Jac’s 100 days of skies and trees

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Viewing 15 posts - 106 through 120 (of 141 total)
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    No points.

    Day xx 14/11/2022

    • I read some more of Artistic Anatomy of Trees, on the subject of the effects of ageing and of wind.
    • I completed a third figure sketch. Not massively successful, but the pose was fairly static. A lot of work to do yet.

    • I also started the plaster cast section of BGD – watching the demos and starting the assignment. The assignment calls for completing just one, but I think I’ll give 2-3 a go this week.

    I’m starting to get in a decent routine that allows for four hours of practice a day. Key is to get 1h in before work starts at 9am, another hour during the day (e.g. lunch break), and then the usual 2 hours post-work.

    Practice Time 4h

    No points.

    Day 85 15/11/2022

    • I watched the BGD demos on the Brutus plaster cast, and finished up cast number 1. I’m going to try another couple this week before moving on.

    • I got outside during lunch for a brief 40 mins of sketch/study. I took a look at a hazel tree in the garden – leaf shape/texture, bud, twigs, catkins, a bit on the bark texture.

    • I started a second bust – not having as easy a time of it as the first. Maybe it’s the tilts? But all the corrections means there are heavy marks I can’t erase. Must draw more lightly in the future. I’ll try finishing it tomorrow.

    No points.

    Day 86 16/11/2022

    • I spent an hour on the weekend’s landscape – I’m not sure I made it any better. I’m a bit stuck where to take it.
    • 45 mins on yesterday’s cast. I’ve made too many drawing mistakes I can’t erase, so I’m going to leave this one.

    • 45 minutes on an oak tree sketch outside.

    • 1.5 hrs at a life drawing course

    Usually I hate Instagram recommending people to follow, but today it recommend Erik Koeppel – who I hadn’t heard of before. His work immediately caught my eye as it reminded me of old dutch painting. A quick scan of youtube shows he has a few instructional videos online, so I watched the introduction to one. Here are some notes:

    Hudson River School

    • Limited earth Palette
      • 2 reds ([warm] Burnt Sienna (calcine, more opaque), Venetian red [cool])… sometimes alizon crimson
      • 2 yellows warm/cool – yellow deep extra naples yellow / yellow ochre – he’s particular about the naples yellow
        • sometimes indian yellow for a bit of punch
      • 2 blues warm/cool: lamp or mars black / ultramarine
        • sometimes prussian blue, helps with bluish greens
      • burnt umber
      • white
    • Manipulate colours using transparency (adding oil/gamsol mix)
    • You can lighten colours later by glazing
    • Brushes
      • workhorse is round sables, soft, with something of a point
      • work on a smooth surface
      • big soft flat brushes, for smoothing out glazes or the sky, evening out surfaces
      • rigours, for detailed work and fine lines
      • old ragged brushes that are beaten up – good for textured stipling effect
    • Surface
      • gesso pannel, ultra smooth
      • smooth surface better for reflecting glazes and capturing detail
    • He shows 3 panels of a his process – a drawing, and initial wash, and then detail.
      • The ‘wash’ phase was done with just three colours, ultramarine, burnt sienna, y. ochre. No white, maybe a little bit of brown.
      • No white allows for colours to stay transparent.
      • With three colours you can’t match exact colours, but you can get relationships.
      • Use white of the background and transparency achieved through medium to lighten parts of the piciture.
      • Tree is left in wash phase slightly smaller, so during detail phase it can ‘grow’ a little bit with specific leaves, etc.
      • Phase 3: working back to front.
    • Process
      • very lightly tinted ground, bit of gamsol and burnt sienna, a warm colour –
      • drawing using burnt sienna and gamsol – a bit like an ink drawing

    Practice Time: 4h

    No points.

    Day 87 17/11/2022

    • I whipped together an imprimatura drawing in paint of something for the Sketch Swap group… something that meets the criteria of this challenge, so I’m counting it as one of my days… it’s a tree. I’m painting them a tree. But nobody in the sketch swap uses the forum, so I’m golden!  I’m using the sketches as an experiment in indirect painting, and hopefully produce something I’m not embarrassed to send them.
    • I worked on a few figures.

    • I spent 30 minutes copying an illustration from Artistic Anatomy of Trees, before I gave up – I was tired and couldn’t focus.

    Erik Koeppel

    I’ve been watching more of  Erik Koeppel’s instagram videos (I succumbed and subscribed, lets see if it’s worth it). He completed a fascinating demo showing a three layer process to his painting: layer 1 is light vs shadow using burnt umber only, layer 2 is about warm vs cool using only white and brown, and then layer 3 is about applying colours (red, yellow or blue).

    I was vaguely familiar with imprimatura, attempting something similar a few months back. But seeing the process has been somewhat revelatory for me as his results are closer to what I want to achieve than the impressionist approach. I’m excited to learn more.


