360 degree studies

I set off with a compass, sketchbook and a graphite stick. Decided not to be worried about people passing by. I knew of a few spots where I would find something interesting to draw.
Started off with north.

Then facing west



Finally East


I enjoyed this exercise and decided to work on a favourite spot where I pass through during my frequent walks and often painted mental pictures of the lovely view. best view is south west.










A sketchbook walk

The South Downs and Beachy Head is a five minute drive from my home. I can never be short of inspiration, but the problem is what to choose as there are so many beautiful sights. Till now i have not attempted to draw any and i am very excited that i am finally doing so. For my sketch book walk I avoided busy areas as I am not yet confident sketching with people around. It was raining all morning. At around 2PM the rain stopped and it started to brighten up a bit, so I packed a few things and set off. The sketches had to be very quick as it was very cold. I was very lucky to pass a dew pond while the sun shone for bit. I managed to do a quick sketch with the reflection of some trees on the edge of the water. The sheep looked at me with suspicion, but after a few seconds they carried on grazing. I couldn’t draw much as it was too cold and i made my way home. Just as well as it started raining heavily. I wrote some of the notes at home as my fingers were too stiff to write.





Assignment 2

-an understanding of the use of colour in drawing
-an understanding of the most appropriate choice of medium for the subject and skill in using it
-The ability to set up an interesting composition
-Variety in mark making, depth, contrast, tone,
-Accuracy and a demonstrable understanding of form,

Select a number of contrasting objects in size, shape and texture.
Natural objects and add a made object.

The pink amaryllis lily I had planned for this assignment was taking too long open. The bud just kept on growing taller by the day. An earlier one opened too quickly and I did not like the colour. I had to find something else to use. One morning I was in the kitchen and the yellow of the lemons near the sink just stood out. The light seemed to be bouncing off each other. I decided I am going to use them. A bunch of daffodils in a pewter tankard were interesting, especially the reflections on the tankard. Too much yellow, so I kept only two daffodils. For contrast I decided to add an apple. I had some hyacinths in the porch just starting to come out. I put the pot next to the objects. Too big, so I felt I should show part of it. The hyacinths were growing so fast, by the time I started colouring in the drawing they were already tall. For the background I wanted to use a silk scarf I was given from Sri Lanka. It has lovely two-tone colours and I felt it would be a good contrast for the yellow. The scarf was casually thrown on a chair behind a table. The other objects are all in front at the edge of the table. There was no strong natural light so I had a daylight lamp on one side. I did a few sketches. Moved the apple forward and put it back next to the lemon. I didn’t feel I had too many objects. To create some interest at the bottom right corner, I added a red chilly. I was going to use oil pastels, but the decided to use watercolour pencils for more detail. I wanted to keep it as an A3 size drawing.
The pot has two purple stripes, just where the shadow of the daffodil fell. It was tricky to colour the stripes and the shadow in the same colour. I could not see the colour of the table reflected on to the tankard, possibly because the surface did not reflect any light. The daffodils had not yet fully opened, that is why the facing the scarf does not appear to have long petals at the base.
I have been looking at still life by Winifred Nicholson and William Scott as recommended by my tutor. I like Winifred Nicholson’s style of depicting flowers. They appear so fresh. For ideas of a composition I have been looking at still life by Samuel John Peploe. I particularly like his paintings with tulips and some fruit, with fabric as background. In his ‘Tulips-the blue jug’ he manages to depict red tulips with a red wall and pink tulips over a pink table.

The hyacinths which grew from 2cm to nearly 15cm while drawing.


Still waiting for the amaryllis to open, it’s about 80cm tall.


Final drawing.


