Sunday, 13 May 2018

Emulating – Chris Forsey

April Colour and Light
Copied from Chris Forsey
Mixed Media On Paper
26cm x 18cm (10" x 7")

Copying paintings is a good way to learn about the thought processes and techniques of other artists. Traditionally, you copy the works of the old masters, but I chose a painting by Chris Forsey because I have a few of his DVDs which gave me a head start towards understanding his approach.

I didn’t want to make a slavish copy, so I picked one of his acrylic paintings which is much bigger and a different format to the paper I am working on. You can see the original here:

http://www.claremontantiques.com/chris-forsey/2414-chris-forsey.html

Elaine and I spent last week walking around Brecon and Abergavenny and staying in some lovely hotels – this view could almost pass as a view of the river Usk.

I started by making a tonal sketch – which wasn’t very accurate and which I didn’t use much in my preparations.

April Colour and Light - Tonal Sketch

What really helped was breaking the scene into shapes and layers and working out how to paint each element.

April Colour and Light - Shapes and Layers

I enjoyed this exercise and learnt a lot from it, so I will repeat it with more pictures by some of the older and contemporary masters of watercolour and mixed media.

The colours in the picture at the top of the post are not completely true to the original. Our scanner seems to be having problems with red and cyan. I’ve corrected it as well as I can, but I’m wondering if a scanner can develop colour blindness and what I can do to cure it.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Keys to Drawing with Imagination - Take a Line on a Walk

Groovy
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

Keys to Drawing with Imagination by Bert Dodson has the subtitle “strategies and exercises for gaining confidence and enhancing your creativity”.

I am reading the book and working through the exercises because I enjoyed Bert’s  Keys to Drawing (see earlier posts on Keys to Drawing) and I am hoping the book delivers on its subtitle. It is part of the plan to increase the confidence and variety in my mark making and to incorporate more emotion and spontaneity into my drawings.

Marquetry
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

The first chapter is about Doodling and Noodling:
  • Doodling is … doodling – “A drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines, generally without ever lifting the drawing device from the paper, in which case it is usually called a scribble”. Thank you Wikipedia.
  • Noodling is the process of decorating a doodle in a deliberate and controlled way. Bert talks about noodling processes – such as covering the doodle with dots or pinwheel patterns.

Apron
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

Bert differentiates between the two activities:
Doodling is typically free, loose, spontaneous, vigorous and fragmentary. The noodling stage is often controlled, patient, mechanical, repetitive and complete.
Concentric Lines
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

The first exercise is Take A Line on a Walk. You begin with a large doodle. Letting your pen go in any direction it wants, but making sure it ends up back where it started, so you create an enclosed shape. You then decorate the doodle with a noodling operation.

Territories
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

The exercise was more fun than I anticipated - time consuming, repetitive noodling isn’t really me, but I quite enjoyed it. Some of the results surprise me – if I hadn’t drawn them, I wouldn’t guess they started out by taking a line for a walk.

Nachos
Take a Line on a Walk
Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Ink on Paper
21cm x 29.7cm (8.3" x 11.7")

I made a mistake in the pattern in almost every one of the drawings, but that is one of the joys of working in ink – you just have to smile (or sigh) and live with it.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

March 2018 Sketches

Two Kinds of Tulips
29 March 2018
Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

March has been another quite month for sketching. There have been a lot of distractions. Work has been hectic and when I’ve had a few spare minutes, it is easier to pick up a doodle for exercise 1 of Keys to Drawing with Imagination than to start a sketch. I’ve also been doing some painting.

Mindful Leaf
25 March 2018
Watercolour Pencil
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The sketch at the top of the post is my favourite from the month. The other two sketches are based on practices from Mindfulness & the Art of Drawing by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh.

Mindful Mushrooms
18 March 2018
Grsphite Pencil
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

I am planning to get back into sketching during April by restarting Liz Steele's SketchingNow Edges course (see SketchingNow Edges for my previous experience with the course).

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Expressive Drawing – Multi-Shape Drawing


Multi-Shape Drawing
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 3
Acrylic Ink and Paint on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

Chapter 4 of Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone concerns Shape. I’ve posted drawings from the earlier exercises in this chapter on a previous post (see Expressive Drawing - Shape Compositions).