    Practice Time: my memory is so bad, I can’t recall how many hours I practiced yesterday. I thought I had done 3.5, but my timer only says 2… what did I do? I reckon I did 3 hours, plus the 30 minutes wasted on a sketch.


    No points.

    Day 88 18/11/2022

    • I started a third (and final) bust for BGD. It’s almost done, will finish tomorrow morning.
    • (45 mins) I got outside into the garden to start a drawing of a nearby scots pine during my lunch break. Good fun this. I toned the stretched paper with ink and used charcoal/white chalk in the drawing. So a bit of an experiment. I’m hoping to get in the garden to finish tomorrow as I was having a blast.

    • (1h) I also went along to Villpu’s friday draw along. Totally out of my depth. It was a bit like being hideously out of shape and trying to keep up with elite marathon runners – but it was a lot of fun too. It made me look forward to taking more figure classes.


    Practice Time: 4h

    No points.

    Day 89 19/11/2022

    • I spent 1.5h outdoors, working on the scot’s pine study. Good fun.

    • I finished up a third bust for the BGD assignment on plaster cast drawing.

    • I’ve watched week 12 of BGD on  ‘understanding value’  and started the assignment. I’ll finish them off tomorrow. The last two weeks of BGD look relatively light, so I’m hoping to wrap up the course in the upcoming week.
    • I attended a group coaching session with Joshua, here were my key lessons:
      • Stop hiding behind a long-winded drawing process where I continually re-work pieces. I focus too much on rendering and making pictures presentable.
      • Instead, focus on many starts, build confidence by committing to simple shapes and form design early. If it’s wrong, start again.
      • My sense of construction isn’t strong enough.
      • Start more drawings, finish fewer. It’s fine if they’re wonky, it takes time and reps to get it right.
      • [On the busts] they need more gesture, the halftones are too dark, shapes need clarity.
      • I’m relying too heavily on my strengths; values and tone, but this is at the expense of other fundamentals.
      • Continue doing BGD figure drawings, but set yourself a timer and stick to it. Your bad drawings will reveal weaknesses. 5-10 mins.
      • After BGD, take Renae’s course as it’ll help on perspective and accuracy.

    Practice Time: 3h

    No points.

    Day 90 20/11/2022

    • I got outside for a sketch and walk whilst the weather was good. I did this quick-ish study of a holly tree. I’m going to start putting the time I put into each drawing on the drawing itself, for the coaching sessions.

    • I also did a fair amount of BGD today – finishing the value assignments, the minor/major key assignments, and the landscape section. I feel like by doing the bare minimum of the assignments, that I’ve rushed it a bit. But i’ll show them to Catherine on Tuesday to see if I’m good to move on from BGD.
    • Week 12 – assignment 1

    • Week 13 – Assignment 1 and 2

    • Week 14 – assignments 1 and 2

    This could mean that BGD is all wrapped up – woohoo! Can’t wait to take it against in 3-4 months time when my fundamental skills slip away.


    In the background I’m doing a little experimentation with the Sketch Swap paintings I’m making, using an indirect approach espoused by Erik Koeppel. I worked on these for a half hour too. Here are a few notes I took about the second layer, which uses just white and possibly black, over a burnt umber underdrawing.

    • This layer is about applying white to organise big light shapes and establish where the light is coming from.
    • The goal is to leave deep shadows of underpainting (burnt umber), whilst enhancing the light shapes with white to increase contrast
    • It also introduces a cooler colour (white) to an otherwise warm underpainting – so begins the cool/warm design of a picture.
    • Focus on organising the picture into warm/cool
    • Create an atmosphere, sensation of depth and movement through the picture
    • Paint white up to, and if needed, over  leaf edges – but you don’t want visible gaps between leaf and sky
    • In indirect painting, you’re repainting everything each time – so don’t be precious about painting over stuff.
    • He uses white mainly for the sky, cool down background darks (e.g. mountains), water reflections, specific light spots like on trunks.


    Practice Time: 3h 30m

    No points.

    Day 91 21/11/2022

    I had a bit of a ‘basic’ day today, just trying to focus on Joshua’s advice on shorter figure poses along the lines of BGD. These were all 7ish minute poses. It’s tricky, I feel like I need jump into Force or dynamic gesture drawing to make these half decent, but I’m following the guide and doing drawing foundations and perspective next.


    • I also spent time painting the holly tree I drew yesterday, but this is for sketch swap so I’m keeping it on the hush hush.


    Practice Time: 4h

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    No points.

    Sadly I did (almost) nothing on 22/11/2022. I had a busy day at work and had to run a couple paints to a studio ahead of being shown on the weekend for a student exhibition – so I ended up doing just 30 minute sketch for Drawing Foundations.

    Day 92 23/11/2022

    • I spent my morning “theory hour” reading an aricle on Corot’s methods that I found on JSTOR. I’m going to start bringing together any technique/research notes on pre-impressionistic painting methods on a substack I’ve created -> https://jackpaulssen.substack.com/
    • 1 hour Alder tree study drawn outside. A bit of an experimentation with a watercolour ground on the paper; chalk and charcoal.

