09 May 2016

More Landscape Drawings

Today I'm posting a few drawings I did in the online course I just finished...Drawing the Landscape. I took the class to learn how to draw in the field, as a first step to landscape painting.  If you cannot draw it, you probably cannot paint it.  The field drawings are a great tool for composing and learning to see.  

So here they are, drawings I did in the field to understand some aspect of tree structure and to get a level of comfort going out there and just sitting and observing.  It's a different way of doing things if you're used to sitting in your studio looking at an image on a computer screen.  But I like it.  It feels authentic and connected to be out there.  I think photos have a role to play, too, but I'm still working out what that is.  

Okay, that is all.


Cuyamaca Pines, 10x14", charcoal on sketch paper

Burnt Sugar Bush, Anza Borrego, 8x9", graphite on paper

Greenbelt Pine, 8x10", graphite on bristol board

08 April 2016

Studying Art Online: Drawing the Landscape

I'm taking another online course. This one is focused on drawing the landscape, taught by Deborah Paris.  I know how to draw faces and figures, but I have no experience drawing landscapes, so I thought this would be worth taking, which it was. 

The purpose of the course was to learn to draw and sketch in the field, the idea being that if you can't draw the landscape, you will probably have a difficult time painting it, too. 

Deborah advocates studio painting from field sketches and memory, no photographs, which intrigues me.  I don't want to paint landscapes by copying photos in a studio.  That seems ironic and mechanical to me.  I know plenty of artists prefer that approach, and some do it well.  But when I paint from photos, I get too literal and it kills the energy and expression in the painting.  It's not for me.

In this course, we started with master copies, graphite on Bristol board, after JD Harding, from his book "On Drawing Trees and Nature".  The book is ancient, but if you can get past the vernacular it is a treasury of advice on drawing from nature.  It's all there.  

Here are a couple of my master copies.  Next post I'll put up some original work from the class.

Scotch Fir after JD Harding, 8x10", graphite on Bristol board


Rocks and boulders after JD Harding, 4.5x10", graphite on Bristol board


23 February 2016

My First Online Course: Values in the Landscape


In my last post I mentioned I was taking a 4-week online course, with Deborah Paris, on the use of values in the landscape.  Now that the class has ended, I'm reporting back.

This was my first online class, and I liked the format.  It was self-paced and interactive, I didn't need to leave my studio, and it's was cost effective. Deborah's a good teacher, too.  No time to waste.  She loaded the course work on, and I got my money's worth.  I learned a huge amount.

I liked it enough to sign up for more of her classes, which go through May.  The coursework is eating into my studio time, so I'm not producing much of my own art right now.  But I need to do this. 

The present class covered the use of value to create distance, depth, atmosphere and different lighting scenarios like a sunny day, overcast day, dusk, etc. Some of the course content was based on John Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting and his Theory of Angles.

Value study of "At Twilight.River Istra" by Isaac Levitan, 8x10" oil on linen

Assignments included exercises to judge isolated values, value mapping of master works, and field drawing exercises to observe values in nature.

Value study of "Castelmuzio" by Marc Dalessio, 8.5x10" oil on linen

The paintings in this post are all copies of masterworks I painted in gray scale for the class.  They show how value alone can convey the feeling of a hot, sunny day in Tuscany, or the weight and volume of sunlit clouds in a big prairie sky.  No color required!


Value study of "Prairie Jazz" by Clyde Aspevig, 8.5x10" oil on linen

I look at the landscape differently now, and I can identify potential landscape compositions where I saw none before.  I am also more aware now of value problems in artwork...both my own and other artist's.   Sometimes it's artistic license, mostly it's just careless value choices.

Value study of "Oak Tree" by Isaac Levitan, 10x10" oil on linen