Part 3: Project 5: Exercise 4 – Statues

Brief

In a similar way to drawing trees and drawing figures, statues are great for honing your drawing skills and they don’t (usually) move!

For this exercise look for statues outside, in streets, parks, cemeteries, town squares, etc. Statue drawings can become a source of inspiration for further pieces as well as being completed drawings in their own right.

Decide what interests you about the particular statue. You could focus on silhouette, tone and negative shapes. Alternatively you could look at the textures created by erosion and lichens. Look at the play of light on the statue created by the other objects nearby or draw the statue in context – what’s beside, behind or in front.

Look up at large statues and draw exactly what you see; look down on small statues and again draw exactly what you see – not what you think you see. The statue in this student image is drawn from the side and the artist must have been standing on something fairly high to achieve this parallel viewpoint; if not, the figure would have been drawn differently, the upper body smaller than the lower body depending on the angle of the direction and angle of the artist’s gaze. Think about this and consider how you can make your drawings more interesting by adjusting your viewpoint. You’ll think more about perspective and foreshortening in Part Four.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 - course notes image
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 – course notes image

Drawings

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 - Statues - sketch 1
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 – Statues – sketch 1

Flora MacDonald’s statue in front of Inverness Castle in 2B pencil. The only part that’s not pleasing is her face – she looks beardy! I must correct this look – it does her no favours!

Anyway, it is a reasonably accurate rendition with the lines and angles otherwise.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 - Statues - sketch 2
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 – Statues – sketch 2

The Cameron Monument in Station Square, Inverness in 2B pencil. I couldn’t resist the odd juxtaposition of the ‘Taxi Rank’ sign sitting right next to the monument.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 - Statues - sketch 3
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 – Statues – sketch 3

Falcon Square, Inverness – a relatively recent addition to the streetscape as a gathering place in front of the Eastgate shopping centre. This statue is by local artist Gerald Laing (deceased) and is a striking 37ft high sandstone pillar topped with a Unicorn (rampant) and circled by a number of peregrine falcons attached to the pillar.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 - Statues - sketch 4
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 4 – Statues – sketch 4

The top two sketches are of a statue within the food hall of the Eastgate Centre. This is a statue created by local artist Leonie Gibbs and is of a falconer with falcon. The first sketch is from the floor above looking down onto the back of the statue, while the second sketch on the right is from a standing position at ground floor level.

The bottom sketch is a different take on what might constitute public art (albeit transient). Inverness Port Authority land is currently being used to store/host the huge blades intended for future transport to some new wind farm development in the Scottish Highlands (of which there are already many in existence).

When I saw this bank of blades I was struck by the geometric precision of their construction, lying silent and inert awaiting their true purpose to materialise.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
24 October 2015

Part 3: Project 5: Exercise 3 – A limited palette study

Brief

Using your sketches from the previous exercise, select a drawing to develop in colour.

Begin with a horizontal line that defines your personal eye level. Use a limited palette for this exercise – no more than three colours. Traditionally these would have been deep brown, sanguine (red brown), black and white, but decide which works best for your subject. Use conté pencils, coloured pencils or ink and work on smooth or rough paper.

• Draw the strongest verticals of the primary focus, i.e. the main building.
• Draw in the diagonals.
• Begin to build in some of the detail.
• Add a touch of colour by applying light pressure on the coloured pencil. This will allow you to build the surface and tonal values gradually.
• As the picture evolves, gradually increase the pressure to give a stronger line and more depth.

If it doesn’t seem to be working for you, either move on to find another viewpoint or just keep drawing. Often, as your sketches progress, what at first appears uninteresting can evolve into something exciting; concentrated observation and drawing often reveals a scene in other more interesting ways.

Remember that the white paper is your lightest tonal value. The conté pencils will give you the middle and darkest values and help you describe the colours and textures of the buildings.

Were you able to create a sense of depth with your limited colour palette?

Process

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Townscape study using line - sketches copy
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Townscape study using line – sketches copy

For this exercise my selection was the above scene sketched as part of exercise 2. With a photographic copy of this sketch I mapped in the main horizontals, with the bottom green line being my eye level; the main verticals (red) and main diagonals (blue). When I drew the original sketch I was sitting further down the street on one of the bollards seen in the picture.

