Day 1: Charcoal Drawing – Intro & Warm Up

After dabbling with charcoal in my Drawing Explorations class, I decided to sign up for the Charcoal Drawing class held at the same local art center.  I liked how drawing with charcoal created some of the boldest and darkest lines/shapes I have ever created.  I also was intrigued by how quickly I could cover my drawing paper and created something that was not perfect, but art.  I know that sounds weird, but I tend to draw realistic versus abstract.  As in “what I see” is “what I want to draw”.  Realistically.

I’ve spent many years taking pictures and I have thousands of images.  My goal has been to make drawings from my pictures.  First, I do not have to worry about copyright issues.  The images are mine.  Second, I wanted to try different art mediums.  I tried on my own, but found I had basic skills and wanted to learn more and push myself.  This is where taking art classes come into play.

I was excited about taking this class.  Every night for a week, I would be drawing for a few hours a night.  How cool is that?

I was introduced to Anna, a charcoal artist.  I did not realize until the second night, that this was her first time teaching.  More on that later.

Anna had us do warm up drawing exercises.  We all sat around a table.  Anna had placed an apple in the center of the table.  She gave us instructions on how to draw and then gave us 60 seconds to draw the apple.  After each warm-up exercise, Anna would change the lighting on the apple.  Three warm up exercises later, we had three apples drawn.

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We learned to initially draw what we saw.  We then learned to draw shapes based on dark values.  Next we drew just the dark shadows around the apple and the shadows on the apple itself.  Tonight was the night to learn many charcoal drawing techniques.

The last technique we learned was Subtractive drawing.  Basically, I covered my drawing paper with compressed charcoal.  Yes.  I took the flat side of my charcoal and just went back and forth across the paper.  After I had drawn a huge black rectangle, Anna gave me an eraser and told me to draw the apple that was used as a still life display on the table.

I looked at her for help.  She quickly demonstrated on a scrap of paper.  Once I saw what she was creating with an eraser, I set about to do the same on my own paper.  Here’s the end results:

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I took my black Scholar triangular shaped eraser and started erasing edges to create the shape of the apple.  I then created the highlights I saw from the still life by erasing inside the apple.  My drawing still looked a bit flat.  I erased an edge at the bottom of the apple to create a shadow are where the apple was sitting on.  I also took the flat side of my eraser and started to erase from edge of the apple to the edge of my paper.

Practicing for the Charcoal Class

I am anxious for my next class to start.  We will be using a variety of charcoal that will be supplied in class.  So, I do not have to worry about what to bring with me.  Paper will also be provided.

Practicing is always a good thing for me.  I learn about the drawing qualities of the medium, how it behaves on paper, how light or dark, and how fine or broad are the lines/strokes.

Here’s a quick sketch of a place setting from a picture I took at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard:

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I just realized I should post my photograph as well so you can see how well I’m drawing.  Good or bad.  I will be back with a picture.

Drawing Explorations: Colored Pencils

Of all the drawing mediums I have used, colored pencils is a hard one for me to use.  I have no idea why.  I love working with colors when I’m mixing paint (watercolor, oils, and acrylics).  Colored pencils have me stumped.

Before class started, Emily told me to pick an object.  Since I love the Caribbean and all things beach-related, I chose a shell.  It looked like an easy object to draw.  I struggled for the first 30 minutes.  I could see the shape in front of me and I drew it.  It turned out wonky.  Colored pencils are hard to erase, so I reworked some of the lines and then reshaped the shell.  Good thing I selected a light colored pencil to do the initial sketch.

Emily told me to squint a few times and I should see some colors pop out (other than the basic off white/light beige color I could clearly see).  So I squinted and produced this drawing:

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I then added the blue shading/shadows under the shell and all of a sudden my shell was no longer floating on my paper.  It had a home.

This was the last evening for my Drawing Explorations class.  I have signed up for another class which involves using charcoal.  In the meantime, I will be posting pictures of my personal homework assignments.  Stay tuned!

Paper used:  Canson sketch paper (18″ x 24″)

My take away from class:  need to stop over analyzing what I see.  I can tell the longer I stare at my blank paper the longer it takes to get started.

