Thursday, 12 March 2015

Eilean Donan Castle



You may recall from my last post that I did a practice piece of this castle a few weeks ago. Since then I've been working on the drawing proper. This is much larger than I usually work (on 16" x 12" Daler-Rowney Heavyweight paper) and it's surprised me as to how much longer a large drawing takes compared to a smaller one. I suppose it should have been obvious but there's a lot of little pen marks in this drawing. A picture twice the size seems to have taken 8 times longer to do.

Another 'first' for me was that I used several reference photo's. With shadows, lack of colour and a flat grainy photograph I found some of the details difficult to put into perspective, but having several photo's taken at different times of day and from different viewpoints enabled me to get a better understanding of how the various walls and buildings fit together.

As I stated in my previous post, this particular view of the castle isn't quite balanced as the bridge runs out too far to the right leaving a large empty space to the right of the castle. I had intended to use artistic licence to insert a tree into that space to balance things up but I've changed my mind and cropped the picture to exclude one of the bridge spans. A few birds in the empty space adds some balance.

I'm really pleased that I did the practice piece (something else I don't usually bother with) as it helped me understand which hatching/shading worked and which didn't. I didn't want to make the hatching obvious and believe that if done right it should blend seamlessly into the whole.

32 comments:

  1. LOVE it !!! I belive that this is my absolute favourite amongs all of your drawing of buildings. It´s super! This second drawing of the castle is, as you say, balanced. The bridge doesn´t stick out any. It looks great. And I love the hatchings you did inside the bridge. They fit the bridge great. I have no words for this!!!! Beautyful!!!!! Ten out of ten from me John :)

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    1. What a lovely comment Catharina, it is much appreciated. I'm glad you think this one is more balanced. I very nearly did that tree but I'm glad I didn't in the end. Take care. ;-)

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  2. Fantastic Drawing John. All of what Catharina says. All the best.
    Vic.

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

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  3. Well done John. It's interesting to read about all the new things you're trying, and it's certainly paying off in the quality of your work. I suppose it's inevitable that a bigger drawing is going to take longer: you can't just use a bigger pen unfortunately!

    One thing bothers me about this one: because the shoreline slopes upwards, it seems to tip the whole drawing to the right. I think it might have been better if it was more horizontal. What do you think?

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    1. LOL ... I'd thought twice as big therefore twice as long. WRONG!! Twice as big equals 8 times longer. And not helped by the fact that I did most of it with my finest pen in order to preserve detail.

      It's an interesting point you make about the shoreline but it's not something I'd noticed to be honest, in fact I slavishly followed the reference photo as I always tend to do. Another thought is whether the angle of the hatching gives the illusion of the building tipping to the right.

      Thank you Keith.

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    2. I see what you mean, in a later comment, about not wanting the shoreline to look like a river. Maybe it's just the way I see it, as it doesn't seem to bother other people. You could be right about the hatching: I suppose that's a potential problem with regular diagonal lines.

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    3. Truth is Keith, in my inexperience I tend to just follow the photo so it didn't get any thought one way or the other. But I have noticed the hatching can have a significant effect on perspective if I get the lines going the wrong way. Thank you for your observation ... it's greatly appreciated.

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  4. Really fabulous drawing, John! The detailing is outstanding. I am surprised how a few little birds makes such a difference. :)

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  5. Wow this really is amazing! So detailed... You must have a lot of patience - more than I have! :0)

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    1. I wouldn't have said I've got a great deal of patience Sandra but I did really enjoy working on this. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  6. Good morning John!... This ink rendering is "You"... at your very best - a great compositional perspective... well-executed detail to create a magnificent architectural jewel!

    Well done Sir! My hat's off to you!

    Good Painting... and further Drawing!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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    1. You're very, very kind Bruce and it's really nice of you to drop in to post a comment. Thank you for your very generous words which are greatly appreciated. Warm regards.

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  7. Everytime you do one of these John I can't help but think you'll not get any better.. but WRONG!
    By now though if I had to pick out one I would really not be able to as they are all so good.
    I don't find the slope in the shoreline to be a problem ... the right side (bridge) balances it perfectly.
    Barbra Joan

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    1. What a lovely thing for you to say Barbra Joan. I have to admit that I am enjoying working in pencil and pen. I've always wanted to be a watercolourist like you but I'll never get to your standard. Thank you for your observation about the shoreline .... it's something I never gave any thought to. Take care.

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  8. Congratulations, John! This is absolutely flawless. Amazing details!!

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  9. Have to add as I read the comments: the shoreline slopes upwards, yes. But I think that it ads to the depth of the drawing. :) Hug.

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    1. Thank you for coming back to add another comment Catarina. For me, if the shoreline had been level it would have made the water look more like a river. This castle sits on it's own small island, and I think the shoreline helps depict this. I appreciate your comment very much. ;-)

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  10. This is wonderful John, I really love it.

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  11. You did the perfect crop to make it a great composition. It takes someone with enormous patience to execute this type fo art. Well done John.

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  12. Hi John
    I liked the energy of your practice piece, which this was has lost - because you were trying to get it right? May I suggest for the practice piece, if, as you said, the aim is to work on tones, shadows etc., then do it in pencil. This serves 2 purposes. 1st you can really work the tones and see where they need to be, plus correct easier than ink. 2nd. when you come to ink, it will have the freshness that comes from doing something for the first time.
    Hope you don't mind me saying this.

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    1. Hi Sue, of course I don't mind your suggestions and am very grateful for your time and interest. This is the first time I've done a practice piece proper and I did feel much stiffer and disciplined while doing the final drawing. I hadn't thought of using pencil for the practice the piece and that's a great suggestion. Thank you very much.

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  13. Wonderful work as always. I particularly enjoyed your solution with the birds! I am amazed at the line work here! Just spectacular. And I have to say how wonderful it is to see you back in the swing of things. I'm using your energy to help ignite my spark. sucker sputtered and went out...completely!

    and thank you too for your much needed comment on Reflections 2!! Most appreciated my friend! Keep on!!

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    1. Thank you for such a wonderful and generous comment Suz. You have no idea how uplifting it is to receive a comment like this from an artist of your calibre. I hope your spark ignites very soon. ;-)

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  14. Stunning work on this John. The castle is magnificent in real life but so is your graphite interpretation of it. Hope all is good with you. PS: Haven't got a problem with the shoreline. Having been there I know the land actually veers off in that direction, so to me it makes sense.

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    1. Thank you very much Laura, much appreciated. ;-)

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  15. I have a surprise for you in my blog! Please have a visit!
    http://catharinaengberg.blogspot.se/2015/04/my-dear-blogfriend-antonia-del-olmo.html

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    1. I'm intrigued .... on my way right now!!! ;-)

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