Tag Archives: Practise of painting

Perspective 2 – Aerial Perspective

Albrecht Durer - View of Trente -1494

Albrecht Durer – View of Trente -1494

 

Albrecht Durer’s View of Trente, 1494 (watercolour with gouache on paper) is a good example of aerial perspective. Unlike some of his other paintings the fade out of the mountains in the background is a bit More subtle. Being up by the Meekong River examining this painting was helpful as it is  relevant to the scenes that I was sketching.

 

1 Meekong River facing laos

1 Meekong River facing laos

These two sketches were part of a series of sketches that I made up in Chiang Khong and one of three charcoal sketches drawn by the Meekong river on the border of Laos and Thailand. This one here show a lot of promise, I especially like the way the trees accidentally turned out to look like two dogs playing but there isn’t much of a fade out in the mountains in the background, which would be better for this exercise.

 

2 Meekong Facing Down River

2 Meekong Facing Down River

This sketch, although drawn on the same morning and not long after the last one one looks a bit more mysterious, probably because the way I drew the mountains in the background makes it look misty. This was the main reason why I chose to develop this for the final painting. I was hopefully that the photos that I took while I was up there would help me with the colours of the trees and the sky as there were no photos taken of this actual area.

 

3 Final Painting First Sitting

3 Final Painting First Sitting

Like the finished piece in the Hard or Soft Landscape exercise I finished this one up in back in my apartment in Bangkok. After the first sitting it started to look very different to the sketch. The horizon was the same height and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it looked different, not realising that it was because the trees and mountains on the left weren’t as deep.

This wasn’t a problem for me and it actually .gave the scene more height and distance so I continued to let it take on a life of it’s own.

4 Finished Painting

4 Finished Painting

By the time I got the sky and the detail of the trees painted, it began to look even better than I expected. Painting thin washes of blue and white at the bottom of the trees helped me to depict mist on both sides of the river and I used the same scrumbling technique as I did in the Hard or Soft Landscape painting for the sky. Painting the clowds horizontally looked like they were (I think) lifting up in layers from the mist in the distance.

 

I’m not sure if I did a good job painting the mangroves in the foreground and I did go a bit wild with the solitary tree bottom right but the idea was to give them a lot of colour compared to the mountains and trees fading out in the background.

 

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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.

Observing the Human Figure 1 – Drawing the Human Figure

The brief for this exercise was to:

Set my model in a comfortable position, sitting or lying down making sure there is sufficient light both on the subject and the working surface. 

The Head length is generally 1/7 of the full length of a standing figure, this can be used to measure proportions…Look at the shapes or outlines surrounding the figure which will help to locate the figure in space. 

Use any drawing medium to mark out the principle shapes in your sketchbook…Make several sketches, working quickly each time and adjusting measurements as you progress…Move around the figure trying out different angles.

1 Drawing in Pencil

1 Drawing in Pencil

Throughout the Drawing figures part of the Drawing 1 Course I took advantage of the fact that my girlfriend is a yoga teacher and it was no different in this exercise. Asking her to hold positions that were quite difficult so there were often breaks mid drawing.

The first pose in pencil wasn’t the easiest for me or the model but it was an extremely quick drawing. This was down to being able to draw large parts of the figure in one continuous line such as the head back bottom under the thigh. It was also a very easy pose to position in my sketchbook.

 

 

2 Drawing in Charcoal

2 Drawing in Charcoal

The second drawing was in charcoal and was a seated pose so it gave my model a break for a few minutes. Working with this medium it didn’t take long to get the drawing anatomically correct but then again I have had a lot of practise drawing the same model.

The benefit of this pose is being able to use the shapes within the figure to get the measurements right. The face bares no resemblance at all but I’m not too bothered at this stage it was the outline and negative space that I was concentrating on.

 

 

4 Drawing in Ballpoint Pen

3 Drawing in Ballpoint Pen

The third pose in ballpoint pen was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Goldfish which is probably one of my favourite Klimt paintings. Again this was quite a quick pose but quite awkward so we had to take a break mid pose. It is a nice pose to sketch but probably one I would not choose to paint due to the length of time it would take in a very uncomfortable position.

The back muscles look nice especially the prominent muscles at either side of the spine are wonderful to draw but the bottom is not defined this is due to my girlfriend, like most Thais, not having a prominent bottom.

 

 

3 Continuous Outline Drawing

4 Continuous Outline Drawing

On the next drawing I decided to do the same pose but this time I decided to draw the outline with one continuous line. The benefit or practising to draw with one continuous line is that when it comes to drawing with paint on a canvas or other support I will hopefully be making less corrections.