Day 3: Drawing Explorations – Charcoal on Toned Paper

For tonight’s class, Emily told us to bring in Toned paper, charcoal, and white chalk.  Emily placed several fruits and veggies on the table and since I was early to class I had a choice of seats.

I started to draw the outlines in vine charcoal.  Emily suggested I leave as much of the toned paper exposed and just fill in the shadows and highlights I saw.  Easily said than done.  I struggled with coloring/filling in all the objects with charcoal.  I squinted at my objects and decided to draw in the highlights first with white chalk.  Then I squinted some more and started to draw in the shading and shadows with the charcoal.  After 30 minutes, I started to see my creations take shape.

Here’s the end results:

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I decided to make my own homework in between my weekly classes.  I took a picture of this still life from class.  I plan on reproducing additional drawings in different mediums.  Practice, practice, and more practice.  Look.  Squint.  Draw.  Simple enough….

Paper used:  Strathmore (400 series) Toned paper (brown)

My take away from class:  not to think too much and just draw what I see.

Day 2: Drawing Explorations – Charcoal

Our instructor, Emily, mentioned that we would be using charcoal for our next class.  Vine and compressed charcoal to be exact.  There were several tables setup with various bottles, mugs, and other objects.  I chose to sit at a table with some difficult objects.  I like to be challenged.

I definitely had the challenge of drawing curves as in the following bottles:

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I was drawing on my 18″x24″ drawing pad (Canson) and enjoy covering a large piece of paper.  No more 8″x10″ paper and small drawings.  I’m going big.  At least a minimum of 11″x14″.

I enjoy using vine charcoal for sketching the outline of my drawing.  I also like that I can easily erase it.  It also blends nicely on the paper.  I used the compressed charcoal to fill in the shadows and shading of the bottles.  I find it harder to blend versus the vine charcoal.

See all the marks on my paper?  Charcoal smears too easily and gets on my hands and fingers.

I had fun experimenting with charcoal.  It might actually be a favorite media of mine.

Take away from class:  need to work on light and dark values.

Day 1: Drawing Explorations Class – Rough Sketching

When I arrived at my local art gallery, there were several tables setup with still life objects.  A few tables were setup with styrofoam objects (cups, cones, etc).  Other tables had gray bottles, pots, and fruits.

Since I was the first one to arrive, I took a seat at a table with some difficult objects to draw.  For the first 30 minutes we drew basic outlines of the still life.  Here’s my first rendering:

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We were then told to move to another table of our choice and do another basic outline of still life.  This time I chose the styrofoam objects.  Here’s my next rendering:

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Still a work in progress.  I definitely need to practice every evening and work on perspective drawing.  Otherwise my artwork will appear to be wonky.  Looking forward to my next class.

Paper used:  Canson sketch pad 18″ x 24″

Take away from class:  need to work more on getting the perspectives right.

 

Getting Ready for My First Class (in years)

I’m getting ready to start a class at my local art center.  My first art class since early 2000.  I thought I would start practicing the basic drawing skills like drawing an object, it’s shadows, and shading.  First, I created a value chart for my personal use:

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My graphite value charts

The above chart will help me make sure I have contrast in my drawings.  I tend to sketch/draw lightly so that everything looks flat.  I need to work on being bold and show contrast in my work.

Then I drew the typical ball with it’s shadow and shading or values.  I’m getting there.  See the contrast?

 

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My sphere drawing showing cast shadows

Then I decided to just practice what I wanted to draw  I dug out my vacation snapshots and came across my turtle pictures I took while in Costa Maya.  It’s a start:

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I will be back with more.

Something Old….

I hope to have this blog updated or to include past entries from another blog.  I started to blog about my artwork back in 2011 when I was dabbling with oils and then acrylics.  There is good information and reviews on products that I used and tested that I hope to share going forward.  So, be patient as I work out the backing up of data, exporting, and then importing the information.  I will let you know when it takes place.  Stay tuned!

My Journey Begins

I love all things art.  That includes what I see on paper, on canvas, and through the lens of my camera.  My mind is always wandering.  How many colors do I see?  What is the composition?  How does the rule-of-thirds apply?  Where is the source of light?  Where are the shadows?  Can I draw this?

It is all about learning to look.  Capture the moment in my head.  Take a snapshot with the tools I have.  Reproduce the creative moment.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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