Sunday, 28 October 2012

Straight and Curved Lines

Sitting with a Twist
Straight and Curved Lines (5-Minute Pose)
26 October 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
20cm x 23cm (8" x 9")

Straight and Curved lines is the second new exercise in Section 19 of the Natural Way to Draw. It is part of a sequence of exercises intended to increase the student’s awareness of contrasts in movement, form and colour (see Contrasting Lines).

The exercise is a gesture study based on 1 and 5 minute poses. It uses an analysis based on straight and curved lines to simplify and emphasise the gesture. The first instruction is to find a line of movement that goes through the entire figure and decide whether it is straight or curved. The next step is to find complimentary lines of the other type that contrast with the main line of movement.

Straight and Curved Lines (5-Minute Pose)
26 October 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
40.5cm x 21cm (16" x 8.25")

The exercise is performed in conjunction with an ordinary (Gesture Drawing) and each study feeds from the other.

In 1-minute poses, I tend to begin by looking for the defining line of movement and use this as the starting point for the drawing.

In 5-minute poses, I tend to make a quick gesture drawing, then look for the defining line of movement and its complimentary lines before using them to emphasise and refine the gesture.

Torso Twist
Straight and Curved Lines (1-Minute Pose)
26 October 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
16.5cm x 37cm (6.5" x 14.5")

This is an enjoyable exercise, which has come at the right time. I was in a gesture drawing rut and this exercise is helping me out of it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Contrasting Lines

Sitting - Contrasting Lines
12 October 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
37cm x 27cm (14.5" x 10.5")

Section 19 of the Natural Way to Draw is called Analysis Through Design. Kimon Nicolaides explains the sequence of exercises are intended to intensify our awareness of contrast and lead to an understanding of some of the fundamental laws of painting. He doesn’t say much more than that. In keeping with the spirit of the book, it is left to us to develop our own understanding by completing the exercises.

The first exercise is called Contrasting Lines. It is based on 5 minute poses and is concerned with the contrast between straight and curved lines.

The initial instructions are to start by drawing a straight line to represent a contour on one side of the figure and then to proceed around the figure alternating straight and curved segments. In addition, whenever there is a straight line on one side of the figure, we should try to have a curved line on the other side.

The rules are relaxed slightly for the second appearance of the exercise. You don’t have to strictly alternate straight and curved lines, but in the end you should have about the same proportion of each.

Crawling - Contrasting Lines
12 October 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
40.5cm x 27cm (16" x 10.5")

The drawings on this post are from my second attempt at the exercise. They may look ropey, but they are significantly better than the first set.

I realise that quite a few of my lines are not emphatically curved or emphatically straight. I should have been more forceful in making my lines either straight or curved. I would like to have another go at the exercise, but I don’t think it appears again. I hope I can make use of this insight in the subsequent exercises.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Preparations for Coverack Harbour

Coverack Harbour - Underdrawing
Carbon Pencil on Paper
38cm x 28cm (15" x 11")

This is the underdrawing for a painting of Coverack harbour. It is inspired by one of David and Jane’s holiday photographs.

It is a complicated scene, so I decided to explore it and get ready for the painting by drawing a preliminary study.

In the first attempt, I tried taking detailed measurements and alignments from the photo. After a while, I realised I wasn’t enjoying myself and the result was dreadful. It was stilted, unappealing and the dimensions were all wrong.

I started again by making an extended gesture study (see Section 13). I made refinements and corrections as I went along, but I focused on capturing the atmosphere of the scene rather than getting bogged down by measuring. It was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of evenings in a hotel.

Coverack Harbour - Gesture Drawing
Graphite Pencil on Paper
42cm x 29.7cm (16.5" x 11.75")

I continued the steps of the sustained study by making a contour drawing on tracing paper placed over the gesture drawing. I then used the tracing paper to transfer the image to the watercolour paper.

The result is not a particularly accurate or detailed interpretation of the photograph, but it suits my needs. I want to create the impression of a jumbled mass of boats in the harbour. I will use the drawing as a guide to where to paint, but I am not going to follow it slavishly.

I hope the painting will be ready to post next weekend, but more likely it will be the one after that.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Waiting for the Rain - Summer 2012

Waiting for the Rain - Summer 2012
Mixed Media on Paper
22.5cm x 25.5cm (9" x 10")

It’s been a wet summer. Elaine and I saw these cows one afternoon in July by the side of the river Trent. It wasn’t raining, but the air was damp and a downpour was imminent. The cow at the front seemed resigned to getting soaked.

I tried a couple of experiments with this picture. The first was the background hedge. This uses the materials I experimented with in The Wild Wood. It is a mixture of watercolour, acrylic ink and granulation medium. The effect of the granulation medium is more obvious than in the Wild Wood pictures. I’m beginning to get the hang of what it does and how to use it.

The second experiment was to try to create the appearance of drizzle by glazing the picture with a thin wash of greyish gouache. It hasn’t turned out as I imagined, but it has done a good job of unifying the picture. Before I added the wash, a couple of the cows looked a bit stuck on. The wash has helped to integrate them into their surroundings.

The cows provided an interesting challenge in modelling to make them appear rounded, three dimensional and solid. This would have been a lot more daunting if I hadn't been studying The Natural Way to Draw.