Drawing in pencil this time I managed to give her what she wished for, a large bum.

 

 

 

5 Drawing in Oil Pastel

5 Drawing in Oil Pastel

The next pose was probably the most difficult for her too hold so I did the drawing in stages. My chosen medium for this drawing was oil pastel. I drew the outline very quickly with a neutral colour and did my best to mark out folds of skin and shadow before taking a break. This allowed me to build up colour and tone without having to look at the model all the time and she wasn’t having to stay long in the position for the second sitting while I corrected  some outlines.

Parts of the drawing do look incorrect and she looks fatter in the drawing than she actually is but rather than keep working on it I decided to move on to the next.

6 Back to Pencil

6 Back to Pencil

The next pose was a lot nicer and even though it looks quite technical was very easy to draw with the actual figure taking me not much more than a couple of minutes to draw. This time I decided. to add the chair and some background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Another Drawing in Oil Pastel

7 Another Drawing in Oil Pastel

From there I went back to the oil pastel with a pose that was also very quick and easy to draw this time from the front with the model slightly more upright. As I was drawing from the front, the shapes on the left and right arm and leg were almost symmetrical which saved some time so I managed to add a bit of colour and tone without having to take a break.

I really like this pose due as her breasts and shoulders have a really nice shape, I will probably come back to paint something similar later.

 

 

 

8 Watercolour Sketch

8 Watercolour Sketch

I chose to do the next drawing in watercolour in my mixed media sketchbook with a similar pose to the second drawing in charcoal but this time with the head turned towards the wall so I didn’t have to mess around with facial features, It’s really easy to draw on a small scale in watercolour  and it helped drawing in charcoal first as I was already got used to drawing the shapes involve with this pose.

 

 

 

 

On the whole I think I did quite well on this exercise and tried out different drawing mediums rather than just charcoal. I know I was told to focus on outline but I wanted to a bit further.

Colour Relationships 1 – Exploring Contrasts

1 Exploring Contrasts

1 Exploring Contrasts

Choose any colour you like (colour A), then mix a series of several colours that are close to colour A on the spectrum. From there paint a series of small squares of colour A, surrounding it each time with one of the colours you’ve mixed.

Following the brief’s instructions I chose red as colour A and then made various mixes similar to colour A then used colour A to paint a series of small squares then surrounded the small squares with the other colours that I mixed. I noticed how the surrounding colours altered how the centre square of red looked, in some squares looking more orange-red and others looking darker and even brownish.

From there I made a series of several small squares in yellow and several mixes of different tones of violet which I surrounded the centre squares. Each of the mixes had different amounts of white in so that I could try and equal the tonal value of the yellow centre square. Which I think I managed to match with the mix in the bottom left of the above image.

Matching the tonal value by adding white seems to tone down the yellow centre square but with the darker mixes of violet surrounding the yellow it seems to look the brightest.

2 Exploring Contrasts with medium Grey Centre

2 Exploring Contrasts with medium Grey Centre

Next I painted a square of violet leaving a space in the centre, next to it I did the same with yellow and underneath both of them I painted a white square, again leaving a space in the centre. From there I mixed a neutral grey and painted a small square of this colour in the centre of each.

Doing this I noticed that the neutral grey looked different with each of the surrounding colours. With the violet surround the grey looked the lightest then darker in the centre of the yellow surrounding square with the medium grey looking the darkest in the centre of the white square.

I was pushed for time with this project so I didn’t have much time to experiment further but I made a quick painting using some complimentary colours and a medium grey noticing how the tone of the grey altered against the different colours.

3 A Simple painting with Complimentary Colours

3 A Simple painting with Complimentary Colours

 

Still Life 4 – Still Life with Natural Objects

5 Finished Painting with Natural Forms

Finished Painting with Natural Forms

The brief for this exercise: Assemble a group of natural objects such as fruit or vegetables, more subtle coloured vegetables or highly structured objects that are almost monochrome such as shells, skulls, rock crystals or seed heads. If you chose to work with tertiary colours and subtle lines and tonal variations you could include an element that is highly coloured such as a red fabric background or a brightly coloured piece of fruit such as an apple, orange or  lemon. It’s best to chose simple forms rather than complex ones for this exercise, just two or three objects will give you enough subject matter.

Subjects for this exercise

I already had some objects for this exercise, leaves which I picked up at the beginning of the year from the park just outside the school where I work. While visiting England last month I picked up some more objects that I thought would go with them, baby pine cones attached to twigs from a walk around Newmillerdam near my hometown Wakefield, plus a large pine cone that my mother gave me which she brought from Italy.

