Sunday, 26 October 2014

It’s All About Preparation

Old Mill Creek (Work in Progress)
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5)

This is my current watercolour project – a view of Old Mill Creek near Dartmouth.

The picture is at a make or break point where I need to start adding details to bring it all together.

This phase highlights any weaknesses in a composition and there are a few issues I wish I’d addressed before starting the painting.

Old Mill Creek, Dartmouth

I should have been more diligent in my preparatory thumbnails. The trouble is I liked the slightly unorthodox composition of the main reference photograph. This lulled me into a false sense of security. I drew a couple of sketches to experiment with the sizes and positions of the swan and the boats, but I didn't complete a full exploration of the the composition with tonal and colour thumbnails (see  Castle Cove - Thumbnail Sketches and John Lovett's article Thumbnail Sketches)

Background Trees - Test Swatches

One piece of preparation that paid off was some experiments I did before painting the background trees. The basic technique is similar to one I've used previously (see Silver Birch) - paint a pale green wash and add darker and darker greens to it as it dries, I refined the technique for this picture in a number of trial swatches.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Movement in the Mannikin Frame

Movement in the Mannikin Frame - 1
Copied from Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Graphite Pencil on Paper

This is my second post about the mannikin frame from Andrew Loomis’ Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth (see The Mannikin Frame - Part One).

On his second page of mannikin frame drawings, Loomis stresses the importance of incorporating life and action into the figures. His drawings on this page are looser and more dynamic than on the previous page.

Movement in the Mannikin Frame - 2
Copied from Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Graphite Pencil on Paper

The first two sets of drawings on this post are copies of Loomis’s drawings. The third set is based on gesture drawings of Elaine.

Movement in the Mannikin Frame - 3
Wax Crayon & Graphite Pencil on Paper

Elaine took three 1 minutes poses while I made scribbled gesture studies in coloured crayon. Subsequently, I drew the mannikin frame on top of the gesture drawing. I had to use the male frame because I haven’t reached Loomis' explanation of the female mannikin.

The drawings haven't turned out quite as well as I had hoped for, but this leaves plenty of room for practice and improvement.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

September Sketches

Conker on the Half Shell
14 September 2014
Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 12cm (7" x 5")

This month I have been mostly sketching things I've picked up while out walking.

Papier Pig
24 September 2014
Graphite Pencil
Winsor & Newton A4 Heavy Weight Sketch Book
21.0cm x 29.7cm (8.25" x 11.75")

This pig is one of the few exceptions. It is one of four papier-mâché pigs made and given to Elaine by our neighbour Jeff’s sons.

Very Small Pine Cone
17 September 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A5 Graduate Sketchbook
210mm x 149mm (8.3" x 5.9")

Going for a walk and collecting something to sketch is a good way to end the working day with some fresh air and a bit of exercise

Dried Grass
18 September 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A5 Graduate Sketchbook
149mm x 210 (5.9" x 8.3")

These small detailed studies are absorbing and good practice.

21 September 2014
Graphite Pencil
Daler Rowney A5 Graduate Sketchbook
210mm x 149mm (8.3" x 5.9")

Sketching the holly has helped me to realise the need to revisit the basic modelling technique from the Natural Way to Draw (see Modelled Drawing). The sketch does not reveal the full curving shape of the leaves. It would help if my shading was more directional and if I increased and decreased the pressure of the shading to show curvature. This is something I will think about over the next few weeks.