III. Assignment three – initial ideas

Task: Select a view from a window or an open door. Try to find a view that includes some natural objects and that shows your understanding of perspective (areal or linear), i.e. it needs to have depth. A3 paper. Your choice of medium. about 2h for final drawing.

Before the final piece: Do composition sketches, broad brush sketches for colour decisions, try out different media

Gate at abandoned factory in Tsing Yi, Hong Kong. Sketchbook entry extended at the top

A view through a gate is like a door… so that should qualify. This abandoned factory building is so fascinating. I am not sure if I can last 2 hours in that location though. Last time I was there with Chris (also at OCA) we got attacked by mosquitos, stray dogs and on top of that we got gassed by a 3 km long queue of lorries that kept their idling engines running while waiting to get into the harbour zone. It was like “choose your death” and we asked if we could have all of the above. But boy, is this an attractive view. All sorts of stairs, gaping windows, texture. Lovely.

Abandoned factory in Tsing Yi, Hong Kong. View from the main road. Pastel on beige paper

It’s a bit of a stretch but maybe the view through the massive porch could be interesting and would still qualify for this assignment if I went closer and included more “view”? The rendering above tries to capture the whole building, so that part of looking out through some gate/window/door/tunnel is not there yet. I would have to explore this building a bit more. A shame you cannot get in there… there are all these semiwild dogs – or maybe they are protecting the property? They seemed quite effective in doing this since Chris and I decided to keep a distance.

Chung Hoi view from the Academy of Visual Arts, composition sketch

Chung Hoi view from the Academy of Visual Arts, composition sketch

A different place I love is the Academy of Visual Arts building in Chung Hoi. It’s such a beautiful place, a colonial building with large trees on a hill among housing estates. This certainly qualifies as a “proper window view”, looking from the outside walkways towards the high tower blocks. The sunlight and shade there is majestic with the balustrade and columns framing the view. It would need to be in a coloured medium as the pinks and blues of the housing estate blocks are must more friendly than it appears in my pencil sketch above.

Decision time…


III. Project drawing trees – Check and log

How many different tree types have you drawn?

Not very many I must admit. I found drawing trees without context a bit dispiriting in the face of a limited amount of time and motivation I really just had to get through with this one as it was emptying my batteries unnecessarily.

What techniques did you use to distinguish each type?

hatching, stippling, ink wash, charcoal broad shading

What did you do to convey the mass of foliage?

in the group of trees exercise (which I still like) I largely indicated the foliage with dark/light areas of colours washed or stippled in;
in the other drawings I used squiggly ink lines and pencil shading on the shaded foliage side

How did you handle light on the trees? Was it successful?

In the last group of trees I tried to do it with colour – so we got bright yellow in the upper left and dark blues in the upper right. In the first small sketches (Exercise: Sketching an individual tree) I drew the trunk in more detail, clearly indicating the lit and shaded sides. Overall – if I compare this to John Constable’s Fir Trees pencil drawing in the course book, my sense of light and shade could be improved with just the marks of my drawing tool, even if it happens to be black. I usually go for colour wash instead of hatching but I should explore and improve the latter a bit.

Did you manage to select and simplify? Look at your drawings and make notes on how you did this, and what could you do better?

I simplified a fair bit. In the larger study of an individual tree not even in a good way as it feels naked and without feeling. In the last study (several trees) I could have left out the charcoal underdrawing and worked in a neater medium like pencil or biro under the ink washes. It is a tad messy.

III. Project drawing trees – Study of several trees

Several trees, A3ish, charcoal pencil, inks

Several trees, A3ish, charcoal pencil, inks

Task: Work in a wood or study a group of trees. Chose medium or mixed media. If you use watercolour pencils,give it a quick wash to add tonal areas. (1-2h)

After a bit of a forced single tree study I got into this. We had a lovely quite stormy day but the air felt clear and this slight hill next to the road gave the impression of a wood, the sun shining through the leaves. I just left out the massive wooden fence in front of it, as you would.

This turned out more spirited as a drawing. I added the ink at home – this would have been impossible today outside. The big tree trunk on the left lacks solidity, Maybe I should add some more shading … I just did, however not seen here as my camera battery is dead.

As a composition this is not bad at all: the angles of hill and trees suggest some movement. In terms of colour I was concious of using all primary colours in my ink mixture, tough red was rare and only appeared as purplish in the lower right.

Update a day later (see below): I gave the tree trunks more definition to make them more solid and I indicated the dark foliage of the right tree with black ink and a bamboo pen. I balanced out the dark matter on the upper right with some more dark marks on the lower left, but I really should try some tidier marks. I seem to go from one to the other extreme – too tight – too messy.

reworked for more definition

reworked for more definition

III. Project drawing trees – Larger study of an individual tree

Task: Look at a tree in detail, A3 cartridge paper and a fine drawing medium e.g. drawing pen, pencil or ballpoint. Try to work fast to keep a free and flowing hand. Notice the light source. (at least 1h)

Larger study of individual tree (A3, cropped on longer side) black fountain pen

Larger study of individual tree (A3, cropped on longer side) black fountain pen

This was a bit of agony. I hadn’t done anything for this chapter for a while (though I have drawn people). Trees are magnificent but I hesitated drawing them with a fine medium. It didn’t quite turn out just one tree, admittedly, but the small ones in the background in particular belonged to this tree. It’s not a great study – a bit sloppy and the stem of the main tree is unconvincingly uniform in texture, though the delicate small tree on its right is better. Anyway, thank God it is a restart of working on this chapter, so I take it as such and move on.

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