Exercise 3 – Study of Several trees

I have slightly lost my drawing mojo today for some reason, and I do feel this has affected my work for this exercise somewhat.

For this exercise I have primarily focused on wet sketching, and went out to the woods with my A4 watercolour pad and sketched bunches of trees. It was my first attempt at watercolour, and the most challenging part was to use it in the opposite way to oils which are what i’m used to. With oils, you paint the light colours last, but with watercolour you have to give consideration to the light areas and highlights before you do anything else. I did find myself having to try to remove colour from some areas at the end of the first drawing.


I got into the swing of things a bit by the second one after changing position.


The third was supposed to be of several trees but in the end, the one tree took over as it was such an incredible shape with lovely highlights. Slightly failed on this one therefore, but it was a good depiction of the tree nonetheless and again was purely watercolour.


This next attempt was on A3 paper back in my studio working from a photograph. This was with a light yellow watercolour wash underneath areas, but then the rest of the drawing was with water soluble graphite sticks. It feels like its the most ‘clumsy’ of all the drawings and less emotive.


And lastly, my lovely friend Mr Charcoal again – I felt I couldn’t leave this exercise without drawing a large scale drawing in charcoal and compressed charcoal. This drawing is half way between A2 and A1 and is on brown wrapping paper. Again a nice drawing of a woods…..it could be more emotive though. For some reason my mark making today has not been so confident, but I hope to re-visit trees so hope to rectify this in the future.


The course has asked several questions about this exercise. I didn’t necessarily have to distinguish different trees in this exercise, except for the trees in the charcoal drawing, as most of them were collections of the same trees. In the charcoal drawing, however, some of the trees were different and the difference is emphasised mainly by form but no other detail. The exercise asked us not to concentrate on detail. I conveyed the mass of foliage with the watercolour by leaving some areas paler or unpainted paper within the drawing. In the areas where foliage was thick, I layered darker colours. I explained above regarding handling the light on the different parts of the tree – I did find this hard with watercolour but hope it will be something I get used to. With the charcoal I find it easier to convey light and darker areas. I believe I did manage to select and simplify in these drawings…all of them give an impression of what I was drawing but none of them are absolutely detailed. The individual tree was more detailed and I found this bogged me down somewhat. I feel I’m much more inclined to get an idea down rather then the specifics.

I do believe, however, that I could go even more basic, and try and leave more to the imagination. Everything is a bit literal. Perhaps I could leave areas with more broken lines and unfinished areas on the drawing to ‘suggest’ the idea rather then actually depicting this. This is an area my tutor feels I should work on, and I do agree.

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