Drawing vs. Painting

Today was a day spent doing a drawing of a courtyard scene here at our home base.  Normally I like to paint…and I don’t necessarily choose to usually have photorealism or even detail as my goal.

When it comes to drawing, it’s a funny thing…when I get a pencil in my hand or take pen to paper, something changes.  All of a sudden I get interested in detail.  When I draw something, I develop an intimacy with the subject of my drawing that is unattainable by any other means.  It’s incredible the nuanced details that jump out at me.  I can see something fresh about my subject after drawing it for 2 hours and think,” How did I not see that before?”

That happened a lot to me today.  I took pen in hand and decided to do a pen and wash painting the way Karlyn Holman does it.  She likes to lay in a pen drawing and then do cast shadows.  She has a color formula for which colors should go underneath which.  Basically, she advocates complimentary shadow colors as foundation for developing your final colors..  This was my subject:

“Before you are able to draw, you have to learn to see, and you learn to see by drawing. (Mick Maslen)”

The quote above is a good one.  I felt that I was seeing intensely today.  I admit that I was very distracted by the crowded conditions and the dark space in which we were painting.  I had to move outdoors to get a little space and some light.  It was lovely, but a little chilly.  Once I found my spot and organized my materials, I started to draw.  Then it was time for lunch. Then it was time for a lecture on perspective done by another Instructor, Bonnie. 

One thing that we have here at the workshop is a great little eraser on an elastic string…a gift from Karlyn.  It comes in very handy worn around the neck.  It’s also a great tool for perspective.  Those of you in my class be sure to remind me to show you how it works.

Then it started to rain.  Then it started to hail!  By the time I gathered my things and took cover, I felt as if I’d accomplished very little.  Once the sun came out, I took some photos and started up again.  I came up with a few cast shadows, going in with some Cobalt blue and some Permanent Magenta.  Before I knew it, they were ringing the dinner bell and it was time to head to a local Agritourismo winery down the road.  I had to stop and leave it at this sketch…which will have to be completed at a later date.  

I’m not unhappy with my drawing, but I’m not sure about how well I’ve laid in the cast shadows.  All in all, I felt as if I was battling distraction all day and didn’t concentrate very well.  That happens sometimes to me in workshop settings.  I am just going to enjoy what I can from every day and not put pressure on myself to do great work in every setting.
Tomorrow we are off to a small town to paint on location.  I’m packed and looking forward to it.  Hoping the rain doesn’t fall and that the temperature is a little warmer too.  If drawing slows me down, I may try to paint and draw later, or not draw at all.  There are varying opinions on the need to draw, and on different days, I agree with different of these artists.  We’ll see what tomorrow holds…

“If one draws the subject precisely, only then can the freedom of the brushstroke be achieved.”  Gayle Lee

I never draw except with brush and paint… (Claude Monet)
Drawing helps you become familiar with the subject. It releases you from working out so many things on canvas, and thereby increases your freedom as a painter. (Richard McDaniel)

Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at RebeccaZArtist.com.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Keith says:

    The perspective is spot on. I think it looks great! It's going to look really good after you add the finishing touches. Rain, hail, and even a tornado won't keep you away from creating art, will it?

  • Unknown says:

    Hi Again, Rebecca,
    Your sketch is looking great! The structures remind me of the church in the village of Saignon, outside Apt in Provence where I met up with Paula Robinson for a week of painting in 2008. Paula had rented a house in the center of the village for 6 weeks. A few days ago, I went to a cool website http://www.urbansketchers.org recommended in article in the current Watercolor Artist magazine.
    Would you pls give more info. about what town you are in, and the name of the people with whom you are staying? Some of us are thinking of going to Tuscany next summer. Fondly, Gail

    • rzdybel says:

      Thanks for the recommendation Gail…I'll look into the Watercolor Artist magazine article. I have it at home so I'll look forward to reading it. See my next blog about the place we are staying. I love the idea of renting a house for 6 weeks! That sounds amazing!

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