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From Inside Looking Out 2 – Hard or Soft Landscapes

Living in Bangkok it is very hard to find any rural landscape to draw or paint for this exercise but luckily enough it was a very busy month socially and within the space of a few weeks I had travelled to the seaside town of Pattaya and Koh Lan (Coral Island) to my girlfriend’s home town of Chiang Khong, just across the Meekong from Laos. This helped me get in quite a few studies of both rural and urban studies in a matter of days.

Urban Sketches

Chao Phraya River Bangkok

Wet on Wet Watersoluble Pencils

Wet on Wet Water Soluble Pencils

This is one of my favourite sketches of a hard landscape to date and it was a very different style for me. I made the sketch with wet water soluble pencils in a side to side motion on wet paper. The problem though was that I did not capture enough information to turn into a painting and another trip to the spot was needed before I could consider this for a painting.

 

 

Pattaya Pier

Watercolour Pattaya Pier

Watercolour Pattaya Pier

This watercolour sketch was drawn from a photo that I took arriving at pattaya from Koh lan on the ferry. Although it is quite a week sketch there are parts of it that really stand out, mainly the ripples on the water and the sky.

 

 

 

Cranes on the Chaophraya

Watercolour Cranes on the Chaophraya

Watercolour Cranes on the Chaophraya

There is some pretty interesting construction going on at my side of Bangkok at the moment that needs documenting. I passed these cranes on the way to work every day for about three months and eventually managed to get the day off so that I could draw them. This sketch had all the information needed to be developed into a painting but at this stage I’m not sure if I would be able to depict the water using acrylics

 

Emporium Park – Sukhumvit

Watercolour Sketch Sukumvit Park

Fig.1 – Watercolour Sketch Sukumvit Park

Watercolour Sketch - Sukhumvit Park

Fig. 2 – Watercolour Sketch – Sukhumvit Park

I wouldn’t have thought about going here as I live at the other side of the city but my girlfriend landed a private yoga class in the park and so it was a great opportunity to do a bit of sketching after I had helped her take photos of the Yoga class.

 

 

I did a lot of the sketching in the park and then finished them off at home and over did it with the water which looks too muddy.  The water in the park is very discoloured but should have more reflection on the surface in the sun.

 

 

 

 

Watercolour Sketch - Sukhumvit Park

Watercolour Sketch – Sukhumvit Park

 

The third sketch was a little better and I actually thought about using it for the coming linear perspective exercise. It was also great practie for mark making for the leaves of the trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Temple at Rama VII Bridge

Acryic Sketch of Temple and River

Acryic Sketch of Temple and River

This sketch was a very fast sketch in acrylic of a temple by Rama VII bridge that sits on the Chaophraya river, the UFO type building in the background is the Nonthaburi campus of some Technology university. I thought it was a good contrast of old and new buildings. I sketched the buildings very quickly over a wash of blue and red which gave me the colour of the sky and those colours reflected on the water.

 

The water however was the only thing that stopped me developing this further in acrylic as again i’m not sure if I would do a good job of it an acrylics I think I may have to look into techniques for painting water.

Silhouette of a Local Temple

Silhouette of a Local Temple

Silhouette of a Local Temple

 

On the way home from painting the last sketch I took a photo of this temple on my side of the river which come out as a silhouette. It was a bit too easy to paint but it did give me some practice painting the sunset which I painted in watercolour before drawing in the buildings with a Pentel Brush pen.

 

Chao Phraya River – Khrung Thon Bridge

Watercolour Study Chaophraya

Watercolour Study Chaophraya

 

I took another trip back to the place where I completed the first sketch in watersoluble pencils. This time I wanted to capture more detail that I could maybe use in a final painting. Unlike the other sketches in watercolour I wanted this one to have more fluidity to it and so this time I used a wet on wet technique. It was my first time using this technique but I think it worked quite well. The only thing that didn’t really work was the boat.

 

Rural Landscape

Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai

The laos Bank of the Meekong River

Fig 1. The laos Bank of the Meekong River

Charcoal Study of a lake

Charcoal Study of a lake

The next sketches were part of a series of sketches I drew in charcoal in Chiang Rai while visiting my girlfriend’s home.

Fig 1. is a sketch of the banks of the Meekong river which I really liked as there were many layers to it with the trees and mountains in the background and the river in the foreground.

 

Fig 2. is a sketch of a small resevoir at the back of the girlfriend’s house. This was drawn at sunrise which I couldn’t really get over in charcoal. Being the most appealing of these sketches to be developed as a painting I took a photo of the scene so I could use the information from that for the colours I needed to use for the final painting. I just hoped that I could manage to paint the water as easy as it was to draw it in charcoal. Could I use a similar technique in paint?

