February evening at Duncannon Beach
The light by the last wave lingers on fronds
of seaweed fingering wave-wet rocks where
brim-filled pools overflow before they
empty when the water surges then sucks,
surges, then sucks.
glistening, sun warmed, lit by the last
light of day while slow footsteps meander
with the gentle waves rhythms, rising, falling,
so calming in my ears, that crest falling
with an almost silent swish, hearbeat’s grace.
All troubles tumbled away calmed first,
washed by light where the last wave lingers.
The view from Ballycuddihy – charcoal and graphite on paper
In my last post I uploaded some photos taken in the hills at Ballycuddihy county Kilkenny, I want to use these images and others as the source for a series of both drawings and acrylic paintings.
So over the weekend I started with a charcoal and graphite drawing. I like very much using these two drawing materials as I like to strip an image down into its monochrome tonal values before returning to repeating the painting in acrylic or oil paint and bring in colour paints. I plan this time however to paint these landscape views using acrylic paint, using black and white only, keeping the finished work to a maximum of ten grey scale values.
Here I have used the charcoal in both willow stick and compressed block form to produce a series of tonal values, using a brush to soften the charcoal into different grey values and tonal grades.The fine details in the drawing are created using graphite.
I am happy with the finished results considering that the drawing was completed within four hours, I have learnt many things here and will repeat this technique many time so that I keep getting to know much more about using charcoal and pencil together.
A weekend in colour
This week I started an online course in colour mixing for watercolour and acrylic painting, so during this weekend I plan to spend as much time as possible learning colour theory.
I worked on the course in the evenings and have already used up a few pages of a new sketchbook, including the pages I have posted here.
I feel that one of the most important things I have learned so far, regardless of the type of paint used (Watercolour or Acrylic) is that I am getting to know them very well, how to mix the basic colours included in a sets of paints and what the results look like. Not all colours act the same even when used without mixing them, some colours produce very smooth results others produce a very grainy texture, some colours don’t seem to go into the paper or canvas very deeply others act more like a dye and the moment they touch a painting surface they stain and fix themselves in very quickly and most likely permanently.
The use of colours
When I first stated painting some years back, I would spend a large amount of time trying to match every single colour in a landscape I was painting, however I feel that since these days I have learnt that doing this is not only exhausting it also does not always produce a good painting. Colours can be used much more effectively when limited and balanced so that they are used to compliment each other. When colour is used to highlight areas in a painting or to soften other areas they can make some parts of a painting stand out and others while still included, fall into the background of the finished work.
It’s all these areas and more that I want to study and regain complete understanding again of both in practice and theory, I can then move onto producing colour sketches and full paintings again.
In order to produces all the colours you want to include in a painting you actually only need three , The primary colours (RED,YELLOW and BLUE), what does counts here however is the type of red, yellow or blue you start with in the first place as this will allow you to produces very different final results.
So this weekend I plan to uses as much paper as possible and produce a colour notebook that I can use during the year to help me when producing any paintings I start working on.
If I get time I will post on my progress but if not, I will on Monday post some results and my thoughts on what I worked on.
Back in June this year Ireland was in the middle of a 8 weeks drought and even the Boglands had become dry. At one of our nearest Bogs we had a large wild fire which I visited to get the below images. Since then I have been working on some drawings of this event. This is a great subject for ink on paper type drawing.
The above image is just one that I have completed so far …..
Bog fire Gallery
The old church yard at Killamery county Kilkenny is most famous for its highcross pictured here at the bottom of the post. The old church and grave yard however are just as interesting, the history of the area includes it being the location of a very large monastic site covering what would have been many large building now completely lost in time.
My sketch here I hope helps capture a sense of this wonderful place located on the boarder between county kilkenny and county Tipperary.
One of the location that I love to take both my camera and sketch book is Kells Priory, county Kilkenny. Its an amazing location to capture in many forms and I am very lucky to live only a few miles away. I have posted here on my blog about it many time, you can used the search box to find these post if you wish.
The above is a Pencil on Paper drawing I worked on from about two weeks ago and below is a photo taken earlier in the summer when there was many more visitors around the site.
The last few one hour sketches I have worked on, I worked in pencil and ink but yesterday I went back to pencil only, using a B, 2B and 5B pencil. The location was a great little church and graveyard in the towns lands of Whitechurch on the south Kilkenny boarder.
I really loved working with ink but wanted to get back to pencil, although the direction I feel that my drawing is going in I am working with mainly line and shapes so there is little difference as yet. With pencil however I like the fact that I can get more tone using different grades of graphite.
I feel the main things I learn during this drawing were, how much to actually include in the drawing from the view in front of me, how I feel I want to represent different organic items such a ivy and trees along with grass and weeds! I feel I got the size of the two grave stone over very well…
I feel happy with the finished sketch, feeling that overall I got across well using the medium the view that was in front of myself. The worked flowed very well with no need to stop during working yet I got a good sense of when to finally stop working and be happy that the drawing told the full story!
Last week here the weather in Ireland took a wet and showery turn, its starting to feel very close to the Autumn now. As such it was a little harder to finish each of the outdoor sketches that I started, If I have to stop a drawing I intend to return to the same location the next time I have a chance. However the sketch above is one that I did manage to finish, even this one was interrupted for some 15mins while I put everything back into my waterproof pack and waited for the rain to stop.
The location of this sketch is on the hillside just south of Clonmel and the river Suir, with a great view of the woods and its trees, looking towards the mountain of Slievenamon above, about a 10 min walk from the car park.
In the last two weeks or so I have started adding in some graphics pens to my work, I am finding that using these pens helps me keep freely flowing and moving as I work, I will return to just pencils at some point but am really enjoying the look and feel of the lines that these pens are adding. With Pencil I feel I end up with more stopping and starting during working as I think about tone and depth. light and dark, while this is great just for the moment I want to think about form and shape alone.
I am happy with this finished drawing, looking at it I wonder if I have overworked it just a little but I think for the moment I am happy. These are sketches and not final works, I am very happy , more happy if something is to be found in them that I can learn from and progress with.
Over the last few weeks I have been doing my best to find time each day to get outside and draw, Today I stopped at a local public Gardens that has some amazing paths, winding their way between some old trees. Its a great location that I hope to draw many times over the winter months.
Today as an exercise, I gave myself one hour to complete a sketch, using pencil and an ink pen on paper, in order to capture as best as I am able a sense of the path as it gets deeper into the trees along side it, as it does so the light falls dramatically.
I enjoy very much these one hour exercises, working quickly as possible yet as best as I can, I feel it is helping to build my ability to see whats in front of me and then how to use basic drawing tools represent this view on paper.