Sunday, 28 April 2013

Just Exercises

Sustained Study - Clothed - Section 24 - Modelled Drawing
22 April 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
47cm x 37cm (18.5" x 14.5")

These exercises in oils are a mixed bag. There are good things and bad things about all of them.

Oil colour is a demanding medium to use for learning to draw. Sometimes it is forgiving and kind, but on other occasions, it is merciless and exaggerates any small mistakes.

Struggling with it is helping me to learn an important lesson about the nature of effort and the attitude I need to develop to draw well.

The Head in Oil - Section 24
26 April 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
35.5cm x 47cm (14" x 18.5")

Earlier in the book Kimon Nicolaides comments about the importance of effort – if you want to learn to draw, you have to put in the hours.

This is unarguably true, but I have a tendency to try to draw well and this can be self-defeating. For me, the act of drawing has to be something I approach with a relaxed and happy heart - I don’t need to try too hard or to focus on the results. The discipline or effort is concerned with making sure I do the exercises or draw every day.

Sustained Study - Nude - Section 24 - Modelled Drawing
14 April 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
47cm x 37cm (18.5" x 14.5")

I began to realise this back in November when I wrote Lighten Up, but sometimes these lessons take time to learn and I suspect it will take me a little while longer to learn this one.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Daily Composition Revisited

Carriages at Eleven
Daily Composition - April 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
15cm x 23cm (6" x 9")

 The Daily Composition is an exercise from the Natural Way to Draw (see Daily Composition and A Year of Daily Compositions)

The exercise is a daily task and is a scribbled gesture study of a scene drawn from memory. The exercise can take up to 15 minutes, but most of mine take between 5 and 10 minutes.

Preparing Dinner
Daily Composition - April 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
15cm x 23cm (6" x 9")

At least half the drawings should be of something you’ve seen in the past 24 hours, but the other half can be inspired by events from longer ago.

Ideally, I draw scenes from the previous day that I’ve studied with the intention of using them for the exercise – this is how I get the most benefit.

If I draw an event from the more distant past, I enjoy finding out whether Elaine can identify it – especially if it’s an incident from before we met.

Elaine recognised the drawing at the top of the post without difficulty. It is from our honeymoon at a romantic spa in Saint Lucia (we were observers to the event - not participants). One evening a couple celebrated so enthusiastically the restaurant provided them with a wheelbarrow for their journey back to the hotel.

Felix Snoozing
Daily Composition - April 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
24cm x 19cm (9.5" x 7.5")

Today’s post had to be about daily compositions because last night I broke my longest uninterrupted sequence of daily compositions – 203 days.

Elaine and I were staying with Paul and Wendy (and their new dog Alfie). I just forgot to do a drawing.  It was an unexpected lapse because during the day we visited Kurt Jackson's inspiring exhibition at the Campden Gallery.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Water and Reflections

Water and Reflections (Work In Progress)
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

Yesterday was the April painting day of the Shelford Group of Artists. The subject for the day was Water and Reflections. Tony Slater painted a demonstration of some boats viewed across an estuary. He applied a purple glaze to his almost finished painting. This added atmosphere and transformed the image into an evening scene.

I started this picture of fishing boats in Brixham harbour. I created the reflections by dragging the colours of the boats down the page with a damp flat brush. It is a complicated scene and there is a lot left to do. The next step is to add some dark shadows and reflections between the boats and then to take stock and decide where to add details - I also need to sort out the perspective at the back of the light blue boat.

I am building up a backlog of half completed paintings. I still haven’t finished the still life with hyacinths that I started at the previous painting day (see Not Still Life and Shelford Group of Artists Easter Exhibition 2013).

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Another Modelling the Straight and Curve Study

Sarah Watching TV
Modelling the Straight and Curve (15-Minute Pose)
6 April 2013
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
34cm x 20cm (13.5" x 8")

This is my latest Modelling the Straight and Curve study from the Natural Way to Draw.

I enjoy the exercise and the simplicity of the resulting drawings, but it is possible the studies should be more abstract. There are some lines in my drawings that are not definitely straight or definitely curved and I suspect there are more curved lines than straight (but I haven’t counted them).

If the exercise appears again, I will focus on emphasising (or even exaggerating) the straightness and curvedness of the lines. (Is curvedness a real word? Should it be curvaceousness?)

I am grateful to Sarah for posing for the study. Elaine and I visited her this weekend and she kindly offered to pose – there was very little cajoling – she practically volunteered. Thank you Sarah.