Light sketches Week 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 sketchbook 8.25x10.25"; graphite pencil H; 4x5" Albertian veil; cone of vision; straight measuring stick; sketch size 5x7.5". What are you most proud of? 1. I'm moving forward and getting into the habit of posting my projects weekly, even if I consider my progress to be quite slow. Watching the video lessons is one thing, doing the exercises is another, and posting projects is a yet another big step. I'm learning a very great deal from other students' projects. 2. Not being overwhelmed by being too self-critical. Yes, I see lots of faults in relation to what I'm learning from the video lessons, but am acutely aware of how different it is outdoors compared to the more controlled studio environment (e.g. a static Albertian veil to look through). 3. Giving myself time to absorb and put into practice what I'm learning in the videos, one step at a time. Yes, I've done a plan view based on the Paul Signac painting posted earlier and yes I'm aware of atmospheric perspective, but am doing one thing slowly at a time. 4. Realising the cone of vision allows me to very accurately assess how much I can "fit" on the page. 5. I've started "adopting" a couple of trees in my local area for sketching purposes. I'll be sketching them four times a year, noting the changes from season to season. With a plan view. What advice would you give someone starting this project? Stick to the advice about a greyed border. Stick to the advice about a 8x10" sketch if using, say, a 4x5" Albertian veil. Don't do as I did and scale down to a smaller sketch size. I made an arithmetic error in scaling down to fit my sketchbook and wondered why I was erroneously and inadvertently elongating my sketches (!). Stick to the advice about using a cone of vision. Stick to the advice about using a straight measuring stick towards the end of your sketch, to "check" your work (too "messy" a process if used too early).

What you will need

  • Graphite

Q&A with Rod B

Patrick Connors asked:
Hello Rod, Once again, congratulations, the work is quite good and you are improving impressively with each posting. Your written assessment is of critical use to yourself and others. It is comprehensive, including materials, tools, working schedule, etc. Although it is not required to do so, such detail provides a means of analysis that can only lead to improvement, appreciation, and understanding. These new drawings reveal a developing sensibility for spatial awareness and execution. [By the way, I disagree with your self-assessment that sometimes your progress can be quite slow; your progress is quite the opposite.] Lets look at the 3 drawings, starting with Little Bay Cliffs sketch. First, there is a distinct foreground, middle ground, and distant background, this is good. What is problematic is that there are not successful transitions at critical points from the foreground to the background. [This may in part be due to the fact that the middle ground is rendered far more that the foreground or background.] By this I mean, for example, in the foreground you have a lovely group of trees that provide a screen or moment for the viewer to make sense the space. Yet the border of the foreground plane does not confirm this. It may be of use to give the viewer a visual cue of scale by rendering that border, the grass, ground, and rock, with strokes that evoke those details. Not necessarily a meticulous representation of the cliffs edge but something different than what is there. Also, be careful of the line that describes the cliffs silhouette in the distance. The line should confirm the tone. Last, the line that runs along the top [ridge?] of the distant cliff should fade as it moves towards the ocean to give the illusion of depth. Will critique the other 2 drawings shortly.
Rod B answered:
Thanks for the feedback. I am now very conscious of differentiating more clearly between fore-, mid- and backgrounds and will try reinforcing that this week. I see I can reinforce the border of the foreground plane. I appreciate I am guilty of silhouetting too strongly around the cliffs and how that certainly counteracts the illusion of depth (an example of "posterization"). I am extremely happy with the new insights this course is giving me!
Patrick Connors asked:
Hello Rod, In Stardust Circus your sketching ability and interest of the scene are apparent. Although unfinished, it is a realization that is nearly complete- the right side needs something more to balance the rest of the drawing. This could be something as simple as a general tone in certain parts. On another note, I think that the drawing needs a little more space all around the perimeter, but especially at the top. Often when cropped like this, it weakens the spatial structure in that part of the drawing. Also, in that area at the top of the tent, please note that in the drawing you have rendered the tent's struts as parallel to the edge of the paper when in fact they are not. Look forward to your next postings.
Rod B answered:
I will definitely watch the cropping effect. I can see how it weakens depiction of space by "choking" the subject matter instead of "letting it breathe", especially given its introduction into Western art borrowed from Japanese models which operate under an entirely different set of principles for depicting space, putting a premium on the flattening of space and illustrationism. I had trouble with the tent struts because they were disrupting the perspectival direction to the back and left of the tent - thanks for clarifying. I deployed deeper pictorial space in a still life session last night, so all this goes much further than just landscape!
Patrick Connors asked:
Hello Rod, Kendrick Park drawing has a pleasant "tarnished silver" effect. It has not only an aesthetic appeal but this effect lends a atmospheric quality to the the perspective. One thing that may be of use at this stage of the drawing, erase all the original linear placement lines. For example those lines that describe the outline of the trees or the banks of the creek. See if you can solve those elements tonally at this stage and then- once all those lines have been redone as tone- judiciously reintroduce line. Do not replace the outlines, but lines that will confirm or enhance the tone. This will give the drawing even more depth. You may find that you will place little to no lines and the lines will constitute a fraction of the depiction. Although we do not cover the perspective of reflections, those of the trees in the water are good; but, of course, I will demand of you to figure it out as tone rather than scribbled linear placement- which are good but can be better. Also, give the light mass of the trees a light tone so they are distinguished from the sky and each other. If you like Titian, look at some of his landscapes, for example, "Bacchus and Ariande". Notice how each tree is carefully considered and given it due. Each tree is different from another.
Rod B answered:
Thanks for this marvelous feedback - as revelatory as it is revolutionary! Your comments expand on Lesson 3 (Topics 3 and 4 in particular), as well as providing me with a completely new ways of treating line. This week I've been developing my "direction-less" line to better convey space. I can see how giving each tree its due is important and how others treat them as individuals (e.g. the Titian you mention, as well as the Turner, Cozens, Varley and Girtin I've been studying).

Skill Level