The objective for this lesson was to use ink washes in various tones to shorten the drawing time, even out the values, and pulling the elements together into a cohesive artwork. Pen and ink stokes were to be used mainly for details and texture. Students were to use 8 x 10″ black and white photos for their subject.
All first made a good drawing of the subject on sketchbook paper either free-handed or using a grid. Four small cups were set out with a little water in one, a little more in the second, more water in the 3rd, and the most in the 4th. We put a drop of India ink in each cup, thereby making 4 different values, plus the white of the paper and undiluted ink for the darkest tone.
We worked light to dark with a round watercolor brush, and made sure to let each value dry before adding another. Layering of values could also be used. When all the values were laid in, students used their pens to complete the painting. These really turned out great!
The homework assignment was to draw a still life composition with bottles, vases, etc. but instead of developing the positive shapes, students were to break up the negative shapes with patterns in pen and ink, thereby making the still life objects the negative instead of the positive. Here’s my example of this assignment:
The second class on pen and ink drawing got serious about making strokes to indicate value, shape, and texture with several sizes of pen and ink nibs. Some students used Rapidograph refillable pens while others used disposable Hybrid Technical pens in .3 and .6 sizes. I first gave them papers with four bottle images that I had drawn. They were to practice using hatching, cross-hatching, stipple, squiggle, or contour line to value the outlined bottles. Here’s the image I used for this exercise:
After completion of this exercise, each student selected either an object brought from home or one of those supplied to draw in an 8 x 10″ size. We reviewed the steps to drawing from life:
- Draw the large shapes first
- Map out the secondary shapes (including shadows, highlights, reflections)
- Look for connecting shapes
- Use the negative shapes
Really good drawings were made of these objects using a variety of strokes:
Here is my example:
They were to finish their drawings at home and bring an 8 x 10″ photo to work from next week. We will be using ink washes as well as pen strokes to complete these drawings from a photo.
I just completed teaching an eight week class on pen and ink drawing (from 1:30 – 3:30 pm) at the Maumelle Center on the Lake. I had eight students in varying degrees of drawing expertise, but they all did marvelous work and seemed to enjoy using pen and ink. My final two classes centered on scratchboard drawing – the reverse of drawing black and white, since the 5 x 7″ clayboards were covered with black ink and the lights had to be scratched out with different tools. For this and the next six posts, I will explain what we did and show various examples of my students as well as mine. For your information, I will list the artist books that I used for inspiration at the end of the last post.
Session 1. Materials were discussed along with right and wrong usage: Art Outfitters in downtown Little Rock had been kind enough to fashion kits that included all of the materials required for the course. I emphasized the importance of the sketchbook in practicing drawing daily. Sometimes, homework assignments were given to encourage more drawing practice. When pen and ink is used, every stroke is a commitment, since there can be no erasures!
In this first 2 1/2 hour class, we concentrated on loose pen and ink drawing using twigs and ink in bottles. We went outside and chose from any of the trees on the campus for our subject matter. They were to start with the trunks and build upwards, suggesting the leaves in clumps and light and dark values to define. This was a fairly quick way of drawing, akin to contour drawing. Here are two examples from the class:
Students came back inside and were told to select a single object or their hand to draw in their sketchbook using a black marker and only two values: black and the white of the paper. This was to be a quick study of loose instead of tight drawing technique. A review of gesture drawing, sighting, and measurement was given. Here’s an example:
For homework, I passed out sheets of different kinds of strokes used in tight rendering of pen and ink drawings. Students were to duplicate these strokes in their sketchbook to practice before coming for the second lesson, which would be to draw an object from life using appropriate pen strokes and their drawing pens. They were encouraged to bring objects from home that meant something to them or their families. Below is an image of the page with stroke examples they were given.
This watercolor painting titled “With Strings Attached” recently won the Bronze Award at the Arkansas League of Artists Spring Members’ Show at the Cox Creative Center in downtown Little Rock. It is on 300 # cold-press Arches watercolor paper and framed to 29 x 37.” I don’t usually paint in watercolor, and this was not an easy piece for me to create. I saw the aprons hanging in a studio at the Arkansas Arts Center, and thought they would make a pleasing composition with some alterations on my part. I tried to create visual interest and movement by varying the colors, patterns,, and sizes of the aprons and shirts. It was quite a challenge! This same piece won the Wiggins award at the MSW Annual Competition at the Arkansas Arts Center and 1st place at the Stuttgart Grand Prairie Arts Festival in 2015. The show at the Cox Creative Center will hang until April 30.
Currently on display, one of my pastel paintings was juried into the Wichita Pastel National Show in Kansas — the same piece won 2nd place at the Delta Arts Festival in Newport this year. From April to May 11, I have 3 artworks at the Conway League of Artists Show at the Faulkner County Library in Conway. In addition, a charcoal drawing of my husband’s arms will be published in the Art Coffee Table Book of Arkansas Hospice. Date of publication is unknown at this time.
If anyone is interested, I still have a few copies of my book about the Argenta Historic District Available. Contact me through my website or on Facebook.
Let’s try to draw an imaginary country home using the concepts of two-point perspective. Here are the steps I used:
- On a large *18 x 24″) sheet of drawing paper, draw a horizon line and select two vanishing points as far away on the page as you can. Then draw the front corner of the house approximately 2″ tall. Draw vanishing lines from the top and bottom of this line to the vanishing points on the left and the right.
- Your imaginary house in this case will face to the right. Draw vertical lines to establish the length and width of the building. You have made a box similar to what we did before.
- On the wide part of the box, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find its center. Extend a vertical line through this center point and extend it about 1 1/2″ above the top of your box. This will define the height of the gable end of the roof.
