Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Underpainting & Gesture Drawings

My friend Kelly (Kelly Berkey Designs) has inspired me as she does so often. She creates beautiful paintings and often starts with a gorgeous underpainting. So, I decided to try to do that, too. Plus, I've been having whelk shells on my mind and just had to draw and paint one (such a different subject for me). Not so easy... this is probably my third attempt! But I like how it looks already. I hope I'll have time today to work on it with color washes - can't wait to see what happens...
But first - drawing class! Today we learned about intuitive gesture drawing, where you try to capture the essence of what you are drawing with many quick and almost aggressive lines. This happens fast and is not meant to be accurate, but to show movement and emotion, pretty much an extended sketch. It'll give you an idea of the shape and the position of what you are trying to draw.

Some examples our professor showed us looked like mere squiggles, but you could see what the artist was looking at and trying to express. The gesture drawings that blew me away were the quick sketches Frank Gehry does for the extraordinary buildings he designs. If you are interested, google him - you'll be amazed!

So, after a few one-minute drawings (which I'll spare you), we had only 10 (ten!!) minutes to do a gesture drawing of a skeleton. Sorry for the poor quality photo, but it was hard to capture and too big to scan. Click on it to see it larger if you want. I am super pleased with my drawing, especially since I was quite daunted by a whole skeleton. For me the trick is forgetting what it is that I am drawing and paying attention only to the shapes and lines and their relationship to each other. (By the way, that skeleton really was missing the right hand and the head...)
Then we did an extended gesture drawing - 40 minutes - of easels, and it had to be fresh and with movement. My professor thought this was quite good. Hard to bring movement to a bunch of easels...
I have to say though, this is my kind of drawing - it allows me to show my emotional connection with what I am drawing. I have a feeling I'll be incorporating this into my sketches and my paintings!

Daniel and I are heading out of town (north of Atlanta) tomorrow for the next few days, so my blogging will be sparse at best (today I'm busy getting ready for our house sitter!). I hope to come back with lots of inspiration and, of course, photos!!

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful few days!!


  1. Liebe Silke,
    ich finde diese Blautöne sehr beruhigend.
    Wünsche dir ein paar schöne freie Tage und frohe Ostern.
    LG Sabine

  2. Liebe Silke,

    Blau ist meine Lieblingsfarbe.
    Habt ihr Ostermontag und Pfingstmontag als

    Sonnige Grüße
    Angela und Elisabeth

  3. WOW! Your sketches are magnificent! I really could see the movement of the easels! And for a mere 40 minutes, your skeleton is superb! Bravo Silke! This class is really great for you!...By the way, I really like the shell too. :-) Have a good time on your trip!

  4. I so love to see what you are doing in class!! I think your sketches are wonderful---and especially that skeleton!!! That is not an easy undertaking!! Enjoy your time away!! I look forward to seeing where you've been!!

  5. Sounds you are having fun with this class and also learning a lot. I'd love to take a drawing course again - it's been so long since I attended any painting/drawing classes...

    Have fun on your vacation. I'm sure you'll have great photos to share when you get back!

    Doris und Gizzy :-)

  6. These are COOL! I love the shell & the sketches. I think doing those gesture drawings must be so freeing. I seem to remember doing some years ago in the one drawing class I ever took. You've got me thinking about buying a sketch pad... ☺

  7. Silke I love this painting!! You are growing by leaps and bounds with your art and it is very cool to see!! Although it is an underpainting I love it as it is! The colors are lovely!

    And wow, your sketching is great! So glad you are enjoying your class!

    Our sweet friend Kelly is quite an inspiration! She is inspiring me alot lately too!

    We love our Kelly! xo

  8. What lovely creations, Silke! I really like the shell painting. And those sketches are great - they really do have movement. Theresa

  9. Silke, this is such fun - it is almost like going to class with you. I think the skeleton is really good, but the easels are fantastic!!
    The shell painting is beautiful. I have been a shell lover my entire life, so this one is special for me.
    ♥ audrey

  10. Wonderful sketches - but the underpainting is gorgeous - can't wait to see how it develops. Have a fabulous trip!

  11. I am so glad that you are enjoying your art class Silke. It is fun to learn new things and gain inspirations. The sketch with the easels is awsome!

    Can't wait to see your new Atlanta photos - I am still remembering the wonderful ones from your last trip~~