For April my master class assignment is landscape. We were encouraged to explore the possibilities in the ordinary but I, like many of my classmates, relied on vacation photos for inspiration.
My four (I recycled an earlier sketch) drawings received a somewhat measured response from the teacher, but I now have some pointers for improving them. I will say that many of us seem to have struggled with the abstracting part of this assignment. We were to reduce the landscape to five or six large shapes and talk about what we eliminated and rearranged. I understand the reasons for doing this, but I know my sketches will need to be revised at least two more times to achieve that.
My first sketch and its inspiration – Cape Kiwanda, Oregon:
this is a difficult one….you’ve got, basically, a big black hole in the middle of the page – there are a couple of dark bits but they’re not really connected to the rock..I think it’s a really difficult subject to make an interesting landscape from. Take a little time to surf the ‘net and see if there are any solutions to this kind of image that really work.
Now the sea itself is very nice…lots going on, lovely horizontal composition, good ranges of values…I’d be careful with the edge where the wave turns, it looks a bit strange and, of course, you wouldn’t want the shadow of the rock….but working just with the waves might the the way to go on this one…or you might find some solution on www that you could “steal”!!
I decided to try making the big rock a much lighter golden color and see if that eliminates the hole problem. I think the ocean just by itself would be boring.
Sketch 2 is of salt marshes near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Since it’s a composite of several photos I won’t show any here.
You’ve got some good horizontal movement in this image…and a clear basic structure…be careful with the perspective of the river so that it definitely looks flat – water is always flat! – but otherwise I think it will work well.
I will be using this subject, but am changing it to be much more abstract. I’ll report progress in upcoming posts.
Sketch 3 is from a cell phone photo of my downtown.
Looking below to the sketch I can see that you’ve cropped the edges of the photo which is good because there’s a lot in it. Decide what is most important to you..is it that light right in the center?
If so, I’d almost push even more into abstract…the two lights curving up – just make it a circle, by the way, and the buildings just indicated by the skyline.
But if it’s the buildings that are of most interest, then I think I’d remove the light for it is very strong and dominating. Reading your description, it looks like the buildings are of less interest…so consider taking them to just rectangles and parallellograms really emphasising those lights…bring the bottom ones up and make them a little more varied…crop a little more off the right…and perhaps even alter the ration of width to height!! it would all be fun to do!
Sketch 4, recycled from the values assignment, is from Cape Breton.
it’s a very symmetrical image ….you’ve drawn it out really well…and those greens in the photo are gorgeous. I like the way you’ve kept the shadows…and I think you could exaggerate them even more.
But the symmetry makes the idea very static…decide which aspects of the landscape are most important to you, ignore all others (good move to remove the rocks and the stop sign!), and arrange the items in a more interesting way. Once you’ve abstracted the “good stuff”, ignore the photo.
also I’d be careful with the dark shadow around the house which is about the same shape as the house…(even though it is like that in the photo) – I’d make it more continuous across the back, less lumpy, more landscapey.
It might also be fun to extract the colors using PSE, or simply taking the photo to the hardware store and matching to paint chips!! the colors are so lovely.
I think these are all good ideas for this scene, but who knows when I’ll get to it. Let’s see, if I create three sketches each month for 12 months and I decide I want to make up half of them, that gives me 16 quilt ideas. Oh dear.