‘Tis the season to pack up the knapsack and roam without a care, painting with ease all day while roaming the friendly outdoors, returning at end of day with charming sketches and, indeed, spontaneous masterpieces…
Reality check. Ants. Wind drying up your wash. Sunlight glare. Mosquitoes. Falling debris. Sitting on rocks. Sunburn, stiffness, moving light source, spiders, curious onlookers.
“Outdoor painting is &%#@! hard!”
What a pleasure to hear someone else voice one’s frustration 🙂
Outdoor painting is not indoor painting.
After a couple of hours of annoying myself with a rose bush (I don’t paint flowers well at the best of times; why would I choose such a subject for outdoor painting?!), sketching with some wild, heavy lines was a restorative action. Here’s my 30 second sketch of Pippie, who knows looking for gophers is a far better way to spend some time outside.
Sometimes I get a great urge to paint something in particular, a subject rather than a scene. Horses, clouds, water, portraits; challenging subjects that can enhance a run of the mill landscape painting or a show full of scenery alone.
This time the drive is to be able to recreate the people I see. I want to be able to capture the natural expressions of movement, the distinctive characteristics of people. I really get annoyed with myself when my drawings are stiff and unnatural. People look at people. They can tell when they don’t look they way they are supposed to.
The only cure is hard work. Practice makes… ease of line and confidence of shape. I began with the pen, because that’s what I had in my hand, got frustrated and moved on to pencil and finally dug up an eraser too. Drawing with the pencil will translate to drawing with the brush. I used the work of Rien Poortvliet to practice with, since real people don’t stand still, nor do they hang around the neighbourhood on a weekday. Poortvliet is a prime example of practice paying off. He drew everything, and he was confident enough to leave in lines he didn’t like to show that he didn’t just pick up the pencil and create perfection.
Looking at these drawings from the perspective of the day after I can see some things that are obviously out of proportion, some limbs of unlikely lengths, some awkward poses: but I know that being able to see such things means that I have studied my subject and will be able to amend the imperfections to something that will pass inspection. More practice coming soon!
Our time at the local school with students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 seems like a long time ago already! We very much enjoyed drawing the creative sense from all the kids and were pleased with the results as well as with the reception of the art from staff, parents and students. Below are some of the great pieces that were created by the students, on display at the school’s art show.
The trees were drawn and painted using Elegant Writers by Grade 4s, who also sketched trees in pencil.
Here and there is a tinfoil turtle sculpture. The Kindergarten class made sure there was a lot of bling on their shiny turtles.
The balloon cartoons are pen and ink and watercolour, created by Grade 5/6s. The scratch board fish are also Grade 5/6 work.
We were blown away by Grades 1 and 2, who produced translucent marbles with shadows using pastels.
Grade 3s arranged lovely flower bouquets using water soluble pencil.
The 7/8s are responsible for the moonlit acrylic scenes of northern lights and and spruce, as well as the detailed drawings of birds (with the odd giraffe, goalie and crocodile).
Our first Grade Six class of this year at Artists at School was most delightfully. They took great pleasure and artistic care in creating these beautiful forests using some advanced techniques. Negative painting, shading and loose sketching are all fairly difficult to do one at a time, never mind all at once with the new medium of water soluble pencil. Well done!
Our Grade Four Classes have done a wonderful job of their bird drawings! Every one of these is a great depiction of the real bird they were learning to observe and reproduce on paper. Each has life and character.