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Old 02-04-2007, 06:03 PM
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Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

WATER

Water. It is the most majestic element in nature. There is nothing more meditative or soothing than the rhythmic sound of waves crashing on a beach, or the soft rippling of a small stream. There are oceanscapes, harbors, piers, reflections, seashores, rivers, streams, waterfalls, lakes and even just puddles.

Our water landscape possibilities are endless. But without the tools to understand how to draw water, we become overwhelmed as to the task of how we're suppose to draw it!! All those ripples, waves, reflections....oh my!! So we put our favorite scenes away, hoping to be braver another day. Does that sound familiar?

Lesson Goal:

The goal of this lesson is two fold - we are going to explore how to draw water, but more importantly we are going to review the process of observation, analysis and interpretation, the "tools" that will allow us to draw any subject matter, no matter how complex.

That's a pretty tall order, but I think we can accomplish it.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:04 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Homework (optional)

If you are lucky enough to own Mike Sibley’s “Drawing Line to Life” book, I would recommend that you read Chapter 20 – Drawing Reflections. Mike does an absolute phenomenal job explaining reflections.

In the previous lesson I mentioned Mike’s book. There is a reason this book has been mentioned again. If you are serious about drawing, then you seriously need to purchase his book. It is that important!
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:05 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

The Power of Observation.

Before I got brave enough to pick up my pencil in 2002, I spent a couple years just looking. I got my first digital camera and started to take photos of everything. I began to open my eyes and look around me. It is amazing what you see when you really start "looking".

"The more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you understand."

To experience a landscape you must visually, mentally, emotionally and physically observe it.

Not all of us have the opportunity to draw plein air (on location). So we use photographs. We need to be aware of the limitations of using photographs. One of these short-comings is It flattens the view to 2-dimensions. You can't see what is tucked behind an object. If you didn't take the photograph - you have to take additional steps to 'become connected" to a scene. You need to mentally envision walking through your scene. Do research...look at various reference photos at different angles to help you "understand" what you are looking at. Feel the textures, feel the wind on your face, or the spray of water at your feet. This "understanding" what you are seeing, is the power of observation.

So let's look at our first image. Courtesy of Aleksandra Freeman aka stalksthedawn from the Images Library. Aleksandra captured a beautiful swan swimming. The swan is so simple and I'm itching to draw it, but oh that water and reflections! How do we begin?
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:06 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

The Analysis

We know it is water, we know it is fluid, transparent and reflective. We know the swan is swimming in the water and we know we are seeing the swan's reflections in the water. We KNOW all of this from the first step - observation.

This step is to analyze what we are seeing in the image. By breaking this image down into smaller sections. We can identify 'clues' that will help us draw the characteristics of water that makes it...water.

By changing our focus to just the water and looking at it in an "abstract" format, it will allow us to analyze just what we are "SEEING".

I cropped the image so we can concentrate on the water reflections. I posterized the image (a Photoshop feature) to reduce the number of values seen and turned the photo into grayscale. I am abstracting and simplifying the image.

Now it doesn't look overwhelming - I can now study the movement of the waves, the shapes, and the values. I have broken this complex image into simple shapes and values. I have reduced this into something I can grasp.

I can do sketches at this point to identify the most prominent waves, I can map out my values for my composition. This is the analysis stage that helps me grasp what I am looking at.

CAUTION: Do not create your final drawing from this stage. Your drawing will take on these qualities of abstractness, lifelessness and looking flat.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:07 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

The Interpretation

Here is the step that is the most exciting and where each artist's interpretation immerges. Let's return to B&W image of the swan. Does it look less overwhelming now? To me, the water is now nothing more than values and shapes.

But since we don't want to just draw "values and shapes", we need to interpret and decide what clues to include. It is just as important to decide what not to include as well. Things to consider is what is the focus of the drawing? Is it the swan or the reflection of the swan? We don't want to over-emphasize the reflections if the swan is the focal point.

We've done our preliminary observation and analysis of our subject matter. The interpretation is the where the creative license of the artist begins!
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:08 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Assignment 1:

Try your hand at drawing the swan and the water reflections. Study the image, see what you can find as 'clues' that will help provide the viewer to recognize that this swan is swimming in water.

OR Choose your own photo reference with reflections in the water. Boats and harbors are wonderful subject matters.

Post your results and your ideas of this process. Did it help? What clues did you discover?
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:09 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Oceans & waves

Not all landscapes involve up-close images such as the swan swimming. Ocean or seascapes require a completely different type of interpretation and representation.

This might seem a bit simplistic, but no matter how I try to illustrate how to draw water, I seem to end up with this approach. Do you remember your first drawing of a boat in water? Remember that one line of waves under that boat? Well, that’s basically the pencil stroke I use!!

Here is an example of the horizontal rocking back and forth, overlapping my strokes. The strokes are much smaller and shorter for the distant waves. By concentrating on the under shadows of the waves, my water seems to just appear.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:10 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Assignment #2:

Try your hand at waves. This image keeps these to a minimum and just a splash on the rocks. It’s a simple composition but looks can be deceiving!!

This reference photo is courtesy of scratchboard artist, Karen Hendrickson of Waldport Oregon. Iowa doesn’t have any oceans, so Karen keeps me stocked with beautiful photos from her own “backyard”.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:13 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

I have posted my version of this scene as a guide. You can see I've cropped the photo to tighten up the composition of the scene. The rocks have been given a rough texture and a hint of shapes that 'read' seagulls.....
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:16 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Assignment #3:

Pull out your favorite water reference photo that you’ve been wanting to draw. Try your hand at drawing reflections, boats, seascapes, beaches, etc….

Post your results. And be sure to ask questions!!!!!

Diane
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Old 02-04-2007, 10:09 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Thanks Diane! Your classes have been invaluable!
Chapter 20.... on my way.
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:20 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

This will be fun.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:55 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Thanks Diane!!! Another great lesson!!!

Well off to review Chapter 20 before giving this lesson a go.

Again Diane thank you for sharing your time and your talent!
Joe
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:15 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

THANK YOU Diane...another great tutorial...the one thing you mentioned about not keeping the abstract shapes in your drawing seems to be one of my faults in my drawings...tyree
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Old 02-05-2007, 02:14 PM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 11 - Water

Quote:
the one thing you mentioned about not keeping the abstract shapes in your drawing seems to be one of my faults in my drawings...

Tyree - If you are after realism in your drawings, then you will want to keep the abstract shapes to a minimum. But if your work leans towards abstract or impressionistic, then abstracting the shapes become important. There is nothing wrong with any of these forms of expression. We, as artists, just have to be aware of the differences and apply the appropriate methods to our desired results.

Diane
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