Monday, July 20, 2020

Sketchbook Explorations, Part 5

Continuing with the downloaded instruction from Jane Davies, I embarked on Lesson 4 of Sketchbook Practice.

We began by making large gestural paintings, on cheap 18" x 24" paper, using only black and white materials: paint, ink, crayon, marker, pencil, charcoal, etc. I spattered paint with a toothbrush, improvised paintbrushes from combs and sticks, dripped and drizzled. The idea was to ignore composition. Later, we would be selecting "interesting areas" to cut out and develop.

Somehow, when I am told to do this kind of thing, I begin to work very fast. The result was six large, indistinguishable messes: minestrone soup.

I am so glad that I tossed these six and began again, slowing down and becoming more deliberate, more thoughtful, just as the instructor was in her demo video, creating "areas of interest."

The 8 successful candidates

This time, I had no trouble isolating eight mini-compositions to develop further, from four large sheets. One of the key things was to keep distinct areas of dark and light. After gluing them down on larger,  better-quality paper, I began to develop each one in turn, extending shapes, adding shape and line. And I have another eight mini's that are also candidates as "starts".

The 8 runners-up

Here are some of the results. I don't see any of these as finished pieces, but rather exercises in composition, creating variety and interesting shapes and lines.

To prepare for Lesson 5, we were asked to paint a random shape/line with black paint on small (7" x 7") squares, and then to augment that with a "wash" of black paint. These will be developed later.

The final part of Lesson 4 was to make a rough contour drawing of an object, using a black wash and a big brush. As a second layer, we were to do a quick contour drawing of the same object on top of the wash study, either aligning the two studies or offsetting them.

I was unhappy with my first efforts. There was no energy to them. They were more like drawings that had been filled in with wash, like a child's colouring within the lines.


So I took a looser approach and repeated the exercise, disregarding the matching of the two sketches and going for something of an offset effect.

more lively, more interesting

Could still stand to loosen up a bit more. Perhaps a floral arrangement, a more organic subject?

I'm beginning to see how having a regular sketchbook practice would be a good way to generate ideas for further development.

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