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