Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sustained Study 3

Sustained Study 3 (Clothed) - Contour Drawing
30 June 2012
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
57cm x 25.5cm (22.5" x 10")

The sustained study is an extended gesture drawing, a contour drawing and a modelled drawing of the same pose. The contour drawing is drawn on tracing paper laid over the extended gesture drawing and the modelled drawing is drawn on tracing paper laid over the contour drawing (see Section 13).

Sections 14 and 15 contain a nude and a clothed study of the same pose.

One of the biggest challenges is to find a pose that Elaine can hold for 18 25-minute sessions. If you are not allowed to move, even the most seemingly comfortable position becomes torture. After about 15 minutes in this pose, Elaine would lose all felling in her right arm. To remedy this I tried to let her know when I was focusing on her feet and legs so she could move her head and arm and shake some life back into them.

Sustained Study 3 (Clothed) - Modelled Drawing
21 July 2012
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
57cm x 25.5cm (22.5" x 10")

Recreating a pose at the start of each session can also be tricky. Relatively minor changes in Elaine’s or my position can dramatically alter my view. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether I’m in a different position, Elaine is in a different position or if just one of her limbs has shifted slightly. It can be like solving a particularly tricky spatial awareness puzzle.

Sustained Study 3 - Extended Gesture Drawing
25 June 2012
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
57cm x 25.5cm (22.5" x 10")

I am extremely grateful to Elaine for all the time she spends in these poses and for allowing me to post the results.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sky Washes 8, 9 and 10

Sky Wash 10
(Improve Your Skies in Watercolour - Demonstration 3)
Watercolour on Paper
25.5cm x 15cm (10" x 6")

These pictures are based on the demonstrations from Geoff Kersey's Improve Your Skies In Watercolour programme on The Painting and Drawing Channel.

The first two demonstrations (the second and third pictures on the post) are wet into wet skies.

Sky Wash 8
(Improve Your Skies in Watercolour - Demonstration 1)
Watercolour on Paper
25.5cm x 18.5cm (10" x 7.25")

I found it difficult to achieve results that look anything like the demonstrations. Geoff makes them look easy, but they are not. He suggests these skies need repeated practice and he is right.

The most difficult aspects to gauge are the wetness of the paper and the dilution of the paint. These factors govern how much the paint disperses and the strength of the resulting colours.

In both of these exercises I used paint that was too strong and added it while the paper was too wet.

I am not sure I would use either of these skies in a painting (even if I painted them perfectly), but trying to replicate them is a good way to practice wet into wet technique.

Sky Wash 9
(Improve Your Skies in Watercolour - Demonstration 2)
Watercolour on Paper
25.5cm x 17.5cm (10" x 6.75")

The third demonstration (the picture at the top of the post) is my favourite.

Geoff started by wetting the paper and leaving some dry patches as starting points for the clouds. He added the blue and blotted out some more cloud shapes with a paper towel. He then let the sky dry before adding the grey cloud shadows.

An important part of this sky (and most realistic skies) is that it appears lighter towards the horizon. One of the techniques Geoff uses to achieve this is to paint the top part of the sky when his brush is full of paint and the lower parts as it runs out.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bessy’s Cove

Bessy's Cove
Watercolour on Paper
36cm x 25.5cm (14" x 10")

Bessy’s Cove is on the south coast of Cornwall. It is part of Prussia Cove and is a few miles east of Marazion.

The picture was inspired by a photo from Coast magazine of a stormy sky over Prussia Cove.

My intention was to paint the gesture of the coastline without going into too much detail.

I drew some preliminary thumbnail sketches. The first sketch was an experiment to decide between a portrait or landscape composition. The second, third and fourth sketches were all about understanding the shape of the shoreline and cliffs. I drew the last sketch to decide where to place the main elements and as a rehearsal for the real drawing.

Bessy's Cove - Thumbnail Sketches

This picture has given me an urge to paint some sea cliffs – which is a good excuse for another trip to the South West. Fortunately, Elaine enjoys walking on the coastal path. We could even rent a boat.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Gesture Drawing Revisited

Inspecting a Damaged Toenail
Gesture Drawing - 6 July 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
26.5cm x 20cm (10.5" x 8")

Many of the exercises in the Natural Way to Draw come and go. One minute gesture drawings and lots of them is the one unchanging part of the schedules (see Gesture Drawing and More Gesture Drawings).

Occasionally I get into a gesture drawing rut because there is so much of it, but currently, I am enjoying the exercise.

I had a break through after reading a section on gesture drawing in Classic Human Anatomy by Valerie L. Winslow. She suggests the key elements to look for when drawing a short pose are the central axis of the body and the angles of the shoulders and pelvis.

For a while, I started each gesture study by trying to draw the medial line – the results tended to be very stilted.

What works best for me is to be aware of the central axis but not necessarily to make it the first thing I draw. My favourite gesture drawings tend to be the ones in which I start by drawing the most important part of the pose. It helps if I imagine myself in the position before I start drawing. This makes it easier to identify the elements of the pose that make it different from any other similar pose. This is where I start the drawing.

Some Kind of Hamstring Stretch
Gesture Drawing - 6 July 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
23cm x 18cm (9" x 7")

My best gesture drawings now are probably not significantly better than the drawings on my original posts from over a year ago. What has changed is the consistency - more of the poses are recognisable from the drawings.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

More Tonal Studies

Maldives Sunset
Watercolour on Paper
13.5cm x 18cm (5.25" x 7")

I’ve been living in hotels again and spending the occasional evening painting tonal sketches (see Tonal Studies).

Maggie Latham is right - tonal studies are addictive. They are a great way to unwind after a day in the office.

Simplicity is a major part of their appeal. They only need one tube of paint and it seems to take much less time to set up for them than to prepare for a normal painting session. This is probably an illusion, but it is a huge attraction for an evening activity.

Working without colour is a great simplification. It allows you concentrate on tone, texture and atmosphere without having to choose the right colours. The subtle tonal changes in the sea of the Maldives Sunset are hard enough to paint without having to try to match the colours as well. This is a preparatory study for a larger painting. Once I am happy with the tonal sketch, then I can work out how to handle the colours.

The Trent Towards Hoveringham
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 13cm (7" x 5")

Tonal studies are a great way to mess around with paint and to learn how it behaves. Many of the results are complete eyesores and unless they are particularly funny, I don’t even show them to Elaine.