Outdoor sketching

As promised, a couple of pages from my sketchbook. The homework brief (from Liz Steel’s online sketching course, Foundations) was to use rooftops to compare the set-up I needed for a sketch.

The first one took me a little out of my comfort zone, in that I had to be sketching out of doors. It is one of those things that is more difficult in thought than action. Like going to a party where I may only know a few people. It is the thought of it that makes me nervous, once I am there I am fine. Once my sketchbook was out I was happy to stand there. I do have to admit that “standing there” was over the other side of the railway line from the house. It still feels a little intrusive to blatantly stand drawing in front of someone’s house. (I would love to know what you would think if you saw someone standing, sketching, outside your house.)

As for the artwork….well, I was drawing, and that always makes me happy. My aim was to only have a few initial lines, drawn in Indian Red pencil, the most important lines needed to create the drawing. You can see them under the ink and they completed my set-up. I had an idea of where the drawing would be going. As I drew with the ink, using my brand new Lamy pen, I was able to restate some lines and add in features such as the chimney. It was obvious that some of the proportions were out, but it didn’t affect my pleasure in the  drawing.

The original red pencil lines with the ink lines over. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

The original red pencil lines with the ink lines over. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

As I walked home I thought about how I would continue with it. I decided to use coloured pencil. The ink I am using is not waterproof, so any paint would smudge those original lines. This is how it ended up, perhaps a little too fussy. You can also see where I worked out the actual angle of the roofline.

The finished page. that's my new yellow Lamy fountain pen. I chose yellow so that I could find it more easily! (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

The finished page. That’s my new yellow Lamy fountain pen. I chose yellow so that I could find it more easily! (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

The second go at rooftops was to not use any pencil lines for the set-up. Before I began I had a conversation with myself noting which geometric shape each plane of the roof was. I still made assumptions. I assumed that the front triangle was an equilateral one. As I was not face on it couldn’t have been. But I was pleased I was painting the shapes I was seeing, using my hand-eye co-ordination and not relying on pencil. It made it a much more spontaneous painting. You can see that later I used pencil to work out the angles of the eaves.

Rooftops, this time only using paint (except for a little pen help with the windows). (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Rooftops, this time only using paint (except for a little pen help with the windows). (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

I was very pleased that I painted it sitting on the grass by the oval, looking at the new housing with all the interesting rooflines. Again, enjoying finding the place in myself to be in the moment.

After I had made my notes there was a corner of the spread left blank. So I painted in the candle holders, again just by painting their shapes. Just going for it.

Candle holders. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

Candle holders. (Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

The finished spread.

(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Which set-up did I feel happier with? The pencil set-up, even with only a few guide lines feels very comfortable. I need to understand the angles better, to be more thoughtful about where lines are going, but I know I can do it. The other, paint straight onto the paper is much more of a high-wire act, and therefore more challenging. So it’s the set-up that I want to do more of. And do it outside too!

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About anne54

Botanic artist
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5 Responses to Outdoor sketching

  1. Anne, I love your sketching. Plus how you write and bring us through the process
    Thank you! Christine

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    • anne54 says:

      Thanks for letting me know that, Christine. To write it down really helps me understand and remember what I was doing. I do wonder how interesting it is to anyone who reads the post. So I am glad to know that you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Delightful. I really enjoyed reading about your process, Anne and it is a treat seeing your notebook. You make it look so easy, and I know that’s its not.

    Congratulations for stepping out of your comfort zone, too.

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    • anne54 says:

      Yeah, that Comfort Zone is a tricky one to get out of. 🙂 I love looking at people’s notebooks and sketchbooks and the internet is the perfect way to take those peeks. As for making it look easy, I think it is because I am happy to accept that it is playing. When you play things could be great or could be wonky or even could be a disaster. But however it turns out, it’s fun!

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  3. Pingback: 3 ways to hold onto your “I am going to be more creative” resolution | Anne Lawson

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