3.3.1 Composition

For Part 3.3.1 Composition we are asked to see what elements from the previous exercises we would like to include in a larger drawing.

I have three possible compositions or ideas in mind resulting from the three countries I was drawing in during this month.

  1. Corktrees in the soft rural landscape – PORTUGAL

The focal point here would be one shape- the corktree, throning alone in the soft rolling  hills. The tree dark, the hills in morning light. Natural landscape.

Contrast between the vertical “heavy” corktree and the horizontal flowing hills.

I have already explored the corktree in various sketches, but never including as much of the surrounding landscape.


2. High pines in a row – ITALY

The strict lines of planted high pines in neat rows- geometry, organization, contrast between the linear, geometrical sharp and the rolling landscape. Human hand in natural landscape.

So far drawing this subject I have always focused on the linear aspect, usually drawing with  pen only. It would be interesting to explore it including color and surface.



3. Red lights on park trees in a townfestival – GERMANY

Here the main focus would be COLOR! During my recent visit to Germany, during the town festival, the city trees were artificially lit by bright red lamps. It looked very impressive and weird.

They reminded me of Gisela Kohns sometimes surprising colors of trees, although hers are autumn leaves and natural shadows.

This would be an opportunity of exploring the contrast of bright trees and dark night- between the tree and the human artificial intervention, between nature and city.


I just returned to Portugal and am listening to Fado- Portuguese music while writing this, so although I would be curious to explore all three compositions at some point, it is the Portuguese corktree that I will have a chance to draw first. I learned my lesson last chapter that doing too much for the exercises simply leaves too little time to work on the assignment….How I wish for a couple of more hours to the days…

So I will focus on that one lonely vertical shape in the soft horizontal landscape.

Some first thumbnails in colored pencil just shifting the standpoint:

I choose to continue with the last composition.

Couloured pencils A3:img_9985

Well, this got a perfectly boring drawing, could maybe illustrate some children’s book about cork trees.

I decide to try out a drawing on a Portuguese newspaper to loosen up :


I like this a little better- it is looser and has more character.

I tear up some newspapers and try out a collage with watercolurs and ink  in A3:


This is getting a little more fun, but still too stiff. I decide to “scribble” instead with Uniball pens on watercolour and ink, again A3:


I really like the scribbled sky here, but the whole is still not convincing. I think the colors are making the whole too “cute” and illustrative and decide to continue the scribble but use only grey graphite and black or sanguine charcoal, keeping a color palette and scribble style inspired by Giacometti’s drawings:img_0023

I found out that hardly any whites or blacks “bite” on graphite, it just becomes a general grey. But I find some parts really resemble Giacometti’s style, the contrasts and visible marks make it more interesting. This is my favorite version and I will continue exploring this limited color palette and more dynamic mark-making for other drawings as well.

Just a LAST little exploration of this theme in watercolour, because I wanted to try out a small series:


Before moving on I want to have a go at the red trees from the German street fest. I choose to draw with pastels on black paper to achieve vibrant colors, the red trees in the foreground and the city in the background.



I was drawing this from several photographs that I combined and definitely made a mistake with the proportions between the church in the “middleground” and the small streetview and size of the trees in front of that, but in this rather weird atmosphere of red trees I quite like that it added another level of weird.


Here I fixed the differences in proportions though, to make the fading city view in the background more realistic. This drawing ties in to the next exercise- foreground, middleground and background, luckily because it is definitely time to move on!






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