A piece of beautiful blue sky framed by some beech trees caught my attention, made me stop and do a gouache sketch. I really enjoy the beginning of these sketches when everything is a possibility and the colours can be dropped and splashed around.
It is funny how each year gets it’s own character by the variations in the seasons that I notice while drawing and sketching outdoors. Last year became the year of the forest with the diary I had started without knowing how it would all turn out.
This year seems to become a time of slow motion. First the heavy winter with recurring snow and frost slowed down progress. Now we have this terrible summer heat all of a sudden, there was almost no spring season.
I do not know why I have choosen to do this very slow ink drawing, but somehow it fits. I already know that I will remember this year as the slow year!
What is good drawing? This question comes up quite naturally when a couple of artists or art lovers meet and start to discuss their subject of interest. Defining good drawing seems to be as difficult as defining good painting as soon as the question of accurate or academic representation is left. But even getting over this cliff with a convincing argument seems to be difficult. None of the words we might find to argue for the one or other drawing seems to be precise and strong enough. What is a vivid or confident line and what else we might say about the quality of a drawing?
Time makes the difference. The time we spend looking at a drawing is an indicator for the quality. The more time we spend with a drawing the better it is I think. The best drawings never wear off, the cheap ones are done away with the blink of the eye.(what is good drawing)
Today I explored the branches and twigs of yesterday a bit further. Also I played with my drawing tool to find out what kind of lines the Pentel Gel-pen might produce.
I took a break between two sessions of 20-30 minutes and returned about an hour later to the same place. As the sun moved the shadows in the drawing are not consistent or strictly “true” representing one particular situation or moment.
There are two main methods to represent volumes and/or shadows in a drawing. Hatching which is a kind of abstract method that neglects the material properties of the subject. The other method, that I admire so much in the works of Piranesi, is to use thicker and thinner lines in the representation. Piranesi never uses hatches or even cross hatches to establish dark shadows. You can study his technique with the magnifier device in the incredible KAMEI-collection.
While establishing the outline of the branches I also noticed that the Pentel Gel-Pen can produce a vivid line if not much pressure is applied.To imitate the fine structure of the bark I applied no pressure other than the light weight of the plastic pen, moving it around to create a hubbub of lines or parallel lines.
I always liked my Ink pen because of the lack to give a uniform,dead line that many of the ink pens produce. (see also “How to draw with a pen“) A similar effect can be achieved with the Gel-Pen, but a very gentle treatment is necessary.
Temperatures are getting more comfortable this week and daylight stays longer. The season for afternoon and evening excursions is near. In coming days I want to do a couple of drawing studies on twigs and branches. The beginning is made with a stack of apple tree timber on a meadow. I started with a slow, controlled hand to draw the outline of some cut twigs. The dark shape was good to see against a bright background. Also the sun helped to see the volume of the twigs too.
After twenty minutes the sun was gone. Tommorrow I want to take this study a little bit further.
Rainy days can be great for drawing, if the rain is not too heavy. This little study of an apple tree, trunk and and a big branch, was drawn while sitting under an umbrella. The one I have has a little rope at the top which I use to hang it into low branches of a neighbour tree.
Blind contour drawing helped a lot to depict some of the many twigs, for the small openings to the sky in between I concentrated on the negative forms.
The drawing was done with two different pens, broader and thinner nib. The final layer of grey was done with a light grey marker pen.