Exercise: Points of View


Exercise: Points of View

Exercise: Points of View Sketchbook and Notes Bickton Mill Sluice Gates

Exercise: Points of View
Sketchbook and Notes
Bickton Mill Sluice Gates

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

Exercise: Points of View Looking North Bickton Mill Sluice Gates Sharpie Pens A4

Exercise: Points of View
Looking North
Bickton Mill Sluice Gates
Sharpie Pens A5


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

Exercise: Points of View Looking South Bickton Mill Sluice Gates Sharpie Pens and pencil - A5

Exercise: Points of View
Looking South
Bickton Mill Sluice Gates
Sharpie Pens and pencil – A5


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

Exercise: Points of View Looking West Bickton Mill Sluice Gates Sharpie Pens - A5

Exercise: Points of View
Looking West
Bickton Mill Sluice Gates
Sharpie Pens – A5

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

Exercise: Points of View Looking East Bickton Mill Sluice Gates Sharpie Pens - A5

Exercise: Points of View
Looking East
Bickton Mill Sluice Gates
Sharpie Pens – A5


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.


Exercise: Finding a View


Exercise: Finding a View

After initial research see Selection of Personal Project for Final Assignment, I was sure where I wanted to focus my view, although, not how to tackle it.  Today I have spent around an hour at the site, sketching, looking and taking some generic photographs to better understand the area.  Below are the pages from my sketchbook with the thumbnail sketches and notes made at the scene and on reflection back at home.


Exercise: Finding the  View Sketchbook thumbnails 6B pencil, liner and Sharpie pens

Exercise: Finding the View
Sketchbook thumbnails
6B pencil, liner and Sharpie pens


Exercise: Finding the View Sketchbook Notes and Reflection

Exercise: Finding the View
Sketchbook Notes and Reflection









Photos were taken as reference and reminders of the area – also to retain some colour comparisons.

Sluice Gates Looking North

Sluice Gates Looking North

Sluice Gates Looking South

Sluice Gates Looking South








Sluice Gates Looking North from Footbridge

Sluice Gates Looking North from Footbridge

Sluice Gates Looking North East from Footbridge

Sluice Gates Looking North East from Footbridge








Sluice Gates Regulating the Flow of Water on the River

Sluice Gates Regulating the Flow of Water on the River

Water Level

Water Level










The photographs may, or may not be appealing, however, I am  hoping to express my inspiration in using this scene in an interesting, unusual and textural way.  We will see how my experiments progress through the coming exercises and preliminary work.


Selection of Personal Project for Final Assignment


A choice needs to be made from the previous assignments to carry forward and develop for the final assessment of the Drawing Skills Course.  I have read through the exercises assigned to each option:

Mark Making and Tone
Observation of Nature
Drawing Outdoors
Drawing Figures

After thinking it through, I have decided to eliminate Drawing Figures from my selection.  I currently attend regular portrait and life drawing classes, therefore, I think it wise to select from the remaining three to expand my experience and variety of challenges.

Below I have noted the points for development highlighted both by myself and my tutor from previous assignments’ critiques.

Part 1 – Mark Making and Tone

Self:  Conceptualisation of thoughts; demonstration of creativity and being original.
Tutor:  Frottage experiments; experiment with colour; be mindful of the volume of text and not to be repetitive (learning log); explore each exercise and embrace mistakes; vary the scale of working and don’t be scared to alter this if needed.

Part 2 – Observation in Nature

Self:  Concept and communication of ideas; move away from the predictable; need to show more inventive thinking; once written down, self-analytical and critical thought to be explored and made into objective goals.
Tutor:  Try to work more loosely and make use of the characteristics of the media  in order to help to achieve this, (for example allowing acrylic ink to run); open your mind to less representative outcomes and methods.

Part 3 – Drawing Outdoors

Self:  Have struggled with perspective in this section, so continue to practice this; maintain variety of media, don’t forget charcoal; continue to loosen up my work and become more expressive.
Tutor:  Act on own analysis of work; continue to practice perspective; use charcoal as a media option; keep challenging yourself by choosing interesting and ambitious subjects.

Part 4 – Drawing Figures

Self:  Bring my imagination into play more freely; carry the freedom and looseness through from the sketchbook into the final piece of work – have courage; push, surprise and experiment!
Tutor:  Currently in review – to be updated.

One conclusion I came to from this exercise was that the learning log and reflective side of the course has helped me immensely.  The articulation of my own development points has improved and become more specific from the extremely generic comments in Part 1.  I am also encouraged by the progress being made with each of the points, they have actually filtered into my brain and have, in the main, been applied within the following sections.  I am therefore, looking forward to going a little wild with my final assignment.

Mark Making & Tone

The subject matter in this option is to explore rooms and areas within the home, outbuildings, sheds, workspace etc.  Look for interesting corners, explore tonal opportunities, light sources and experimenting with mixed media.  Looking around the house, I was intrigued by a cupboard that doubles as my wardrobe and storage for hats, shoes and boxes of “stuff”.  I would lean towards that as a subject – it would provide opportunities for tones and textures.  This is a tempting choice.

Observation of Nature

Choosing natural objects such as plants, feathers, stones, leaves, animals as subjects.  Exploring their shapes from different viewpoints, line, tonal and colour studies and torn paper collage.  I have collected many found objects in a cardboard box and sorting through these I found a small rat skull that I had spotted whilst digging the garden.  A little macabre, but a fascinating object, I could imagine increasing its scale in a vigorous drawing, adding textures and abstract elements using colour, frottage and collage.

Drawing Outdoors

This is pretty much an infinite subject!  Where to start, the garden, parks, the New Forest near where I live, the beach again not far away, towns, villages etc.  A lot of the preliminary work here, is finding the view, experimenting with differing viewpoints, light, weather conditions, practical considerations not being the least.  Do I include people, animals, buildings, water etc? Plus of course, my old nemesis, perspective.  I’ve made progress, however, that is still a big development area.  I would need to make detailed studies to assist my composition and representation.  However, from my regular dog walking, I pass one place regularly, it’s down the end of our lane and I am constantly fascinated by it.  I live near the River Avon, it is a major river and has been known to burst its banks dramatically in the past, flooding large areas of the village and nearby town of Fordingbridge, big clue in the name!  Over the years many methods of controlling flooding have been employed, from the natural water meadows that are allowed to flood to ease the pressure, to the sluice gates that control the water levels from one part of the river to the other.  These gates are controlled by large iron wheels, the structure itself is rusty and mechanical, there are walkways over it, a couple of bridges and these are all at angles to one another.  There are wooden posts, in various states of decay, lichen grows over them and the river itself is fighting against the restrictions being put on it.  An opportunity for mixed media, frottage, perspective and compositional design.


The choice is obvious, Drawing Outdoors it has to be.  I am trying to ignore the fact that it will soon be Winter and there are the remnants of a hurricane coming across the Atlantic.  The chance to envelop all my development areas, draw something to which I have an emotional attachment, plus the many textures and natural erosion that can be depicted with all sorts of techniques and media is too great to pass up.

Decision made!