 

The Final Painting – Soft Landscape

Final Painting after 1 Sitting

Final Painting after 1 Sitting

Once back in Bangkok I began the final painting in the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment. Firstly I prepared the support the support with a wash of pink and blue that met in the middle this gave me a blue to work on for the sky and pink for the reflection of the illuminated clouds on the water. Then I begun to paint the clouds using a scumbling technique.

In fact I used the same technique but with different thicknesses of paint for most of the first part of the painting which I did in one sitting using only the the primary colours, red, yellow and blue plus white, mostly layering them on top of each other or mixing them on the canvas rather than mixing on the palette, applying the paint with a medium filbert.

Finished Painting 12 x 16 inch

Finished Painting 12 x 16 inch

When it came to the water I had no idea how to go about depicting the reflection on the ripples of water and tried several different techniques until I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at Monet’s Water Lily paintings. In one of his paintings, Water Lilies and Reed he seemed to use small horizontal strokes, this helped me a lot and I finally got it right, applying the paint in small strokes with a small detail brush.

Thoughts on Final painting

I really like the final painting for a number of reasons. Overall I’m quite proud with it as it was the first time I had painted using only the primary colours.

Composition

I originally chose the composition because even though this was a simple composition it was very soft with several focal points that would draw the viewer in such as the sky, the water and  the flow of water between the mountains. I wasn’t sure I could do a good job painting these areas but I am very happy with the results.

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Basic Paint Application 2: Applying Paint without Brushes

Painting knives have been used for many centuries, usually in conjunction with brushes, but you can also complete whole paintings with just knives, which are sold in many sizes and shapes.if you don’t have one, use an ordinary palette well loaded with paint for your initial experiments.

I went out and purchased a painting knife for this exercise and I initially used acrylic paint with a medium gloss gel to thicken the paint.

Also try applying paint using old plastic credit cards, set squares and protractors, pieces of cardboard windscreen scrapers and plastic plastering tools. You can apply paint quite thinly with these and lay one colour over another so that the first layer remains visible. Don’t worry about creating a painting- just enjoy experimenting.

Unfortunately I am limited to what I can find here in Bangkok but I do have an old student union card as well as protractors and set squares.

Now try applying paint with sponges, rags, toothbrushes and your fingers. Sponges and toothbrushes are good for texture effects, and can be built up in layers or laid over flat colour. Rags and fingers are useful for blending one colour into another or wiping across the surface. This exercise is best done with oils as they dry slowly, giving you plenty of time to manipulate the paint.

I went out and bought a small pack of oil paints to use for my first bit of experimentation. I had some board that I have been using for backing board for my first assessment (drawing 1) so I decided to use the oils on that. I had learnt how to clear my mind and doodle in Drawing 1 so I decided to continue here.

Painting Knife

I started with black and white paint with a painting knife which I didn’t think was as controllable as I thought. I thought I would have more fun with this. I used the knife on the bottom and forgot to prep the support which seemed to absorb the paint so I covered the rest in Gesso.

Credit Card

Next I used my old student union card which I found was more controllable than the painting knife and that I could get better angles (flatter to the board) with it.

Bubble Wrap

This was the first time I used bubble wrap which I wrapped round a Vicks’ Jar to give me almost circular groups of prints with it. Later  would use a soap box which gave me a large square of prints that was better for covering bigger areas.

Sponge

I have yet to find a natural sponge. I did used a synthetic sponge on it which gave me the same texture as a cloth.

Protractor

I loved using the protractor but I found I had to either put loads of paint on it or move the protractor in a wave like motion on the surface so that the whole edge would touch the surface. By then dragging this down I could make a fan like pattern.

 

1 - Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

1 – Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

More Experimentation

For me that was my first bit of oil painting done and what I learnt from it was that I had to learn how to mix better so. So from there instead of wasting more oil paint I decided to continue with the acrylics and medium gloss gel instead.

I had seen how these looked together separately on the same support now it was time to see how they could interact with each other and so the next ‘doodle’ was a result of finger painting over painting knife and then bubble wrap and protractor over the top. This tyime I made circles with the protractor.

