This is my first, imperfect recording with a GOPRO camera that I want to use for more documentation during this year. At present I am looking for a flexible tripod to be mounted directly on the drawing support. That way I hope to change the perspective to full format, vertical view in coming videos.
One can record up to 2.5/3 hours with that small camera.
Beginning with the outlines of the tree trunks the spatial grid of the picture was established. In a second step I “carved” lines with a brass pen handle into the paper to create “lights”, areas that would not be touched with the piece of black oil pastel that I used in same way as one would draw with a piece of charcoal.
Saint Gervais,Auvergne, was our first stop on the big southern tour through France,Spain and Portugal beginning last year. It is a charming,small, very quiet place with nice restaurants, a romantic hotel, a bakery, a butcher, a bar and a well hidden supermarket close to the cemetery. The landscape is great and full of Charolais steaks.
It was really very chilly on this cold February Sunday morning when I did this small plein air study of bare trees under a grey sky. The rain was drizzling on and off. Each year in February I have enough of the winter season and can’t wait to see the fresh colors of spring. The meadows are so wet that the feet of my chair sank into the clay ground as it was pudding.
Meantime I got a copy of the Kurt Jackson book, which has become my favorite evening read. I regret that the images of the sketchbooks are often cropped and technically refined a bit too much for my taste. But that means nothing compared to the inspiration and motivating energy that the book still can convey to the reader. I love the inventive pencil work and appreciate of course the chapter on trees. Jackson has put some effort in his text which is trying to let the reader take part in the experience of sketching in nature and on his travels. I think that is a major merit of this book and a particular generosity.
I am glad that Jackson’s writing, which accounts for most of the text, is everything else but artsy, which is not natural considered his status in the art world. That helps to get over the introduction essay by art critic Livingston. It has interesting technical information, but also the well-known intellectual praise formulas and art history name dropping that one can usually stand only for 20 minutes on a vernissage.
I was so incredibly fortunate to get an invite by Caran D’Ache to do some demonstration of painting and sketching with the Neopastel oil pastels on the Paperworld Frankfurt 2013. Those four days of painting and talking were exhausting and great. There was the opportunity to speak directly with the professionals of Caran d’Ache about the colours, the pigments and their durability.
Oil pastels are among the most durable media you can get, because the pigment is protected by the oil and waxy binders around the pigment. In dry pastels the pigment is exposed almost naked to the UV-light. Caran d’Ache produces, in fact is casting, 96 different colors now of which only 10 are classified as very good compared to excellent and good. There are no good pastels because all others are in the highest class “excellent”. This was really very good news.
I find the Caran d’Ache oil pastels are easy to use because the consistency of the sticks is the same on each colour, which applies also to the high opacity. From all the different qualities I have used so far the Neopastel is nearest to soft pastel in handling.
Even though the place was very busy and a lot of talk was going on I was able to do some work. Til then I had only used the 48 color set. At Frankfurt I could use the 96 color set which indeed makes a big difference: more warm and cool grays,more browns and greens are great for landscape painting.
Thanks to Drawing allowed I was introduced to the work of Kurt Jackson. Sometimes it seems that there is no chance for the new or fresh but then you stumble on something again that leaves a deep impression and makes for a source of inspiration. I have never seen someone treating acrylic colors so sensitive, also I find it absolutely inspiring to see that a small format can be really big.
My Blurb membership is growing old, a bit at least. The first book order I placed on Blurb.com goes back to August 2008. Blurb always has been a bit slow in development from my point of view, but development takes place and for the better. The book editing software is doing OK, there is PAYPAL integration, there is now an ebook option and you can generate a pdf-file from your book (at a bit of costs though) to name those changes that seem important to me.
End of last year to my surprise I got an invitation for an interview with some of the friendly Blurb staff. I was motivated by a 100$ coupon so I took the chance. Blurb wants to know what tools their customers use to make their Blurb publications. I requested them to keep the entry levels as low as possible, I use a version of photoshop elements to do very basic manipulations on images that are too dark or seem out of color balance. I write my text Microsoft word and that’s it. Then I transfer text and images into the book editing software.
I used the coupon to cover some of the costs for two private books in small square format (7X7 inch). One solely with images taken with the Hipstamatic app and an Iphone 3GS (square pics at the top), and a second one with images taken with a NIKON D90. Both books had the maximum page count of 240 for premium paper and 440 for standard paper,in total both books contain ca. 1000 images. Below you can see image examples. I find the results very satisfying, especially the results from the low tech phone camera.
The resolution of the images is not very high and dose not represent the original resolution as I took the images from the online book preview. What I want to show is that Blurb can print in excellent colors and they can print also difficult images, like the ones with a lot of black. I had taken a picture of a Gothic painting that is shown in a very dark room at the Hotel de Dieu, Beaune (Burgundy). Only some spotlight illuminate the paintings, the room is like a black chamber. I metered the light with the D90 spot meter and took some very nice pictures, which I cannot show here for copyright reasons. Those images were printed very well by Blurb.
I had to ask for a re-print unfortunately of the Hipstamatic book because some pages had some strange,foreign color spots outside of the image area. The reprint was delivered by FEDEX within a week or so. So this order was not 100% perfect, but close to perfect. I could see only very slight differences in print between the original print and the re-print. It seems that the contrast was not always the same, sometimes a bit stronger in the first print and sometimes in the second print, it is really hard to see.
Recently I was doing some search on the question what is good drawing on the net and found an interesting article : Why Are Some People Better at Drawing than Others?. This is about representational drawing of course. It seems the main difference between people who can do representational drawings and those who cannot is the time spent with learning representational drawing. The other really inspiring thing is that learning to draw mostly means to learn to see properly and thus changing the perception of the world as seen.
However I do not think that skills always and certainly not only lead to good drawing. There is no objective measurement for good drawing. To define what is good drawing becomes even more difficult when we look at abstract art (Menil Collection, Cy Twombly).
At the end of the year 2012 I did this plein air study of a neighbour village named Zaisersweiher. The format is mid size ca. 15″X25″ , a bit unusual for me as I prefer small studies for oil pastels. In this case I had in total three sessions sur le motif including some pouring , ice-cold rain and hail mixture which I survived under a big spruce tree and my field umbrella.
It is possible to get that good old impressionistic oil color look with my favorite oil pastel set. It has a range of nice natural greens, browns, red ochres and beautiful greys. I work in several layers to get into the groove towards those muted colours you see in nature.
Below there are some images that show the first steps of the painting on a piece of paper, that was prepared with some old, dried oil color. Later I monotyped over the sketch with a monochrome layer of thinned oil color to mute further down. After that layer had dried I “recovered” the painting slowly step by step.
I painted this larger format (50X70 cm) landscape oil pastel from a photograph taken in Provence. I liked the blue sky and the strong contrast between light and shadow that is so typical for the South of France. Meantime I had the opportunity to take a better photograph that shows the full painting.