Painting from Observation

The second module was on Painting from Observation. I thought this was going to be something I could cope with because I really enjoy observational drawing but of course PAINTING from observation was a different ‘ballgame’!

My first attempt was a vase of tulips but I quickly realized that this image was far too complicated at this stage and so after 7 studies, I decided to abandon the subject and go to something far simpler.

painting from observation using just paint

painting from observation using just paint

So I began again with some kitchen objects – a teapot, jug and two mugs! With just three tones of colour, I began painting in the objects without any outline.  This needed intense concentration but I was quite pleased with the result especially as it has the element of ‘looseness’ which I am trying to get in my work.

I then painted several more studies, this time using the colour of each of the objects but still IMG_1099without an outline.

IMG_0348This exercise was great for improving my observational skills as I was beginning to see in terms of tone rather than line.  Accuracy in terms of shape didn’t seem to matter and there was no time for any detail and so the image began to have a freedom which I liked.

IMG_1094I was then required to draw the same image but this time beginning with a pencil outline.  This is my usual way of working and so it was interesting to compare these paintings with the previous exercises.  There was no doubt that the accuracy was there, every item carefully drawn and painted but all the life and energy had gone.  Very static! This gave me much to think about in my own work.

IMG_1093The final exercise required the addition of LINE to the watercolour and I experimented with Indian ink and pen. I love the final image where I’ve adopted a very free approach, allowing the paint to go beyond the outline of the shape and then adding the ink in a very free energetic way.

This was a very challenging but enormously progressive section.  I feel to have learnt a huge amount about drawing with paint and have experienced the freedom of letting go of accuracy and detail.

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About pbfarrar

I am an Australian living permanently in England. I have recently retired from the position of Principal of an independent school and have taken up the study of Fine Art with the OCA.
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