Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sustained Study in Crayon

Sustained Study 5 (Clothed) - Modelled Drawing
18 August 2012
Conté Crayon on Paper
53cm x 27cm (21" x 10.5")

Section 17 of the Natural Way to Draw introduces exercises using black and white Conté crayons.

The Sustained Study in Crayon is a variation on the original Sustained Study exercise (see Section 13 and Sustained Study 3).

The instructions for the first two studies (the extended gesture study and the contour study) are the same as in the original exercise. The extended gesture study is drawn in pencil on paper. The contour study is drawn in pencil on tracing paper laid over the gesture study.

The modelled study is different. In the original sustained study, the modelled study is drawn in pencil on tracing paper laid over the contour study. In this exercise, the contour drawing is transferred to some cheap grey construction paper using the time-honoured technique of scribbling on the back of the tracing paper, laying it on the grey paper and drawing over the lines. The modelling is done in black and white.

The modelling technique is the same as in previous studies except the light areas are modelled in white and the dark areas modelled in black.

Sustained Study 5 (Nude) - Modelled Drawing
12 August 2012
Conté Crayon on Paper
53cm x 27cm (21" x 10.5")

The Conté crayons are great for modelling, but there is a danger the results are too pretty. On a couple of occasions, I found myself trying to create an attractive drawing. I had to remind myself that these are exercises. The objective is to focus on the model not the drawing and to imagine touching every part of the form. If the resulting drawing looks presentable, it is a bonus; it is not the goal of the exercise.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Wild Wood

Wild Wood 3
Mixed Media on Paper
18.5cm x 12cm (7.25" x 4.75")

Recently I bought Watercolour Textures by Ann Blockley because of a recommendation on Jane Minter’s blog (

The book is about creating textural effects using watercolour paint and a variety of other materials. Some of the techniques create actual physical texture by using gesso, texture paste or collage. Other techniques create the illusion of texture by manipulation of the paint.

The pictures on this post are the result of experimenting with some of the ideas.

Wild Wood 2
Mixed Media on Paper
19cm x 13.5cm (7.5" x 5.5")

I started the first picture by covering the paper with gesso and then with washes of blue and various greens. While they were wet, I added some sepia acrylic ink.

I dropped in more ink than I intended and it spread out wildly, so I used a colour shaper to tease it into the tree shapes. (What is a colour shaper? - A paintbrush with a rubber tip instead of a brush. Why did I buy one? - I can’t remember, but they are quire handy for jobs like this.)

Colour Shapers

The result was unexpectedly satisfying, so I messed around with the technique in the second and third paintings.

Wild Wood 1
Mixed Media on Paper
17cm x 13cm (6.75" x 5")

Once the initial washes were dry, I added some blue pastel and gouache to reinforce the skyholes and finished the pictures by suggesting a foreground.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Fast and Loose

Fifty Years Married
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 28cm (7" x 11")

Yesterday was the first time I’ve painted with the Shelford Group of Artists since May.

Tony Slater's theme for the day was Fast and Loose. He challenged us to complete each painting in 30 minutes.

This was a tricky assignment for me because I do not paint quickly. I like to spend time drinking tea and thinking - mainly about what to do next, but sometimes just idle daydreaming.

I usually struggle to complete one painting in a day, but I rose to the challenge and finished four. The pictures on this post are my favourites.

What Trees Are These?
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 23cm (7" x 9")

The couple at the top of the post were on the beach close to the Palace Pier in Brighton. I wish I could claim the title was mine, but this was David Bastable's suggestion.

The trees are near Coleton Fishacre on the Devon coast. They might be Scots Pine, but maybe not. I will inspect them more thoroughly when we next vist Dartmouth.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Skull and Bones

Not Quite Elaine
Extended Gesture Study - 24 July 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
41cm x 48cm (16" x 19")

Sections 14 ,15 and 16 of the Natural Way to Draw include a Study of the Head in Pencil. I interpreted the exercise as being an extended gesture drawing (see Extended Gesture Study of the Head), but they probably should have been modelled drawings.

I don't regret the mistake because the schedules include a lot of modelled drawing. I’ve benefited from the additional practice of trying to draw the gesture of Elaine's features and measuring the angles and relative dimensions of her head.

Section 16 includes a second Study of the Bones.

Study of the Bones 2
22 July 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
56cm x 28cm (22" x 11")

Nicolaides stresses the importance of approaching the exercise “lightly and casually”. I would struggle to do anything else - it is a surreal experience.