Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Still Sketching

Although I've been trying out a few new things on the drawing front, I'm still sketching out-of-doors, despite the dreadful weather we've been having. I think my recent drawing exercises are making me a little bolder, looking for different shapes as I sketch. I thought I would share some recent sketches.

Last week there was a blink of sun and I decided to head out to East Lothian, on the lookout for some interesting landscapes to draw. I first found a stubble field so I thought I'd have a go at it in pencil and watercolour. I felt that it was a bit of a challenge trying to capture the essence of the rough stubble and the vehicle tracks. But I had a go. Used a bit of pastel as well as the pencil.
East Lothian Stubble Field Sketch

Then I drove up into the Lammermuirs and had a go at sketching the raggedy moorland up there. It was getting a bit gloomier by this time and it started to rain. I think I may have been on the 'Herring Road'. I tried hard to capture the patterns using conte and pencil. But there was a light ochre colour I couldn't capture. I think this sketch looks quite cold, doesn't it?
Lammermuir Sketch
 On my way back down from the Lammermuirs, I found a place to stop for a sketch looking north over East Lothian. The rain was just holding off and the views of the three Laws and the Bass Rock were clear.  Again this sketch was in pencil and conte (too cold for watercolour on the spot). I think this is quite an interesting view and I'm now trying to paint it.
East Lothian Sketch
These were my best sketches of the day and I did them on a large watercolour pad. I'm thinking of continuing to work on these rather than re-draw them. I'd like to see if I can make them into pics that I'm satisfied with. Watch this space.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Trying Something Different

I hate standing still. There's so much I don't know I don't know. As far as art is concerned I want to learn and understand more. Now that I'm a full-time artist I feel that I need to delve a bit deeper into theories of art and art history.  Reading Vasari is not enough. I also want to try new things and experiment.

I was reading Herbert Read on Th Philosophy of Modern Art and things started to fall into place for me. He discusses art in terms of realism, symbolism and expressionism: although I knew the basics, reading more about them - and more importantly how artists have moved from one to the other and back again - is giving me more to think about. Up until now I have felt that I cannot move away from observation, that I will always be representational to a certain extent, but I feel a bit liberated having read this.

I had bought a book on 'Expressive Drawing' some time ago, but I didn't feel inclined to dip into it. Now I've been reading it and working through the exercises. It's taking me back to square one, starting again with drawing, but a different kind of drawing. I thought I'd share a few images with you. The starting point was to draw without thinking, drawing with an empty mind. So I started with this.

Then I had to add a little more.
Then I had to add a little more.
Probably a bit too messy in the end. I found it difficult to draw without trying to represent something.

Another exercise was to draw different feelings. For example, here is 'confused'
And here is 'rhythmic'

And so on.
In another exercise I had to create a picture using only one type of mark -making marks and rubbing out/covering over -  in this case using straight lines
And then create another picture using contrasting lines.
Continuing the idea of contrast, there were some exercises relating to the direction of lines - horizontal, vertical and diagonal, and I had to create 3 pics using all 3 lines but with a different direction dominating.

And here is DIAGONAL

Looking over these drawings now I find them quite interesting. I want to note this all down and keep a record of it. It is so different from my usual practice, but very enriching, I think. And, I suspect, a route to greater expressionsm and abstraction. Anyway, more anon as I'm planning to work through the book gradually (at the same time as continuing to paint!)

In the meantime, I found this link to the book and the artist if you're interested