Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Drawing to take notes for painting

Spring Weather NF, pastel on paper, 10 x 16 cm
John Dobbs gave me a challenge when I visited him in his studio earlier in the year.  And then when he led the workshop painting the Thames in the freezling snowy weather, what he said made sense.  Today was the first day I have had time to begin the challenge.  To prepare, I have been reading Mitchell Albala's Landscape painting: essential concepts and techniques for plein air and studio practice. 

It was windy today and the weather was threatening rain but I lugged my easel out in the field and began by making a few thumbnail sketches.  I had the sun to my left and the wind was blowing the clouds northwest. I thought about four values: the sky, the ground, the slopes and the verticals (from my reading) and that made sense! In terms of composition, it isn't the most enlightened subject matter but because it's close by I can visit the spot regularly, something John suggests I will need to do.

What John thinks I should do next and forever more is to use my sketches/drawings to paint from.  He tells me that as I paint I will discover what information I haven't collected and then will need to go back and get it in order to paint something meaningful. When I painted the Thames that's what I did and I discovered I do remember things and I suspect that muscle just needs conditioning in order to use it properly. We'll see.

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