Friday, May 20, 2011


OK folks, I admit it. I fell out of love with drawing about four years ago. I have a 12 inch high pile of old sketch books which I have been looking through today and was quite shocked to see my last proper drawings were made so long ago. I really must make the effort to get back into drawing again.

I know why I stopped. I spent ages doing the preparatory drawings for a series of watercolours. There were four in total, all 15 x 11 inch or Quarter Imperial sheets. Each one took at least two days. When it came to the point where I applied my first washes, I found that the paper had a fault and had not been sized properly. It was like painting on blotting paper. I had to abandon this series.

Just mucking about. Graphite on cartridge paper.
Since then I had a dread of investing so much time in drawing before painting and have just gone straight in with the paint. It's quite a hairy thing to do if you haven't mentally thought through how the painting is going to proceed. I've got to the stage now though where I need to be more adventurous and need to have the drawing as a background scaffold. It's like taking a step back to go forward really, but I can see it must be done.


  1. Two days is too long!? Didn't the Raft of the Medusa take two years to prepare for? Perhaps you didn't mentally expect and assign enough time... giving yourself a week per painting to prepare might enable you to get the job done without feeling pressured or impatient? I like this drawing. Persistence is a virtue :)

  2. All my watercolors are done without a drawing. I go right to paint too. I find that for me studies tend to drain all the spontaneity from my work. I always like the study better than the finished product. So I just paint. It seems to work quite well for you too. These are lovely.

    For large paintings on canvas I do a cursory drawing with the same proportions as my canvas just to make sure my idea will fit the format. Then I use a one-inch-on-paper to one-foot-on-canvas grid and transfer the elements as I paint. That way I can maintain the element of surprise I like.


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