Sunday, 24 November 2013

Why Can’t Plants Keep Still?

Watercolour on Paper
14cm x 18cm (5.5" x 7")

Elaine bought an orchid to be the subject of some exercises from Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow (see Line Drawing, Opposition and Transition). Her friend Nicola kindly donated an abundance of holly for the same purpose.

Holly - Extended Gesture Study
Graphite Pencil on Paper
28cm x 16.5cm (11" x 6.5")

I am using the first two steps from the Sustained Study from the Natural Way to Draw (see Section 13)  to prepare line drawings for use in the composition exercises.

Holly - Contour Study
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
28cm x 16.5cm (11" x 6.5")

I start by drawing an extended gesture study and then put a piece of tracing paper over the gesture drawing and draw a contour study.

Orchid - Extended Gesture Study
Graphite Pencil on Paper
14cm x 18cm (5.5" x 7")

For both subjects I drew the gesture study on one evening and the contour study the next. You would have thought a plant could keep still for one day, but they wriggle and fidget as though you have sprayed them with itching powder - half the buds on the orchid opened overnight and all the leaves on the holly decided to change which spikes they were poking forwards and which ones they were poking backwards. You might as well draw cats and dogs.

Orchid - Contour Study
Graphite Pencil on Tracing Paper
14cm x 18cm (5.5" x 7")

When I drew the contour studies, I had to decide whether to keep the position of the plant from the gesture study or to start again with the new position of the plant. For both the orchid and the holly, I stuck with the pose from the gesture study. In future, I plan to draw the extended gesture study and the contour study in a single session - I've learnt this lesson.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Industrial Scene

Buildwas Power Station
Watercolour on Paper
23cm x 23cm (9" x 9")

Yesterday was the November meeting of the Shelford Group of Artists.

Tony Slater's theme for the day was Industrial Scenes.

I didn’t have any suitable reference material, so last Sunday, Dad and I took a drive through the Ironbridge Gorge looking for an interesting subject. It is a picturesque valley, which seems strangely at odds with its position at the heart of the industrial revolution.

It’s fascinating how the ruins of the old furnaces and factories are either museums or are being reclaimed by the landscape.

I settled on a view of the Bulidwas power station at the far end of the gorge.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Keys to Drawing – Chapter 5

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5D
60 Minutes
29 October 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
37cm x 29cm (14.5" x 11.5")

Chapter 5 of Keys to Drawing is called The Illusion of Depth. This is another of the chapters I've been looking forward to because it deals with concepts that are not included in The Natural Way to Draw.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5A
60 Minutes
2 October 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
29.5cm x 40cm (11.5" x 15.75")

Bert Dodson starts the chapter by introducing four principles we can use to create a feeling of depth in a picture:
  • Overlapping objects – when objects overlap, we perceive one of them as being in front of the other
  • Diminishing size – objects that are further away from the viewer appear smaller
  • Converging parallel lines (linear perspective) – parallel lines appear to converge and meet on the horizon 
  • Softening edges and contrast (atmospheric perspective) – objects that are far away begin to blend into the background
If we include these devices in a picture, they provide the illusion of depth.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5B
60 Minutes
7 October 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
22cm x 34cm (8.5" x 13.5")

Bert continues by presenting the idea of drawing through objects as if they were transparent as a technique for experiencing the structure of an object and drawing it so that it appears convincingly 3-dimensional.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5C
60 Minutes
10 October 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
28m x 38cm (11" x 15")

The chapter finishes with a short, but succinct description of linear perspective. Dodson explains one-point and two-point perspective and even touches on three-point perspective.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5E
60 Minutes
4 November 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
28m x 39.5cm (11" x 15.5")

There are 6 exercises, all of which I found enjoyable, but challenging:

5A - creating the illusion of depth
5B - drawing through
5C - one-point perspective
5D - two-point perspective
5E - looking down on objects (three-point perspective)
5F – ellipses (circles in perspective)

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 5F
60 Minutes
7 November 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
25.5cm x 30.5cm (10" x 12")

I may need to redo exercises 5D and 5E because 5D is supposed to be a drawing of the corner of a house and 5E is supposed to be the view from a high window or balcony. I changed the subjects because it was cold and wet when I drew the picture for exercise 5D and I didn't have access to a suitably elevated viewpoint for exercise 5E. I drew exercise 5E perched on the edge of a kitchen worktop. This brought its own challenges, so I don’t feel too guilty.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Between Tresco and Bryher

Between Tresco and Bryher
Watercolour on Paper
28cm x 38cm (11" x 15")

It was a blustery day when Elaine and I visited Tresco. The wind shook the boat as we crossed from St Mary’s. It battered us as we walked around the island and whipped the waves on to the shore, except for the channel between Bryher and Tresco. This was serene and undisturbed. The boats in the mouth of New Grimsby Harbour rested peacefully; unaware of what was waiting for them if they left their cosy moorings.

Round Island from Tresco

We enjoyed our trip to the Isles of Scilly so much we have booked to go back next year.