Sunday, 11 September 2011

Assignment 4 - Landscape Drawing

Sketchbook Walk

I had to do this over several walks due to the miserable weather and had to take some photos so that I could complete it. The first few sketches were too detailed I think so I then tried to do quicker sketches. For this section I made notes on the back of the pages since they were only A5 and didn't have much space.

A5 pen
This sketch above is looking from our local canal path over a boggy field of reeds towards a hillside with a section of trees and pylons. The sky was mostly clear with some clouds and the evening sun was quite low in the sky and casting long shadows. There was no wind. The focal point was the treeline leading up to the pylons. The ploughed lines on the field led the eye up towards the pylons in the distance as did the treeline which serves as the middle ground. The foreground showed the bull rushes (I think that's what they are) coming up out of the grass.

A5 pen
This sketch was done from a photo of Birnie Loch. I liked the way the trees were hanging over the water and causing shadows over the water. It had been a cloudy day with some sun coming from the right.  I spent a bit too loch trying to show the leaves on the trees. I think this has worked but I've taken too long and should have just shown the basic shapes.

A5 pen
The above sketch is a local path where we walk the dog. You can see the church spire in the distance while there are groups of trees in the middle and foreground. The focal point are the trees in the middle ground which the path leads the eye too. I think the composition of this sketch has worked and could be worked up to a larger painting. The weather was getting quite dull as the clouds were coming over.
A5 pen
This is another view on our normal walk. The path leads the eye to the trees and school building in the distance. I just scribbled a lot to get the shadows under the trees. The path would be nicer if it wasn't so straight I think. The sun came out for this sketch and was casting strong shadows of the wall and the trees.
After doing these sketches I felt they were too detailed and I should have worked faster. 
A5 pencil
The above sketch of a group of trees is a very simple composition. I tried to simplify the shapes of the trees and just scribbled in the tones. The trees are the focal point and there's not much else to it. The weather was cloudy with some sunny spells. I've written on the back that the background and foreground was a mid tone while the fields in the mid ground were lighter. I think I've made the distance too dark however. Distant objects should be fainter and mistier. I think the problems been that the field was maybe a crop that was lighter in tone and reflecting the sun too.
A5 pencil - View from window
The above thumbnail sketches were an attempt to do some drawing from my window once the rain started (and hasn't stopped since!). I tried to work as quickly as possible. The problem with these are the difficulty to find an interesting subject. The first sketch would be better and less complicated if I had just omitted the tree in my garden and concentrated on my neighbours.

360 Studies

I was on holiday in Italy staying with my in-laws in Genova so I took the opportunity to get some sketching done while making use of the babysitters. Their apartment has lovely grounds with a wide variety of different tree types. I was able to sit in a clearing on the grass and move round to see all the views below.

A5 pen - View south west

A5 pen - View North East

A5 pen - View north west

A5 pen - View South east

Drawing cloud formations

It's very hard to get to sketch anything other than rain clouds living in the west of Scotland. Before I did this exercise I didn't realise how featureless and boring the cloud cover is here most of the time. I spent weeks getting really frustrated whenever I was out and about and saw more interesting clouds but wasn't able to sketch them and then the weekends had permanent rain. So I didn't get a huge variety of cloud types and had to work from photos in places.The majority of cloud types were low cumulus or stratus I think.

A3 sketchbook Charcoal, oil pastels, conte, pastels

A4 oil pastels on coloured pencil

A4 sketchbook pastels and compressed charcoal

A4 sketchbook oil pastels and carre pastels on coloured pencil

A4 charcoal in sketchbook

Plotting Space through composition and structure

I chose for this section, a photo I had taken from Kinnoul Hill near Perth. The view is fantastic and looks over the Tay river winding though the fields.This drawing took me ages to complete. Doing a large (ish) drawing in pencil with pencil I found really hard and time consuming. The gorse bush in the foreground was particularly difficult. I tried to keep the spiky nature of the leaves by doing a scribbley technique.
I'm not really happy with it, it's a bit pale and doesn't have a central point of interest. I thought the river would provide this but it hasn't really worked. I was a bit confused with the instructions which mentioned water soluble pencils so I tried using some water soluble colour pencils but I quickly realised this looked very odd and stopped.

This photo is particularly washed out compared to the original but it still didn't have a focus that I could darken. I guess this is when you have to use artistic licence a bit and not draw exactly what you see. It was however not half as bad as I thought it would be when I kept stopping and starting so I'm very glad I finished it even if I wouldn't put it up on the wall!

A2 Pencil

Check and Log

1. In what way did you simplify and select in your study? Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information.

I found this quite difficult when I started especially with trees and I tried to show the shapes of the leaves and their shadows. I found the quickest way of doing this was to use a scribbley technique which I found worked quite well with pen and was quite effective. I tried simplifying the trees to their basic shapes but they tend to look very simple and childlike. Buildings are much easier to simplify into basic shapes. 

2. How did you create a sense of distance and form in your sketches

Tonal differences are very useful to show distance and form. Atmospheric perspective says that objects in the distant background will be lighter in tone and will be slightly misty and out of focus. I have done this in the larger drawing from Kinnoul Hill but not so much in the small sketches. I think however, even in these sketches I have shown the difference between more distant objects and the foreground. Primarily I have done this by size and overlaying objects in front.

3. How did you use light and shade? Was it successful?

This is more difficult if there is no sun to create shadows. In the drawings I did in Italy the shadows are more evident because of the stronger sun. Under the trees I have created areas of shade and the tree trunks are much darker. The white paper showing through seems like highlights where the sun is reflecting off something.

The larger drawing from Kinnoul hill hasn't been so successful in this respect. This is why it looks so washed out. The photo was taken on a bright day so there wasn't much shadows. I chose this photo because it had the bushes in the foreground and the hill in the background and the river and fields served as the middle ground. These areas however are are still quite distant though which removes a lot of the detail in which light and shade can be shown.

4. What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

I think my main problem with this drawing was the lack of a focal point and the lack of tonal variations in the middle ground. The dark area of the bushes in the foreground seem to need something else in the composition to balance them. If I was to do it again I would look for something I could place in the middle ground to attract the eye that would provide a darker area. Alternatively I could darken the areas with the trees on the hills in the middle ground. I'm a bit scared to do that for fear of ruining the drawing completely. The trees were the same tone as the fields in the photo but I wonder if this definition has been lost.
So in essence some preliminary sketches would have helped in the composition and to study the area properly to find a better viewpoint.

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