Etiqueta: drawing

Part 5 The personal project

Part 5 The personal project

The main square – Plaza de las Armas, Rancagua

The main square was actually one of my subjects within Part 3 of the course and I wanted to return there to try and capture some of the spirit, character and colour of this historical site.

In making the following experimental drawings I was mindful of the work of John Virtue, David Bomberg and Leon Kossoff.

During my trip to Europe earlier this year, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Cologne.  Whilst there I saw some photos and postcards of the City showing the devastation by allied bombing in 1945.  The drawing below was a graphite drawing made from one of the postcards and was an idea I thought I could possibly take forward to use for drawings of the main square in Rancagua:


Further experiments in graphite included this watercolour graphite after a charcoal drawing by Dennis Creffield:


I then spent some time sketching in the square – this rather messy drawing made in charcoal and chalk in my A5 sketchbook does actually capture the square quite well. I particularly liked my statue:


The next drawing was completed in graphite – with graphite powder, soft pastel (which was difficult to lay on top of the graphite!) and 9B graphite pencil.  Looking up at the scene (drawn from a bench) did not give me enough space to show details of the ground but was dynamic enough to show the two most important monuments – that of the statue of General Bernardo O’Higgins and the cathedral, which again captured the atmosphere  of the history and feeling of this important site.


The next sketch – made at home – was an experiment to introduce colour.  The pink of the cathedral was particularly important as was the autumnal colouring of the trees – but the most effective point of this drawing was the crop.


Drawn in soft pastel and carbon pencils 4B and 9B, I was pleased with the style and use of colour.

I made another visit to the square to make more drawings with the idea to make a final drawing (or drawings) of the square in the style of Leon Kossoff.


The above quite detailed sketch was enough to capture the atmosphere of a cold and bright Saturday morning. The next sketch I finished with some colour to give me some ideas for my final drawings. The bright blue sky, the pink cathedral and the autumn tree colouring.


As the statue is so important to the square, I decided to make a further more close up study:


For my final drawings, it was important for me to use Kossoff as my inspiration but also to allow myself space to experiment with my own voice.

This drawing of the square was developed from my colourful sketch above:


As one of my last drawings of this scene it has many faults – the first and obvious one is that of the composition! No focal point, the battle between the statue and the cathedral for centre stage, and the lack of detail in the buildings and statue. A more dynamic viewpoint cropped tightly would have made a better subject.

My final drawing of this scene was much more successful using my sketch above, inspiration from Leon Kossoff and a photo taken of the same view:


The drawing was on Fabriano Tiziano 160g paper which had a creamy yellow tint. I first drew in the key landmarks and built the drawing up gradually with several layers of soft pastel colouring and detail.

The pink regional building in the background was the focal point of the image, with a seated figure in blue on the LH side drawing the viewer diagonally backwards and forwards into the scene. The central foreground figures add interest and movement into the quite tranquil scene, with the brighter open pink space to the RH side balancing the darker trees in shadow to the left. Many small details: figures in the background, small trees, shrubs and lanterns allow the viewer to explore the square as they wish.


Part 5 – The personal project

The main bus station – Terminal O’Higgins

I made several studies of the main bus terminal on two separate occasions – what drew me to the station was the constant movement, buses, people, taxis and pedestrians. Also the fact that I have been a constant traveller and commuter all of my life and this bus station in Rancagua is the start and end point for many journeys.

My first two sketches below capture some of this atmosphere – the first sketch more so as the mark making is more fluid, and there is more attention paid to movement than form and correctness. The second sketch is more restrained and in trying to capture a busy moment with lots of traffic and people, I lost my way.



The next sketch as well as the second drawing above were from a high viewpoint in front of the station overlooking the scene.


Finally I looked to the right, moved down to a lower level and made this quick sketch looking towards the main avenue to capture the traffic and a huge flag pole that dominates the skyline in front of the station. I liked this view but in the end did not have enough detail/interest to complete a final drawing.


