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:
Here you can see the resist veins and the initial shading.
Here is a finished leaf, photo has dulled it rather but the depth of colour was good.
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.
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.
My 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.