Sunday, 8 April 2018

March 2018 Sketches

Two Kinds of Tulips
29 March 2018
Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

March has been another quite month for sketching. There have been a lot of distractions. Work has been hectic and when I’ve had a few spare minutes, it is easier to pick up a doodle for exercise 1 of Keys to Drawing with Imagination than to start a sketch. I’ve also been doing some painting.

Mindful Leaf
25 March 2018
Watercolour Pencil
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The sketch at the top of the post is my favourite from the month. The other two sketches are based on practices from Mindfulness & the Art of Drawing by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh.

Mindful Mushrooms
18 March 2018
Grsphite Pencil
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

I am planning to get back into sketching during April by restarting Liz Steele's SketchingNow Edges course (see SketchingNow Edges for my previous experience with the course).

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Expressive Drawing – Multi-Shape Drawing


Multi-Shape Drawing
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 3
Acrylic Ink and Paint on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

Chapter 4 of Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone concerns Shape. I’ve posted drawings from the earlier exercises in this chapter on a previous post (see Expressive Drawing - Shape Compositions).

The third and final “Build” exercise in the chapter is a more open-ended examination of shape and shape relationships – you are even allowed to use more than one colour. I began the with some automatic drawing (aka mindless doodling, see Expressive Drawing - The Drawing Process). This evolved into an exploration of organic and geometric shapes.

I used acrylic paint and old brushes for the exercise. This choice of materials raised questions about the difference between drawing and painting. I’m not sure this is an important differentiation, but I covered over some expressive lines which I was disappointed to lose. For the next few exercises, I’m going to focus on line work with more traditional drawing materials such as charcoal and graphite.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

February 2018 Sketches

Stained Glass Puffin
28 February 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

February was not a productive month for sketching. These are the scant highlights.

The puffin was a birthday/housewarming present from Elaine in June of last year. It's taken me a while to get around to painting it. I'm not sure why because I enjoyed the experience. Perhaps it's because the apparent simplicity is a challenge - simple objects can highlight our mistakes.

Tulips and Hyacinths
12 February 2018
Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

It's wonderful to have spring flowers in the house. Even if it's too cold for them to thrive outdoors - perhaps because of this. There is a lot of watercolour pencil in this sketch. I never used to be a fan of watercolour pencils, but I am coming to love them. They are a versatile tool  because you can use them for the initial setup drawing and then for quickly adding colour and texture.

Pears
15 February 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The pears were an experiment in trying to build up the modelling of their form in a single watercolour wash. This is a technique I will work on again in March.

Be Mine
Watercolour and Ink On Paper
10cm x 10cm (4" x 4")

The last picture is not really a sketch. It is my Valentine's Day card to Elaine. It is based on a pattern I've been experimenting with in exercise 1 of Keys to Drawing with Imagination by Bert Dodson. This is one of the things that has being distracting me from sketching. I will write more about it later in the month.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Expressive Drawing – Shape Compositions

Angular and Curvilinear
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 1 - Part 1
Acrylic on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

I am continuing to work with Expressive Drawing  by Steven Aimone. Chapter 4 is about Shape. Steven identifies the ability of shapes to act as a metaphor for personality, emotion, psych and spirit as one of their most important attributes. He also observes that the relationships between shapes can act as metaphors for relationships between people, concepts and things.

The chapter explores some of the different characteristics of  shapes in contrasting pairs:

  • Geometric v Organic
  • Static v Directional
  • Simple v Complex
  • Angular v Curvilinear

The exercises focus on the same concepts. Shape Compositions is the first "Build" exercise. Part 1 explores angular and curvilinear shapes. Part 2 examines organic and geometric shapes.

Geometric and Organic
Expressive Drawing - Chapter 4 - Build 1 - Part 1
Charcoal and Graphite on Paper
59.4cm x 84.1cm (23.4" x 33.1")

I'm enjoying the book, but my progress has been frustratingly slow. I'm hoping to devote more time to it over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

January 2018 Sketches

Plants From Dr. Sarah
31 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

I'm refining a sketching approach to use outdoors when the weather gets better. It is basically Mark Taro Holmes' (Citizen Sketcher) Three-Pass Sketch with some tweaks based on Liz Steele's SketchingNow courses.

My intention is to model most of the forms with ink, so I can add colour with a single pass of watercolour – which removes the need to wait for multiple layers of paint to dry. I’m also making more use of watercolour pencil to add texture.

Joan's Shell Box
10 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The little shell covered box belonged to Elaine's mother. Julie bought it for her from Mevagissey.

Elephant and Mahout
13 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The little wooden carving is about 12 cm/4.5" high.

Lauhala Sea Turtle
15 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Over the summer, a lady from Hawaii sat by me on a flight from Phoenix to Boston. She spent the 5 hours weaving a variety of ornaments from leaves and pan scouring pads from coloured plastic. We chatted and when we arrived in Boston she gave me this little turtle. Its about 6cm/ 2.5” long.

Alessi Parrot
17 January 2018
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

Corkscrews are tricky things. The winged ones are probably the easiest to use, but you usually end up with bits of cork in your wine. This is my tool of choice. It’s called a parrot, but hasn’t got wings.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

SketchingNow Edges


Mixed Baby Tomatoes
4 December 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Liz Steele's SketchingNow Edges course explains how to create sketches with a strong focus and a great sense of depth by understanding the importance of edges. It is intended for people with some drawing and painting experiences.

The first part of the curriculum explores different types of edges. It differentiates between edges that are changes in plane and edges that are changes in colour or texture. It also considers whether edges are hard or soft and strong or weak. The second part of the course examines how to prioritise edges to create focus and depth.

There are 4 lessons with indoor and outdoor exercises. The winter weather isn't conducive to working outdoors, so, I've studied the course material, completed the indoor exercises and will return to it in the late spring. This approach will work well because the concepts are thought-provoking and worth studying at least twice.

This post contains my favourite sketches from the indoor exercises.

Not Mine
4 December 2017
Ink and Watercolour Pencil
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

The shoes were an exercise in identifying edges that indicate a change in colour.

Desk Lamp
23 December 2017
Ink and Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
14.0cm x 20.3cm (5.5" x 8.0")

The sketch of the lamp was an exercise in losing lines. It is not particularly successful, but I enjoyed it and it is a reasonable representation of the lamp.

Honeybuns
29 December 2017
Watercolour
Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook
20.3cm x 14.0cm (8.0" x 5.5")

Elaine bought the Honeybuns cake tin as a Valentine’s day gift in 2016. The contents aren't the original cakes – she refreshed the tin before Christmas. This was an exercise in simplifying and prioritising changes in colour. The result is unlike anything I’ve painted before. I kind of like it, but it raises more questions than answers. I am looking forward to returning to the course later in the year.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas 2017

A Star in the Forest
Watercolour on Paper
26cm x 18cm (10" x 7")
Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year