Subjects:

  • 2 leaves
  • 1 large pine cone
  • 4 baby pine cones attached to a twig
  • A piece of Thai Buddhist monk robe material

Inspiration for painting leaves

Looking for new artists while studying the Drawing 1 – Drawing Skills course I came across Eliot Hodgkin who painted leaves, vegetables and other natural objects with Tempera, one of my favourite paintings by Eliot Hodgkin is this one Large Dead Leaf 2:

Large Dead Leaf 2 - Eliot Hodgkin

Large Dead Leaf 2 – Eliot Hodgkin

In this painting he manages to breathe life into the dead leaf and it’s twisted form becomes a ballet of light and shadow allowing you to see every detail, stalk, veins and surface texture. It’s a painting that inspired my leaf drawing with stipples and dots in the drawing course and will probably keep influencing my work with natural forms.

Process

I started by making sketches of the subjects in my sketchbook and notes on the best composition and the best technique to use for the exercise. Decided that it would be better to tackle the leafs full on to see all their detail and colours and to do this a stippling technique would probably be the best technique to use for the chosen subjects.

1st Sketch in Charcoal

1st Sketch in Charcoal

1st Sketch in Charcoal - Notes

1st Sketch in Charcoal – Notes

2nd Sketch in Charcoal

2nd Sketch in Charcoal

2nd Sketch in Charcoal - Notes

2nd Sketch in Charcoal – Notes

3rd Sketch in Charcoal

3rd Sketch in Charcoal

3rd Sketch in Charcoal - Notes

3rd Sketch in Charcoal – Notes

After making three charcoal sketches to find the best composition I made a watercolour sketch to see which colours I would be using for the final piece. With the lamp shining on the composition I could see just how complex the objects that I chose were. I was half tempted to make a sketchy painting rather than detailed as I did well to depict the objects in both the charcoal sketches and the watercolour sketch below but the detail and the so many different colours that I could see in all the objects with the light shining on them the way it was it would have been a shame not to try and capture as much detail and colour that I could in the finished piece. Stippling was perfect for this painting, not just for the leaves and cones but for the white background as I could see several different colours through the light reflecting off the wall.

4th Sketch in Watercolour

4th Sketch in Watercolour

I made a note of the colours that I was confident I would be using, even though it was difficult to depict half of the colours in the watercolour sketch. These were:

Brown

Pink

  • Grey
  • Orange
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Sienna
  • Black
  • Light Blue
  • Chronium Oxide Green
4th Sketch in Watercolour - Notes

4th Sketch in Watercolour – Notes

The painting took four evenings to complete, 1 evening for each leaf, 1 for the background orange cloth and 1 for the pine cones which were the most difficult to paint. i started with grey on the leafs over an orange wash and then started to build up the colour from dark to light and and then back to dark for the shadows and darker tones such as for those in the veins of the leaves.

The process was pretty much the same for the large cone which shared similar hues and tones to the upright leaf but when it came to painting in the shadows for the centre of the cone the whole thing pretty much had to be painted again rethinking the process on how I was to get things just right. The cone was a pretty complex shape and the needles fit together life a jig saw and so finally I treat them as such painting in the darker tones ti give each of the needles a similar shape which I highlighted in white.

From there I painted white background, again with a stippling technique so I could depict the different colours I noticed with the light reflecting off the white surface then the  orange cloth which I didn’t want to spend too much time on as this was not the main focus. Finally I painted the twig of the smaller cones with various shades of green and white stippled over a dark reddish- brown undercoat and then for the small cones various tones of light grey and orange for applied the needles applied with a medium size filbert over dark reddish-brown undercoats.

5 Finished Painting with Natural Forms

5 Finished Painting with Natural Forms

Noticeable Progression

I am pretty pleased with the finished piece, I am not sure if the quality of this painting is better than my first still life, still life with flowers but I do seem to have loosened up, which is what I am hoping to do, as well as gained a lot more brush control.

Problems with painting natural objects

The biggest problems I encountered painting these subjects were, firstly, depicting the texture and secondly trying not to tighten up so they did indeed look like natural objects and not made objects. The stippling technique I used helped me to depict texture in the subjects but I am far from where I need to be with loosening up when I paint.

What I learnt from this exercise

Probably to have more props at hand and not to bight off more than I can chew working on complex forms and textures at this stage, however leaves were something I have wanted to paint for a while and so I am glad I got this chance to do so.