Proj. 5, Ex. 2: Townscape Using Line

For my line drawing of a townscape I went to Ramsgate as I have always liked the view back to the hill in the town from the harbour.  To avoid people I again went very early in the morning and sat on the harbour arm looking back across the harbour to the hill.  In reality the foreground is very cluttered with boats in the harbour but I decided to leave these out and concentrate on the view from the bottom of the hill (where old fishing nets and crates are stacked against an industrial unit) up the hill to the old houses and hotels.

The drawing took much longer than I anticipated and became quite rushed at the end.  I also did not notice until I had finished that a lot of the verticals are not quite vertical and that my perspectives go a bit astray on some of the elements within the image.  I think it a classic case that as time went on I began to concentrate too much on what I was drawing rather than looking at the scene and drawing what I saw.  Still, you do get a sense of the place and the cluttered nature of the buildings on the hill.


Proj 5, Ex. 1: Townscape Drawings

For these drawings I first visited Rye, a small town quite near my home.  However, when I was walking around the town I seemed to get very little inspiration from the buildings, everything seemed to be a little bit quaint and twee.  I did eventually find a little alleyway I decided to draw as I liked the light and shade.

However, the pencil drawing did not bring out the effect I wanted so I redrew it at home from the sketch and memory in pen and ink.  I used a foam brush to first draw in the different blocks of shading within the allay itself and the dark frame of the alley doorway.  I also simplified the elements within the alley, giving the whole drawing a looser feel.

After Rye, I decided to visit Folkestone early the next morning and did a couple of little sketches of some houses on Marina Parade (which did not really work for me in terms of composition), the bottom of the Old High Street and a view of a housing estate.

Of the three images I liked the composition of the Old High Street so whilst there drew a larger A4 version.

Once home, I thought I would add colour to my line drawing.  At first I was going to add a watercolour wash over an ink drawing but then thought I would try something different.  My tutor had recommended I look at the work of Patrick Caulfield and this drawing seemed ripe for trying out a coloured ink version in his style.  One thing I noticed when looking at his art was the way he repeated colour across the canvas to create unity and lead the eye around the image.   The buildings on Old High Street had been painted in quite bright colours as they are part of the Creative Quarter of the town and I wanted to bring out these bright colours in the drawing.

I went over the pencil lines with a black felt tip pen and then added the colours using brush pens.  I picked out just a few colours, repeating them in the drawing to add some unity across the image and then filled in the rest of the areas in green.

It was quite fun doing this as it is not something I would have normally tried and whilst the colours could have been more smoothly applied with a brush and paint I am wary of doing a painting rather than a drawing.  It is interesting as before I started this course I would have been drawn to the more precise nature of artists such as Patrick Caulfield, with quite controlled application of marks, paint and colour, but now I am beginning to move more towards freer gestural drawing where you can see the energy in the marks of the artist.  Perhaps that is what my tutor intended by suggesting I look at this artist?

Proj 2, Ex. 2: Sketch Walk Revisited

Following my reflection on progress to date, I decided to revisit the Sketch Walk as I was never really happy with my original pencil sketches.  I thought I would experiment with changing my viewpoint this time and do a sketch walk looking down to find textures and shapes.  I visited Ramsgate Harbour early on a Sunday morning before too many people arrived.

I had an idea to make each sketch like an individual paving stone so decided I would draw each sketch within a  6×6 inch frame.  I made a template so I could draw this frame on any of the papers I had brought with me to save time whilst out.

Before arriving I thought I might just end up with views of concrete and paving stones of various colours but found the harbour to have an amazing range of materials, structures and textures; I could easily have drawn twenty different views rather than just four.  I used a picture finder with a grid to look down through so that I looked straight down each time rather than at an angle.

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  1.  Pencil – The smooth white diamond shape contrasting with the rough of the flint pavement repair draw me to this image.
  2. Watercolour Pencil – It was the colour of the blue steel plate and the rust as well as the hole for lifting the plate which attracted me to this area.  I exaggerated the colours to bring them out.
  3. Pen and Ink – The different textures of the steel plate, manhole colour and concrete caught my eye as well as the angles of the shapes.
  4. Bamboo Pen and Ink – The rusting round pole hole against the cracked surface made this area interesting.  I like using Bamboo pens (first used in my life drawing class) as they have a softer quality than metal nibs and give a greater variation in line.

