Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Return of Modelled Drawing

My Right Shoulder
Modelled Drawing - 22 September 2011
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
30.5cm x 51cm (12" x 20")

Section 8 of the Natural Way to Draw features the return of modelled drawing in lithograph crayon. I have been looking forward to its reprise because I struggled with the original exercise (see Modelled Drawing).

In the pictures on this post, there is no emphasis on drawing proportions or perspective correctly and there is no attempt to represent light and shade. The surfaces get darker as they move away from the observer, but not necessarily in a rigorous or scientific way. The instruction for the exercise is to imagine you are a sculptor feeling and modelling the contours of the subject in clay. This has worked unexpectedly well on the shoe at the bottom of the post, which has a solid three-dimensional appearance.

Another Shoe
Modelled Drawing - 19 September 2011
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
38cm x 28cm (15" x 11")

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Lopsided Room

The Lopsided Room
Contour Drawing - 10 September 2011
Graphite Pencil and Watercolour on Paper
52cm x 42cm (20.5" x 16.5")

The Lopsided Room sounds like a Sherlock Holmes adventure, but there is no mystery here – it is another contour drawing.

This is the second half of my 5 hour contour drawing (see The Return of Contour Drawing).

I’ve enjoyed and benefited from the exercise, but its been a struggle - I’ve done 2 drawings instead of 1 and in the first drawing, I drew too quickly and in this second drawing, I drew unnecessarily slowly.

Last Saturday I completed Section 7 of the Natural Way to Draw. It finishes with what I suspect is one of the key lessons in the whole course. This is my interpretation - Draw each line as though you were creating a contour drawing. Focus on the subject. Imagine the pencil is touching it and the subject causes the line. Sounds like the sort of thing Bruce Lee said in Enter the Dragon. So it must be right.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Watercolour on Paper
25cm x 35cm (9.75" x 13.75")

Elaine and I spent the August Bank holiday at Eagle Tor in the peak district.

We had a pleasant weekend walking and visiting the local pubs. On Saturday, we had lunch at The Flying Childers Inn - an excellent little pub in Stanton in Peak.

One of our walks took us past Robin Hood’s Stride and the Arbor Low stone circle. I was looking for a view of the circle to paint and this windblown tree caught my eye.

Arbor Low isn’t that far from civilisation, but when the wind howls and the rain comes down, it feels isolated and remote.

This picture was an experiment in painting atmosphere and trying some new techniques. It was also a bit of an antidote to my previous two paintings, which were based on detailed drawings and contained some fiddly details. It doesn't look as windswept and weather blasted as I intended, but it is an interesting first try.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

On The East and West Line

On The East and West Line
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

Elaine and I have enjoyed a number of cycle tours around the Niagara-on-the Lake wineries. The roads in the region are long, straight and form a grid. The roads that run east to west are called Lines and the roads that run north to south are Concessions. The Lines and Concessions are nearly free of traffic and are perfect for cycling. The East and West Line is slightly busier than most, but (as the painting shows) it has a wide and well-maintained shoulder. To the east of the region, the Niagara Parkway follows the course of the Niagara River. Winston Churchill described it as “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world”. Over the years, it has probably lost some of its charm, but it is still pleasant enough and has an excellent cycle path along its side.

I painted the picture as an exercise in creating a sense of depth. It makes use of linear and aerial perspective.

Linear perspective is the classic technique of drawing parallel lines as though they meet at a vanishing point on the horizon. The sides of the road are a good example of one-point perspective.

Aerial perspective is the effect of light passing through the atmosphere. Objects in the distance appear less detailed, their colours are less saturated and bluer - they fade into the background. I’ve attempted to do this with the trees and the furthest car, but the car is probably slightly overdone.

There are a couple of other techniques that increase the sensation of depth.

The picture includes multiple objects that are about the same size (the cars) at different distances from the viewer. The cars in the distance appear to be smaller than the ones closer to the viewer. This is a direct result of linear perspective, but it increases the impact of the technique.

There are a lot of overlapping objects. If two objects overlap, it is clear that one is in front of the other.

Almost everything that could have gone wrong with this painting went wrong. I nearly gave up on it three or four times. I am continuing to learn that if the initial drawing is good, everything else will fall into place as long as you keep working at it.