Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Drawing in Charcoal


Kerry, A3, Charcoal and compressed charcoal, 90 minute study

The first life drawing in years.

I worked in charcoal because it's so fluid and a brush of the hand erases and allows you to move elements around, lay down blocks of tone and push-pull until it's something like. It's done on grey pastel paper.

I could have used white - or better cream, which I didn't have with me - for the highlights but decided not to. Next time I may work on a warm cream paper.

It's a drop in session and I'm definitely going again.

Life drawing is such good practice for observation. There's no hiding anything lazy or wrong. There's definite room for improvement but practice practice practice ......

Friday, March 25, 2011

A 'style' of your own?

A collage of paintings of Cornwall, mostly done plein air

Katherine over at Making a Mark has done 2 good posts on having your own voice, your own ideas behind your sketches and paintings, not being over derivative; although it's impossible of course not to be influenced by others, the important thing is to develop your own way forward. I did a previous post on 'style' here saying some very similar things so needless to say - I agree with her.

This montage is a variety of sketches, drawings and paintings I've done in Cornwall and I think they reveal what interests me - the light - the way it catches the water or wet sand, casts shadows in some areas leaving others brightly lit, the particular colours of the sea and sky - a sense of movement, of passing weather, wind, rain or sun, the way the waves roll in - the season - warm/cold/early/late - a sense of place and what it feels like to me.

I've attempted in these to catch the way that the waves rolled in at different times, studying them, watching the repeated movements and trying to catch the pattern. Different weather and season changing the same view from calm tranquil and turquoise/viridian water with pink and mauve reflections in the wet sand to wild and crashing waves in subtler colours. The sea by the lighthouse one day pearlescent pale colours, the next day dark, almost navy in places.

They have been done in a wide variety of materials - watercolour, oil, charcoal, pencil, coloured pencil, water soluble crayons and mixed media. I think despite the different media, that what interests me links them as a body of work. I'd hate to be limited to just one medium.

I don't think about 'style' as I paint - just marks and colour. My attention is on catching what I feel about the place as well as I can in the language of marks available with that particular medium. For me.

I do see finished paintings together like this but not the ones in sketchbooks - the only way for that is digitally. It's good to see your work grouped like this - my work always works best when shown together, I feel.

Sarah Wimperis, fellow member of Watermarks, has been painting the same view at all times of day and night - I think you would enjoy looking - someone who doesn't consider a 'style' but has her own very distinct voice and a wonderful sense of light, weather, time, season, place ..... all the things that interest me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

sketching moving people plein air or out and about

pub terrace in Runswick Bay, watersoluble ink

Sometimes, when sketching landscape, people catch my interest and in the midst of something else I'll draw them. These are a random selection from various sketchbooks. All very very fast attempts to catch people moving, absorbed in what they are doing. That interests me more than doing a posed portrait.

At the National Gallery, biro and Lyra pencils

I worked in biro watching the crowds and added the colour later at home, keeping to a limited palette of warm and cool browns. They were absorbed in looking at the paintings, some wearing the headphones with commentary, one little old lady in an obviously very expensive suit with incredibly wide padded shoulders from the '80s.

Ros at Hartshill Hayes and passing dog walkers, pencil

Ros sketching along the canal, Wolff carbon pencil


Glen sketching , coloured pencil

Sue and Pauline on the beach - evening, getting cold, windy, water soluble ink smudged with fingers

Here 3 of us had spent the day painting on the beach, it was evening, the sun was about to set. I'd just finished the last painting of the day, was cold now, and was waiting for the other 2 to finish theirs so we could go and warm up. I worked in watersoluble pen and did 3 lightning quick sketches - one of the friends and the other 2 of the sun setting as they finished and packed up.

a sketch done during a very very very boring talk! ink pen on a scrap of paper

This one was done to alleviate the boredom of an excruciatingly bad demo by someone - I forget his name thankfully but he was a retired bank manager, stood in front of the canvas so noone could see a thing(!) and when we could see .... it wasn't worth the wait - really* -sketching however badly was more interesting and enabled me to zone him out for a while!

*I'm not being unkind - the whole audience were yawning!


Don't forget the alternative look at still life challenge - sign up if you want to take part here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still life: quick sketch in Pentel brush pen

Still life: Part of the mess on my desk! Pentel brush pen, A4

I've been really busy so no finished work to show - but this is a quick sketch, really really quick, of a corner of the mess on my desk!

How much electrical/IT equipment we depend on - ipod, headphones, mouse, corner of the keyboard, external memory and the drawers with all sorts of useful bits in and the printer on top .... and that's just a fraction of it.

I'm enjoying using the brushpen, it's very freeing, no fussing with detail - just quick fluid scribbling. I was pleased with how easy it is to get a mid tone using the side of the brush. I'd been inclined to only use it for line in the past.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Collagraph and Coloured Pencil: Landscape

detail 1: 4 inch section of Landscape, 14 x4 inches approx, collagraph with coloured pencil on Fabriano Rosapina paper

detail 2 : 3 inch section of Landscape, 14 x4 inches approx, collagraph with coloured pencil on Fabriano Rosapina paper
The whole image: Landscape, 14 x4 inches approx, collagraph with coloured pencil on Fabriano Rosapina paper

I came across this 14x4 inch collagraph in the 'do-something-with-this-later' drawer. I think it was an offcut from a larger collagraph plate, cropped before it was printed and then printed with the same inks that I'd been using (green and yellow), just to see what happened.

It had originally been vertical and part of a seahorses/underwater series of printmaking. Looking at it horizontally I saw a landscape.

Using coloured pencils I worked on it in warm rosy hues to contrast with the cooler green. I want to darken and cool with deep blue the area around the right hand tree a little before I'll call it finished I think.

After working a bit too tightly sometimes recently, it was very freeing to simply play with an image, pulling the landscape from the abstract shapes.