This seemed to me to be an ideal townscape scene to try and develop in colour.

Drawing

Working with 2H and 2B pencils I firstly sketched in the scene and then used Polychromas colour pencil to add in and develop the colour element to the composition – venetian red, walnut brown and schwarz black.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 3 - Limited palette study
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 3 – Limited palette study

My feeling is that I did manage to create a sense of depth with the limited colour palette, but as usual, it could probably always be improved – I am beginning to not get hung up about this though – it is the best I could do in the time, it is what it is, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
24 October 2015

Part 3: Project 5: Exercise 2 – Study of a townscape using line

Brief

Use two sketchbook pages to make a preliminary drawing of this study. Establish the primary focus and any other shapes and objects you think necessary to make this drawing interesting and unexpected. Make notes about the weather conditions and how they affect your approach to the drawing and establish the general mood.

Decide what sort of marks fit the mood and shapes of this study. Find the centre point of your paper and relate this to the focal point of your preliminary drawings; decide on the foreground, middle ground and background. Complete the study in pen and ink or a black drawing pen or fine brush pen.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 - course notes image
OCA student, Jo Conteh

Did your preliminary sketches give you enough information for your final pieces of work? Yes

What would you do differently another time? Make notes in your learning log.

Drawings

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Townscape study using line - sketches
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Townscape study using line – sketches

It was a clear day, grey sky and the mood of the narrow/enclosed Lombard St felt like the right spot to explore – firstly at street level with folk passing by and then looking up to the roof line for the quirky features. I did these sketches fairly quickly and some of the angles aren’t quite right, but I really just wanted to try and capture the atmosphere of these fine old buildings. I already had in mind what my final study drawing would be and as the sky broke up the greyness brightened and white clouds started to populate the blueness above.

So, here’s the finished ink drawing – Fineliner black, grey and yellow pen with Inktense block ink wash. I sketched this in situ using 3H and 3B pencils and took a reference photograph. The ink layers were added back home, with a final sponge dobbing of the sky – trying not to overdo it. Overall, I am happy with this colour line drawing and think that it is certainly drawn from an interesting and unexpected viewpoint. I enjoyed doing it.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 - Townscape study using line - colour drawing
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 2 – Townscape study using line – colour drawing

Q) What would I do differently another time? A) Have the courage and confidence to carry out the whole sketch/drawing in situ. I sketched the idea of the layout of the composition on site and completed the inking and washing in the comfort/safety of my home studio.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
22 October 2015

Part 3: Project 5: Exercise 1 – Sketchbook of townscape drawings

Brief

Streets in townscapes, from industrial buildings to a collection of domestic houses, offer diverse opportunities for using a variety of colour media.

For this exercise, carefully select a viewpoint that gives you somewhere to sit comfortably while you’re sketching and making notes. Focus on one particular building, for example a corner site or a building façade, and notice how the other buildings support your main focus.

Make written notes about your sense of the place (does it evoke an emotional response?) as well as the appearance of the scene. Take note of your eye level which will become the horizon line – this helps place the buildings and organise linear perspective. Notice details of the buildings and scene around you, such as the proportion or placement of windows and doors on the building’s façade, the building materials, the pattern and texture of bricks, as well as the colours.

Make a detailed study with a 3B pencil, in a 10cm square, showing a section of the building. This will help you get the essence of the structures in front of you. Draw a second 10cm square tonal study showing how the light falls across the building.

Make notes about the direction and strength of light, time of day, shadows. Make notes about colour. Describe the use of the buildings or movement of people and anything else that will help your decision-making for a larger piece of work.

Make several quick drawings in your sketchbook before you decide on the most interesting view. Just looking often doesn’t reveal all the possibilities. Sometimes it’s only when you begin to draw that you spot an exciting view. Once you’ve decided what to draw, quickly plan in your sketchbook where everything you intend to include in your drawing will be. Draw the main shapes in pencil or charcoal before you commit yourself to colour.

Be selective. Draw what you see as interesting and unusual. Find your own unique view of your chosen place. Your drawing should have a sense of the actual location but you don’t have to include everything you can see. What you leave out is arguably more important than what you include and this skill is only learned with practice. Keep looking and translating what you see until gradually you discover what is important and what is incidental.

