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Old 02-20-2005, 09:15 PM
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Basic 101: Class 13 - Outdoor Still Life

Basics 101: Class 13

Outdoor Still Life


For the next couple of weeks we will be dealing with subjects drawn outdoors. After that we will be moving on to the human figure. If it is too cold for you to go outside for this class consider going out with a regular or digital camera and taking a few shot. You DO NOT have to sit outside and do the entire drawing. The movement of natural light simply would not permit it. I did the majority of my two demonstrations outdoors but came inside to do the final work up—not because of the cold but because three of the dogs down the street kept coming into my yard to play—with me.

Drawing Outdoors


Distractions outdoors are common to anyone who has grabbed an easel and headed out to paint the great plein air masterpiece. It is inevitable that something or someone will interrupt your flow of thought and artistic process.

The demonstrations in this class are from my own back yard. There is a privacy fence that surrounds our pool and attached to that is a long shed. Attached to the shed is a rabbit hutch. Upward from the hutch is a set of broken poles entangled in wire that are the remnants of a structure designed to carry grape vines. These two constructs are the dreams of earlier owners and the victims of unkind weather and neglect.

Why a still life outdoors? Well, because still life is a beautiful thing. Indoors you have total control of your light, your color and your compositions. You are the boss. Outdoors you are not the boss. It is that simple. A still life set up outdoors offers you the best of both worlds. You get the fresh air of the great outdoors and the control of the indoor studio setting. For this class you will set up a still life outdoors. Think back to the Wyeth painting that we saw in the last class. Andrew Wyeth’s Bucket Post is a like a scarecrow facing the elements. There is a message of the challenge of man against nature in these types of works. Man continues to challenge. Nature will always win.

The Demonstrations

1. The first demonstration is of the two poles. Before I sat down to decide what to draw, I did a series of passes with my digital camera, using the screen, as a viewfinder to locate what I thought would be the best compositional position. I took no pictures. If you prefer NOT to run your batteries down using the LCD in your camera, you can just make a simple viewfinder by taking a square piece of paper and cutting out the center so that you have, what amounts to, a picture frame. You can use this viewfinder to determine your composition. Remember that when you draw outside you do not have as much control over your subject as you would inside a sheltered studio location. The always changing light, the weather, creatures of nature, nosy neighbors or passer-byers and bees all bear significant influence on your work environment.

Once I figured out my position, I sat down and took a look at the area around me. There is a long fence—the house of course, a clothesline, a satellite dish and a number of other nonessential items. The first things to get rid of were easy—blip! There goes the dish and the close line and the driveway—all out of the picture. By the time I had finished, I had eliminated all but the grass and the pole—I decided to leave out the sky and just concentrate on the poles and the attached grass.

I started by simply sketching the poles and the grass—more importantly, I focused JUST on the simplest least complex elements and then concentrated on getting the wires right. Lastly, I then did the shadows and quickly so that I would not lose the sun for that morning.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:16 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Here is the finished part of demo 1:
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:17 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

2. For the next demonstration I went over to the rabbit hutch and did the same thing—sketched the basic shapes and focused on the lighting that was for this piece a very important element of the drawing. One note of interest: You may have noticed that the box looks slightly off or out of perspective. This problem was because of the fact that I had to deal with a brisk wind and a hutch which was well on its way to falling to pieces. In other words, the hutch was swaying in the wind—a nude model posing with her hand in a light socket would have been more still then the hutch—so I had a decision to make: draw it and correct the perspective making it more picture perfect OR just try to catch the movement and leave it to the eye. I make no apologies for the decision. I felt the out of perspective versions best captured the dilapidated state of the hutch.


Reference Photos:


I am not supplying reference photos this time. The object of this class is for you to come up with an original picture from your own personal experience. It must be a still life and it must be outdoors.

CJ and others who have outdoor subjects—now would be the time to pull out your first drawing and work on those some more or you can do something new or BOTH if you have time.

You may use outdoor photos from your memory book or scrap books or other IN HOUSE sources. You can certainly use digital photo references. DO NOT USE THE REFERENCE LIBRARY FOR THIS SESSION.









