Project : Townscapes
Exercise : Study of a townscape using line : OCA p92
For my study of a townscape using line, I sat in a coffee shop on the first floor and drew the
opposite side of the street. The weather was hazy sunshine and the atmosphere was very relaxed.
I stayed until I had achieved an initial sketch and notes and on into the major lines and shapes of my final sketch.
Several cups of coffee later, I left with a feel for the place, the beginnings of my final drawing and some photographs from my eyrie.
Fig 2: Final drawing. I chose to put the flowers along the lower 1/3rds line, so the rest of the composition revolved around them. The people I photographed and then put in the most suitable position to lead the eye around the picture and not interfere with the flowers – I felt it would have been too busy.
I did not want to put too much detail in the two buildings to the sides to keep the focus in the centre but I did want the pub to have value.
The picture has worked as I intended though it is less expressionist than I would like. I made a real effort to look at the tonal values in my photographs and the dark windows certainly stand out against the cream walls of the buildings.
I altered the colour of the building to the right hand side as it was a dirty grey and I felt the pale green suited the piece better by echoing the building on the opposite side.
Exercise : A sketchbook of townscape drawings : OCA p93
I took this sketchbook idea literally so I carried my notebook wherever I went and just drew buildings and structures to get me into the feel for this exercise.
Fig 3 : A pencil sketch of the view from our apartment window in Denmark.
This sketch was completed with a medium drawing pen. My attempts at drawing people need lots of practice.
fig 5 : I was up in a tower when I drew this. I really loved the challenge of drawing from that height but I had to balance my sketchbook in one hand whilst drawing with the other so it wasn’t easy.
Completed in a fine drawing pen which seems to work well for this type of view. I haven’t put in any shadows or further detail, such as colour, because my time up there was very restricted. Regrettably I didn’t have a camera to assist my memory though I’m pleased with this little sketch.
This practice sketch was from a trip to a beach-town near my home. I painted it in watercolours. Again, I was balancing my sketchbook on my knee whilst I drew and I went straight to ink (as Figs 4 and 5 did) with no prep so it isn’t as straight as it might be. However, I like the quirkiness of drawing freehand in this way.
Eventually I did the actual exercise required. I started with some rough sketches to get me used to the lines and forms, plus another to decide exactly which part of the picture I wanted to reproduce.
The angle that I wanted to use was clear from the start as I liked all the signs I could see from there.
Fig 8 : I decided to crop the picture to take out unnecessary parts of the building and I also left out other obstructions and diversions.
Fig 9 : For my final drawing I used chalk pastels on pastel paper. I decided on this colour to allow the shadows of the stone-work to show up whereas the red brickwork is smooth and I have left no dark paper showing.
The weather was cloudy so there were no dramatic shadows but I noticed the front of the building was lighter than the side and some windows were blacker than others.
The story of the sign “Jack’s Corner” is that the owner of the pub had a dog called Jack, long since passed away, who used to sit on this corner all day. When he died, the sign was erected.
Exercise : A limited pallette study from your sketches : OCA p 95
I visited an open air museum near Cardiff and drew sketches and took photographs for this exercise and for my assignment. Fig 9 shows a preliminary sketch and Fig 10 is the final drawing. Though this is not a building it has very strong architectural value with the stone wall, arch and iron-work ‘something’ (rather like a large decorated tank) in the foreground.
In writing up this blog I have re-read that coloured pencil was suggested for this exercise and I have used mixed media: pastel, charcoal pencil and some coloured pencil. The paper is A3 rough acrylic.
I’m practicing looking for the darkest / lightest areas which does give a little more depth and perspective than my previous work.
Exercise : Drawing Statues : OCA p 96
Fig This statue is about 120cm high and made of a medium-dark wood. I found him in the corridor of a Church in Denmark.
The light was very low but a pale shadow struck the wall and made the folds of his clothing stand out more prominently.
I used graphite for this image.
Fig A stone bear drinks from a water trough. I tried to show his stone fur. The ridges at his neckline seem too prominent – they are prominent on the real statue but they look better there. This sketch was in fine-point drawing pen.
The light was very dull and overcast so there is just a little reflection in the water but no shadow.
Fig . A granite statue in the street. I was pleased with this image. I had to think about the mark making to create the granite where it was both rough and smooth.
Also the shadows are important to get the feel of the shaping carved into it.
Check and log:
- I created a sense of depth in the limited colour pallette by using the white of the paper and black crayon in the darkest areas; trying to grade the tones to match my subject along the way. This enabled me to draw less detail than I would have otherwise and made me really look.
- My preliminary sketches were helpful in a way I had not realised before. I’m beginning to appreciate that the more preliminary sketches I do, the more information I’ve taken in, making the finished article more convincing whilst at the same time, taking away some of the worry.
- I will definitely do preliminary sketches in future. My lack of confidence in picking up a pen / pencil has held me back too long. I would definitely consider drawing some of my pieces again (if there were time) and creating the same scene in a completely different style or medium. I believe this approach would lead me to be a better artist.
- Scale is interesting. I try very hard to cross-reference parts of a building to create the correct scale but where I’ve drawn a quick sketch out of doors it has gone a bit askew. I do like the more relaxed feel of those sketches (fig 5 and 6 for instance) and I seem to have imbued more character into the work that way.
- Capturing the colour and atmosphere: The limited palette drawing does have the atmosphere whereas fig 8 (the pub) has all the colour. Fig 2 has both the atmosphere and colour of the scene but my favourites for capturing atmosphere, in monochrome and colour, are figs 5 and 6 which I find more expressive, even if not exact replicas.