Merriam-Webster definition:
Sketch : a rough drawing representing the chief features of an object or scene and often made as a preliminary study



A sketch, sometimes referred to as a study, is intended to quickly capture the essence of what is seen. Artists use this sketch to record necessary information to use later for incorporation into a work of art. Often, numerous sketches are prepared from various angles or perspectives in order to explore, investigate and understand an object, so it can be reconstructed two- or three-dimensionally. Instructions on how to recreate are also often indicated within and beside sketches for ease in communicating what the artist’s original intention was so many days, weeks, months, or even years earlier.

Vaughan Grayson created numerous studies and sketches, with written notes to indicate colours, textures, and light and value of the landscape at any particular moment she was experiencing it. Her writing of these first-hand experiences also describe in detail the innermost feelings she was experiencing. These sketches culminated in the recreation of these Read More

Merriam-Webster definition:
Sketch : a rough drawing representing the chief features of an object or scene and often made as a preliminary study



A sketch, sometimes referred to as a study, is intended to quickly capture the essence of what is seen. Artists use this sketch to record necessary information to use later for incorporation into a work of art. Often, numerous sketches are prepared from various angles or perspectives in order to explore, investigate and understand an object, so it can be reconstructed two- or three-dimensionally. Instructions on how to recreate are also often indicated within and beside sketches for ease in communicating what the artist’s original intention was so many days, weeks, months, or even years earlier.

Vaughan Grayson created numerous studies and sketches, with written notes to indicate colours, textures, and light and value of the landscape at any particular moment she was experiencing it. Her writing of these first-hand experiences also describe in detail the innermost feelings she was experiencing. These sketches culminated in the recreation of these experiences into numerous finished images in paintings and silkscreens.

Grayson would sketch whenever, wherever, and with whatever materials she could find at the time in order to immediately communicate a specific moment. She often had a sketchbook on hand, but sometimes sketched on rectangles of cardstock, or simply pieces of paper. When she didn’t have watercolours or pencil crayons to indicate the colours, she would write notes or indicate certain areas with pencilled letters of each colours she saw before her (i.e., d.b. for dark blue).



But, for the artist, Banff is an ideal point from which to set out to sketch and enjoy the great variety of colorful and majestic scenery in mountain, forest, river and lake.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XII)


While it was not an ideal day for sketching, I managed, between showers, to get a fine expression of Emerald Lake. It was on this particular day that I got my paints thoroughly wet. Before I realized what was happening, I had discolored my clothes with quantities of cadmium yellow and alizarin, while hurrying to a place of shelter under a fir tree. But then that is all in an artist’s day.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter VIII)


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

tree studies

Figure 1

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Grayson studied flora wherever she went; here are two examples of varying styles of studies of trees. 

Figure 1 is a gestural sketch where an artist wants/needs to quickly capture the “essence” of the object for future reproduction, or consideration in using it in another composition. 

Figure 2  is a more involved process in which an artist wants to record specifics, including light and value (through the use of cross-hatching). This image could be considered a finished drawing, not only because of the methodical way in which it was drawn, but also because the medium of ink is used (a less-forgiving medium than graphite). Also note on the reverse, Grayson notes “interesting pattern”, which indicates an awareness of not only the positive space of the tree, but the negative areas as well.


There were Nature’s lovely gardens, high meadows full of mountain flowers, Nature’s own rock gardens with pools and tiny water falls, magnificent forests of balsam, fir, spruce and plumy larch - giant mountain peaks piercing the blue Read More

Grayson studied flora wherever she went; here are two examples of varying styles of studies of trees. 

Figure 1 is a gestural sketch where an artist wants/needs to quickly capture the “essence” of the object for future reproduction, or consideration in using it in another composition. 

Figure 2  is a more involved process in which an artist wants to record specifics, including light and value (through the use of cross-hatching). This image could be considered a finished drawing, not only because of the methodical way in which it was drawn, but also because the medium of ink is used (a less-forgiving medium than graphite). Also note on the reverse, Grayson notes “interesting pattern”, which indicates an awareness of not only the positive space of the tree, but the negative areas as well.


