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Drawing Tips, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Art Courses,, West Darmoor Art Courses News

Drawing -finding new lines with new approaches

Today was about underpinning some of the lessons we have used over the past few months and to try and bring them together and, hopefully, work towards a cohesive drawing.

Everyone worked really well, and to be honest, every one struggled a little with the concept of not drawing a contour line to work within as the drawing progressed.

The first few exercises used the principals of 1,2,4 and 8 minutes to build fist rough shapes, overall shape, tonal values and negative and positive shapes. As we worked through this part some exterior lines where erased or subsumed by a darker area.

The final drawings were done over the next hour. I didn’t take progress pictures particularly, which is a great shame as over the hour the drawings found themselves, lost themselves and re-emerged the better for careful consideration of how one value worked against another and where shadows or reflections changed the tonal reading.

we used a stylised flower repeat pattern to warm up before starting to draw…..much more fun than boxes !!!

Painting with waterclour, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Art Courses,, West Darmoor Art Courses News

Painting: Underpainting to bring unity

This week we picked a picture of the sweetest of chiff chaff’s sitting on reed stalks.

We used an under-drawing as a guide to paint over, over which we laid a thin, translucent, layer of mauve. As we built up the wash layers this purple was brought into the shadows and brought a cohesive feel to the image.

Whilst the colour on this bird has become rather too brown and heavy -creating more of a reed warbler than a chiff chaff (LOL) the use of deep shadow amongst the stalks has been well seen and the form of the bird is well described.

Drawing Tips, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Art Courses,, West Darmoor Art Courses News

Drawing shapes – re-seeing form as a series of shapes

Quite a task for a Monday morning!  We all hold a visual memory of an object in our head. We know what something looks like. If I asked you to draw an apple for instance, you would know that it is a solid distorted sphere with a hard often shiny skin. You might even add a stem for good measure.

The likelihood however is that when presented with an apple as a study piece you will see that an apple is less round than you thought. It may be wider, longer or bumpier. Certainly, the inner shapes in terms of surface pattern and light fall will be more interesting and detailed than in your drawing from memory.

I took todays exercise from Bert Dodson’s book Keys To Drawing available very reasonably priced on @worldofbooks.

The intention of today’s session was to help us see the form of an object through the shapes on it.  This called for an object which would trigger the “I know what that is” response. We spent 45 minutes on three drawings of a plastic toy soldier!

The first step is to draw an outline of the edges of the object as a single line before beginning to identify negative spaces, larger areas of shade before refining the drawing down into more tonal areas. The soldiers had to be dropped from shoulder height to set the placement. (no cheating allowed! This meant that, inevitably, the figure was placed in a non-familiar way so it would be more difficult to use automatic responses when drawing.

Repeatedly the comment was that it was very difficult “indeed” to look at the shadow shapes without labelling them as a leg, or shirt, or hat. As we progressed through the morning it became apparent through the confidence shown in the progressive drawings that everyone was beginning, more easily, to identify larger and larger areas of pattern within the figure and divorce these areas from the need to label particular forms. As an aside I noticed that the description of the outside shapes of the small plastic soldiers became more accurate with each rendering.

As a reward for sticking at it we finished the morning with a simple clothes peg. A simple and easy way to realise shapes in the shadows and lighter areas rather than through contour drawing.

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Drawing – using tone instead of line and changing the emphasis of your own drawings marks

I set a real challenge today for the drawing class. The idea was to use our tone/value aid to really concentrate on lost and found edges.

This required, not only really looking very hard at the daffodils, our chosen object for today, but also making decisions on which parts of the flower head qualified as what value of light and dark on the scale.

To help a little participants took a black and white photograph of their chosen blooms to use as reference as the photographs could easily emphasise the dark and light areas when set to monochrome or noir and then darkened a little.

The drawings and decisions for shading were taken from eyeballed (al la Hockney phrase) and the photos used as an aid and by  working across the drawing to ensure that the right values where being put down proved really quite hard to get a handle on. (I guessed this from the many “this is very hard” comments!!!!!!) however as the second hour progressed I could see a definite understanding of how to work the drawings, but also how a new understanding was creating a new shorthand from each of the artists drawings.

