Thoughts from the pen for a little landscape picture.
Thoughts from the pen for a little landscape picture.
I read through the forms using a ball point pen in the previous post, and here I’ve rehearsed the forms in color using Caran d’Ache Neopastels (oil pastel). The drawing measures 18 x 11 inches. Didn’t color everything. It’s just a dress rehearsal, still thinking out loud.
Chaotic looking here, but this was my first practice for a painting. Describing the shapes to myself using the pen helps me find a thought path into the painting.
The drawing I’m using for the lay-in is a very broad working drawing. I draw then paint, draw some more, paint some more. These are first thoughts.
So when I painted the pond in oil the first time, I also made a drawing in oil pastel. I am really in Degas territory with this one: “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cent fois” – you must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times.”
I must really like this motif.
Not really a drawing — I had so much fun making the scribble drawings for the painting that I decided to continue the process on the painting itself. It will all get covered up. It is, nonetheless, an energetic way to begin. I used acrylic medium to thin down the paint, to capture more of the character of the “ball point pen lines”. The canvas is 20 x 24 inches.
Here’s another quick thinking-out-loud drawing made with the Bic Velocity pen, well smudged.
I love, love, love, love, love drawing this way. Totally carefree. Just see something, put a mental line around it, and a physical one to parallel the mental one.
It’s like sight reading in music. Once you start, you keep going. Make mistakes, but don’t mess with the rhythm.
Here’s the first drawing for a new painting. I don’t make the drawing as a thumbnail sketch since I won’t refer back to the drawing once I begin painting. It’s just another form of rehearsal. I like to think about the shapes a few times before beginning.
I also just love drawing. I love scribbling with the loopy, meandering lines of a pen. This is not the Bic Cristal that I usually use. This one has got a much bolder line. It’s a Bic Velocity.
I found that the best time to smudge is right after you’ve drawn the line. The ink doesn’t smudge so well once it has dried. I wear gloves — otherwise my finger tips would be the same color as that deep blue ink.
There are many wonderful drawing challenges on the internet that give people ideas. Many drawing challenges serve to inspire. They may prompt you to draw things you never thought of drawing.
I have thought that — from time to time — I’d like to post some drawing challenges of my own. Some are kind of advanced challenges. But they are fun. They are tasks I give to myself to stretch my skill level. Yet I hope that artists working at all levels of drawing skill will consider giving them a try because … because you just never know what will happen. There’s always a potential for invention in trying new things. And in any case, drawing isn’t dangerous. How can you possibly go wrong?
The purpose of this particular advanced drawing challenge is not to produce a drawing to hang in a frame, though that outcome may arrive, but instead to devise ways to stretch your visual skills. It’s really more about process than product.
This challenge has two parts. Each can be fairly difficult, but for sure the difficulty of the second part depends upon the difficulty of the first part.
For the first part, you simply draw something. What do you usually draw, or often draw? Choose something familiar — or something that you can observe keenly, intensely. What you’ll do is to draw the thing or the scene very carefully and fastidiously, observing as much information as you can and recording it in whatever way you approve. You may find it helpful to use lots of contours, lots of linear elements to describe forms, but it isn’t strictly necessary. So just do whatever you do. And you might also want to redraw this motif you’ve selected a few times, two or three times perhaps. For this challenge repetitions are good.
For the second part, you go away from your motif and redraw it from memory. The goal is to capture as much information as you possibly can based on everything you know and remember about the subject. One way to help this along is to remember how you drew and remind yourself what you drew. Counting may help if there are a certain number of somethings that apply. Remembering a “seating arrangement” may help. What was here? What was over there? What was sitting next to the such-n-such?
Some artists say that memory drawing is really difficult for them. I met one very astonishingly skillful artist who said she only drew from the motif, never from memory, that she “didn’t know how to draw from memory.” I suspect she was being too modest. But memory drawing is a skill to possess like any other skill in art. One way to develop it is to remember your previous drawings which is very different from remembering the appearance of the things themselves. Sometimes the memory of the things is fugitive but the physical memory of your hands will often be much more sure.
This is a very generalized description of a potentially very amorphous, imaginative, flexible and possibly also very complicated task. The latter quality is good if you like complication (I do) but not essential. Tailor things to suit your own preferences. I offer it — such as it is — as a challenge to try. I’ve used it drawing seashells and a few other things. You can apply it to any subject. It can, for instance, be a good way to study old masters: first copy the image, once or twice (or more) and then draw the memory of the copying.
I like to paint big pictures. One way that I rehearse images before painting is by making large drawings. In that way, I also have twice as much fun because I make two big pictures — the preparatory drawing and its related painting. The two works are not necessarily in a one to one relationship though. This drawing, for instance, measures 50 x 42.5 inches but is a rehearsal for a painting measuring 60 x 40 inches. However they are close enough together that making the drawing offers genuine preparation for painting.
Someone told me that opera singers rehearse their parts in sotto voce to avoid straining their instrument. Maybe these big drawings are to the paintings what sotto voce is to the opera singer’s full throated singing.
I have another 60 x 40 inch canvas waiting in the wings. And another large sheet of paper waiting to be made into drawing. Seriously good fun is just around the corner because this artist likes to paint and to think BIG.