Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Disciplined Approach, (or not)!

Being a bit of a sucker for punishment, I always take on the things I find most difficult. Just now I am trying to improve my technique with very straight, smooth, fleshy stems. You know the ones, they tend to be on bulb varieties such as daffodils, tulips and lilies.  My first attempts although drawn well came out decidedly wobbly and the thickness was a bit inconsistent. Hence the snowdrops this week. More fleshy, straight stems.  

Not much to look at, but it's still early days. I've just
got to try to keep a nice, steady hand.

The first wash on the stems but it's the leaves
that will give it some oomph.
Olive Green was mixed with Cadmium Yellow Light
and some Ultramarine Light

Using the same mix, the first wash of the
leaves goes on.

Speaking of Daffodils, how about this for an early bloomer!
Caught on the, 'phone-cam' at a roadside location
near our house.

Whenever I have to tackle something difficult or new I try to practise with lots of accurate drawings. When I'm being disciplined, studies and sketches go in the sketchbook, along with lots of measurements and written notes. I also try to capture the subject from different angles to find the best composition. I find one of those little stands with pinchers on arms and a magnifying glass very handy for holding the subject still. It can be arranged in a variety of ways to allow for a change in position. Probably lots of you have got one of these things so you know what I mean. 

Rosa, 'Golden Wings' with lots of colour notes

Once I have got lots of sketches and dissections I will begin to make the colour notes. This is handy for flowers that change in tone as they age and open. This was particularly useful for the rose 'Golden Wings' as they go very pale quite quickly and the blooms are very short lived. One of the best tips I picked up on how to keep subjects fresh is to put them in the fridge every couple of hours or so for about 20 minutes. Then I get to have a cup of tea.

Janene Walkkly wrote on her blog recently about the usefulness of an initial, 'road map' of sketches and tonal studies for her ideas. She puts me to shame with her disciplined approach and convinces me to try harder to be more prepared at the early stage to avoid problems later on.   


Rebecca said...

The snowdrops are coming along beautifully...I loved this post and thank you for the insights and the watercolor palette info. I certainly needed to read this today, after a rather unproductive week (creatively speaking). I'm determined to do studio work most of this coming weekend. Perhaps this will serve as a good motivator to get me going.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Rebecca, I'm glad the post helped you out, writing it got me to thinking how much more I could get done. So here goes!

Jessica Rosemary Shepherd said...

Love your yellow flower study. Very clever... I can't do yellow flowers very well. I think you are very disciplined! Well done and thanks for sharing.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Jess. Rosa 'Golden Wings' or as I call it, 'the fried egg rose' was one of my early studies for the flower head assignment. I actually used some graphite on this to pick out where I needed more shading. Not quite the right thing to do but it helped.