Drawing has always been a struggle for me and the older I get the harder it gets. My eyes no longer focus as well as they did (my right eye has never focused as it’s lazy LOL) and if I concentrate too much, I get a headache.
This was the first drawing of doing this setup which was piece of fabric from Ikea and part of my grand daughters tea set. Originally I was going to paint it but looking at the complexity of the fabric design I decided to draw it first. My other motivation being the fact I have a stack of drawing paper from when I first arrived in the US. I ordered a 100 sheets 36″ x 24″ but ended up getting 3 reams instead by mistake. Contacted the seller and they said keep it as it too expensive to return. I was only charged for the 100 sheets so it was a bonus for me or so I thought. I still have about 2.5 reams left!
So this is my second drawing as I was not happy with the first drawing as the angles seemed wrong. Well I never did manage to get them right as you can see from the drawing below. The table I was using was well below my eye level so I was looking down on the set up. Ignoring the maxim of never erasing your drawing marks, I continued to make the same mistakes time after time. Surprising even though I studied at Camberwell for nearly 3 yrs (foundation and Saturday morning classes) I never learnt how to use a plumb line, pencil or whatever to gauge proportion or angles. I am trying to teach myself that now, carefully drawing a mark for where my foot is position whilst I draw and trying to remember not to move my head too much. I am pretty sure I will not continue to do that but it might give me more of an idea how to assess these things instead of blindly blundering into the subject as per my normal method.
So I have spent the past week drawing this whilst reading numerous books about drawing. Hasn’t helped! Eventually I would love to have the freedom to use the drawings as basis for painting so I am not restricted to setting up a still life. I have a long way to go.
So its back to the drawing board again but this time I also plan to paint the still life. Once the cooler weather comes in the Fall, I will go out and draw from life but at the moment with temperature in the 100f/38c plus range, I will contend myself with still life set ups and looking at objects around the house.
As we were going to bed last night, I passed my most recent still life painting and say how happy I was with it. So my husband said he agreed but could he say just one thing. Yeah, sure, go ahead. The background dominates the figure too much. You don’t mind me saying that do you? No, I said, smiling, that is how it is meant to be, she can’t escape the pattern Smiling, Gordon says Wow, I was right LOL.
I attended my 3rd session with the Austin Plein Group today at the above location. It’s a beautiful location situated on the south fork of the San Gabriel river in Georgetown, about 15 miles north of Pflugerville. The weather for the 2nd day of August was superb. Normally by now we are suffering from 38C/100F + temps which means by 10am you are in the mid 90’s. However, we are having an unusually mild summer with a couple of ‘cold’ fronts coming down from Canada, leading to cooler night and daytime temperature. So by the time I arrived at 10 am this morning it was only in low 80’s with scattered clouds.
As normal with painting outside, I had the usual dilemma of what do I paint. I began by looking down the river with a tree to the side. I made some tentative strokes and vaguely sketch out the tree and the point where the limestone bluff wall of the river converged in my perspective. At this point I decided I wasn’t up to the task of this view, I have no idea how to paint a tree, especially so close up in my view. I need to look up Cezanne a bit before feel comfortable with that . So I quickly dipped a paper towel in the turps and scrubbed it off.
I then turned my easel around and looked directly at the bluff across from where I was standing.
my camera skills are not good but this basically the scene I was painting.
I knew from the beginning I wasn’t going to make a nice little landscape extending along the river bank. I just concentrated on trying to interpret what I was seeing with paint. I was going to abstract what I could from a very limited view and try to get down what I was seeing. I find it very difficult to focus on an expansive view, I get lost basically which is why I find landscape so difficult. My eye is wandering from place to place. So limiting my view, I thought, would help. It did to a degree.
8 x10 Linen Board
This is the resulting painting. As I painted I realised I have never painted water before. How do you paint something that can appear to be flat but have depth plus is constantly moving. Then there was the limestone bluff, so many colours. I could have spent many more hours there but thankfully, the crowds came to bathe in the river and it was time to pack up for the day. For about 90 mins of actual painting time with a walk to car and a chat with the group members in 2¼ hrs I was there, I wasn’t too unhappy with the result, neither was I happy, more a blah, I could so better.
At the next meeting, I am going to try another medium. I told one of the other painters I was using oil paint after years of using acrylic paints and that I was finding it difficult not to mix the paint on the canvas when I was applying paint. She suggested using water-soluble oil paints as they dry quicker but not as much as acrylics. The local art store was having a sale today, so I got some Lukas brand colours. I realise they aren’t up to the standard as Holbein or Windsor & Newton but it gives me a chance to try them out without too much cost associated with them. I might try them out with my new still life setup.