The third and final “Build” exercise in the chapter is a more open-ended examination of shape and shape relationships – you are even allowed to use more than one colour. I began the with some automatic drawing (aka mindless doodling, see Expressive Drawing - The Drawing Process). This evolved into an exploration of organic and geometric shapes.

I used acrylic paint and old brushes for the exercise. This choice of materials raised questions about the difference between drawing and painting. I’m not sure this is an important differentiation, but I covered over some expressive lines which I was disappointed to lose. For the next few exercises, I’m going to focus on line work with more traditional drawing materials such as charcoal and graphite.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

February 2018 Sketches

Stained Glass Puffin
28 February 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

February was not a productive month for sketching. These are the scant highlights.

The puffin was a birthday/housewarming present from Elaine in June of last year. It's taken me a while to get around to painting it. I'm not sure why because I enjoyed the experience. Perhaps it's because the apparent simplicity is a challenge - simple objects can highlight our mistakes.

Tulips and Hyacinths
12 February 2018
Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

It's wonderful to have spring flowers in the house. Even if it's too cold for them to thrive outdoors - perhaps because of this. There is a lot of watercolour pencil in this sketch. I never used to be a fan of watercolour pencils, but I am coming to love them. They are a versatile tool  because you can use them for the initial setup drawing and then for quickly adding colour and texture.

Pears
15 February 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The pears were an experiment in trying to build up the modelling of their form in a single watercolour wash. This is a technique I will work on again in March.

Be Mine
Watercolour and Ink On Paper
10cm x 10cm (4" x 4")

The last picture is not really a sketch. It is my Valentine's Day card to Elaine. It is based on a pattern I've been experimenting with in exercise 1 of Keys to Drawing with Imagination by Bert Dodson. This is one of the things that has being distracting me from sketching. I will write more about it later in the month.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Expressive Drawing – Shape Compositions

Angular and Curvilinear
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 1 - Part 1
Acrylic on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

I am continuing to work with Expressive Drawing  by Steven Aimone. Chapter 4 is about Shape. Steven identifies the ability of shapes to act as a metaphor for personality, emotion, psych and spirit as one of their most important attributes. He also observes that the relationships between shapes can act as metaphors for relationships between people, concepts and things.

The chapter explores some of the different characteristics of  shapes in contrasting pairs:

  • Geometric v Organic
  • Static v Directional
  • Simple v Complex
  • Angular v Curvilinear

The exercises focus on the same concepts. Shape Compositions is the first "Build" exercise. Part 1 explores angular and curvilinear shapes. Part 2 examines organic and geometric shapes.

Geometric and Organic
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 1 - Part 1
Charcoal and Graphite on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

I'm enjoying the book, but my progress has been frustratingly slow. I'm hoping to devote more time to it over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

January 2018 Sketches

Plants From Dr. Sarah
31 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

I'm refining a sketching approach to use outdoors when the weather gets better. It is basically Mark Taro Holmes' (Citizen Sketcher) Three-Pass Sketch with some tweaks based on Liz Steele's SketchingNow courses.

My intention is to model most of the forms with ink, so I can add colour with a single pass of watercolour – which removes the need to wait for multiple layers of paint to dry. I’m also making more use of watercolour pencil to add texture.

Joan's Shell Box
10 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The little shell covered box belonged to Elaine's mother. Julie bought it for her from Mevagissey.

Elephant and Mahout
13 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The little wooden carving is about 12 cm/4.5" high.

Lauhala Sea Turtle
15 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Over the summer, a lady from Hawaii sat by me on a flight from Phoenix to Boston. She spent the 5 hours weaving a variety of ornaments from leaves and pan scouring pads from coloured plastic. We chatted and when we arrived in Boston she gave me this little turtle. Its about 6cm/ 2.5” long.

Alessi Parrot
17 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

Corkscrews are tricky things. The winged ones are probably the easiest to use, but you usually end up with bits of cork in your wine. This is my tool of choice. It’s called a parrot, but hasn’t got wings.