Wednesday, October 31, 2007

stick to plain old pencil or oils

I've decided I don't like colored pencil - or, at least, I don't like what I do in colored pencil. Perhaps it's because I've had no training in the medium, and therefore have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Yeah, that's the reason - that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, the colored pencil piece found its way to the trash bin last night, nevermore to be resurrected. The thing I have in mind works better in plain old ordinary pencil anyway.

Tonight is Halloween. In honor of the class I'm not taking tonight, I am going to work on the painting. I am going to try to finish the underpainting so it's nice and dry for class next week. And then during the coming week I'm going to start a (black) pencil sketch of the piece I tried in colored pencil. I'll post it here as it goes along.

Monday, October 29, 2007

sketch sample

What you see below is the result of my search for a method of depicting a stone wall realistically. Center right are several abortive attempts at getting something I like. Center left is the one I feel works best for me - it is, as you can see, the largest of the areas depicted - once I got it I sort of ran with it for a while.

I have to apologize for the quality of the reproduction here. This is a photograph taken under incandescent light. Lighting it with flash didn't work out very well either - the flash washed out the image and reduced the contrast. Next time I'll try scanning.

Anyway, the wall isn't exactly what the quay is going to look like, but now I have a method for rendering stone that makes sense to me and I can go back to my color pencil sketch and pick up where I left off.

While waiting for the next class ...

The quay that the boat lies alongside is made of stone; weathered, flat stones that are wider than tall and rather pale in color. They look like old, weathered limestone to me, but I don't know rocks very well, I suppose they could be almost anything. Anyway, as a little project to hold me over to the next class, I thought I would try a little sketch in colored pencil that includes an element that's in the original photograph but that I'm leaving out of the painting. Just astern of the fishing boat there's a small, white sailboat tied to a line that runs to the quay. So I thought to 'zoom in' on the sailboat and draw the quay, the sea beyond and the hill and sky beyond that.

I have one thing to say. Grrrrrr.

That quay is the hardest, most tedious thing to draw that I could have ever tried to do. I have finally found a way to draw it that looks good (and accurate), but it has taken a while and a lot of concentration and effort. I actually did searches on the Internet looking for help and found what I needed on a site sponsored by Blick (my favorite art company). I also saw a step-by-step painting tutorial in 'Leisure Painter' magazine (from the U.K.) which included a seawall, and that included the same kind of resolution suggested on the Blick site, so that's what I've gone with and it's working out quite nicely. I will put up some samples tonight.

Working in colored pencil is so different than doing oil, or charcoal or anything else I've tried. I find myself outlining, again, and that's not what I should be doing. Old habits are hard to break. When I get closer to what I'm trying for with the colored pencil I'll put it in here, but not until I'm happier with what I'm doing than I am right now.

9 days until the next class - not counting today.