Friday, January 29, 2010

Tree Studies

pencil on A4

I needed some reference material - weird-looking tree parts - for use in a current project. I had taken some photos of likely subjects, but as they never print out how you’d want, I thought I’d draw them from the computer screen.

Though laborious, there are two big advantages to working this way.

Firstly, it is easier to edit the information from the source. A photo of a tree contains so much information you’re never going to use – background, tiny branches etc, which just get in the way. Better to decide what you’re going to use or lose at this stage than later.

Secondly, you are better acquainted with the subject’s form – its mass and shape - when it comes to painting it on the canvas proper, having already examined and described it once before.

Contrast these drawings with the watercolour ‘Street Sketches’ from last month. Those look effective, but you would be hard put to reconstruct the forms from the information given. These drawings above are utilitarian; I have to put in all the information I think I’m going to need for reproduction in a larger painting.

Not that you can’t be creative. The upper drawing is a composite of two different trees (one wasn’t effective enough for purpose) and, to be honest, it would have taken longer to photoshop the two images together and not been as good.

Ah, yes - and Thirdly, it’s very good drawing practice.

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