Rethinking textures

2016-04-30 From the train

My approach to drawing has descended to making random marks in fountain pen secure in the knowledge that I can use water to move the ink about, disguising my sloppiness.    I can take things further and obscure the whole thing with conte crayon.

At a workshop last weekend, artist Oliver Lovley went back to the basics, using a palette of varied marks to represent different surfaces, part representational drawing, part mapping the subject’s components with textural symbols.

2016-04-30 Malt Cross Nottingham (2)

in this interior sketch, I used ruled lines to delineate the shading and reflected light on straight metal bars, contrasting this with looser lines building the wooden beams and panelling.  A simple trick I learned too late was to paint in soft shadows directly using the water brush, carrying ink lifted from the pen nib.  This would have worked better for the glass globes on the chandelier than what I show here, bleeding the tones from strongly drawn lines.

2016-04-30 Malt Cross Nottingham (4)

Reverting to pencil, I surrendered to the discipline of a straight edge to show light reflecting on the wooden panelling and plaster walls, contrasting this with the rough and curved surfaces on the pottery and the wavy hair lines on a fellow artist.

2016-04-30 Malt Cross Nottingham (1)

2016-04-30 Malt Cross Nottingham (3)

The upper rooms of the Malt Cross in Nottingham sit above caves hewn in sandstone, once used to keep cool ale.  Here the intersecting surfaces are of the rusting metal casing and smoother radiating fins of some contraption set against cracked stone and pointed bricks.  In a first quick sketch, I used my usual pen lines, liberated with water and a light dusting of crayon, using colour to set apart the surfaces.  In the second, I attempted to use just the pencil marks to show the same thing.

2016-05-01 Breakfast in Birmingham (5)This last drawing was from the following day, sitting with my children having breakfast in a café before going to watch my wife cross the finishing line in a 10K run (a creditable 56 minutes 9 seconds).  This composite of several waitresses as they each stood at the counter was drawn directly in pen and water, finished again with conte crayon.  Although drawn first in loose lines, I corrected the straight lines with a ruler, to set these against the curved bars of the seats.  I have tried make the marks differentiate between the rough wooden table and the finer grained seat backs, the loose weave of her hooded top and stretched fabric of her leggings.  I applied a minimum of crayon to a few surfaces, rather than obscuring the drawing by flooding the image with colours.


17 responses to “Rethinking textures

  1. Looks like it was a good class! I particularly like the chandelier and the straight line contrast. I would not think of ruling a straight line as it is such a contrast to my normal, wonky, lines.

    • You are spot on. I did not realise. I drew this from the train on my way to Nottingham. However, I have drawn it as if there is water in front, but this should be lines of trees. It had passed by before I could look properly. Thanks for locating this for me!

  2. Have you tried the Elegant Writer pens (fine point)? I saw them mentioned in a blog and they’re a revelation if you want to splat and blot to move the ink about, and you get some gorgeous muted shades.

  3. This all still look stunning KA, the chandelier really packs a punch. I think you got your money’s worth from the day, what a lot of work. Have you thought about taking one of the sketches and doing a bigger version? I think you have captured plenty of detail to play with. I thought that about the landscape one of yours we were looking at, i think you are capturing so much information and mood, it would scale up and give you more room to develop the texture and contrast against blank/ scrubbed out areas. You might need to forgo a bike ride and have a studio couple of hours. I’m tempted to go to Oliver’s painting workshop on 20(?) May. Your output has made me feel rather lazy!

    • Hi OA
      I was impressed with your sketches from the workshop.
      The challenge of studio work is there are too many distractions, work, children, guitar, children and too many snacks on hand. Actually the real challenge is I don’t draw the same way indoors, preferring to create heavily textured random abstracts which I later build on, like the one a few posts ago. I don’t feel the same way as outdoors, sometimes taking my cues from music rather than what I see. Still, it’s an interesting idea to combine these, start with my representational outdoor landscapes and build something abstract from these.
      Lovely’s painting workshop is the 21st. It’s the Dr Sketchys that afternoon. My wife is rather looking at coming with me as a kind of date … We don’t get out much together! But I agree, I did get stuff out of that workshop and would willingly come to another with you. I gain more from it by your company, if I may say, and it’s nice to have a pint with another artist and talk drawing.
      I wonder about targeting an open exhibition jointly, one a good few months away, and each setting out to create pieces for submission (cooperating, commenting, supporting not competing with each other). What do you think? No pressure – just an idea. I wonder what anyone else reading these comments thinks about this too.

      • That immediately makes me start to sweat – producing something for something! The pressure! But prepared to challenge myself. Trouble is, my stuff never ever looks finished, that’s why i was thinking down the open studio path – lumping all my stuff in a room for people (what people??) to rummage through! Yes it was good workshop i think i got lots out of it which wasn’t necessarily on the paper and the debrief over beer was very civilised. It was good to see how you worked, we have very different approaches. Remember to let me have next dates for urban sketchers.

  4. Pingback: Mark making II | kestrelart

  5. Pingback: Olives and mark-making | kestrelart

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