From my loft studio window, there’s an amazing view of Swindon’s rooftops and local landmarks, and on a clear day I can even see the wind turbines at Westmill Wind Farm, approx 9 miles away.
I’ve tried drawing the view a few times and have found myself labouring over angles, perspective and scale, which you can see from this Drawing Diary entry from a couple of months ago.
Now on lockdown I’m spending a lot of my time in the studio because as well as it being one of my favourite places to be (fortunately), it’s also the brightest and warmest room in the house. So, last weekend I couldn’t help but try drawing the view from the window again, but this time I used the well-known technique of ‘drawing without looking at the page’. Wouldn’t you agree that these drawings are much more interesting, with a life and energy that just isn’t present in my earlier attempts?
When running workshops I often use this technique as a warm up exercise, and as a way to practice looking hard at the subject and to develop observation skills. I enjoyed doing these so much that I used the same technique throughout the week in my Drawing Diary, layering drawings of domestic scenes and activities.
In the kitchen and for the first time this year sitting in my little courtyard garden I’ve spent some time drawing the things around me – even the kitchen sink! Everything is interesting when you really start to look, and using this technique you will see more and more as you look. I find that the hardest thing to do is to not look at the page, so you help yourself with this by holding another sheet of paper over your sketchbook page so you really can’t see what you’re drawing even if you’re tempted to look.
I made the drawing at the top of this post last night, very quickly, as the setting sun caught the roof tops. I really wanted to try and capture the contrasting warm oranges and cool purples and mauves. I began not looking at the page and smudging chalk pastels down very quickly, then added line and eventually looked at the page to add some block colour in.