Drawings

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Townscape drawing 1
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Townscape drawing 1

This is a view walking up the hill towards Inverness Castle from the stone dyke looking over Castle Street out over the town (City) towards the Longman Industrial Estate and the Kessok Bridge over the Moray Firth to the Black Isle and Ross-shire.

The horizon line/eye level is the water line and bridge in the distance. Castle Street has an incline up right to the top of the bray with a range of older buildings and established businesses, such as the Castle Restaurant, the Castle Gallery and Chisholms Highland Dress.

This was drawn mid-morning on a sunny day with the light coming from the south east shining on the side walls of the Town House (left) and the building on the hill which is the main focus of the sketch. The angle of the roff lines and architectural features such as roof windows give an almost ‘seaside town’ feel to what is now a City.

I sketched from above the wall a wee bit further up the path to the Castle itself. At the lower end of Castle Street there a more modern box-like buildings that sit in contrast to the older, squatter buildings further up the hill. The focal building in this sketch sits on the hillside above the street looking down over the scene. Behind this building sits the walls and buildings of Porterfield Prison. Interestingly, Inverness Castle itself is not really a Castle, although it sits on the site of a centuries old defensive structure and today acts as the District and Sheriff Court.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Townscape drawing 2
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Townscape drawing 2

Here are L/H and R/H corner sketches of the same building, again in 3B pencil. L/H mainly a line drawing with some shading of the top floor and roof detail.

The L/H sketch shows a basic tonal depiction of how the light source cast shadow across the roof top.

Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 - Townscape drawing 3 - colour study
Part 3 Project 5 Exercise 1 – Townscape drawing 3 – colour study

Focusing in on the imposing old building on the hill opposite my location on the Castle steps I sketched it in using a 3B pencil and washed over the colours using Inktense block ink and a waterbrush pen. These are really handy for carrying and working – little baggage to carry. As with all these sketches I used a Frisk 300gsm layflat sketch pad.

I did try to simplify the building stonework and not get too hung about lots of detail and I think the main shapes are just about right. For me the interesting element of the building is in the roof line. The light was shining in from left against the gable wall and the dark shadows on the roof were outstanding. I think with more time and work I could have applied even more shading on the building and the greenery in front, but I decided to keep it all suggestive of what I was actually looking at – get it down on paper, leave it and walk away to the next task.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
22 October 2015

Part 3: Project 4: Exercise 3 – Aerial or atmospheric perspective

Brief

Another way of creating a sense of distance is through aerial or atmospheric perspective. This refers to the way that distant objects appear less distinct and colour intensity fades towards blue-grey as objects recede.

This exercise is about tonal gradation. When you’re working with perspective and the suggestion of distance, you should notice that tonal values become lighter as the amount of space between the eye and the horizon increases. Detail is less clear and focus steadily reduced. If there is moisture in the air greater ‘fogging’ occurs and, even on a fine day, it can seem as though veils of blue are layered across the mid to far distance.

In hot and arid zones, aerial perspective barely exists and the hottest tones (such as the reds in the rocky outcrops of the Australian desert) retain their saturated depth far into the distance.

Using drawing media such as charcoal, soft graphite, conté sticks, soft chalky pastel, oil sticks and ink, make several tonal studies that analyse receding features of the landscape from foreground to mid and far distance.

With a light touch, establish the horizon before plotting the basic forms of objects in the landscape. Analyse the gradation of tone away into the distance. You may prefer to use a single colour, using monochrome as a tonal and atmospheric tool.

In the image below the artist has used a soft reddish grey palette across the whole scene to suggest a misty atmosphere that contrasts with the strong linear drawing style. This is a quite different approach to the use of colour and tone, but equally atmospheric.

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 - course notes image
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Tower of St Ia, St Ives, 1963 (pencil and mixed media)

Drawings

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 - Aerial or atmospheric perspective - tonal study 1
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 – Aerial or atmospheric perspective – tonal study 1

A view from the adjoining field looking over our house and two neighbouring houses towards the hills of Glenurquhart Forest park. In the winter the sun never makes it over the horizon between late November until late February, so I was lucky to catch the light for this drawing before the clocks turn back at the end of October. This was drawn from the field on a sunny Autumn afternoon and the light in the air made it quite challenging to capture the atmospheric perspective, but I think with eyes squinting you can just about catch the movement upwards from darker to lighter tones from ground level to a more shimmery hill line.

