Trial by Perspective

My husband and I went sketching locally today, and ended up at Denver Sluice, a complicated set of flood-management structures which assist in Fen drainage. We spent a long time looking for a good view to sketch and, as time was eking away, in the end sat on a picnic bench and drew one of the monolithic sluice gates. It was never going to be a beautiful picture, more a study in perspective.

After a very dull start, the sun finally broke through, and blue skies smiled on us as we worked – in fact it got quite warm.

The structure Denver Sluice Watercolouritself presented quite a tricky set ofΒ  issues, as the huge concrete supports were wider at the base than the bottom, but only quite subtly. I’ve overdone it here, and the angles aren’t consistent. And of course, there was the issue of their recession away from our point of view. I didn’t manage to capture this very successfully, but I know I have done worse! The concrete colours were a challenge too. In fact, it was all quite tricky. Next time we sketch this (if there is one) I’llΒ  forgo the picnic bench and position myself where I can see the water running under the structure – that might make more visual sense.

Still, I’ve now broached the first page of my new Saunders Waterford pad, which is no bad thing. Always nice to get one under the belt.

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14 thoughts on “Trial by Perspective

  1. The perspective is really good and I like how dominant and solid the columns look. Does your husband have a blog or post his sketches anywhere? It would be really interesting to see the two different interpretations of the scenes you both draw.

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    • Thank you Nicola. I agree, seeing the two pictures together is interesting. My husband doesn’t have a blog – he is very shy about his drawings as he’s only really been learning to draw since the start of the year. He wants to focus on architectural sketching, and he’s making good progress, especially given the small amount of time he has to devote to drawing. He’s a pretty harsh critic of his own work (aren’t we all?). I will see whether I can get permission next time to let me publish his picture too. It’s worth a try, but I’m not holding my breath! πŸ™‚

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  2. Aren’t you lucky, having a husband who will sit still and draw? Mine’s always on the go, which is why I don’t often get much done on holidays. Hope he’ll persevere with his drawing. Fen drainage is actually an interesting subject….we have all kinds of drainage things here in the flatlands of Somerset, some of which have been demolished and rebuilt/restructured over the years….you never know, your painting may one day be historical. Seriously. Good job done on what many non-artistic people would consider a non-subject.

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    • Haha! It definitely wasn’t conventionally picturesque. I like the idea of it being historical… yes, global warming being what it is, you may be right. I’d really like to paint some of the fenland-scapes with drainage ditches. They can be very atmospheric in the early morning with the low sunshine playing in the reeds and the black soil; maybe it’s similar where you are? My husband is a mad cyclist, so drawing is only really entertained after a long bike ride. It sounds like you and I need to be content with squeezing in a pic in the ‘in-between’ times!

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  3. I think you did a great job. I think, architecture is hard if you want to portray it realistically. Different people like different subjects. I happen to like stuff like this and really like your sketch.

    How nice that your husband will go out and sketch with you.

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  4. Architectural structures are always hard. You’ll have to be a little more precise with the foundation sketch, and it’s too easy to spot mistakes! I think you did a great job with this one.
    And I agree with you – concrete, asphalt, and sand are hard to capture. Did you find solution for the tricky colour problem? For me, it helps to think like an impressionist painter and try to forget what it is that I paint. It’s easy to get stuck in the idea of what I think I know concrete looks like instead of drawing how it really looks. I miss out on the play of colours and light over its surface and its actual qualities.

    Well and bravely done! πŸ™‚

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    • Great advice – you are right that what looked mostly ok in the sketch looks not so good once the paint is applied. I think that also I’m often not accurate enough with my paint, which I guess is down to technique and laziness (trying to use one favourite brush for everything!). A fraction of a millimetre over, and you’ve skewed the perspective beyond rescuing…So much to learn! I don’t think I’ve solved the concrete yet, although the leftover colours on my paintbox lid from previous pictures do help a lot πŸ™‚ .

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  5. Looks like you nailed the perspective to me! I have had times when I had to shrink my sketch way down with a copier, and then tape really wide strips of paper on both sides of the first paper to find the vanishing points! Thank you for following my blog-I will explore yours more soon. πŸ™‚

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    • Ah, thank you! It’s comforting to hear that others have similar issues – I like your solution though…I’ll have to remember that. Looking forward to seeing more cartoons from you! πŸ™‚

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