Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Composition and Atmospheric Perspective

2/1/17 colored pencils, smooth Bristol paper (work in progress)
When I signed up for the colored pencil class I’m taking, I knew it would help me improve my skill in using this particular medium. And since the class is offered by Gage, I knew that I would also get a strong base in the fundamentals of drawing. Today’s class further reinforced that I can apply everything I’m learning to just about any other medium and any situation, including urban sketching.

One focus was on composition – arranging the elements in a picture to help the viewer’s eye move through the work. Since our class exercises are based on source photos taken by the instructor, at first it seemed that I would be doing nothing but copying the composition Suzanne had already created when she took the photo. But she reminded us that we, as the artists, get to decide what stays in the drawing, is emphasized or is omitted – and how many times have I heard that advice as it relates to urban sketching? Many times! Just because there are three trees and a light pole in my view, I do not have to put all three trees and the light pole in my sketch. It seems “duh,” yet I still sometimes forget.

Here's my source photo. Kind of boring,
eh? I hope my drawing will be more
A second lesson today was on atmospheric perspective – showing spatial relationships among objects in a drawing through the use of color, degree of detail and other methods. This is probably one of the most useful things to learn, practice and then apply to sketching on location, where I often struggle with showing how far away one thing is compared to another.

Shown above is my work in progress at the point when I left class. I picked a particularly boring source photo (at left) with nothing much of interest in it because I knew it would force me to make more compositional decisions myself and be challenged by showing the difference between the foreground, middle ground and background. Yikes – did I bite off more than I can chew? Stay tuned.

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