Part 3: Project 2: Research point – Landscape series

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

Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 1
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 1
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 2
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 2
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 3
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 3
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 4
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 4
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 5
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 5
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 6
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 6
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 7
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 7
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 8
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 8
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 - page 9
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 3 – page 9

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
29 September 2015

Part 3: Project 2: Exercise 3 – 360º studies

Brief

Choose an expansive landscape where you have an open view in all directions. Start one drawing looking north. Use your viewfinder to find a focal point, frame your view and complete a 15-minute drawing.

Then turn your stool on the same spot to face west, south and east. Each time repeat the process of finding a focal point and complete another 15-minute drawing.

This exercise should teach you how the landscape view changes by just shifting your viewpoint slightly. Many artists return to a favourite spot and, simply by shifting their viewpoint, see something entirely different in the landscape.

Sketches

My chosen spot for this exercise was on a favourite beach just outside Arisaig on the Road to the Isles on the west coast of Lochaber. I have been at this spot many times and when the tide is out – it is really out, giving much room to wander and wonder at the seascape, skyscape and hard rock landscape of both the shoreline and the inland mountains.

I decided to use my newly purchased Frisk layflat sketch pad and a single pencil (2H) for speed of sketching – not having to worry about using different grades, but rather using the 2H to my best ability to capture the different shapes, forms, structures, lights and shades.

So, firstly looking north towards the Sound of Sleat and the Isle of Skye my composition took in a near distance outcrop of beach rock that framed a stretch of sea out towards a middle distance rock formation, behind which loomed the distant hills. The sky was fairly settled that day with either no or little floating clouds.

Turning to the west looking over the sea to the Isle of Eigg my composition was focused on the small fishing boat drawn up onto the sandy beach at low tide.

Next, looking south along the shoreline towards Arisaig hidden round the outcrop of rock in its own bay. I all of the sketches the presence of hard rock was the most prevalent feature and capturing it’s multitude of crags, directions and darkened seaweed tide lines was an interesting challenge. I don’t think I over-worked the rock features and am reasonably happy with the sense of perspective achieved.

Finally, looking inland to the rocky Lochaber mountains to the east above the Road to the Isles route to the fishing and ferry port of Mallaig I was faced with a quite dramatic view of craggy rock faces in the middle distance rising sheer from behind a foreground of gorse and heather covered hillside. Beyond the rockface rose another distant range of mountains beneath what was then a fairly dull and uniform sky.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 3 - 360º studies
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 3 – 360º studies

Looking at these four sketches now several days later it is interesting how N and W and S and E seem to present almost stretched out landscapes. This was not intentional, but when I half-close my eyes and squint at the top and bottom compositions they do almost appear to gel together. They don’t, of course, as they are four distinct orientated views.

As a plein air sketching exercise this stretched my imagination and skill level and I am quite pleased with the outcome. I feel that even although each drawing took between 15 and 20 minutes the process didn’t feel rushed, with time to look, see, think, reflect and draw using a variety of mark making techniques to capture the scenes before me – line, shade, hatching, point and side of pencil and mostly in fairly quickly laid down strokes.

A very enjoyable experience and I even managed to beat the tide and not get my feet wet!

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 September 2015

Part 3: Project 2: Exercise 2 – Sketchbook walk

Brief

Go for a walk in your local park, around your garden or somewhere you normally walk. Find a view that you like or are familiar with and use your viewfinder to help you focus on a point of interest. This could be trees, a gate or a road. If you can’t get out, focus on a view from a window – or use a photograph.

Make four sketches during your walk. You’ll be drawing rapidly and you may make mistakes – but don’t rub anything out. You can draw over any mistakes and re-state what you want to depict. Try to capture the idea of what you see through drawing; think of your sketching as taking notes. Try to get everything in, no matter how roughly. Fast drawing helps you to concentrate and see more clearly, shutting out unnecessary ‘noise’.

Make written observations where appropriate:

• the time, weather conditions and direction of light and shadow
• the main point of interest such as a building, gate or group of trees
• the division of space into foreground, middle ground and background
• pattern and textures, repetition of large and small shapes, tonal values, etc. across the scene.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 2 - course notes image
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 2 – course notes image

Sketchbook walk

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 2 - Sketchbook walk
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 2 – Sketchbook walk

I spend a lot of my time in here – our garden studio in Balnain. It used to be our office when self-employed – now being put to a more creative use. I walked around and above it to quickly sketch 4 different views, angles, proportions and perspectives – some I got right, some not so. I found that the 6B sketch stick was just right for laying down the marks and shades quickly. This exercise also provided the chance to try out a newly purchased Frisk layflat sketchpad from SAA that I really like and am looking forward to sketching across both pages as A3. Previously I have been using Enviro sketchbooks using all recycled materials, both for the paper and binding boards (available from artway.co.uk). I now intend to keep using both sketchbook formats over the rest of the Drawing 1 course as I find they meet my needs and are nice to use. I will continue to use a cheaper A3 sketchbook as my research workbook and on occasion a concertina sketchbook (although this is quite tricky to hold if standing, easier when sitting).

Back to the sketches! I made these walking sketches in one sunny afternoon when the light was bright and coming in from the E and SE as the sun moved across the sky. I could have probably darkened the shadow areas of the wooden studio a bit more but was being tentative. As note-taking though, I found this visual capturing quite invigorating – must do it more often.