I enjoyed undertaking this exercise again as although the images are fairly representation I could easily extend these drawings into abstract images.  Looking down has also opened my eyes to a whole range of images that I could focus upon.

Proj 2, Ex. 1: Cloud Formations

I kept putting off undertaking this exercise until there were some decent cloud formations.  Once a fairly stormy sky had appeared I went out to sketch the clouds using charcoal.  This proved more difficult than I anticipated as the clouds move d surprisingly quickly.  For both drawings, I rubbed powdered charcoal into the paper with a cotton wool ball to get the overall tones and added compressed charcoal to darkened areas and give form to the clouds.  I then rubbed back for the whiter highlights using a pencil eraser.

I do not think I got the structure and form of the clouds quite right as they do not look like they have enough volume; also, I have not captured that sense of the clouds receding across the expanse of the sky, they look more like they are stacked up.  An exercise to repeat at a later date.



Proj 3, Ex. 2: Foreground, Middle Ground and Background

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.

Proj 3, Ex. 1: Developing Your Studies

I looked back at my sketch walk drawings and 360 degree studies and chose to develop the Dungeness studies.  I tried out a couple of compositions before decided to have the power station buildings as the background with the huts and beach in the foreground.

Even whilst doing the initial sketches I knew I was not completely happy with the composition but thought I would adjust it as I developed the main picture.  I prepared a paper with an ink wash to give some random variety to the sky and added a yellow ochre band at the bottom of the page.  I then used conte crayon to develop the buildings and rest of the picture.

I think this image is unsuccessful.  Whilst I do like the simple block shape of the power station looming over the landscape,  the perspective of the middle and fore ground is wrong, the marks are not varied enough, the path is all wrong and the colours are wrong.  Also, once again, whilst I enjoy drawings which have gestural marks which show energy, this drawing has defaulted to my restrained approach of depicted the visual appearance in too literal a way.  It is not the move towards a more abstracted drawing that I wanted for this drawing and admire in other artists.

I thought back to my feedback from my tutor at the last assignment and decided to go back over all the work I have completed to date, lay it out and reflect on what has worked and what was less successful, look at her assignment reports and look at a way forwards for the rest of the module.

This ‘failed’ drawing is a good thing as it has made me question my approach and review my progress.  This is also probably a good time to undertake the review as I am about half way through the course and need to reflect to improve.  I shall undertake this reflection this weekend and my next post will detail the result.

Proj 2, Ex. 3: 360 degree Studies

I took this exercise to be about finding drawings in unexpected places.  I therefore choose to go to a place where I knew the landscape would be pretty uninspiring and see what, if anything, I could draw.  I went to Oare Marshes, a flat marsh landscape next to the estuary with lots of mudflats.  My first two drawings show part of an old WW2 concrete structure in the foreground and then the vegetation extending back to the estuary in the first drawing and to the power lines in the other direction.

My next drawing shows the layers of vegetation plus various plants and the final drawing in ink looks across to the wind turbines on the Isle of Sheppey.  These four drawings did bring home to me that you can find a subject in any landscape and whilst I might not choose to develop any of them further, just drawing them sparks ideas for other locations.

I decided to extend the idea of this exercise and complete a larger panorama drawing.  I want to have some definite fore, middle and background so picked a higher viewpoint looking across a valley at the top of Wye Hill.  At my last feedback my tutor encouraged me to use charcoal more so I decided to use this medium for this drawing.  The drawing was completed over two days at the same time each day to try to keep the light the same.   It is 1.10m long by 0.32 m high.


I enjoyed undertaking the panorama so went down to the coast to complete a drawing in colour using conte crayons.   This is of the salt marsh at Pegwell Bay with Ramsgate cliffs in the background.  this drawing is 1.07 m long by 0.38 m high.


I think the charcoal drawing is the more successful of the two panoramas as it has a greater depth of field and a better variety of marks and tones (although this is difficult to see in the blog photograph).