Drawn with Conté crayon.

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 - Aerial or atmospheric perspective - tonal study 2
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 – Aerial or atmospheric perspective – tonal study 2

A trip up the Sutherland coast to one of my favourite spots – Brora Harbour – drawn from across the River Brora looking down and across to the horizon line just above the rooftop on the left, out over the Moray Firth towards the Aberdeen shire coast. Drawn with Fineliner pen and washed in using Inktense block and waterbrush.

I’m not too sure that my dark(ish) foreground, moving up through the middle ground to the background and horizon line above the houses shows enough of a tonal transition of colour.

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 - Aerial or atmospheric perspective - tonal study 3
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 3 – Aerial or atmospheric perspective – tonal study 3

Another wee jaunt to a favourite location, this time along the Aberdeenshire coast.

This is a charcoal and soft pastel drawing of Banff harbour from the outer wall looking to the inner-basin with the streetscape behind. View up the hill over the houses to the skyline.

No cityscapes here – yet. Much of my landscape country is rural and/or coastline.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
22 October 2015

Part 3: Project 4: Exercise 2 – Angular perspective

Brief

Two-point or angular perspective. The limitations of parallel perspective make it impossible to depict ‘corner-on’ views of objects, i.e. when an object doesn’t have a straight edge facing the viewer. Angular perspective was developed for views of this kind so that, for example, two sides of a building which are actually at right angles to each other can be drawn receding to two separate vanishing points.

Make a line drawing of a building or several buildings seen corner-on. If this isn’t possible, arrange a group of books on a table with the books all seen corner-on. The books should be different sizes, with some placed on top of others.

Use every possible vertical or horizontal reference to ensure that receding lines are drawn at the correct angles. If you’re drawing buildings remember that the vertical corner of the building itself is an excellent reference.

When you’ve drawn the objects as accurately as possible, draw in your eye level and extend receding lines to it. If you’ve drawn buildings outdoors you’ll want to do this part of the exercise afterwards at home. All parallel lines should meet on your eye level but, in this drawing, you’ll have many vanishing points and you’ll discover that most of them will be off your paper.

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 2 - course notes image
Sir Muirhead Bone, Rome, 1910 (pencil)

This drawing relies strongly on the use of perspective to draw your eye along the street and thus creates a busy city scene rather than a straightforward architectural drawing. Check the accuracy of the drawing by copying a simplified version into your sketch book and then continuing the perspective lines to the vanishing point.

Drawings

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 2 - Angular perspective
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 2 – Angular perspective

This is a sketch of our house in Balnain, Glenurquhart standing face on to the corner of the building and showing the angular, two point perspective, with two vanishing points along the horizon line/eye level – VP’s to left and right of the building.

I also made a rough sketch of Bone’s “Rome” pencil sketch and extending the perspective lines – mostly to a single vanishing point on the horizon line/eye level. There are a couple of the perspective lines that are a bit of a mis-match, but I suspect this is due more to my inaccuracies of line.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
22 October 2015

Part 3: Project 4: Exercise 1 – Parallel perspective, an interior view

Brief

Draw a view through a doorway inside a building. It could be a view from one room into another or a view from a room into a corridor or hall. Try to arrange it so that there is a rectangular rug or something similar in front of the doorway. If the walls and the floor are tiled or have some kind of geometric pattern that will be ideal. Position yourself to draw so that the doorway is flat on to you, as is the rug in front of it.

Draw in line (use tone as well if you wish) and check the angles of all receding lines against the horizontal and vertical lines of the doorframe. Don’t use a ruler or a rubber. Draw and re-draw these angles until you think they are correct and then stop for a moment. Estimate the height of your eyes from the ground and mark on the doorframe in your drawing where this point would be. If you wish, stand next to the actual doorframe and mark the level of your eyes there. Whichever method you use, next use a ruler to draw a horizontal line across your drawing at your eye level.