The background was merely suggested – adjoining field and woodland tree line. Likewise, the foreground is minimally suggested, while the main focus is on the shape and form of the studio with woodburner chimney.

The roof of the studio is covered with bitumen tiles and is suggested by rough cross hatching. For me the main attraction point are the darkened windows.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
11 September 2015

Part 3: Project 2: Exercise 1 – Cloud formations and tone

Brief

In this exercise you’ll concentrate on drawing clouds in the same way as you concentrated on trees, creating comprehensive tonal studies in your sketchbook using charcoal, oil pastels, conté sticks and other tonal media. You can also use a putty rubber to lift out the lightest tones and add texture by erasing small areas,
leaving pale and expressive traces of paper beneath the medium.

Take time to study and observe the weather conditions. Look at the way light hits the top of the cloud and filters through the gaps, for example. The light will vary according to the weather. Remember that it will be darker underneath the clouds and may reflect colours in the sky from the sun, or by the moisture carried by the cloud.

Take account of movement: wind can move the cloud at varying speeds and so the shapes and structures will differ according to the weather conditions.

Go out in different weathers and make small sketches of patches of sky and clouds. Use a range of media to create monochrome and subtly coloured studies. Try to capture different weather patterns and times of the day.

Draw quickly and try to give volume to the clouds; make them billow and show movement. Remember to focus on light and dark and try to capture the contrasts and tonal effects. This can be a very satisfying exercise as only you know what the cloud looked like at the time of drawing. There is no right or wrong way to depict something as fleeting and formless as a cloud – only interesting ways.

Drawings

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 1
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 1

5 minute quick sketch – late evening sky above house, Balnain in Glenurquhart – sun going down in the west, strips of wispy cloud rising out of dark horizon – pockets of blue sky peeking through, with rays from dying sun highlighting cloud edges. 6B sketch stick and touches/flicks of pastel.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - CLoud formations & tone - Sketch 2
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – CLoud formations & tone – Sketch 2

Evening Balnain sky looking west – how do you capture this kind of display? How do you know when you’re finished? I just stopped! Conté stick and fingers/putty rubber.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 3
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 3

Balnain on a stormy, cloudy afternoon – clouds moving fast & furious across the sky from NW. Fast sketch trying to keep up with cloud movement in charcoal and light touches of pastel to attempt to capture what I see in this sky – fleeting opportunity to catch anything really concrete, except for the larger dark cloud. Everything was moving fast, including my finger-held piece of charcoal, trying to keep up and get into the rhythm of the wind movements shoving the cloudy sky along at a brisk pace. The small bottom sketch is an attempt to capture the brew of cloud in wax pastel and waterbrush pen from memory after it had moved on.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 4
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 4

New day – Balnain early evening sky to the south. Watercolour pencil and waterbrush pen.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 5
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 5

Different day and another (different) Balnain sky. I was particularly struck by the almost theatrical draping of the upper clouds allowing peeks of sunlight spotlighting down through the murk. Pastel pencil, paper stumps and putty rubber.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 6
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 6

Another early evening Balnain sky – this time trying out hard oil pastel and thinner with brush.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 7
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 7

Above Glenurquhart from the hills to the north – gosh this is fairly abstract and funky, sketched very quickly from the pick-up as I was coming back home. Artbar water soluble wax bar and waterbrush pen – I have started to carry some form of drawing media in the vehicle, just in case.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 8
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 8

Balnain, looking SW – from our garden. Inktense block and Chinese dip pen washes.

Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Cloud formations & tone - Sketch 9
Part 3 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Cloud formations & tone – Sketch 9

Rain clouds on the road to Mallaig on the west coast. I was really taken with the dark sky pressing down onto the dark mountains with the divide showing varying shades of grey and light. Charcoal and putty rubber.

Critique

This was a pretty exciting exercise and really stretched my abilities to capture stuff quickly before it all disappeared, but also got me to start paying attention more to what was in front of me, and even starting to use memory of what I had seen to express the moment – in a small way. I enjoyed using different media for these exercises and although I thought I might have ended with a favourite or two, I can honestly say that each had an attraction and I am beginning to think that I can start to feel what might work best for certain effects and moods.

For instance, I like the almost magic quality of sketch 2 (Conté stick); the speed of capture and memory effort of sketch 3 (charcoal stick and pastel and wax pastel and waterbrush); the drama of sketch 5 (pastel pencil, paper stumps for blending and putty rubber for picking out highlights in the sky); the delicacy of touch in sketch 8 using Inktense block and dip pen; and the almost abstract depiction of the west coast mountains under heavy rain cloud in sketch 9 (charcoal and putty rubber).

Of course, having all of these media to hand at any one time is pretty challenging and my carry holdall is getting full and heavier. I am not sure that I am competent enough yet to pick up the most appropriate tool for the drawing at hand – hopefully this will come as a result of progress through Drawing 1.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
10 September 2015

Part 3: Project 2: Research point – Landscape

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

Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 1
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 1
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 2
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 2
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 3
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 3
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 4
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 4
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 5
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 5
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 - Page 6
Part 3 Project 2 Research point 1 – Page 6

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
8 September 2015