Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leafy Beech Studies

watercolour in sketchbook 18”x14”

These are studies made specifically for a long Work in Progress

I’ve been Progressing on this Work on-and-off since January, but for one reason or another I haven’t been able to engage with it fully till the last couple of months. I’ve spent the whole of June grappling with it exclusively – changing elements around and gradually defining the spaces and masses. So many basic things had to be corrected from the start – the avenue spacing on the right had to be altered, as the children amongst them started off too big and had to be resized, but still be visible behind the tree trunks. The right foreground didn’t read well and had to be reworked. It was carnage…

Well, the other week I had another Little Local Difficulty to solve - differentiating the near top foliage against the treetops on the right, and my reference images weren’t helping much. I had to invent something, and had no idea how beech leaves worked, so it was a case of finding some reference materials, and drawing them.

It’s an odd thing, and I’m sure Leonardo da Vinci would agree with me, but the process of drawing is really very good for understanding how things work. Active observation forces you to analyse the subject - as in ‘How do I know that bit is round and goes behind that other thing?’ - because you know you’re going to have to recreate it.

Anyway, there I was, having to extemporise on a theme of beech tree leaves. I found some clear references and simply spent an afternoon drawing them in my sketchbook, and got enough understanding of their visual character to win that little skirmish. The sketches aren’t particularly good, but it’s more about the process than the result.

And is this month’s post a bit of padding due to my not having finished anything else his month? No, no. Not a bit of it.

No. Nope. Non. Absolument non, no. Of course not, perish the thought…