There were Nature’s lovely gardens, high meadows full of mountain flowers, Nature’s own rock gardens with pools and tiny water falls, magnificent forests of balsam, fir, spruce and plumy larch - giant mountain peaks piercing the blue of the summer sky, snow fields of purest white and ice fields hundreds of feet thick, showing sometimes blue and green where sheer precipices were visible.

(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter III)


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Summerland, B.C. Apple Tree

Figure 2

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 3

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This sketch (figure 3) is 5" x 4" on cardstock paper and the finished print (figure 4) is approximately 15" x 12". There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.
This sketch (figure 3) is 5" x 4" on cardstock paper and the finished print (figure 4) is approximately 15" x 12". There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.

© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Eva Lake, Mount Revelstoke, B.C.

Figure 4 : Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.12
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 5

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This sketch is 5" x 4" (figure 5) on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately 14" x 12" (figure 6). There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.

On the reverse of the sketch are notes for colours within the image. The colours written on the reverse and the ultimate colours printed in the silkscreen do not correspond, and perhaps indicates the artist’s final decision in remaining with a particular palette (i.e. turquoise lake). It could also mean certain pigments weren’t available in screen printing ink at that time; hence, one of the limitations of any printmaking technique, even today. Artists, then and now, are successful by overcoming invariable limitations in whatever medium they work in to create a successful work of art.

The preliminary sketch presented some interesting problems in perspective, but what fun to use freely of the rich and lovely colors spread upon the palette; and so, a lively, happy portrait of Consolation Lake came Read More

This sketch is 5" x 4" (figure 5) on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately 14" x 12" (figure 6). There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.

On the reverse of the sketch are notes for colours within the image. The colours written on the reverse and the ultimate colours printed in the silkscreen do not correspond, and perhaps indicates the artist’s final decision in remaining with a particular palette (i.e. turquoise lake). It could also mean certain pigments weren’t available in screen printing ink at that time; hence, one of the limitations of any printmaking technique, even today. Artists, then and now, are successful by overcoming invariable limitations in whatever medium they work in to create a successful work of art.

The preliminary sketch presented some interesting problems in perspective, but what fun to use freely of the rich and lovely colors spread upon the palette; and so, a lively, happy portrait of Consolation Lake came into being.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter IV)


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Millar Lake, Mount Revelstoke, B.C.

Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.19
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 7

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This sketch is 5" x 4" (figure 7) on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately the same size (figure 8). Because the size is similar, and there is a border around the sketch, the drawing may have been redrawn from another previous sketch in order to fit a specific size of screen - intentionally made for a silkscreen print.

On the reverse of the sketch are notes for colours within the image.

Many returns were made to study and sketch the gaunt and barren shoulders of Mount Rundle, which in certain lights cast a radiance of blue, mauve and silver light, the whole being reflected in the mirror of Vermilion Lakes. Moonlight on Rundle was especially fascinating.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XII)

This sketch is 5" x 4" (figure 7) on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately the same size (figure 8). Because the size is similar, and there is a border around the sketch, the drawing may have been redrawn from another previous sketch in order to fit a specific size of screen - intentionally made for a silkscreen print.

On the reverse of the sketch are notes for colours within the image.

Many returns were made to study and sketch the gaunt and barren shoulders of Mount Rundle, which in certain lights cast a radiance of blue, mauve and silver light, the whole being reflected in the mirror of Vermilion Lakes. Moonlight on Rundle was especially fascinating.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XII)


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Silver Tracery

Figure 8: Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.30
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 9

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This is a small preliminary sketch (figure 9) done prior to printing the work, “Echo Rock”. The sketch itself is 4" x 5", on cardstock paper. The finished print is approximately 11" x 13" (figure 10).

It is probably “preliminary” not only because of the size, but because of the gestural quality of the lines; specific areas of colour, light and value are also not indicated.

This is a small preliminary sketch (figure 9) done prior to printing the work, “Echo Rock”. The sketch itself is 4" x 5", on cardstock paper. The finished print is approximately 11" x 13" (figure 10).

It is probably “preliminary” not only because of the size, but because of the gestural quality of the lines; specific areas of colour, light and value are also not indicated.


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Echo Rock, Yellow Lake, B.C.

