Part 4 – Exercise 7 – “Painting from a working drawing” – finished study

The brief:

Choose a subject that you’re already familiar with, such as a corner of a room in your own
home, or objects on a table by a window, and make three drawings:
• a linear study, concentrating on the main shapes
• a tonal study
• a colour study.

Don’t make the drawings too large. In your colour study, paint quite boldly; don’t try to make
a detailed description of the objects, but instead look for the dominant colours and any
effects of light that interest you. You’ll find it easiest to use the same medium for this study
as you will for the final painting as all painting media behave differently. Pin your studies up somewhere away from the subject, and begin on the painting, referring to your preliminary studies as necessary. The subject is a familiar one so you should be able to draw on memory to a large extent. The painting should be larger than the drawings, but in the same format (e.g. a rectangle of the same proportions).

Ask yourself the following questions and make notes in your learning log:
• Did your sketches provide enough information for you to do your painting? If not, what
else should you have included?
• Did you find that being away from the subject gave you more freedom to develop your
painting style? In what way?
• What is your opinion of the finished painting?

The process:

This was quite a challenge, probably due to the fact that I chose a very busy corner of my garage workshop, with lots of clutter and tools left lying about (untidy worker alert!). I used 10” x 7” sketchbook paper for these studies and lightly drew in a rule of thirds grid on each to help with object placement.

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - linear study (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – linear study (click image to enlarge)

Even the first linear study sketch showed the ‘busy-ness’ – I tried to concentrate on the main shapes and have penciled in what they represent and I did leave out a fair amount of detail. But I still think the balance of detail is still towards the fussy. Nonetheless, I decided to stick with this composition and prepared a tonal study next:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - tonal study (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – tonal study (click image to enlarge)

I tried to sketch from the same sitting position for this sketch but some changes to perspective lines appeared in the tonal study.

For the colour study I used oil pastels to catch the range of colour and tones:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - colour study (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – colour study (click image to enlarge)

Once I had sketched the initial studies I took a reference photo from the same seated position and pinned the set onto a mount board to ponder before setting it aside:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - sketches & reference photo pin up (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – sketches & reference photo pin up (click image to enlarge)

With my assignment deadline looming, I changed to acrylics for the painting as I wanted to try and speed up the process. I mounted a sheet of 45 x 60cm 280gsm canvas block onto a backing board and prior to starting the painting I mapped out four tonal zones in an attempt to simplify things:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - 4 tonal zones (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – 4 tonal zones (click image to enlarge)

I have been reading ‘The painterly approach: an artist’s guide to seeing, painting and expressing’ by Bob Rohm in which he discusses John F Carlson’s four-values approach to interpreting and painting the landscape [p45]. According to Rohm, he (Carlson), “ … proposed the sky as the source of light is the lightest value; the flat plane of the land that catches light most directly is the second lightest value; the slanted hills and mountains that catch light at an angle are a dark middle value; and the upright planes such as the trunk of a tree are the darkest.”

Using this advice I tried to interpret it for painting this working drawing:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - tonal zones with perspective lines & rule of thirds (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – tonal zones with perspective lines & rule of thirds (click image to enlarge)

Having mapped this out the next task was to sketch in my composition afresh:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - drawn up ready to paint (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – drawn up ready to paint (click image to enlarge)

The finished study:

My chosen palette was:

Warm
Cadmium Red
Venice Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Burnt Umber

Cool
Cerulean Blue
Payne’s Grey

and, Titanium White.

Brushes used were size 10, 8, 4 and 2 filberts and a size 12 flat.

I had masked round the frame of the painting on the sheet of canvas and set about painting, firstly with light washes which I built up wet-on-dry and then with more solid applications of colour:

Part 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - finished study showing outside frame tonal zone lines (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – finished study showing outside frame tonal zone lines (click image to enlarge)

Although I had left out quite a bit of the small detail from the sketches and the painting, I think that my original sketches probably still provided me with too much information. I could have included lots of other chisels and wood turning paraphernalia as well as ghostly images of bits of kit under the work benches and some indication of the adjoining shed through the window. However, what is contained in the composition is representational of this corner of the garage although it appears to me now as quite flat, overly precise and in the end I don’y really think my painting style has benefitted from this constrained approach. It may be technically accurate, but it all seems a bit tight and lacks a freedom of brush work that I would prefer to aim for.

Par 4 - exercise 7 "Painting from a working drawing" - finished study (click image to enlarge)

Par 4 – exercise 7 “Painting from a working drawing” – finished study (click image to enlarge)

Exercise 7 – painting from a working drawing ← click the link to download a .pdf version of this page

Stuart Brownlee – 512319

25th August, 2014