As you’ve seen, the basic rule of perspective states that lines that are actually parallel will recede to a single vanishing point. Now check your drawing to see whether they do. Extend these receding lines using a ruler and see whether they meet. If, as is probable, they meet in a variety of places, make one pair meet on your eye level. Then, using a ruler, draw other lines which are parallel to these to meet at the same vanishing point. In this way you are constructing a perspective drawing on top of your drawing made from observation. Spend some time checking what you can actually see and comparing it first with your initial drawing and then with the superimposed perspective drawing.

Make notes in your learning log on your experience of this exercise. Did using a ruler help you?

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 1 - course notes image
Joseph Gandy, Sir Francis Chantrey’s Sculpture Gallery (watercolour and pencil on paper)

Finished drawing

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 1 - Parallel perspective - an interior view with eye level line
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 1 – Parallel perspective – an interior view with eye level line

This is a drawing of an interior in my sister-in-law’s Caithness croft house. It was a tricky composition as the house was in the process of renovation with only new flooring boards down on the joists and a remodelled archway between the lounge and the kitchen. Being an old croft building the walls were challenging to say the least – my eye got them as straight as I could without being untruthful to the reality.

Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 1 - Parallel perspective - an interior view with perspective lines
Part 3 Project 4 Exercise 1 – Parallel perspective – an interior view with perspective lines

In this scanned version of the drawing I have overlaid the perspective lines as I see them – red lines leading to Vanishing Point 1 through the window to the fields beyond. The lines follow the skirting boards, flooring joins, kitchen sink unit lines and an approximation of the lines of curve in the doorway arch.

Vanishing Point 2 is slightly above and to the right of VP1 and the lines come from a cupboard on the left, window ledge on the right and approximations of where the archway door at the kitchen side begin their curve over the top.

Some of the lines are not accurately matched over the original drawing lines as the ruler showed these up as being not quite right (slightly out). There is something a bit squiffy about the perspective – but you know, I think that’s what’s so charming about old buildings.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
15 October 2015

Part 3: Project 3: Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle ground, background

Brief

Choose one of your sketches or photographs – or if you prefer, return to a location and draw on the spot. You’ll need A3 cartridge paper (on a hard-backed sketchpad or fixed to a drawing board if you’re drawing outdoors), a ruler, and a range of pencils, graphite pencils and water-soluble pencils. You’ll also need to use your viewfinder and a grid if you’re enlarging one of your sketches or working from a photograph.

The aim of this exercise is to establish a foreground, middle ground and background in your drawing. If you can compose and structure your drawing to include these divisions, you’ll begin to establish a sense of space in the structure of your drawing. This way of organising space is characteristic of the French classical painters Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, who in turn influenced the British landscape artist, JMW Turner.

The crucial factor to bear in mind is that objects in the foreground such as trees or plants will appear to be clearer and have more detail, be bigger in proportion, and will have texture. Draw boldly to create detail and show light direction and shadow. The middle section of your drawing will include subtle changes. The detail will begin to be less important and you should employ more tonal shading through closer hatching. Use your putty rubber sparingly to increase the contrasts in tone.

Tip
It’s sometimes a good idea to incorporate a small feature to frame the middle distance; this could be a house at the edge of your drawing or a field division such as a wall or fence. If you do this, though, make sure it doesn’t look false or overly intended – there’s a fine line between artistic licence and cliché.

The background of your landscape will usually include the horizon and the sky. The sky is very important because it is the source of light. The horizon can be defined by hills, buildings (which may be loosely drawn and vague in shape) or the junction between sea and sky in the distance. It is important to convey this distance by very even or light shading. Nothing in the background should be defined. Try to convey the impression of great distance between the spectator and this section of the landscape. The aim is to emphasise atmosphere – this is the basis of aerial or atmospheric perspective (see Project 4).

When you’re happy with the work you’ve produced for the previous two exercises, take some time to reflect on what you’ve achieved.

