10×10 USK Workshops: Teaching Shapes and Learning Reflections

April 27, 2017 | 4 Comments

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Last Saturday we had another 10×10 day here in Sydney. This is part of the celebrations of Urban Sketchers’ 10 year anniversary and happening all around the world. I taught a workshop all about how to paint complex scenes in shapes – how starting with shapes helps simplify the scene, strengthens your sketch and is much faster than traditional ink then wash.

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We were at one of my favourite areas of Sydney – Miller’s Point – and sketching a highly complex building – the Palisade Hotel. It was amazing how all the crazy details of the building could be simplified into one shape.

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This is a quick demo of the second exercise showing the main shapes.

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I also talked about the importance of looking at the sky shape and paying attention to the shapes in the foreground and the way they overlap.

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At the end of the workshop I did a partial demo showing how I alternate between line and colour and how many things I am thinking about while doing my initial shape – the overall shape, relationships of edges, leaving gaps for windows, and making decisions about hue and value.  But once I have done that, the rest of the sketch is simple!

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We had a varied group – experienced artists to people just starting sketching – but everyone’s work was outstanding.

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There were some exquisite watercolour work produced during the morning! Thanks everyone for being such an inspiring group to teach.


 

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In the afternoon I joined Judy Salleh‘s wonderful workshop on painting boats and reflections. I learnt so much! ‘Boats and reflections’ is a topic that’s on my ”to develop further” list so this step by step workshop was just what I needed.

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Her technique (on the left) has four steps, but at the very end of the workshop, she also showed us a super simple one step process.

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I spent most of the afternoon taking photos and observing, but right towards the end decided to have a go – trying to merge Judy’s techniques with my own way of working. This is the result.

I was so inspired that I went home, looked up a few other artist’s work and did some more experiments. To get the best results you have to wait between washes. That is not what I like to do so I am exploring ways to find a good compromise. I’m also looking for more expressive/textured ways to paint water.

Thanks Judy for an outstanding workshop and really inspiring me to explore a new subject matter.

Oh! It was so good to get my creative juices pumping and my mind buzzing with new ideas.

4 Comments

  • Judy Salleh - April 27, 2017 reply

    Thanks Liz for a wonderful post and encouraging words, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the workshop and got your mind buzzing with ideas. I really enjoyed your workshop too in the morning - great to focus on the big shapes and not get hung up on the detail - interestingly everybody's sketches turned out with far more expressive lines and paint that perhaps they would normally do. You did mention that this would be the likely result!

  • REdmundson - April 27, 2017 reply

    So inspiring to see all the different approaches. Thanks for posting the recap.

  • S L Pallotta - April 27, 2017 reply

    Wow. This is a GREAT post!!

  • Leideke Steur - May 10, 2017 reply

    I love this post, what a great workshop. I learned a lot just reading it. Thanks

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