I love drawing for it’s simplicity; for making marks and discovering amazing expression in the subtleties of the medium and the paper you are using. Everything can be a subject for drawing and by observation there will be a wonderful sense of discovery when things are seen clearly without preconceptions.
When drawing you have time to pause, observe and understand. Nothing on the paper will have changed in that time before you commit a mark. Whereas when you are painting you are likely to be dictated to by the complex process of brush marks, colour mixing and the condition of the support that you are working on.
In my eyes a drawing is a work of art in it’s own right, not just as a preparation for a painting or design. With the amazing array of pencils, charcoal, pens and pastels available, there is something for everyone to express themselves on a piece of paper.
Pencil will give you the opportunity for speed and subtlety of line and tone; charcoal will make lovely moody and expressive marks and is a great antidote to detail. Whereas working with pastels offers vibrant colour at your fingertips and with the ability to draw light onto dark, giving the immediacy of drawing with the effect of a painting. Then there is the beauty and clarity of conviction of a line drawn in ink: absolutely brilliant for buildings and man made shapes.
The drawing above is called ‘Painting in the Sunshine’. I drew it in coloured pencils on ‘Ingres’ paper in grey/green 160gsm. It is 200 x 285mm. The drawing was done in 3 stages:
- I began the drawing by sketching very lightly the basic shapes of the figures and chairs in a dark brown pencil
- This was followed by carefully shading from light to dark to build up tonal value, using brown and black pencils, and varying the pressure (this has revealed the texture of the paper adding interest to the drawing)
- Finally I applied a white pencil to indicate sunlight and atmosphere as the colour of the paper is dark enough for these marks to show
For me drawing doesn’t even stop when I am painting, you still have to place a mark in the ‘right’ place, even with a brush load of colour. It’s sometimes a challenge but it’s always rewarding to do. What we all need is the time and the place, the space and the focus to get better. So why not join me at Chateau L’Age Baston this summer? I teach there for two weeks in June and again in September. It’s a wonderful place to explore the delights of making marks and an ideal opportunity for us to explore and enjoy painting and drawing together.