• How did you simplify and select? Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information available to you?
• How did you create a sense of distance and form?
• Were you able to use light and shade successfully?
• What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - course notes image
JMW Turner, Windsor Castle and Park with Deer (watercolour over pencil)

Process

My chosen sketch was from 360º studies – shoreline looking west. On a sheet of 220gsm A3 cartridge paper using a 9H pencil I lightly sketched out the main elements of the composition, with markers showing where the eye level/horizon sits and also the general areas covered by the fore, middle and back grounds of the composition. The focal point of the arrangement sits on a rule of thirds power point on the beached boat.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - Foreground, middle and background - first light sketch
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle and background – first light sketch

For this first pass of drawing I used 6H, 4H and 3H pencils to outline/shade the background area/division. I’m not happy with the cloud though at this stage – looks like a passing airship! Much happier with the way the middle-ground is taking shape – using 2H, F, B, 3H again and 2H pencils.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - Foreground, middle and background - first pass
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle and background – first pass

At this point I’m leaving the boat and shore alone, but have picked out the lighter foreground rock formation that is sitting in the direction of the light source coming into the composition from the left of the picture.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - Foreground, middle and background - second pass
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle and background – second pass

Foreground pass using 2B, 6B and 3H pencil. Still leaving the boat alone at this stage.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - Foreground, middle and background - third pass middle ground
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle and background – third pass middle ground

Middle/fore ground shore, sand and boat – H and B pencils.

Finished drawing

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 - Foreground, middle and background - final drawing
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 2 – Foreground, middle and background – final drawing

To finish off the drawing I used a touch of 6B graphite pencil in the rock crevices and then used a range of water soluble coloured pencils to lightly wash over the individual elements of the picture.

Critique

I enjoyed the process of building this drawing from the original light outline sketch through the various stages of layering in pencils and graphite, to touching in the layers of coloured wash. I drew this on a well used drawing board and there are some interesting wee marks where the scratches on the board have copied through onto the paper – accidental, but they look a bit like inscribed marks.

The rocks formations and seaweed on the tide line and on the foreshore had to be simplified fairly radically otherwise the detail of every crevice, chink and form would have been overpowering on the eye I think.

The layering of dark through to light along the foreground, middle ground and background planes achieved a reasonable sense of distance and form I feel.

Light and shade were captured using line, hatching and colour wash.

I could have perhaps spent more time initially studying the detailed shapes of the foreground seaweed. However, I opted instead to suggest the weed through use of squiggled lines and colour washes.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 October 2015

Part 3: Project 3: Exercise 1 – Research point – Viewpoints

My workbook notes for this research point [click on each page to enlarge]:

Part 3 Project 3 Research point - Viewpoints - page 1
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 Research point – Viewpoints – page 1
Part 3 Project 3 Research point - Viewpoints - page 2
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 Research point – Viewpoints – page 2
Part 3 Project 3 Research point - Viewpoints - page 3
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 Research point – Viewpoints – page 3

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
11 October 2015

Part 3: Project 3: Exercise 1 – Developing your studies

Brief

Review your preparatory drawings from Project 2 and select those that have most of the elements that you would like to include in a larger drawing. It may be that you’ve already produced a composition that you now feel is strong enough to take further. You could decide to focus on a single form that dominates the composition, or you may have in mind a group of forms that can be positioned in an interesting manner, using repeated colours, lines, marks, textures and so on across the picture plane. Whatever you decide, try to be adventurous in your subject and in your composition. Test your growing skills and show that you can work beyond the expected.

Working outside involves some planning and preparation and a clear sense of intention. Always take a sketchbook and digital camera with you while searching for locations. In softer rural landscapes, look at the main compositional lines such as those along hills, valleys, roads, walls, trees and buildings. Consider the most interesting features and shapes and decide on a focal point. This could be an object or area of dramatic contrast, say between pasture and woodland, or it could be a rocky outcrop, a barn or a group of trees in the distance. Think about how to exploit other elements in the foreground or middle distance to lead the eye around the picture as well as towards the focal point.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - course notes image
OCA student, Sally Hunt

If you’re studying a ‘hard’ landscape with strong geological elements, you can simplify massive structures such as mountains, hills, cliffs or rock faces by following the dynamic forces that shaped them. Look for fault lines and facets, deep crevices and areas of shadow and light. Don’t be intimidated by scale and keep thinking about the viewpoint and ways to use perspective to convey distance and close-up viewpoints. Exciting abstract handling can result from drawing the ‘bones’ of the landscape.

