Monthly Archives: February 2014

Home again………

Well the excitement is over.  The trip to Brazil has happened and is now in the past.  The drawing kit so laboriously assembled was used only once!  However, in my defence, the time was so action packed that I rarely had time to sit down for any length of time to do any drawing.  My eyes were in constant action though, as was my camera, I filled my memory card (note to self: next time take two) and ran down the batteries twice.  What a magnificent country for plant lovers, and I only visited the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Parana & Rio Grande de Sul (please excuse spelling errors).

Highlights of the plants seen:

A Brazil Nut tree – the nuts grow on the trunk (I did not know that).

A Cashew Nut fruit – the nuts grow in the top of the fruit and the fruit smells exquisite and tastes rubbish.

Auricaria Angustifolia (Pinheiro Brasiileiro) – the trees reach the sky and look like lollipops.

Orchids – saw some in Rio Botanical Garden, they had sort of left me cold before, but there were some stonkers here.

A row of Imperial Palms (Roystonea oleracea) in the Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro

Imperial or Royal Palms

Imperial or Royal Palms

I visited the botanical gardens of Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba and have made the resolution in all future travels to always track down and visit the local botanical garden.  In fact, my travels in future might be driven by the desire to visit the botanical garden.

Also visited the magical garden of Roberto Burle Marx wonderful garden and house full of beauty.

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How I get what I see onto paper……………

There are several ways to get an outline of an image of an object onto good paper ready to make a finished drawing.  And these are the ones I have tried:

1) I took and printed a photo which I gridded it up and used the grid to copy the image accurately onto good paper.  This is a very process driven way of working and I ended up working from a photo rather than life which felt a bit sterile and mechanical.  However, what I liked about the finished picture was the abstract nature of the piece of leaf I chose, so although the method did not suit I was interested in the effect and the finished image and I think that I will follow this up in the future.

Coloured pencil drawing of a Teasel Leaf by Sue Hagley

Teasel Leaf

2)  I took a photo of a leaf, which I then ran through an app to get a black and white line drawing which was traced onto tracing paper and then transferred onto drawing paper.  I ended up with an accurate shape that I enjoyed colouring but actually it did not teach me much about looking and seeing.  So I learned that it is important to me to make the original image my own as well as the finished image.

Coloured pencil drawing of a Dead Leaf by Sue Hagley

Dead Leaf

3) I viewed the subject matter through a gridded transparent sheet and then drew the subject onto a matching grid on tracing paper.  This was long winded and hard on the eyes squinting through the grid and copying, and it felt mechanical and hard work.  I also ended up with an image that was rather bigger than life size, so my crab apples look like they have been dosed with steroids.

Coloured pencil drawing of Crab Apples by Sue Hagley

Crab Apples

4) I took a leaf rubbing and traced the rubbing onto paper, but the leaf dried out, so when I came to resume my work the next morning the leaf had shrivelled unrecognisably – so my time was wasted!

5) I just sat down and drew the d**m thing!  The easiest and the most satisfying; well I know that now as I have tried all the other methods!  More importantly, my skill is improving as I continue to practice – that’s a really obvious observation but it is true, true, true – if you practice you get better! Doh!

Pencil drawing of a Dead Leaf No 2 by Sue Hagley

Another dead leaf

Ever heard the expression ‘all the gear and no idea’? That was me………………

So now I had all the ‘stuff’ and I had done a few initial pencil sketches, I had coloured in lots of squares and read a few books.  Now what?  Well, dear reader, I copied a picture – shock, horror!  Actually, it is not so bad, lots of artists copy/copied other artists, it’s a great way to learn, at least you know what you are trying to make it look like, which is a help.  Back to my trusty ‘Colored Pencil Solution Book’ where I found helpful instructions on how to colour a day lily (Hemerocallis).

How to portray a Daylily Instruction Page

Instruction Page

In the back of the book there was a line drawing to photocopy and I then used tracing paper to transfer it to drawing paper.

Photocopied line drawing of daylily

Photocopied line drawing

Interestingly, the dark values are applied first which was a surprise to me, and then gradually lighter and lighter colours are applied, until a final going over with the palest colour (leaving the highlights uncoloured).

Finished Daylily

Finished Daylily

It was interesting to follow instructions, and I learned loads.  It is really important to look at the values and to establish the darks and lights against each other.

The reason I like colouring in little squares of paper. Time to reveal a quilt………

In my last post I confessed to enjoying the process of colouring in little squares of paper and shuffling them about and arranging them in groups .  Well, time for a confession here, I am a recovering quilt maker so I spent many happy hours messing about with squares (fabric rather than paper).

On Point a quilt made by Sue Hagley

On Point (detail) by Sue Hagley

All the colours were hand dyed by me and the design was drawn up using a drawing programme on the computer.  Many hours were spent rearranging the colours into harmonising or contrasting heaps.  

On Point quilt (detail) by Sue Hagley

On Point (detail) by Sue Hagley

So you can see here, why I enjoyed playing with squares of colour.

On Point quilt by Sue Hagley

On Point quilt by Sue Hagley