2 - Experimenting with Fingers Student card and Protractor

2 – Experimenting with Painting Knife and Protractor

 

3 - Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

3 – Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

Toothbrush

Reading the brief again I realized I had overlooked the toothbrush, so with a flat toothbrush I set out to recreate the same landscape I attempted in the last exercise, Getting to Know your Brushes, personally I prefer the toothbrush landscape below

4 - Painting with a Toothrush

4 – Painting with a Toothrush

Bubble Wrap over a Square Object

As I said above I wrapped the bubble wrap around a soap box for more experimenting, the result of which can be seen below which I tonally graded by letting the paint fade into the middle and then used a close paint colour at the other end of the paper.

5 - Applying Paint with Bubble Wrap

5 – Applying Paint with Bubble Wraparound a soap box

6 - Applying Paint with Painting Knife

6 – Applying Paint with Painting Knife

7 - Applying Paint ewith Fingers

7 – Applying Paint ewith Fingers

8 - Applying Paint with Student Card

8 – Applying Paint with Student Card

My preferred painting tools from this exercise are definitely the credit card as to the paintng knife as well as fingers and bubble wrap.

 

 

Basic Paint Application – Getting to know your brushes

I had no prior knowledge of paintng brushes or their names before this exercise. I had only ever used a cheap round synthetic brush for stippling.

The brief for this exercise:

Part A : Start by exploring the range of marks and shapes that can be made with your brushes, make marks of different sizes, using flats, rounds and filberts.

materials used:

  • Canson XL Mixed media pad (about A4)
  • Gesso
  • Hog Bristle brushes
  • Synthetic Brushes
  • Reeves acrylic paints

After researching the names of the brushes online I then went out to purchase some, Ito start I bought hog bristle thinking they would be the best but after this first part of this exercise on recommendation by an artist friend I went back and invested a bit more money in synthetic.

For this part of the exercise I used flat, angle, fan, bright, round and filbert brushes and acrylic paint and three sheets of Gesso prepared mixed media paper.

The first sheet in blue was basically my first attempt at getting to know the length, width and type of stroke I could get from each type of brush and I did use every type of brush I had at my disposal as I had never used any of these types of brushes before. On the next two sheets in brilliant red I looked more into what marks I could make with each brush.

I found that the main brushes made the following types of strokes:

  • The ‘Flat’ brush made strong long strokes.
  • The ‘Bright’ creates short controlled thick strokes.
  • The ‘Filbert’ can create short round, flat, thin and pointed strokes.
  • The ‘Round’ brush good for thin to thick strokes depending on how much pressure is applied
  • The ‘Fan I thought this would be good for texture like leaves on trees and clouds but I think I need to find a synthetic fan as the hog bristle was a bit disappointing.
Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Third Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Third Experiment

From there I focused on the both synthetic and hog bristle Flat, Round and Filbert brushes in and with just these three brushes I made a wide variety of marks with short strokes, long strokes and by applying more or less pressure and different parts of the brushes to the paper.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Part B : Then, from Memory, paint a small simple landscape (about A4). Use large brushes so you won’t be distracted by the urge to include detail; instead, concentrate on the possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes.

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory

I live in Bangkok and don’t get to see much country landscapes and throughout the Drawing 1 Course I drew most of my landscapes, bar one, in a park close by so the painting above, was from memory, from my 360 degrees studies. I concentrated on possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes but these happened in the background as to the fore or middle-ground and with the fan and flat more than the other brushes that I use on this exercise which were a hog bristle medium wide, flat, filbert and fan although the smaller filbert was good for the leaves on the trees.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory 2

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory 2

i decided to have another go at this part of the exercise, with synthetic brushes. Again from memory, from the same exercise 360 degrees studies, facing West. Looking at the original drawing in charcoal afterwards it is nothing like but it did give me chance to concentrate more on possibilities and patterns made by the brush marks.

I had more control with the synthetic brushes and found that the edge of the flat was great for grass, tree trunks, the filbert was good for shading as well as the curved form of the branches. This time I used a synthetic fan, which I think was for watercolour, and by using grass green at one end and lime yellow at the other I was able to depict the light shining off the trees and by fanning in a circular motion was able to give the trees more body.

Part C :  Once you have experimented, paint a piece of fruit, using the techniques, taking care to set the fruit in direct light to help define the form.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 - Painting Fruit

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 – Painting Fruit

Originally I bought four bananas for this part of the exercise but by the time I got round to it they had gone off in the heat of my kitchen so I used a pineapple I bought the day before. Because it was evening I directed a bendy lamp at it so I could define the form. I used a lot of the techniques that I had learnt above plus a few new ones but I used the Flat, Angular and Filbert mostly on this. I am glad I didn’t use the glossy gel on this as the flat matt acrylic paint makes the pineapple look almost stone like and even though I didn’t do an amazing job on the leaves they only add to the stone feel.