sketching, beyond being a tool to frame a piece of art separate from the sketch?
  • Is sketching, as dome by "sketch book artists" hobby, art, or just for fun?
  • And ultimately, what is my personal view of sketching?

Maybe there are ore questions to come. Maybe all thse questions will be nullified in an epiphany!

This book gave me some clues, but on the periphery only I'm afraid. Perhaps the next book will get me closer.
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:08 pm

I've started the second of the two sketching books I bought recently, and though I am only a fifth of the way through, I am seeing concepts meld with the first book (#10) that is actually starting to point me in the direction of my mysterious quest. I don't know how to explain it but, I am on the one hand seeing written guidnace on stuff I instinctually figured out on my own over many years; and reinforced with new concepts that are starting to provide a roadmap to the true benefits of sketching I'd never knew.
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:02 pm

A third of the way through this second sketching book and I've had one major revelation: I've never drawn the way as described, that I can recall; which is to find the focal point of the scene and ender that in greater detail, and less to no detail on the periphery. That's kinda big for me, actually.... because when I've gone out specifically to "sketch", I don't draw that way. In fact, even what I have done as sketches are more finished drawings.

I guess that's part of the mystery I'm trying to figure out. Complicating this is, there are self-admiytted non-artists that sketch as an almost journaling endeavor; and artists that call their skeetches finished work, which indeed I can see that side of the argument, as well.

Odd that I grraduated art school back in 1981, yet I am just now asking these questions of myself.
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:24 pm

Book #11
The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location

by Marc Taro Holmes

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The book was a good read on drawing and watercolor painting technique. It begins with an introduction to the concept of urban sketching and its inherent joys...as well as the non-profit group upon which it is founded (100 hand-pciked sketchers). As most good art instruction books are want to do, it professed daily, habitual sketching – with quantity trumping concern for quality. OK...that was a new one on me! :shock:

I'm a very detailed-oriented person, so quality is usually the Number 1 goal. This cncept is definitely out of my comfort zone, and general wheelhouse all-together; so, maybe a good thing? We will see.

In his own words, the artist advises: “Urban sketching gets you out in the world looking for things worth drawing....It puts you into the mindset where daily life is part of a larger artistic adventure.”

The first two-thirds of the 143-page book focuses on relatively basic drawing techniques that a beginner could grasp and practice without feeling overwhelmed. What is great about this book is, it offers many practice session suggestions to get you out their and sketching as you read. For me however, I've done these sessions in the past so, I get where he was going....but I am now reviewing in minds' eye the work I've done and will think about the concepts provided as I get out there and sketch and draw. What it really came down to, as the reason for not taking that time to go out and try the methods described was....The results he achieves through 'spot blocking', the '3-pass method', 'gradient of interest', and so on; I have achieved equal results through my own methods. But in the future, hos methods are worth investigating.

Rather, the big thing I learned from the book was to be free and loose, in a non-finished artwork result. Meaning, the whole drawing doesn't need to be filled in....you can leave many parts on the periphery undone and still get the point across.

I am intrigued by the author's 3-step process: a rough pencil “scribble” followed by a defining pen line and finally a brush pen to darken “shadow shapes,” giving dimension to the drawing; however, exploration will tell if it is for me or not. I see the value of the 'scribble', which sets-up the paraeters of the picture (what is commonly termed, 'blocking in')....but I generally don't so that in drawing...not in painting...and rather just jump in with bot feet. Maybe I need to look deep inside and seee if my method is too impetuous.

What was puzzling me has receded quite a bit, so this is a good thing. The best pint of this exploration through these two books was the realization that I am indeed not doing anything wrong; there are just different ways to get from Point A to Point B. :D
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:22 pm

Book #12
Painting Weathered Buildings In Pen, Ink & Watercolor

by Claudia Nice

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Using watercolor paints over pencil drafts, and then pen & ink to bring it all home, this book is a treasure trove of simple tips and brief snippet descriptions in how to achieve the warm moods, rough textures and mellow hues of aging barns, farmhouses, mansions and more. It's like peeking into a Artist's personal technique sketchbook!

I've known of Claudia for three decades actually, and have several of her books...but this is the first tome I've actually sat down with one and soaked it all in.

What this book brought to the table for me was, a culmination of what I was looking for in pen & ink being brought to that next level beyond simple pen & ink, if that makes sense. If it doesn't....the best way I can explain it is, it's not just expanded line drawings, but also *painting* with the pen; from using a damp brush to blur and soften lines strategically within a work, to the addition of sepia washes, watercolor layers, and filters, with the addition of splattering, stipling, and alcohol techniques.

So what does that translate too? A multi-media painting :D

I've done pen & ink. I've done watercolor. I've even done sepia washes and line art. What I haven't done is combine all three in a systematic approach.

What's so cool about this is, it's a middle ground I've been wanting to work on for awhile now....to lead up to a Realism technique I've been wanting to explore for about three decades: Using a pencil sketch; followed by true darks in black ink; followed by watercolor fills; followed by colored pencil highlights. It's something that's been in my head for a long time now....and something I've dabbled with, but felt was a bit more advanced than where I felt I was....

I think my art is about to take a drastic turn in a new direction!
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby McCoy » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:53 pm

Now this was an horrible goal mate! You're not even close to your goal with just one month left to read. I wouldn't make such a goal and then I've read 40 or so books during the last five months.
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:20 pm

McCoy wrote:Now this was an horrible goal mate! You're not even close to your goal with just one month left to read. I wouldn't make such a goal and then I've read 40 or so books during the last five months.



:lol: ....yeah, I totally own this was a bad one but, I said it was my goal....not reality :shock:

I'm on track for 15 books by the new year. Fifteen almost rhymes with fifty so, I'll claim a typo! Yeah, that's it....it was a typo!!!! :D
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby McCoy » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:28 am

Typo, yeah sure, typo hahaha...
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Re: Whiterook's 2015 Reading Challenge Log

Postby Whiterook » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:32 pm

McCoy wrote:Typo, yeah sure, typo hahaha...


That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I do have a couple other books I finished that I haven't added here yet...and am reading a Destroyermen book (at %72 finished)...but I haven't a hope of making 50. I have a two week Christmas vacation coming up, when I generally put a couple books to rest, but I way overestimated this challenge.

A good exercise out of this has been a realization of what I can handle for reading; but it also had me reading more, so double win there :D
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