Weirdly, I genuinely thought this part of the course would come naturally to me. I have been painting landscape scenes for years and years, and I thought I had a handle on things to that effect. However, I have never actually DRAWN the landscape before.
Oil on canvas board, 2016
I have come across many stumbling blocks in this part of the course, particularly this exercise and the few before. First and foremost, I find watercolour very hard to manage, having always painted with oils, and I find coloured pencils equally hard. This means that my take on the British countryside just doesn’t have the drama and atmosphere I usually try to convey in landscape paintings. Both mediums feel a little ‘light’ and don’t offer me the drama I need.
Secondly, I have found the recent hot weather recently extremely dull to draw/paint. Yes its beautiful to sit in and bask in and enjoy, but to draw it is flat and uninteresting. There are a few shadows, but again, no drama.
Before setting out today I did do a little bit of research online to see if anyone drew the landscape in an abstract way, but the artists I was drawn to mainly work in black and white, and all in much more dramatic landscapes then lovely sunny Wiltshire. So I was on my own as I set off. My sketchbook walk previously had ended up being predominantly black and white, so I had it in my head that I really wanted to convey the brightness of the day and the colour, which is obvious on an extremely bright summers day.
I set off to the next door lane, where there is a view which is locally known as ‘the top of the world’, as it has the most incredible vista over north Wiltshire and the Cotswolds, where I sat down and drew 4 vistas. The first drawing was a scribble using coloured pencils.
Moving north, a watercolour with coloured pencils.
Looking back up the lane, watercolour and pencil again. Not so successful this one.
A drawing South-East. Elements of this I like. I don’t want to paint with watercolour in a traditional way – I really want to try and shake it up and make some abstract marks within the drawing.
A straight forward drawing with coloured pencils – just four colours. Some marks are nice, but its not particularly evocative or dramatic.
Lastly a scene south, back up the lane. This time in ink and white gesso again. Its not particularly inspiring, however I pulled out a section of it which I found interesting in an abstract manner. Perhaps I need to be pulling out more abstract ideas to give an ‘idea’ of a place, rather then drawing the specific scene. This is something I have always found challenging.
In my usual fashion I will quite likely re-visit this part, and do more of the type of sketches I did in the sketchbook walk – multi-media in mostly monotone. I’m hoping that the next research point will help me shed some light on this before I do more drawings.
And yes, I revisited this today, the next day, with a fresh and better attitude, and produced the following four drawings. The first was much tighter and after that I said ‘whatever’ and just had fun and made a mess, and the resulting 3 drawings are much more successful. All A4, watercolour, graphite and tinted charcoal, with a little bit of white acrylic thrown in. My main challenge now with watercolour is remembering to leave areas white so that I can add some vibrant colours into the drawing here and there. Otherwise the page gets filled quickly and its much harder to take away what you have put down.