Process

360º study - looking south down the shoreline towards Arisaig
360º study – looking south down the shoreline towards Arisaig

I chose this view from Project 2: Exercise 3 – 360º studies. I had also used it in my research notes on composition to experiment with overlaying a Phi Grid 1 outward by 1.618 using PhiMatrix golden ratio design and analysis software [http://www.phimatrix.com] – I think that the composition is neatly broken down into recognisable constituent parts according to the golden ratio.

360º study - looking south - rule of thirds and diagonals
360º study – looking south – rule of thirds and diagonals

Here we see the Rule of Thirds superimposed in the red vertical and horizontal lines with blue circles on the intersections representing the power or focal points. The red circles halfway along the the intersecting diagonals on the picture plane represent the ‘eyes of the rectangle’ in golden ratio theory and between them – focal points and ‘eyes’ – we have a relatively east method of placing the areas of interest in the composition around or within these points of visual attraction.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - Developing your studies - ground
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – Developing your studies – ground

I chose a Gerstaeker 24x30cm canvas board that I had been using as a palette to clean off oil paint from my brushes over a period of months. It had been set aside and was now dried out. I liked the roughness and the various colourings and wanted to try using this as my ground for the exercise as an experiment.

Some of my Tutor’s comments from previous assessments came to mind when making this decision:

‘Make textured grounds to scour and draw into’
‘Push layering of multiple viewpoints’
‘Incorporate a stronger material aspect, allowing the drawings to literally thicken’

These were exciting and inspiring directional comments and I plan to embrace them in this development exercise. Let’s see what happens.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - Developing your studies - overlays
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – Developing your studies – drawing-in line

I had a ‘kind-of’ idea in mind when I chose to use this ground and focus on the 360º study looking south down the shoreline towards Arisaig. You can’t actually see the village as it is round in the next bay, but the name sets the location just north looking down the coast. In my mind’s eye I could envision similarities of form, shape and compositional layout – if not colour. But I’m not too bothered about the colour element at this stage as I intend to build on this first rendition.

I went full bore here and drew the basic shapes of the composition by ‘scouring’ into the ground freehand using a Dremel MultiPro electric tool and a small abrasive sanding head to pick out the lines.

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - Developing your studies - drawing tool
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – Developing your studies – drawing tool
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - overlays
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – overlays

The Rule of Thirds superimposed in the red vertical and horizontal lines with blue circles on the intersections representing the power or focal points. The red circles halfway along the the intersecting diagonals on the picture plane represent the ‘eyes of the rectangle’ in golden ratio theory and the green ovals represent the area around the focal points and ‘eyes’ that indicate the areas of interest /visual attraction in the composition.

Finished drawing

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - Developing your studies - finished drawing
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – Developing your studies – finished drawing

I used Inktense block ink and waterbrush pens to add washes of colour over the ground to better suggest sand, sea and rocks of the cove, as well as the distant hills and sky. Once dry, I then used oil based pens to mark in the ‘dremeled’ outlines. I think that there is an abstract feel to the final drawing that developed organically from the original 360º sketch and I like how the original ground colours shine through the applied ink washes. I am reasonably happy with the end result.

Critique

Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 - Developing your studies - finished drawing with overlays
Part 3 Project 3 Exercise 1 – Developing your studies – finished drawing with overlays

I am pleased that the compositional focal points have been pretty much maintained and in my eyes I believe the brief has been met:

“… a group of forms that can be positioned in an interesting manner”
“… using repeated colours, lines, marks, textures and so on across the picture plane”
“… try to be adventurous in your subject and in your composition”
“… consider the most interesting features and shapes and decide on a focal point”
“… think about how to exploit other elements in the foreground or middle distance to lead the eye around the picture as well as towards the focal point”
“… look for fault lines and facets, deep crevices and areas of shadow and light”
“… keep thinking about the viewpoint and ways to use perspective to convey distance and close-up viewpoints”
“… exciting abstract handling can result from drawing the ‘bones’ of the landscape”.

So, in the end, where is my main focal point to lead the eye around the picture? Well, of the four power/focal points and areas of interest I believe that the bottom right “focal point/eye of the rectangle” area where the tide marks in the sand lead the eye into the cove and up around the rocks towards the outcrop on the top right “focal point/eye of the rectangle” area of the picture plane, behind which is the stretch of sea and backdrop of hill and sky.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
7 October 2015