For this exercise I went to the top of a hill near Hythe, as I knew a place where I could stop and sketch by the roadside. I wanted to use charcoal for this image as I need to develop my skills in using this medium. I concentrated on mark-marking to capture the essence of the scene rather than trying to capture the detail.
I think the drawing is quite successful as the background is more faded and contains a lot less detail than the middle and fore-grounds, as I used the side and thick end of the stick. I introduced more detail in the middle ground using a harder and finer compressed charcoal stick and then a charcoal pencil for the foreground. I lifted out some highlights using a pencil eraser and used a putty rubber to generally lighten some areas.
The parts of the image which did not work quite so well are the vines on the foreground tree trunk, the perspective of the fence and the grey compressed charcoal on the bollard in the foreground.
I then drew the scene looking across the valley in pen and ink. Again, I think I have captured the view and made the differential between the three zones quite distinct, although I think I could have added slightly more detail to the middle ground and increased the range of values.
On the way back home I could not resist drawing the scene below as I liked the way the tress were coming down the side of the hill and the overall shape of the two trees at the bottom of the hill. I deliberately decided to keep this sketch quite simple to see if ‘less is more’ and think it has worked quite well.
I then had a break from the course for 10 days to deal with some other major commitments and when I came back I thought I would try to redraw the scene across Wye Valley entirely from memory. I hoped without the scene in front of me I would concentrate more on making marks rather then detailing the view. I used a sponge, the side and ends of wedge and cone foam brushes, and pen and ink. I must admit this is the first time I have tried to make a drawing entirely from memory and the result is surprising good.
Once this was completed it inspired me to go one step further and combine the two approaches – drawing both from the scene and from memory. Whilst I had been out drawing landscapes one thing that struck me was the range of colours there were in roadside verges. I decided to try a drawing using memory and some chance to create the background, and then travel to a scene to add foreground detail.
I create the coloured background in watercolour using a sponge for the back/middle ground, flicking the paint and using the side and top edge of a wedge sponge brush for the foreground.
The next day I drove to the roadside verge and started adding the detail of the plants in ink. Originally I was going to add much more detail, but once I had completed the dominant plant species shown, I stood back from the drawing and decided to stop. I liked the way the viewer can fill in the rest of the plants using the colour splashes to trigger their imagination and own memories.
I am beginning to really like this combination of chance with detail in my drawings and will explore it more in future drawings.