Friday, 27 February 2015

Practice makes perfect?

Following my recent small Pen & Ink drawings I wanted to try something more ambitious and decided to attempt this Mill which sits on the River Avon at Tewkesbury. The Mill is mainly brick built but the centre structure on legs, the small attic rooms and the small building to the right (also on legs) are made of white painted timber. The roofs are tiled and the water is wet. Regrettably I messed it up within the first couple of pen strokes but I'd spent so long drawing it out in pencil I hadn't got the heart to scrap it and start again so decided to use it as a practice piece. I wanted to better understand how to using hatching to depict brickwork, timber, tiles, water and so on, so a few wonky roof lines and wobbly windows weren't going to make a lot of difference to my learning process. Apart from the bad bits I'm not displeased with it and it was certainly a fabulous piece to practice on. The hatching and shading disguised a multitude of sins and I learned a great deal from doing it.


My next piece was specifically done as a practice piece. One of my all time favourite places even though I haven't been there yet (it's on my bucket list) is Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. I've decided that I'd like to draw it in Pen & Ink but to do justice to it, I think it needs to be a large drawing so as to allow for plenty of detail. To enable me to appreciate how best to hatch in the darks and shadows and to aid in the overall composition of the drawing, I decided to do a smaller (10" x  8") practice piece.

As usual, some of my verticals aren't vertical but that doesn't stop the practice piece from serving it's purpose very well. This particular composition is too wide. I don't like the way the bridge hangs out on it's own to the right, yet I feel the bridge is an important feature. I'll look at other options but I'm thinking artistic licence could bless me with a large Oak tree to the right of the castle. I'm pleased with the shading of the end gable of the building on the left but many other areas don't work as well as I'd hoped. I didn't want to overdo the diagonal hatching and I've achieved that, and I've also achieved a 'stone' appearance to the castle, however I think I need to have another practice run to try out some other effects.

They say "Practice makes perfect". It doesn't always ..... but it sure as heck helps. ;-)

26 comments:

  1. These are both fabulous pieces John. I wouldn't call them practice pieces at all. I've always wanted to visit Eilean Donan Castle too, that and Lindisfarne, oh and Bamburgh Castle...the list goes on :-)

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    1. Oh, I couldn't agree more .... I'm hoping I might get to Lindisfarne this summer and I want to fit Bamburgh and Alnwick castles into at the same time. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the lovely comment Ann.

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  2. These are great, and paintings in their own right. Your are an inspiration. We should all draw more

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    1. Thank you Polly, that's much appreciated. ;-)

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  3. John, your determination to do your pen and ink drawings shows in these pieces..
    Most impressive is your top piece... I can't believe the detail you've gotten and how very much they DO look like tile, wood, brick ... Excellent work and yes, practice, practice...
    Don't ever stop .. BJ

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    1. Thank you very much BJ. I wish I could do delicate watercolours as good as you but there's no doubting that I always feel more comfortable holding a pencil or pen.

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  4. It seems as if you keep yourself busy John. :) I´m enjoying every visit! I believe too that a tree by the bridge would be nice. Great idea. Looking forward to my next visit :)

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    1. Glad you agree about the tree Catharina. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  5. Outstanding work, John. It's such a pleasure visiting your blog!!

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    1. Oh, what a lovely thing to say Hilda. Thank you very much.

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  6. Both amazing drawings John. I can`t see where you have made a mistake mate. All the best.
    Vic.

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    1. Thank you very much Vic. All the best.

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  7. Two amazing pieces John, you should definitely be proud of them and consider them perfect !

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  8. Oh my! These are amazing!!! It doesn't seem long ago that you were struggling to find any time to draw at all! But now you really are on a roll! All amazing drawings too :0)

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    1. Thank you Sandra. Yes, last year was very busy with family commitments but I'm getting more time for myself at the moment and enjoying it immensely.

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  9. In bed with flu, but needed to say great work, John

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    1. Thank you very much John. I hope you shake off your flu very quickly.

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  10. Two amazing pieces John, I agree with all of the above. GREAT WORK. all the best to you, Joan

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    1. Very kind of you Joan, thank you very much.

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    1. Thank you Linda, that's much appreciated.

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  12. Wonderful, wonderful works! Amazing! And so glad to see you back! I hope all is well and thank you for your kind words!

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