(970) 927-9668


May 14, 2021
Artist’s Process: Leon Loughridge on Sketches and Watercolor to Develop Woodblock Prints

Capturing Light & Mood

Denver-based artist, Leon Loughridge, shares the importance of creating watercolor studies in his woodblock print-making process. He prefers not to use photographs as references, but rather, to capture the scene before him with a quick watercolor sketch to capture the light and mood before him.

Leon Loughridge Artist Process

Eye Catching Scenery

“Usually what I’m going for is what stopped me; what caught my eye; what about the scene was so dramatic. With small sketches I can quickly pull out my ‘folio — lighting on the hillside, the rain showers coming down — small sketches or watercolors quickly capture it. It’s not the amount of leaves on the tree that catches your eye, but the light arrangement. It’s almost like a stage setting: you set the scene to capture its drama.”

“Sketching outdoors is essential to gathering your creative ideas to be built up and explored in the studio. I love to sketch or watercolor on location, and don’t rely on photographs. I’ll take them, but I often forget to look at them, as they are often sterile.”

“When I’m sketching—6 x 8 inches– I work small to capture the characterization of the scene— almost a cartoon. Working that small, you can quickly capture the essence of the scene that you’re painting. You simplify shapes: a hillside will become dark blue/green, which lends an abstract quality to the scene and that quality gives an image its dynamism. So, with sketching, you tend to catch the essence and give up the details and trivia.”

In the Studio

Back in the studio, Loughridge creates a larger, more detailed watercolor painting based on the watercolor “sketch” done en plein air. From there, Loughridge decides which compositions to develop into his Japanese-style woodblock prints.

Leon Loughridge - Posted, Mt Sopris
Leon Loughridge, “Posted, Mt Sopris,” Watercolor on Paper, 11.5 x 15.75 in
Leon Loughridge - From Cottonwood Pass
Leon Loughridge, “From Cottonwood Pass,” Watercolor, 23.5 x 19 in
Leon Loughridge - Water Pockets
Leon Loughridge, “Water Pockets,” Watercolor on Paper, 18 x 12 in
Leon Loughridge - Autumn Stroll, Mt Sopris
Leon Loughridge, “Autumn Stroll, Mt Sopris,” Watercolor on Paper, 14.5 x 21.5 in

For more information about the watercolor and woodblock prints by Leon Loughridge, please contact Ann Korologos Gallery at (970) 927-9668 or visit the gallery “under the clocktower” at 211 Midland Avenue, Basalt, Colorado.

Applause from 3 people
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