Field Trip

This weeks featured WC Artist is Larry Seiler. I really think you are going to like this guy.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=247822

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190955

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240979

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190950

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190965
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:18 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Here is the final part of the second demo. Enjoy!!!
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:47 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

I love those sketches JayD and it is a great demo. Thank you again JayD for your hard work and making this class so enjoyable.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:04 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Ditto what Mary said and Jay I can see so many stories in these, more so then the other still lifes we have done. I think it is because the other still lifes are easily read. These you have to think about them first and then everyone could view it differently. So many stories for one picture can be read from still life like these.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:12 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Thanks Mary and Sultry. I always enjoy heading out in the fresh air to draw. It is very easy to lock yourself in the security of the studio with all your toys surrounding you always at an arms reach.

If you can do AT LEAST a portion of your drawing or drawings this week outdoors--it is a great feeling to just imerse yourself in the process--in the fresh air.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:13 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

JayD!
Wonderful demo-THANK-YOU!!!

I'm excited for this class!!
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:23 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Thanks, Judi--I usually post these after 1:00am but CJ wanted them early this time--best I could do so somebody better go get her!!!
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:01 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Hi Everyone,

Good lesson Jay and like the drawings. Sent you, Cathie and Deb the .pdf for this lesson. and it is up on my site as well. The link is listed below in the signature.

Everyone is moving a long at a great pace and I am getting farther behind.

Ann
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:16 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Ann!

So good to see you! That was fast with the pdf!
Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:26 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Ann, its no wonder you are behind--I just went to you website and you have been a really busy bee. Its no wonder--but its a good "I'm behind". I appreciate what you have done with distributing the pdfs. I really appreciate the effort and the good will.
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:17 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Got here as quick as I could . . . the drive back from L.A. was very, very wet! Thanks, JayD and Ann. I've read the lesson and am printing it so I can read it again . . . and, of course, it's posted on the web site.

JayD, I love the post/bucket drawing. Need to look at the rabbit hutch some more. I really like old stuff like that, but don't have any of it here. There used to be a shed on a property down the hill from me, but they sold the horse ranch to a developer who has torn everything down. And it's supposed to keep raining through Tuesday. Not to worry, though, if I don't find something at home I have plenty of photos!


Hi Judi, Sults, Blah, Connie, Dave (where are you?), Mary, Michelle and AWAYTC. Now if y'all will excuse me, I need to go scrape some moss off my north side!

I heard last night that Southern California has had 11-1/2" of rain this year, compared to 5-1/2" in Seattle and 8-1/2" in San Francisco. Right now it's the 5th rainiest year here in history, and we're not even 2 months into the year! (Don't tell the people whose houses are sliding, but I'm loving it!)

See you guys tomorrow.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:41 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Good Morning Everyone!

It is a rainy Spring morning in Oklahoma. I thought I was in Chicago last night the wind was soooo strong lol.

Hi Judi, I kinda keep track as to what is going on here so that I am not totally out of the loop, even though I'm being quiet. I did get the painting finished I mentioned which was posted in the WC forum, the Values Classroom, and on my Home page . I saw Vasil and Dave were in the Values classroom too

Jay, you don't realize what an influence you have been with the drawing/sketching I am mostly painting the weekly year of paintings with a group of friends off-list but I now do drawings and values sketches for the paintings. The Values Class in the Watercolor Forum fit in with the YoP's too .

Jay, doing the pdf's for the class is the least I can do for all that you have given us. I hope you are doing very well and back to your normal health.

Thanks for looking at my web site. I saved it on cd's so if I should lose it all again at least I have a base to work with. There is still more to do but now I can do it at a bit slower pace.

I have to say you all have more stick-to-it-ness then I have had and you are learning and growing by leaps and bounds.

Ann
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:59 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 13

Hi guys! Thanks for the new class, JayD! Great demos!

I've just got back from spending a few days with my mother. She lives in the New Forest, which was set up by William the Conqueror soon after he did his conquering in 1066. So, not all that new, really! It's a lovely place...ponies roaming wild, lots of deer, huge (by Brit standards, anyway!) areas of unspoilt country. Plus, it's near the sea! So, as you can imagine, it's very popular with Sarah.

Anyway, I did manage to get a bit of outdoor sketching in, despite the nasty north wind that was blowing, but none of them are really still lifes (lives?). Also, I didn't finish my second animal, so I'm not sure I'm really allowed to start with class yet! So much great work has been done while I was away, too. I think I'll try to do a second animal asap, and then make a start of something outdoors, preferably that I can see from the window!

Nice to be back...I was missing you all!!
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