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.