Looking at shapes (2)

This exercise again is looking at shape, shadows, negative space. This time, the subject is letterboxes. Well…I have to say that hovering outside other people’s houses could look like suspicous activity! Still, as you can tell, I was on a roll and did about 8 in an hour or so.

I did all of them using an indigo watercolour pencil focussing only on shadow. And as they were all squished on one A5 page, it looked like a bit of a mess. So i went over it again but with a Indian Red watercolour and focussed on positive shape…mainly just to bring a little more order back to the page!


Looking at shapes (1)


These exercises are part of Liz Steel’s course – week 3 abstracting shapes.

First one is to draw only the shape of three objects of similar colour and overlapping.
Second is to draw the space around the objects. If you look long enough at the ‘character’ in the second drawing, it does seem to have taken on a ‘see I told you so’ stance!
Third is to do a thumbnail focussing on shadows and composition. My thumbnail decided it needed to be a full sized drawing! I need to practise! The fourth is to to do simplified colour and again focus on shadows. Both are overworked. I need to do watercolour quickly and not go over it. Also reflections confuse me and I have to work hard at ignoring them!

Shape is such a good way to simplify, to abstract, to not get exhausted by detail as I can get into the trap of doing. I need to do more of this.

Drawing exercises, looking but not looking exercise

Drawing based on observation is a good thing to do (!) when you’re learning to draw. For me there’s a tension or a balance between likeness and what works for your own sense of visual interest. What do you think?

Sometimes I like a bit of accuracy because there’s just so much to discover and learn by really looking at something. But it seems at some point, the minds eye wants to move into a tangent and take the hand and paint brush with it.

Crown of thorns

I started this drawing with a combination of ink pen and a red pencil. Then I’ve experimented with lots of different colours using watercolour pencil. Quite enjoyed applying minimal water with a fine brush. Not sure why I’ve drawn in the middle of two pages. But I did.

This plant sits so happily and full of colour in bright sun. It is aptly named as Crown of thorns. I can see the face of Frida Khalo emerging alongside it.


I just love to see new growth. These stems of flowers just seem pop out overnight and last for ages. They grow upwards and towards the sun.

This is an experiment in avoiding lines and using shapes in thin layers of light, medium, dark tones of goauche. It almost has the look of watercolour. Sort of. On this kind of brown paper (inexpensive), watercolour does not work so well. The paper says it’s ‘drowning’ and seizes up! Goauche works better as it seems to ‘sit’ on the surface of the paper.

I hope you’re having a decent kind of week…and drawing, being creative, growing. You are? Great!

Drawing exercises, looking exercises (3)

These are a combination of continuous, blind and point to point drawing. I find that not lifting my pen helps me keep my eyes focussed on the subject.

Thing is…I think I was so focussed that my imagination kicked in and I was seeing a whole dialogue happening with these humble ‘characters’ from my kitchen. Actually it wasn’t a dialogue but an altercation of sorts. Not sure what it was about. Oh dear, do proper artists have distractions such as this?!

Drawing exercises, looking exercises (2)

Not sure if this one works at all. While gel pen on brown paper with watery goauche. It’s supposed to be an exercise in drawing foliage. I find trees with too many leaves (!) a bother to draw as they are hard to pin point what’s going on shape wise. And so, what do I do? Make it up a bit. That’s why my trees look like little groups of clouds. Anyway, this is kind of what I see from my place.

Drawing exercises, looking exercises (1)


A combination of blind contour and point-to-point drawing. The focus for both is looking at the thing or things you are drawing rather than what’s going on the page. The results are always wobbly lines, a freedom from wanting to be accurate and a slight randomness l like.

Point-to-point is new for me and it gets to you to look from Point A to B then B back to A then draw your line. You do this line by line. It’s an interesting exercise also in looking your next line in relation to the one you just put down.

The real gift

Did this one a little while ago and it reminds me of the inner glow that came with roses – a gift of ‘free spirit’ roses, hydrangeas and Queen Anne’s lace. But the real gift is the one of friendship and the relief that comes from being listened to. I feel fortunate.

Blue bamboo

I did this last week. Bamboo leaves are quite regular in their shape. I like the negative space, the spaces between the leaves. After I drew it, I wanted to practise tones – medium, dark, light. For no particular reason, I felt it needed to be in blue. So, there you have it – blue bamboo.