Willowdale Group of Artists – Wrapup!

Last night, I was back at the Edithvale Community Centre with the Willowdale Group of Artists. It was our third and final evening of Pen with Watercolour. I  didn’t post our second evening, from last week, so let’s start with that.

Duck (parquet approach) by Barry Coombs - WGA2013  Duck (pen and watercolour) by Barry Coombs - WGA2013

A good first step in a drawing is to establish the basic light and shadow shapes. But what direction should the strokes of the pen follow? It can be quite confusing, especially on rounded forms and curving surfaces. The drawing on the upper left shows a ‘parquet’ approach’. The piece on the right was started with exactly the same approach. As you can see, it’s possible to develop a rather flat and mechanical beginning into something more three-dimensional.

Is it the right thing for the subject? Black pen strokes are extremely strong. Still, I was able to create cast and core shadows and a feeling of reflected light. Starting a pen drawing with ‘parquet’ strokes can be a great learning experience.

Here’s a selection of the drawings from the first two weeks of our workshop.

Critique a - WGA2013

Everyday objects was our theme for week three. I prepared a handout sheet with four different subjects.

Pen and ink handout by Barry Coombs - WGA2013

We revisited the question of stroke direction. What do you see in the drawing below? Hopefully, a toy frog. I’ve just repeated WGA over and over again in the core and cast shadow areas and we can still see a toy frog! This doesn’t mean that stroke direction is irrelevant but it does emphasize the importance of shape. The shapes of light and shadow in this drawing are articulate enough to describe a toy frog, regardless of stroke direction.

Pen drawing by Barry Coombs - WGA2013

I had drawn two of my handout subjects onto watercolour paper. This crumpled paint tube is on Arches, 140 lb., Hot Press paper. I did the grey wash first and added the colour when it was dry.

Paint Tube - Watercolour by Barry Coombs - WGA2013

I did the ink bottle on Curry’s, 200 lb., Cold Press watercolour paper. The first image shows the watercolour and the second shows the pen work. I tried to keep a ‘relaxed’ feeling with the brush and pen.

Ink Bottle - Watercolour by Barry Coombs - WGA2013  Ink Bottle - Pen and watercolour by Barry Coombs - WGA2013

The students brought in their own ‘everyday’ objects. All concurred that the biggest challenge, aside from using the watercolour and pen, was to create a believable sense of light and shadow.

As usual, the evening flew by and everyone would have loved more time for the pen. It’s always nice to come away from a workshop with a finished drawing or painting. I think, though, it’s more important to continue working with the new ideas and techniques from the workshop. Pen and watercolour is great for sketchbook-keeping as well as for finished work.

Critique b - WGA2013

Thanks, WGA. It was nice to see some old friends and meet some new ones. Jo Baumann, with me in the photo below, is the Workshop Coordinator.

Jo Baumann and myself - WGA2013


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One Response to “Willowdale Group of Artists – Wrapup!”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    I never look at one of your posts without learning something new. The WGA frog teaches a powerful lesson.

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