Exercise: Points of View
Points for consideration:
- Zoom in or expand the view
- Forms of the landscape
- Map out main areas
- Relationships between features
- Do not get involved with detail
- Work swiftly
- Foreground, middle and far distance
- Strong horizontal, diagonal or vertical lines?
- Rhythmic shapes?
After the first drawing, applying the above considerations, we were to turn 90 degrees, complete another and turn again, repeating until covering a 360 degree rotation. There was a similar exercise in Part 3, that I followed to the letter, however, I am hoping that my current efforts will be forgiven as I really want to focus on the sluice gates and as there was a distinct possibility of my getting very wet I skewed the brief a little. Drawing in a 360 degree circle would mean I was looking outward from my viewpoint, however, I decided to keep the sluice gates as my subject and move around said subject. I was still creating a 360 degree view but looking inwards. I have to admit, I did begin to include too much detail, although some was necessary to bring the foreground objects into focus.
24/10/14 12.07 – 13.14
Very overcast with dark clouds forming.
Began raining lightly but steadily as I started drawing. Being dressed in waterproofs, I was dry but my paper was becoming wet. I had decided to use black Sharpie pens to avoid erasing any marks and using thick and thin points to help describe distance. The pens began struggling against the damp paper and would barely make a mark at all as time went on, so I had to switch to pencil to mark out the drawing. My intention was to reiterate with pen on my return, which I did.
Although I still would like to concentrate on the sluice gates, it was a welcome change and fun to concentrate on the foreground branches and foliage in the last drawing. It was quite noticeable how many leaves had fallen from the trees since my last visit on 22/10/14, many more branches were bare and the distant trees had more oranges and russets in their remaining leaves.
Drawing One (Detail) – Looking North
This viewpoint was from the footbridge, looking North up river. I’m not entirely satisfied with the far distance in this drawing, it is indistinct which is what I was aiming for, however, the tone is a little too dark and doesn’t imply how far away the vanishing point is. If I decided to develop this view further in future drawings, it may be more successful in colour. Although a beautiful view with real distance (in life), I am reticent to choose this as it’s quite a traditional composition and I had set myself a goal to avoid the predictable.
Drawing Two (Detail) – Looking South
This drawing, in particular, suffered from damp paper, so is half in Sharpie pen and half in pencil, with some reiteration of line done back at home. This is an interesting view in, due to the radiation of diagonals from the top right corner. The mechanics of the sluice gates are quite visible, although I feel I should have strengthened the lines in the turning wheel nearest to us a little more. The rust on the iron and the lichen on the concrete buttresses were more pronounced at this angle and proximity. The shadows under the foot bridge were also descriptive in life, which again, would be easier to portray in colour should this view be developed. The perspective of the diagonals, although, not entirely accurate, does help to describe the distance and also highlights the lack of the same in the previous drawing, particularly as here the buildings are much closer to me.
Drawing Three (Detail) – Looking West
This viewpoint is the least interesting for me. It has too many horizontals, with the main vertical being almost in the middle of the frame. I didn’t notice this at the time, as I was concentrating on placing the wheel to the left. The opposite river bank has no real draw for the eye to take it towards the distance, and as the distance isn’t far away and stops dead at the fence, the most that can be done is looking left to right and back. I do like the turning wheel and the gearing in view though, so maybe I could include these in another drawing or focus in on them in another way. The smell of the congealed grease at the bottom of the wheel’s mechanism was really strong.
Drawing Four (Detail) – Looking East
This was a welcome change from the hard lines and industrial feel of the other drawings. Situated across the river on the far bank, crouched under the overhanging trees, not only was the actual view different, I was also lower down so could see more distance over the main wooden bridge adjacent to the sluice gates. The overhanging trees and reeds worked well in silhouette, with the river a pleasing rest for the eye in front of the gates, the current was fairly still with clear reflections. From here the sluice gates took on an impression of merely a bridge, there was no obvious rusty iron, or mechanical workings visible. I could see over to the other side towards distant trees and some sky. Unfortunately, in the drawing, these distant trees are reduced to light scribbling to maintain the illusion of distance. However, again in colour, these may be more obvious, whilst still retaining the aerial perspective.
After spending around an hour sketching in the drizzle and looming cloud, I decided to call it a day. I didn’t really observe much difference in the quality of light over that time. It was fairly static due to the heavy cloud and tonal qualities were subdued. I have tried to indicate what I saw and to apply aerial perspective, with varying degrees of success, in very gloomy conditions. However, with the multitude of considerations before me when drawing outdoors, I consider the exercise very successful, with a collection of drawings that will help me decide what to develop next. I am still very much drawn to the original idea of the sluice gates being my subject, however, the last drawing from under the trees has made me question how to move it forward. I will mull this over at the weekend.