At home using a photo of the station from a similar viewpoint to my first sketch above I made the following drawings:

They did not really capture the atmosphere I was looking for and were absent of movement and people – even my markmaking was heavy and static.  This then turned into a more abstract style using heavy soft pastel – see below:


All were made in my A5 sketchbook.

I felt that I should backtrack and use my original sketches of the Terminal to achieve what I was looking for.

Thinking of the work of Kossoff once again, it was clear that although his linework is fragmented, hurried with lots of energetic movement – there is also rigorous observation of even the smallest detail such as pigeons, people, traffic and tree movements.

This can only be achieved by making many sketches of the same place over and over again – which is evident in many of his London Landscapes.

My final drawing of the Terminal was completed studying my sketches and using a photo as a reference for the additional details.

Again it was important for me to build up a sound base with many layers of soft pastel and then finish the drawing with charcoal and soft pastel highlights:

Terminal O’Higgins, Rancagua. Soft pastel and charcoal on grey tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper 160g (60x25cm)

I feel that this drawing captures the movement, colour and atmosphere of the Terminal – several details are not quite correct – such as the figure to the left of the bus which was perhaps too large and the sign over the building too far to the right and perhaps also too large but overall the composition works, and the electricity wires help fill the space left by what is a very bright blue cloudless sky (typical of the region).



Part 5 – The personal project

In the cemetery

The local cemetery located in the centre of the town was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2010, and has been restored as much as was possible.  It includes some antique tombs with wonderful architecture and was of interest to me as a part of the urban life of Rancagua. (Not much activity there as everyone is resting!)

I made a slow drawing:


and then a couple of faster sketches:



I returned to Leon Kossoff for my final drawing of the cemetery. I used the effect of his Arnold Circus series as my guide:

Rancagua Cemetery – charcoal and pastel on grey tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper 160g/m2 – 65x50cm

Like most cemetaries – even in London – there is a curious mixture of styles and in this view I have included tombs of many shapes and sizes.

In this drawing the mark making was not varied enough and I did not use tone effectively – even though in Kossoffs Arnold Circus series there is also a lack of tonal rendering! Because of the nature of the forms – tombs – described in this drawing my linework was very rigid.  In Kossoffs series there are buildings but none are drawn with straight lines.

His lines are broken, rapidly drawn, made up of a combination of line work with layers of lines not just one firm line – in some of his drawings it is like he has carefully laid the structure using lines/marks and an autumnal wind has swept them up to reveal a more energetic, more abstract version. In his catalogue of London Landscapes there are 25 drawings of Arnold Circus – all around 65x50cm in size – and I am sure that he made many more.

On the day that I was drawing in the cemetery there was an absence of wind and people and the sun was blazing with a temperature of around 27degC. The light was strong – nearly overhead and so not much change in tone/shadows on the grey stone buildings and monuments.

I need to lay a better foundation of pastel before applying the final marks if this style is to work for me.

Part 4 The figure and the head

Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 5 The moving figure – Exercise 1 Single moving figure

There is nothing so joyful as to see a child in their imaginary world ignoring all around them….this was just such a moment….our two year old grand-daughter with a tutu dancing in front of a window bathed with sunlight which acted as a spotlight during her performance.

This was a major exercise for me and I was exhausted after drawing constantly for about 2 hours and then frustratingly editing the pictures in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere – Photoshop I was familiar with but I was using Premiere for the first time!

Obviously the influence was William Kentridge as I have watched his videos on YouTube many times, and studied his wonderfully illustrated book Fortune edited by Lilian Tone.

This was the moving figure – moving – not in quite the same way as Kentridge – as this video was really like a slide show but like Kentridge I was constantly editing the same picture. What remains is a series of captured images that are then stitched together in a movie:


Hands on hips, the little jump (not high enough), and the belly stuck out…I believe that I have captured the spirit of movement in this exercise.

Exhausting but well worth the effort!