- Connect the top of the gable with the vertical sides of the box at both ends, extending just a little beyond the side to make your eaves.
- Now draw a converging line from the gable peak to the left vanishing point. This is the top of the roof.
- What about the back side of the roof? To get this point, extend a vertical line from the right vanishing point all the way up as far as you can on your paper.
- From the left corner of the facing side, extend a converging line all the way up the left side of the gable until it meets extended line you drew from the right vanishing point. Make a dot where these lines meet — this is called a vanishing trace. Where it intersects the top of the roof is where your roof ends.
- Extend a roof line a little beyond your left house end to make the roof. From this point, draw a converging line to the vanishing trace. Where it intersects the roof line is the end of your roof.
- So far, you have made a box-type house with a gabled roof. You can make some windows on one side if you wish like you made windows in the indoor examples. Next post, I’ll discuss how to make a front porch, a walkway, and a fence enclosing the property!
These are pretty much the last of the quotations I’ve collected over the years. I’m particularly thankful for those of you who have sent me your favorite quotations. Please feel free to do so, and I’ll add them to my book of quotations.
“The painter today has a choice: to break new ground and try to do what has never been done or to paint the uncommonly common in a way that reflects insights that are personal yet unique for anyone who encounters them.” Elizabeth Mowry
“That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his compositions neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids.” John Constable
“Great art depends on exaggeration for expressive effect.” Skip Lawrence
“Art is the proper task of life; art is life’s metaphysical exercise.” Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche
“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch
“Everything is related to everything else.” Leonardo da Vinci
“Form is the outer expression of inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky
“The gift is not the act of painting; it is the passion to paint.” Unknown
“Drawing requires no exceptional ability, only normal vision and a degree of coordination.” Nita Leland
Hopefully, you are enjoying reading the quotations from artists I have collected over the years. Some of them associate the Divine Creator with the creative process. Some can be applied to other areas of our life than just the visual arts. Here are a few more:
“This is the real test of your emerging creativity–doing work that is neither repetitive of your previous work nor a copy of the work of others.” Nita Leland
“When your creative self calls, go with it. It is God speaking. Listen to your creative conscience, the voice of the Divine guiding you each day. it resides in your heart. Go there and roam. That is your true temple.” Lalia Copoechione
“The object of painting is to evoke emotion in the viewer.” Elizabeth Grover
“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” Emily Dickinson
“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open.” Shakti Gawain
“Follow your bliss, and doors will open where there were no doors before.” Joseph Campbell
“To me, the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.” Robert Frost
“Chance is always powerful. let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” Ovid
“Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation.” Thomas Merton
“All arts are derived from the breath that God breathed into the human body.” St. Hildegard of Bingen
I have a gang of these – thanks to all who sent quotations I didn’t have. Here are some more:
“You’re not a reporter but an artist. A painting is a statement of the heart.” Ann Pember
“I don’t want it true; instead, I want a beautiful lie!” Edgar Whitney
“The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist.” Unknown
“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.” James Russell Lowell
“If you are afraid of making a crazy mistake, then you’ll never get any bright ideas either.” Unknown
“A creative act is not necessarily something that has never been done; it is something YOU have never done.” Unknown
“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” Andrew Wyeth
“You use the arts to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw
“A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.” Eugene Delacroix
“To work with nature as a poet is the necessary condition of a perfect artist.” Thomas Cole
“…it is the soul, not the eye, that sees.” John Ruskin
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle
Which is your favorite?
I thought I’d start out the New Year by sharing with you some of the quotations about the making of art that I’ve collected over the years. They mean something to me, and may be meaningful to you as well. Some of these are anonymous (meaning I don’t know where they came from), and some aren’t. I have given the author’s name where I can. So here goes:
“Painting the verb, the act of doing it, is more important than painting the noun.” Gerald Brommer
“When you watch children paint, they are not concerned with end results at all. They’re just thrilled with the process of expressing themselves. I think all artists need to step back once in a while and remember to enjoy painting and not be so concerned about end results. Art is about expressing yourself. The end result is just a bonus.” Sandra Meyer
“Every artist should be afraid of doing a painting where people don’t do anything; where people don’t react; where they say, ‘Well, that’s a pretty picture’ and move on.” Dean Mitchell
“Landscape is a medium for ideas…the various details in a landscape painting mean nothing to us if they do not express some mood of nature as felt by the artist.” Robert Henri
“The whole fact is that art and science are so closely akin that they might well be lumped together.” Robert Henri
“Do not let beauty in the subdivisions destroy the beauty or the power of the major divisions.” Unknown
“Paint the things that mean the most…the things you’d grab if the house were on fire.” Unknown
“Never let reality stand in the way of imagination.” Elizabeth Grover
“Art is just another language for praying to God.” Unknown
“What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of the business of making a picture.” Robert Henri
MORE WILL FOLLOW IN SUBSEQUENT POSTS — WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
In this abstracted 16 x 16″ landscape, I was trying to use one of the six basic value schemes mentioned by Edgar Whitney. The scheme was a little dark with a lot of light in medium values. I seldom use this value scheme; that’s why I wanted to try it. I also wanted to continue breaking up the picture plane into sections, but still be able to lead the eye movement to the center of interest (the barn in the upper right area). As usual, I worked out the value and color scheme in my sketchbook and decided to use a split-complementary color scheme: blue, red orange, orange, and yellow orange. The acrylic colors I used were Cadmium Orange, Hansa Yellow, Indian Yellow, Thalo Blue, Prussian Blue, Raw sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cadium Red Light and Titanium White. (At least, that’s what I think I used — hard to remember now!)