Assessment 2 reflections

Demonstration of technical and Visual skills
I wanted the daffodils to be the main focal point, then the apple and lemons. I am not sure if adding the chilly works. the colours of the scarf is a contrasting backdrop for the daffodils. The ellipse of the tankard seems wider compared to the curve of the base. I used a 220 gsm medium surface cartridge paper, thinking that it will be suitable for the watercolour pencils. I feel that the texture was not right, some areas are grainy.
Quality of outcome
I regret cutting the daffodils stems too short while trying to ‘fit’ them in the composition. While trying to indicate tone, I seem to have lost the bright fresh yellowness of the daffodils. The scarf seems too wide, I could have folded it in further so more of the chair could be seen or I should have put more creases.
Demonstration of creativity
Unintentionally, I managed to use all 18 colours in this drawing, so it has a variety of colour! The composition is safe, on the edge of a table. I wanted to concentrate on showing form and tone of the main objects as well as I could. Having cropped the terracotta pot seems a bit experimental.
I messed up the colouring on the terracotta pot, but correcting it would have worsened it, so I left it hoping it will look like part of the pot. I still need to improve on using watercolour pencils so the colour doesn’t get picked up with the brush or look overworked. The paper did not take colour in some areas, possibly because I had used an eraser there. I need to be able to depict flowers while retaining their freshness and delicate thin petals.

After reading the remarks
made by my tutor I made the tankard darker to make it look metallic.


Fish on a plate

Being a vegetarian, I was going to skip this exercise. My friend offered to handle the fish and convinced me to do it. We took the fish, a herring I think, to her place. I directed her how to position the fish and took photographs. She had lovely plates. I worked from photographs and Sally the cat got to eat the fish the same day so I didn’t feel bad.
The first plate was square, with a border of blue and gold pattern like fish scales. The colours seem to reflect on to the fish, which had some yellow, brown and blue colouring. I had the fish placed so the head is leaning over the edge. I was trying to depict a fish, dead but in despair. It was hard to get the shiny surface of the fish. This is with watercolour pencils.

The second plate is a hand painted plate and the drawing is done with soft pastels. Again it’s very hard to show the glistening wet surface of the fish.
(Photo is below after check and log)

I enhanced the shadows after reading my tutors report. Photos of the fish with corrections at the bottom

Check and log
What were the main challenges of drawing animals?
Apart from the obvious challenge of the animals moving about, getting the proportions right and making sure I understood the way the legs bend. Their joints are totally different, especially the back legs. I tried to put in a bit of character of the animal I drew. This is time consuming and very often the animal will not always go into a pose you want them to. Even taking photographs is a problem, by the time you click, the animal has moved off, and you get the back legs. You have to get to know them well and ‘make up’ certain parts of the drawing to make it interesting.
Which media did you enjoy using most and which did you feel we’re best for the subject matter and why?
Most of my quick sketches were done with a graphite stick as I find it very quick. Some of them were faint so I had to go over later on, which was good as it re-enforced the shapes in my mind. The ink pen is also useful for quick sketches. I used oil pastels to colour the rooster as I felt they were the to bring out the rich colours and to depict feathers. Although I did a detailed drawing of Sally in pencil, I found that I enjoyed doing the final drawing in charcoal. It’s a wonderful medium to depict an animal. You can erase to correct the marks, smudge to add tone, depict hair if you want to or none at all. You can achieve several strengths of tone and sharp edges which is just right to show an expression, eyes, etc. I know i still need to improve a lot and hopefully will with a lot of practice. I found the pastel gave a better texture to the fish, than watercolour pencils.
Where can you go to draw more animals? Think about sorts of places that will give you opportunities for animal drawing. Have you tried drawing a moving animal yet?
Probably a zoo, but I am not sure if you can get animals in interesting poses when they are confined in cages. There are open parks, weather permitting.
I tried drawing a moving cat and rooster. I found that if you get the head right, the rest of the body is easier to fill in.




Grabbing the chance

I started of with very basic sketches of a cat called Sally, who is the master of my friend. Sally has her own mind. She saw me with a sketch book and kept doing her ‘cat walk’ instead of lying there curled up as she normally is when I visit my friend.



This pencil drawing is mostly from a photo. One of her favourite places to sit is on a tall chair in the kitchen.

At Middle Farm yesterday, I saw a rooster with very long feathers round it’s feet, like as if he was wearing oversize trousers. Here are a few sketches and a drawing in oil pastels to show his shimmering plummage.


I did a few sketches of a tiger from a TV programme. I love tigers.



My final animal drawing is in charcoal after a few ink sketches.