Landscape Drawing, Week 3 (Lessons 1-4)

Project Description

What type of piece is this? Drawing Share a little about the materials, processes and techniques used to create this piece. 150gsm cartridge paper, A4 (8.5x10.5") sketchbook; sketches are approx 5x7.5"; graphite pencils H, HB, 2B, 4B, 5B. What are you most proud of? Strengths: working within a border; setting the horizon and/or eye-line level a little above or below the half-way point; pencil treatment over the entire page (sky, land and water); clearer understanding of the differences between sketching outdoors and drawing indoors; 'loading up' outdoor sketching with more and more aids and concepts from formal drawing. Weaknesses: confusion over what elements are in front of or behind others (especially the buildings and foreshore at right); perspectival accuracy in the underside of bridge. Opportunities for this drawing: work on linear perspective of bridge; some hyperfocus sketches of the individual trees and boats; reconcile depiction of distance with a plan view. Opportunities for future drawings in general; (1) do more contour ("flat") drawing until accurate measuring becomes more of a habit; (2) simplify the light/mid/dark masses (even if that means ignoring local color); (3) more closely measure off the centers of objects using the horizontal/vertical Albertian veil lines, (4) use the measuring level-stick at the end of the sketch; (5) keep 'knocking back' the elements in the mid- and background using line quality; (6) persist with drawing water and reflections, noting both what's being reflected and relative tonal values required. Threats: don't skip or skimp on using aids and concepts when sketching outdoors (holding up and measuring using the Albertian veil); rushing to tone before measuring everything properly (even if that means coming away with a contour-only drawing - you can always go back another time and work on tone, or photocopy and go back several times to draw different tonal values at various times of day). What advice would you give someone starting this project? (1) Park to one side any self-doubt or reservations and get on and do it. (2) On stamina and "overworking". In recent years, I've developed sufficient stamina to sketch from 20mins to 60mins and on occasion much longer. The time passes so incredibly quickly now. I used to get anxious about my sketches becoming "overworked" but am learning there's plenty of leeway if you start with a light touch and gradually build up, though the "bones" have to be good. I'm controlling my passion for re-statement. (3) Shadows and changing light. Don't become fazed by changing shadows and light effects (e.g. wind on water). First things first: get the measuring and proportion right first. I'm preferring to draw early and late (before 9am and after 3pm) wherever possible because the shadows are then at their most interesting. Yes, the light is changing quickly but at least I've got solid shadow to work with - my sketching colleagues like to meet in the middle of the day but I'm finding the harsh sunlight at that time bleaches everything. (4) Trees (!). Someone asked me recently how I tackle trees and I was stumped for a coherent answer. I've been referring since to the drawings of Ernest Watson, the American artist, and am moving away from trees looking "dead" because I was only drawing their trunks and branches efficiently. Rendering foliage will come in time, but the key is Line Quality - line "making the difference". Having "looked ahead", I know there is a valuable advice given in Lesson 6. (5) Be strategic about light and drawing environment. When sunny, draw outdoors reveling in the shadows; when overcast, persist in drawing outdoors but focus on detail rather than tone; when raining, develop skills indoors by copying, tracing, analyzing space in own work and work of others. (6) In the past, I've been okay at The Beginning (first 2mins) and The End (last 40mins) of a sketch/drawing, but a bit wobbly in fully establishing the setup (The Middle). I've tended to rush into tone too quickly. Now I'm learning to enjoy putting in the structural elements (the "Apollonian") with more attention and getting them right before modelling (the "Dionysiac"). Drawing outdoors is not just an emotional delight, it's also an intellectual delight.

What you will need

  • Graphite

Q&A with Rod B

AdhillsGal asked:
Hi Rod, I think your sketches are very interesting and lovely. I took this course because I have very limited experience in drawing landscapes. We Aussies have such an amazing array of varied and breathtaking landscapes to work with, so I thought it was time to explore this art style. You are obviously an experienced artist and the comments and advice you attach to your projects are interesting and helpful. I look forward to seeing more of your work as I progress through this excellent course.
Rod B answered:
Thanks for your encouraging words. I took this course too because my experience has been limited and, yes, landscape is the number one genre in Australia - e.g. Hans Heysen. I'm not so much experienced as keen and I've gone a bit overboard with my comments because I understand some of the limitations inherent in online/digital communication. This is indeed an excellent course and it's having very profound effects on my approach; I went to a meeting of my local Art Society last night where close to 50 different paintings by amateurs were critiqued. I can't tell you how often terms like "atmospheric perspective" and "depicting pictorial space" came up. Best wishes!
mckennalinn asked:
Love your Sketch 1 in particular (I would buy that sketch!), you've really captured water with your shading. Appreciate your thoughts very much, too.
Rod B answered:
Thanks for the kind feedback! I'm experimenting this week with cutting back on silhouetting everything to make the space even more convincing.