Sunday, 24 April 2011

More Gesture Drawings

Gesture Drawing - 16 April 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
29cm x 35.5cm (11.5" x 14")

I am a few days behind schedule with the exercises from the Natural Way to Draw because I’ve been working in Switzerland for the last few weeks and visiting friends at the weekend (David and Jane last weekend and Paul and Wendy this weekend).

My overall progress may have suffered slightly, but David, Jane and Paul kindly posed for some gesture drawings, which has been helpful.

Gesture drawings are 1 minute scribbles which attempt to capture the essence of a pose rather than a likeness of the subject. I am drawing 65 of these a week and Elaine is posing for 50 of them. It was interesting for me to draw some different people and Elaine was grateful to get some time off for good behaviour.

The four drawings on this post are all at least partially successful in capturing the essence of the pose.

In Twisting, David is lying on his back with his arms outstretched. He is twisting his bent legs to his right. The picture captures the twist. This is a complex pose because the body is contorted and the view is foreshortened. I’ve noticed that sometimes in gesture drawings when I don’t think about perspective, it takes care of itself.

Gesture Drawing - 16 April 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
28cm x 35.5cm (11" x 14")

In Balancing, David is stretching his quad while balancing on one leg. It looks like David is trying to balance. His body is leaning slightly forward and to the side. It does not look like a static pose.

Forward Defensive
Gesture Drawing - 23 April 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
25.5cm x 30cm (10" x 12")

In Forward Defensive, Paul is demonstrating a cricket shot using a croquet mallet instead of a bat. It is a dynamic pose. (I think it was a forward defensive but it’s a long time since I’ve played cricket.)

Watering the Plants
Gesture Drawing - 23 April 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
25.5cm x 35.5cm (10" x 14")

In Watering the Plants, Paul had assumed quite a rigid pose with his watering can. Wendy told him that it looked unnatural so he lowered his arm and relaxed his body. The image captures this - it shows his left shoulder hanging loosely. It also accurately represents his voluminous shorts.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Weight Drawing

Little Miss Messy
Weight Drawing - 3 April 2011
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
25.5cm x 46cm (10" x 18")

Let’s get this straight. Elaine modelled for this, but it doesn’t look like her.
This is another exercise from the Natural Way to Draw in which it is not important to produce an accurate likeness.

The instructions for this exercise are to add crayon to the picture as though you were a sculptor adding clay to a three dimensional model. There is no attempt to describe the surface of the subject. It is all about creating a representation of the weight of the subject. You scribble and scribble and scribble and scribble and then you scribble some more. You have to scribble for 25 minutes and this is bound to exaggerate the shape of the subject.

I am looking forward to the next exercise. It is called Modelled Drawing and it is an extension of this exercise. The results should look a bit more like the subject.

I'm very grateful to Elaine for all the posing she is doing. This is going to be a long two and a half years for her.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane
Watercolour on Paper
35.5cm x 26.5cm (14" x 10.5")

I saw this little boat at Wells-Next-The-Sea.

I painted it a workshop hosted by Tony Slater (

This is the second of Tony’s painting days that I have attended. The subject for the day was painting with a limited pallet. Once again, Tony offered a lot of useful advice and suggested the technique I used to paint the surface of the water.

Apart from the red stripe, the rest of the painting is different mixtures of two colours. This tight colour harmony and the horizontal lines on the water help to give the painting a feeling of stillness and calm.

This isn’t an ideal boat to paint. There is no visible internal ribbing or seats. This sort of detail makes it easier for the viewer to interpret and believe in the image. All I could see in the bottom of this boat was random clutter that would have been difficult to draw and wouldn’t have added to the picture.

The paintings of boats at the bottom of this blog are some of my first paintings – back from 2008. I dug them out to illustrate the point about internal details making the boats more believable. I was also hoping they would demonstrate my progress over the last 3 years.  The trouble is I was pleased with them at the time and I still like them.

Little Boats
Watercolour on Watercolour Postcards

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Flowers For Mother's Day

Christmas Daisies
Watercolour on Paper
12cm x 34cm (4.75" x 13.5")

I painted this pair of paintings (a diptych) as a Christmas gift for Elaine’s Mum.

It has taken me so long to get them framed that I’ve tried to pass them off as a Mother’s day gift.

They were fun to paint and are based on a demonstration from Vinita Pappas’ blog (

By coincidence, my sister Sarah painted some Sunflowers, which she gave to our Mum as a Mother’s day gift.