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.
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 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.
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.
The finished spread.
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!