With Covid19 locking us in our homes for weeks it was good to finally get together with our art buddies again. We started the class last Saturday with several very quick pen sketches using a model. The aim being to keep the pen moving constantly on the page. This method is called continuous line, or contour. Although contour usually refers to the outline, continuous line allows you to move around and across the form. With both methods it is usual to look at the model and then the page. Blind contour, is when you look only at the model while you sketch. A challenge, as it’s so compelling to look down at your sketch.
Then there’s the fun and rather weird way of using this method by swapping your pen to the non-dominant hand. There’s always a bit more noise in the room at this point in the exercise, as people moan, exclaim or laugh at what is appearing on their page. It is interesting however, to try a different way of working. We are so used to the way our dominant hand reacts when a pen is placed in its fingers, and the control we are usually able to exert from brain to hand. By swapping hands all that has evaporated, and by contrast, our movements now seem wayward and clumsy. We have lost all sense of knowing what will happen next. It is a really good exercise however, if we’re wanting to loosen up.
Next was a watercolour exercise. Before taking off outside to sketch near the beach, we were told to put several colours of watercolour wash on paper. “Hold the paper up, just let the colours do their own thing,” was the directive. A quick drying of paint with hairdryers and we were done. It was harder finding a good place to position ourselves than to sketch. The idea being, that we would try and use continuous contour line in pen, over the prepared coloured paper. I used Hahnemühle 300gm cold pressed paper, which has a lovely texture and a 0.5 Staedtler pigment liner pen. There was a noticeable drag as I sketched across the dry paint but I think I achieved a reasonable line.
I was unsure how I felt about this sketch. I have been so used to sketching first before applying paint, I had no gauge to know if it had worked. A bit like using the non-dominant hand. A bit weird, rather fun, but a really good exercise in mixing it up.