Monthly Archives: September 2014

An ample sufficiency of tomatoes

Coming in from hanging out the washing I saw this wonderful display of tomatoes laid out to ripen.  They really caught my eye and I noticed with what care they had been arranged.  My next project I thought!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

I have just recently worked on tomatoes with Ann Swan so I thought I would like to have another go, and this would allow me to practice tomatoes at all stages of ripening.

I already knew what colours to use so I was able to get started quickly, was not bothered too much about composition as I was happy just to work with the tomatoes in a grid formation.

Green Tomato

Green Tomato

I trialled a green and a red tomato using the underpainting technique I learned and using the transparent Pro Marker to dissolve the colour into the paper.  This meant that the base colour application is much quicker, I tried underpainting the green tomato in green Pro Marker but the colour was too dark.

Red Tomato

Red Tomato

Happy with both my trials I cobbled together a light box with a sheet of glass, a cardboard box and a desk lamp and traced onto good paper; then I had a happy afternoon putting on the base colour underpainting, now all I have to do is colour all those babies in!  I suspect I won’t be as fond of tomatoes when I am finished!

Tomatoes with underpainting completed

Tomatoes with underpainting completed

 

 

Wednesday Word (of a botanical nature)

drawing of an apple by Sue HagleyXenogamy – A form of allogamy, in which the ovules of a flower are fertilised by pollen from a flower on a different plant

Rose Hips and photo editing (again!)

Just a quickie again this week…..

I finished the rose hips, it was such a tiny picture (5ins x 3ins) it did not take up too much time.  But the photo I took to put in the blog was not good, photographing white paper – ARGGGH.

Scrabbling around the Internet I found reference to image editing software called Pixelmator, and I downloaded the app for a 30 day free trial.  Well, I am very happy with it, especially after my very frustrating experiences with Gimp.  Gimp ‘0’ Pixelmator ’10’!  Obviously I need to practise but there are a bunch of tutorials on YouTube so I am happy.

Finished Rose Hip drawing - Sue Hagley

So now I am learning photo editing………. Anyway at least I can cut out my image and place it on a white background thus solving the photography problem.  The colour editing tools seem good so I can colour match if I want to.  I worked on the Tangutica again and ‘beefed’ up the intensity of the colour in the drawing.  The yellow in the image is still not ‘true’ even with my photo editing.

angutica - colours strengthened

Tangutica – colours strengthened

Wednesday Word (of a botanical nature)

drawing of an apple by Sue HagleyWitches’ broom – An abnormally dense tuft of twigs in a tree, resulting from an attach by fungi, mites or viruses

Back to real life and drawing when I can fit it in…….

A few days away in Liverpool (wonderfully interesting city by the way) meant that I have not had much chance to do anything. So a very short post this week.

My eyes were attracted to the rose hips yesterday, and now I realise that they are very similar to the tomatoes I have just finished – not necessarily a bad thing as I can have another go at working with red and shiny.

Test page for colour

Test page for colour

This is as far as I have got with the drawing, I have laid down some ground colours and am now starting to build on that.

Rose hips in progress

What a week I have had! 6 day course with Ann Swan at Dedham Hall

An enthusiastic group of students, an experienced and knowledgeable teacher (Ann Swan), a great studio (despite the abundance of spiders and other creepy crawlies) wonderful weather and a full six days of time; the recipe for a really enjoyable and productive week.

I learned so much:

  • Which side is the right side of the paper, I got this wrong twice and was made to start again. A stern teacher indeed but I will pay attention in future.
  • Which greens are ‘good’ and ‘safe’ and make natural looking greens for leaves.
  • How to use a light box, I got this wrong too in two ways 1) I reversed my image and 2) used wrong side of paper.  Had to laugh though…….. and I will be much more careful next time.
  • Found out what a Plamp is (no I am not telling you, you will have to look it up for yourself).  Have also found out how to make one for myself (super scrimper that I am).
  • How to sharpen and pencil and why a sharp pencil is important.
  • The order that a coloured pencil drawing is best done.
  • Different methods of underpainting and how this works really well if a graphite drawing is planned.
  • What baby oil really is; not oil at all – who knew?
  • Burnishing and bloom: what colours to use and how to do it.
  • How to remove random marks e.g. fly poop, pencil slips from paper starting gently and moving onto the heavy guns of Milton fluid.
  • How to select colours for shadows, not necessarily greys but a pale complimentary instead.
  • To be much much braver when I lay down my first layer……….this is hard as I can feel myself not wanting to ‘go wrong’ but to get deep intense colour I must plunge in.

Here is my output for the week:

Abandoned drawing due to wrong side of paper used

Abandoned drawing due to wrong side of paper used

Here you can see the resist veins and the initial shading.

 

Leaf showing highlights and shine

Leaf showing highlights and shine

Here is a finished leaf, photo has dulled it rather but the depth of colour was good.

Backside of leaf

Backside of leaf

Backside of leaf (if you excuse the expression), this is generally duller than the top often with a velvety texture, Veins incised with ivory, bluntish pencils used to create softness. Used wrong side of paper again and reversed image on light box.  Tutor commented on lack of observation on where the veins finished, but I was able to add some extensions to bring the veins to edge of leaf.

Perky Tomatoes

Perky Tomatoes

A lot of hours went into these little babies! I loved the little dancing calyxes and that was what made me want to draw them.  They ripened as I watched.  I feel I have captured some of their perky nature, and preserved some of their luminance and translucency (don’t read on Karen because there is a ‘but’ coming) but I could work on them some more to intensify the colour.

Tangutica clematisMy final piece of work was this drawing of Clematis Tangutica and I don’t think the photo does it justice, it is not quite as washed out as this picture portrays.  I am happy with the composition of this drawing and used many of the ‘tricks’ I observed and learned to put this picture together.   I thought it was finished but it needs ‘beefing up’ Ann’s words and I will do that and try and strengthen the colour.

I had a really positive experience on this course and am fired up to keep going, I have improved  skills and a better understanding of the medium as well as a long shopping list for pencils and paper and other sundry equipment.