- Go for a walk somewhere familiar
- Make 4 sketches during your walk, drawing rapidly without correcting
- make written observations where appropriate on:
- time, weather conditions, direction of light and shadow
- main point of interest
- Division of space
- Pattern and textures, repetition of large and small shapes, tonal values
The Process and Results
My walk was along a cross-country footpath not far from my house. I am very familiar with the area. The path borders open fields on one side, passes through an old tramway cutting, now very overgrown as well as intersecting with green lane with high hedges on either side. The day was bright and sunny so there were strong shadows. It was however very cold and got progressively more windy as I went along (not that my sketches really reflect this). The main problem was that I couldn’t feel my hands very well by the time I got to sketch 4 and my eyes were watering in the wind!
Along the Dairy Ground: it was the dead seed heads in the dying field border that caught my attention. I tried to make these the focal point of my sketch. However the strong shadows of the right hand side hedge across the short grassy path competed for attention. The hills are in the background although in this sketch they stand out more than they should.
The Green Lane. I was leaning on a gate to sketch this. What caught my eye here was the way the light fell on the branches of the mostly bare hedges. The light seemed to make all the branches in a particular area appear to be growing in the same direction. In reality the hedges are just a jumbled mess of growth but the light caused the foreground bushes to appear growing in strong diagonal lines, framing the view down the lane. The long grass at the side of the path appeared very vertical in the foreground, whilst further along in the mid-ground, they took on a curved form, as if the path had curvy sides. The shadows of the right hand hedge extended across the path horizontally lines. So the whole sketch became about directions. There is a telegraph pole hidden in the hedge. This is entirely out of proportion in my sketch!! In reality it is situated further down the lane and due to perspective doesn’t appear so tall.
Crossing the Old Tramway: I am standing in an old tramway cutting, looking up at path up the bank and out the other side. The cutting is quite over grown so I was in a gloomy area, with sunlight filtering in the entrance behind me. The wood and earth steps are highlighted by the sun, and there are long shadows extending in front of where I am standing. The sky visible through the bushes appeared very bright and the evergreen foliage seemed to form a tunnel. This tunnel is really an illusion caused by a couple of low branches being viewed from low down. If you pass up the steps, the path continues through with foliage on either side. However I think it makes a wonderful sketch, although if I continued this through to a more finished piece I would alter my perspective a little so that a horizon was depicted through the tunnel.
The Open Fields. Coming back past the open fields I was struck by these telephone wires seemingly marching across the stubble. The light was now coming from my left, but the from where I stood I could see no shadows. This may have been an effect of the field being full of dead stalks of cut corn, or the angle from which I was viewing the base of the pylons was just too acute to make the shadows out. I was struggling with headlong wind at this point. I took a photo of the scene, but there are no shadows visible on that either. This view definitely has a fore-, mid- and background to it. It is not the most dynamic of sketches, but treated in the right way I feel that it could have potential for a further study, provided drama could be added in some way!