    • I also watched the first lesson from Drawing Foundations and Perspective. I’ve started on the assignment too… I’ll do a few more contour drawings before moving on.

    • I spent an hour or so on some quick 5-7 minute poses.


    Practice Time: 4h

    No points.

    Day 93 24/11/2022


    • I started watching week 2 of Foundations of Drawing, will finish over the weekend.
    • I started the day with an hour of figure drawing. I really struggled with these, I think because the poses were more dynamic and complicated that previous ones – usually more stretching, bending, or moving back into space. Complicated stuff. I feel like I need more instruction.
    • I started another drawing assignment for Foundations of Drawing and Perspective, will finish tomorrow.
    • I spent an hour on a burnt umber underdrawing to follow along with the process of Erik Koeppel’s IG demo. I need to get better at drawing, much better. This has definitely emerged as a focus of mine – to do more with simpler tools, just burnt umber, gamsol and a rag. I can begin to see how charcoal carries over naturally into this type of painting, which is really just drawing (unlike when you have a fuller palette and colour distracts you). But for these studies, I’m not going to labour the drawing too intensely, but focus more on the steps in the layering process.

    • Finished off the day with 30 mins of figure drawing.


    Practice Time: 4h 30m

    No points.

    Day xx 25/11/2022

    • For my theory hour this morning, I read a chapter of Artistic Anatomy of Trees on bud growth. Very interesting.
    • I started the day with some figure drawing… it’s strange to me how varied the figure drawing process can be. Sometimes it feels natural, and within 5 minutes you have something you’re happy with. Other times, I might spent 10 minutes labouring away and never get it. Maybe it’s a nature of the beast, or maybe it’s being a beginner. Anyway, these were a struggle – despite giving myself longer.

    • I finished off the Foundations of Drawing exercise… the assignment called for 2 drawings, and I’ve done 4. I’m going to stick them all here for ease of summary. Admittedly, I find these exercises a bit boring. So I’m going to keep the course moving by calling lesson 1 done.


    Practice Time: 2h

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    No points.

    Day 94 26/11/2022

    • I worked for 30 mins on the sketch club tree painting… but it is not working out. I’m getting a bit frustrated at all things painting at the moment. I think I might stick more to drawing and underpainting for a little while to re-assess and work on some basic skills.
    • I’ve started reading Drawing Lessons From The Great Masters, spending 30 mins copying one of the first illustrations by Annibale Carracci. Chapter 1 is about learning and breaking down the figure into simple forms. Hale talks about this picture being all about eggs, so rather than trying to copy the picture line for line, I tried to focus on the simple forms used.

    • I attended a life drawing session. It included two longer poses (30m and 50m). Admittedly, after about 20 minutes I’m not sure what to do with my time – I don’t know enough about figure drawing to make use of the time.


    Practice Time: 3h

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by JackJack.
    No points.

    Day x 27/11/2022

    • I wrote my first substack entry, which probably took an hour of re-reading and summarising my notes – a good habit, if I can keep it up, to learn more art history. https://jackpaulssen.substack.com/p/painting-methods-of-corot
    • I spent a bit of time on the first assignment for week 2 of Foundations of Drawing. These assignments require a lot of patience and eye for detail… two weaknesses of mine. I found them quite irritating to do, which tells me it’s probably good for me and that I should do more than the prescribed number of assignments.

    • I studied a few more of the illustrations from Drawing Lessons From The Masters, focusing on on figures can be reduced to simple(ish) forms.

    • I tried to do a few small box diagrams, as a I had a half hour before bed, but I was so tired that they weren’t really worth doing.


    Practice Time: 5h

    No points.

    Day x 28/11/2022

    • I did a a another geometric form still life drawing for Foundation of Drawing.

    • I got started on a Yoni portrait.

    I was shattered today after a bad night’s sleep, so I didn’t get much practice done.

    Practice Time: 2h


    Day X 29/11/2022

    • I was feeling a bit aimless, so I completed a portrait of Yoni.

    • I started one of the master Monday drawings. There’s a 2hr limit, so I’ll post when I finish tomorrow.

    Practice Time: 3h

    No points.

    Day X 30 /11/2022

    • I watched the first master monday lecture and finished drawing #1. I may retry it, after watching the critiques of other students’ efforts – we’ll see.

    • I did a half hour or so of figure drawing.

    • I finished watching week 3 of foundations of drawing.
    • I completed another geometric still life. I don’t think I’m going to do any more for now.

    • I completed cross-contour drawing of a pepper. It isn’t one of the assignments for week 3, but I thought it better to start with something simple.


    Practice Time: 2.5h  – not practising as much this week as I ought to!

Viewing 15 posts - 106 through 120 (of 141 total)

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