Figure 10 : Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1951
9.99.21.1
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 11

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.83
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This sketch (figure 11) is 4" x 5" on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately 12" x 14" (figure 12). There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.
This sketch (figure 11) is 4" x 5" on cardstock paper and the finished print is approximately 12" x 14" (figure 12). There is a drawn border around the sketch, indicating that Grayson may have recreated this sketch from a previous sketch onto card in order to visualize a composition for the subsequent silkscreen that she made.

© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Lake of Jade, Mount Revelstoke

Figure 12 : Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.3
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Figure 13

Vaughan Grayson
1951-07-27
9.99.21.84
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


This sketch (figure 13) was created on an 8" x 10" piece of paper and was a gestural sketch where the artist quickly captured the “essence” of the glacier, in order to reproduce it later in the print called "Tongue of the Athabasca Glacier" (figure 14).

We can see how detail was added - it may have also been sketched again later from a different perspective with detail added in during a different season. But we can see how one idea develops into a finished well-thought out composition.

Fortified with a cup of steaming hot coffee I commenced the sketch, working from the verandah of the ranch house. Yuh-hai-has-kun is the Stoney Indian description of “the Mountain of the Spiral Road,” because the rock strata girdles the mountain. This I found true as I began to draw.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XVI)

This sketch (figure 13) was created on an 8" x 10" piece of paper and was a gestural sketch where the artist quickly captured the “essence” of the glacier, in order to reproduce it later in the print called "Tongue of the Athabasca Glacier" (figure 14).

We can see how detail was added - it may have also been sketched again later from a different perspective with detail added in during a different season. But we can see how one idea develops into a finished well-thought out composition.

Fortified with a cup of steaming hot coffee I commenced the sketch, working from the verandah of the ranch house. Yuh-hai-has-kun is the Stoney Indian description of “the Mountain of the Spiral Road,” because the rock strata girdles the mountain. This I found true as I began to draw.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XVI)


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Tongue of the Athabasca Glacier

Figure 14 : Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.6
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.182
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Figure 16

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.182
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


These small sketches on cardstock (4" x 5") are preliminary sketches for the resultant print in approximately the same size. We can see how Grayson progresses from an idea (Figure 15) into a more detailed and well-thought-out image. Note how the final colours changed in the final print (Figure 18), as well as some of the shapes. If we look closely at the shapes within the composition, the later sketch (Figure 16) for Ogopogo could, in fact, be a more finished sketch made after the early silkscreen proof (Figure 17) was pulled, versus prior to the early proof.

So, after another very happy summer spent in my beloved Rockies, I returned home with many good sketches and very happy memories.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XVII

These small sketches on cardstock (4" x 5") are preliminary sketches for the resultant print in approximately the same size. We can see how Grayson progresses from an idea (Figure 15) into a more detailed and well-thought-out image. Note how the final colours changed in the final print (Figure 18), as well as some of the shapes. If we look closely at the shapes within the composition, the later sketch (Figure 16) for Ogopogo could, in fact, be a more finished sketch made after the early silkscreen proof (Figure 17) was pulled, versus prior to the early proof.

So, after another very happy summer spent in my beloved Rockies, I returned home with many good sketches and very happy memories.
(V.G.’s Manuscript - Chapter XVII


© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.

Silkscreen

Figure 17

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.182
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Ogopogo

Figure 18 : Finished Print

Vaughan Grayson
c. 1950
9.99.21.33
© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Video: From Sketch to Silkscreen Print

The Video, “From Sketch to Silkscreen Print”, showing examples of Vaughan Grayson’s original sketch transforming into a finished silkscreen.

Vaughan Grayson’s first early sketch of Amethyst Lake past the Ramparts has notes along the right-hand side indicating the colors and a suggested border around the composition or the scene. It also includes a fisherman in the middle ground.

The second sketch is a more stylized and simplified approach or composition. This could really be considered a finished drawing because of the ink medium as opposed to graphite in the earlier sketch and also because of the centering of the image and the overall aesthetic quality and “finishedness” of the composition. It is interesting to note that the fisherman has been removed from the image.

The finished silkscreen takes on a whole new pallette to what Grayson had indicated in her original sketch.

Heather Smith
Diane Lara, Ross Melanson

© 2007, Moose Jaw Art Museum Incorporated/Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

To understand that preliminary analysis, personal notation and drawing in the development of an art idea solves problems and clarifies meaning

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