I have to concede that it was a hard thing to grasp especially when, to date, we have tended towards line drawing (outline drawing) before adding and tone or mark making to the drawings.

Today was no exception but as the drawing progressed it became apparent that at least some of the outline would have to be removed as the value of the colour tone being laid down was lighter than the outside line. Similarly with the lost lines in the shadows or in very light areas changed the emphasis from the outside line to the form and shape of the inside of the object being drawn.

One helpful tip today has been adopted to reassure that their drawings were not “messy”. Many of the attendees where perplexed and rather discombobulated by the marks they were making. I explained that the flowers where looking messy because the image was showing the lines as very prominent on the white paper.  So the outside of the images were softened with dark shading to enclose their pencil marks. We had worked into drawings already as a warm up this morning using old drawings.  It had been a revelation to everyone how much it changed their drawings and how they needed to work back into the drawings to create more contrast.

This simple approach really bought out the lights and made them believable. Very satisfying.

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Painting -Finding the right red for a camellia

What a fantastic Camellia tree in the studio garden, it is completely covered in big, decedant, waxy flowers in a riot of pint, yellow and glossy glossy dark blue green leaves. Understanding how those colours work together and how to create your own lucious, delicious pink/red to do justice to this flower was not as straight forward as it initially seemed.

I have a very natty little colour guide wheel (Pocket Colour Wheel 13cm. Compact Paint Mixing Learning Guide. Art Class Teaching Tool ) which I got from Amazon but I also have a colour pallette mixing book which covers watercolour, acrylic, gouache and oil paints.  It is throoughly useful indeed. I got it some years ago and cant actually find it on the internet but here is something similar on World of Books The Watercolour Painter’s Pocket Palette by Moira Clinch.

Using this as a starting place a suitable pinky red was selected, we didnt actually have the exact colour specififed so chose similar colours in terms of warm/cool spectrum adn started mixing. What becomes a little tricky is that there are so many vairiables…the amount of water mixed with teh water colour, applying wet on dry or wet on wet and then getting a consistent ratio of the two colours when creating the palette.

What did become apparent was that the initial choice of Cadmium red, violet pink, cadmium yellow, sap green adn ultramarine didnt quite give the mix needed when put up against the flower. What became apparent was the need for a more robust pink. We tried rose pink and alizarin into teh mix and then finally it dawned that the cadmium yellow would dull the pink down just enough and BINGO! we had it.

Creating our work strainght from life with observational drawing adn looking closely at the soft lost and hard found areas of shade and light helped bring beleivable form to teh paintings. A very satisfying demo and work from the the class was so productive. KA really was exceptionally brave with her brush strokes, painting from life bought rather than a copied image really bought her image to life. A very different approach from  her previous work: Well done you.

 

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Open Printmaking Sessions on Thursday Afternoons

I love these session. With our small group sizes we are able to let everyone chose what they want to do. Today we had dry point with chine colle, water colour prints and wiped monotypes. Everyone worked very hard and produced a wonderful variety of prints today and here is the selection. Enjoy.

westdartmoorartcourses_watercolour_pallets
Painting with waterclour, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Art Courses,

Painting with a Spring Pallette – Dancing with Daffodils

Spring Time Yellows

Exciting times, spring is sprung the grass is rising and sunshine makes the daffodils a wonderful mixture of lemon and cadmium yellows!

Today’s pallette was chosen to create a painting of the daffodils sitting looking so wonderfully sunny on the table of the studio at West Dartmoor Art Courses

We have a large pot of tubed watercolours, this is very helpful when learning which colours are what! We chose a range of greens, blues and yellows and a violet.

We could have probably used a red instead of the violet and created our own Terre Vert green but, sometimes it’s fun to introduce other dimensions and the violet and cadmium yellow produced a wonderful soft brown colour of the sepal on the daffodil. The Terre Vert was such a good match for the stalk and the addition of the Prussian blue made good shadows for the stalk.

The violet was a conscious choice to create dynamic shadows and help foreground the lemon yellow and enrich the cadmium yellow.  One thing we did notice, and I didn’t actually photograph was how different cadmium yellows look in their tubes and the tubes paper colour indicators but do look the same when mixed, at least to the eye.