Sketchbook: Autumn update

Updated on 20 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

7 November 2016. Time to update on my everyday inkpen sketches. I keep thinking that I find too little opportunity to use my sketchbook, but looking at this series maybe it is not as bad as it feels.

First some riverside impressions, trying very quickly (30 seconds per person at most) to express posture and mood of the people I happened to see there (Fig. 1):

Figure 1. Sketchbook – riverside impressions (1)

The following man, sitting on one of the benches, was incredibly difficult to catch. He was fidgety to a high degree, kept talking to a woman sitting next to him and looking around all the time, so despite my sunglasses I never had more than one tenth of a second before he spotted me looking at him. I held out, nevertheless (Fig. 2):

Figure 2. Sketchbook – riverside impressions (2)

Next some ladies watching their respective kids play with the gravel (Fig. 3):

Figure 3. Sketchbook – riverside impressions (3)

Then some more people “on the move” along the river, including a 20 minute sketch from my series recording “mass movement”, this time catching mostly cyclists (Fig. 4-5):

Figure 4. Sketchbook – people on the move (1)
Figure 5. Sketchbook – people on the move (2)

Next a series of very quick portrait sketches, which I made in preparation for an exciting evening in one of Salzburg’s art museums (“Rupertinum”), where I spent 6 hours speed portraying the visitors of the “Long Night of Museums” in October. The preparatory sketches were made while watching TV shows/discussions on the internet (Fig. 6-11):

  1. A boy stting for an artist who explained speed portraiture to an audience of future artists:
Figure 6

2. One of the Austrian TV news presenters (Tarek Leitner):

Figure 7

3. The mayor of Salzburg (Heinz Schaden):

Figure 8

4. Another TV news presenter (Armin Wolf):

Figure 9

5. The leader of the green party in Salzburg (Astrid Rössler):

Figure 10

6. Austria’s federal chancellor (Christian Kern):

Figure 11

Then something difficult, catching people visiting the “Rupertikirtag” fun fair in the city of Salzburg, amidst a great crowd, some of them definitely quite drunk and very suspicious of my actions (Fig. 12-13):

Figure 12. Sketchbook – Rupertikirtag (1)
Figure 13. Sketchbook – Rupertikirtag (2)

And finally, moving on to Part 4 of the course, some views on, through and out of objects and buildings (Fig. 14-18).
First, looking through the gap between the planks of a bench on the gravel, leaves, cigarette ends, bits of plastic and metal, which happen to accumulate under well-used public seats:

Figure 14

Then a very quick impression of an old mill (“Rauchmühle”), which at the moment is in the process of being torn down to make way for affordable flats. The rubble in the foreground are the remains of a house, which used to stand attached to the tall building on the right. The view was quite exciting and I keep it at the back of my mind for Part 4.

Figure 15

Next two views of the flats typical for the built-up area around my son’s school:

Figure 16
Figure 17

And last a quick evening twilight impression of our tiny front garden/vegetable plot as seen through the dining room window:

Figure 18

I am extremely glad how my sketching abilities have become reliable over the years, most importantly those regarding portraiture. Only on rare occasions now I fail to catch a true likeness of a person and I notice how I have developed a keen sense of the most descriptive characteristics of a person’s face and posture. Hopefully this is here to stay :o).



Part 3, project 3, exercise 2: People in context – telling a story

Updated on 12 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

7 September 2016. As the basis for this exercise I used a sketch I made while staying in the hospital in Aschaffenburg. There is a a sort of square next to the hospital’s main entrance, where patients and visitors gather to chat. Under a tree there are some “benches” made of concrete blocks with wooden lattices on top to sit on. In that scene is struck me how closely related joy and distress are and on the same bench some people would laugh and play with their children, while literally centimetres from them a lady would put a comforting arm around her partner’s shoulder. This is my picture for this exercise (Fig. 1):

Figure 1. Sketchbook – joy and distress, ink pen sketch

As in the previous exercise I decided to stick to a smaller format (A3), but this time referred to my sketch in planning the composition. Since moments like this are highly fleeting in nature and only seconds later will change to something quite different in composition and emotional content I decided that I would try and attempt to paint in a way that is able to transport the ephemeral nature. This gave me the idea to paint in semi-transparent layers, which are somewhat displaced with respect to the adjacent layers, as, say, in printed 3D images looked at without the required glasses or even a misprinted photo in a magazine, where the differently coloured layers fail to lie exactly on top of each other.

13 September 2016. What a week that was! We hardly left the kitchen for need of learning to prepare modified Atkins meals as quickly as possible. Yesterday our son returned to school and that means preparing school lunch at home as well now for the three days he stays for after school care. I still managed to start my painting for this exercise. Here comes the first layer, which I prepared with my roller again to get acquainted with its properties, then sketched in the persons in watercolour fashion. Except for the pair on the right I planned to paint all people “out of focus” as described above, and as indicated already e.g. in the man standing left of the tree (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. First layer of sketching with paint on prepared background

23 September 2016. Amidst all that cooking a demanding diet it took me ages to finish this exercise. I tiptoed my way through the effects by stepwise increasing the difference between the time-arrested couple and the persons moving around them and in the end came up with something I would have liked to have avoided in a painting course. I had to get out my ink pens and enhance the unsatisfactory feeling of unrest I had produced with my undeveloped out of focus technique. Here is the fist sequence of steps to the final result (Fig. 3-5):

Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5. Finished painting

I think that it was important to let the surroundings shine through in the moving persons, which made them look more ghost-like and movement more believable. The ink pens did help to highlight the aspect of movement, although I am not pleased with myself for having failed to use paint only. If I find the time (haha, only a joke), I might try and see whether there is another solution to the problem.
Overall I am not unhappy with the result however and I believe that in the two details to follow it is quite clearly visible how time is arrested in the couple, while life keeps going on around them (Fig. 6-7):

Figure 6. Finished painting – detail (1)
Figure 7. Finished painting – detail (2)

Now off to Assignment 3!