Go for a walk somewhere local. Find a view that you like or are familiar with and use your viewfinder to help you focus on a point of interest. Make four sketches during your walk. You’ll be drawing rapidly and you may make mistakes – but don’t rub anything out. You can draw over any mistakes and re-state what you want to depict. Try to capture the idea of what you see through drawing; think of your sketching as taking notes. Try to get everything in, no matter how roughly. Fast drawing helps you to concentrate and see more clearly, shutting out unnecessary ‘noise’.
I chose five quite different views for this exercise on the basis that each one appealed to me for a different reason.
Courtyard: This view of my back garden attracted me because of the repeating shapes and colours of the pots strewn across it. I also was interested in the play of light- bright on the right and dark towards to back. there is not a lot of foreground in this sketch, maybe this would change if I homed in on the top left two thirds of the page.
View from Lymm Dam: I was attracted to this view of the Dam, with the railings in the foreground leading the eye across the page and the focal point of the church in the background. In a more developed picture I would make sure this was not centered. There might be some interesting reflections in the water below the trees and the view contrasts with the dark shaded area in the foreground. There is definitely a fore-middle and back ground in this sketch and texture is added via the vegetation and reeds in the centre while the trees behind are shrouded in mist. The railings give a strong shape and if it were detailed more would be highlighted and gain mass.
St Mary’s Churchyard, Lymm: I spent some time looking at the church from a closer position. I like this view as it is framed by the trees. It is a cold, misty damp day so the light/dark contrasts are minimal. I did a pencil sketch at the scene then outlined it again at home. I like the shapes of the gravestones and the way their surfaces sit either in the light or in shade. The light is coming from in front of me at the right. Under the tree all the stonework is in dark shade while behind them the stones are lighter. There is fore ground (headstones and the edge of the tree I was standing under) middle ground (tree/ church/ headstones) and background (trees and vegetation). I like the contrast of soft vegetation against the hard stonework.
Lymm Dam: I was again attracted by the view framed through the tree in the foreground. In the middle-ground is the water and a couple of birds and reflections of the trees and a misty bank of trees and the dam make up the background. The tree at the front is dark and almost silhouetted. There are interesting shapes in the dead tree at the bottom and the branches hanging down. I like the shape of the gnarled tree trunk and the twee addition of a nesting box. There is more light/medium/ dark tonal contrast in this scene. I am not sure I captured this, but would work on this more if I developed the work.
Brookfield Road: My final sketch is of the mini-roundabout outside my house. I was walking up the hill and was struck by how the road curved away in front of me and, as it was a lovely sunny day, by the intense shadow and sunlit areas. I like the way the roundabout occupies the centre of the page but leads your eye away in four directions. I like the shapes on the signage and the road markings and the abstract shapes of the tree-shadows on the road. It has a sense of depth, the nearest lamppost sitting in the foreground, while the road disappears into the background.