Saturday, 27 September 2008

Virtual Sketch Date - September

28.5cm x 20cm
Watercolour and Coloured pencil on Paper

So here's my entry for September's VSD. I used watercolour plus a bit of tweaking with coloured pencil on Fabriano watercolour paper. I'm starting to enjoy watercolour a bit more, although I still find it a bit unpredictable at times. This was a great image to work from with a number of challenges - I did a version before this one with a black background but it felt too harsh so I used a dark purple here with a bit of blue pencil on the left, also the vase was tricky, especially the top and I still haven't got that right but I can live with it. The flower itself was enjoyable to do, to get some colour and some delicacy. I decided to have another go, and used soft pastels - in my head I was going for a Georgia O'Keefe look, but that was just in my head of course...

'Peony 2'
16 cm x 16cm
Soft Pastels on Paper

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Art Class - Week 3

I'm still feeling a little disappointed with this. I go along with plenty of enthusiasm then end up wondering what I'm doing there. This week I spent maybe 5 minutes with the tutor - that's out of 2 hours remember. OK last week was a bit better but this week I may as well have stayed at home, I don't feel that I learned anything at all, and it takes me nearly an hour and a half to get home after it. It looks like the other students are content enough with what they're getting, but I'm afraid I'm not. I'm probably going to see this through (there's another 7 weeks) because I'm not a quitter, and there's still an ever persistent optimist in me that thinks maybe something useful will come out of it...

On the other hand I've started this month's 'Virtual Sketch Date' - it's a beautiful reference photograph and is looking pretty popular, there's about 28 participants already...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Art Class - Week 2

Last nights art class seemed a bit more useful. This time I took something in to draw from life, these horse chesnuts (we call them "conkers") which have dropped a bit early, although Autumn definitely feels like it's here. So I did this small watercolour study which I was reasonably pleased with, with my usual "not quite there" feeling. Then Keith our tutor came over and explained about neutral black and using it as a 'glaze' - if you get the three primary colours in balance you achieve neutral black (and I didn't know that, so I've learned something at least!). So Keith comes along and demonstrates on my painting...and suddenly it looked so much better, it was kind of a revelation which sounds a bit extreme but it impressed me. I've often struggled with my work looking 'flat' and the shadows being somehow 'off ', particularly in painting which I'm not so confident in, but this helped. Now I need to practice it more so I'll be trying more painting out soon...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Art Class - Week 1

So last night I started my 10 week art class, "Drawing & Painting". I have to say I'm a little disappointed. The tutor Keith seems like a nice guy and probably does know his stuff, time will tell, but my main problem with the class was how we were expected to find a picture from a book and draw it. Also there were some students from a prior course who seem to just keep coming back, they "had things to be getting on with". I'm sure it's hard to pitch a course at a group of completely mixed abilities and experience but from my point of view I'm not sure how much I'm going to learn here. I know it's only the first week and maybe things will improve, I've talked to the tutor and explained I wanted to learn theory and technique which he says will come.

As for next week if I've got to work from a picture then I'll at least take one of my own reference photographs. More to come.....

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Summer Flower

Summer Flower
15cm x 10cm
Watercolour and Coloured Pencil on Paper

It's been raining almost non-stop for the past two days so it's given me a good opportunity to do some drawing, as I've really done very little this week. This was from a reference photograph I took in a friends garden earlier this Summer, on one of the few days we had some sunshine. I have no idea what the flower is by the way. First I made a watercolour underpainting then worked over it with coloured pencils, using a mixture of Derwent Coloursoft and Faber Castell Polychromos on Arches Aquarelle watercolour paper.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Mum's Toms

Mum's Toms
Coloured Pencil on Paper

As usual I'm half and half about my work - I think some parts of this work well, I think the drawing itself is sound, the composition is interesting and more considered than usual, the tomatoes and bowl are pretty ok. It's the background that's bothering me, I can't seem to render shadowy areas (although it looks better reduced here!). I wanted to maintain the towelling texture (which was why I used a rough textured paper) but it doesn't seem to work for me, maybe its the colour. I suppose it just shows the limits of my ability, as it is now anyway - hopefully it will improve!