An Edges update....

September 10, 2015 | 6 Comments

Well, I have survived the first week of Edges, in full swing doing Lesson 2 and I am preparing for Lesson 3. I am having a ball and completely blown away by the quality of the sketches done by the group so far and all the stimulating discussion and questions. I haven’t been sketching much for myself, but so much is going on that I feel like I have to blog about it. So I thought I would give you a quick overview of what my head has been full of in the last two weeks.

Firstly this is my new Edges cup… I felt a bit pressured doing this first sketch so can’t wait for a quiet cuppa moment to do a second version!

I have been really getting into telling a full story about my sketching adventures when putting together my Outdoor Demo videos. It is incredible to see some of the footage of what goes on around me while I sketch. Yesterday I went back to a spot to film a second outdoor demo for Lesson 3. The first time it was cold and threatening rain so I had to change my plan… but yesterday I was able to sit on the pavement(sidewalk) of a very busy intersection to do my sketch of a complex building on the opposite corner trying to minimise my lines. While watching the videos back home, I was amazed by  all the things I had tuned out of while I was sketching… and this is giving me some new ideas to explore when things settle down.

In my class I set specific exercises to explain a concept and then film an on location demo of this exercise. I haven’t planned in detail where I am going to sketch – I have a vague idea, but just turn up and find a spot and sketch on the day. In many ways I am trying to replicate what it is like when I go out Urban Sketching. I have no idea what I will end up with – the risk taking element is always huge! Some of the exercises I set for the class are a nice stretch for me as well – this certainly adds to the fun for me, and I hope more true to life for the class. In Lesson 2, I was concentrating so much of the lesson that I end up with a very out-of style sketch, so after lunch I came back to the same location and did another version – this one – in 15 minutes.  I just can’t help myself… and BTW this is the first time I have shared a video of my current crazy style of painting!

But anyway, I am still buzzing from Lesson 1…..

You might have seen some shoe sketches floating around online – these were Lesson 1 exercises to explore the differences between edges that were changes in plane and those that we changes in colour. A very conceptual (and challenging) exercise and the quality of the work produced was outstanding – especially impressed by people that tackled complex running shoes and anything with laces – WOW! I am looking forward to using these concepts as the foundation from which to explain lost and found edges in Week 4.

The other lesson 1 demonstration was applying these ideas to a local monument and in a funny way, it was easier to do the outside exercises! By drawing the planes in order as they exist in space and then secondly simplifying them into big shapes we have a few powerful techniques in place that we can build on each week. So in lesson 2 we are looking at hard and soft edges and how to get a sense of depth by varying the edges of each change in plane in a scene – and in particular I was looking at landscaping – so that is what that quick ‘just for me’ sketch about was all about.

By pure coincidence I was in the botanical gardens on Saturday for the USK SYD event and was able to do another version of the Greek monument I used for lesson one. This version is quite typical of the way I am working these days and I felt while doing it that is was a good summary of all the main principles I am sharing in the 4 lessons.

Sadly no video camera over my shoulder… but I did take a photo at the end of my ‘first pass’. For those doing the course, this is a little teaser for Lesson 4!

And oh! before I finish this rambling blog post… Lesson 2 is also FOOD week. I have shared with the class how making some decisions about hard and soft edges is one of my secrets to sketching my meals fast enough that I can still enjoy them hot. Oh! there is a lot more but this is just a sampling of what is going on. BTW this was a very quick sketch I did last night while eating my meal.

Ok… better get back to work… Prioritising Lines (Lesson 3) is a really fun topic and also there is a special guest coming up so have lots of videos queued up to be edited!

UPDATE: this article was written during the first run of the course, but Edges is open for enrollment today!


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  • Liz Steel says:

    I am needing my extra heavy duty energy pills at the moment!!!

  • Liz Steel says:

    Thanks Alison…. I am sorry…
    but looking forward to having you in the SD course when it is released!!!… I am not giving everything away so it will still have some surprises!

  • Liz, your energy puts me to shame!

  • Alison Ogle says:

    You temptress you! Another of your marvellous blog posts makes me wish I was able to sign up for Edges this time round but I just cannot take the time just now – I will wait for the self directed version. Thanks for all the hard work that you put into your blog, I don't always comment but I do always read and admire.

  • I am taking the class now and loving it so much! I'm very appreciative that you include not on the videos but also the PDF handouts that you can refer back whenever you need it. Your class is the first one that I felt just right for me, one in which it wasn't all "do what comes naturally to you" and so technical that you need a compass and a ruler.. Thank you, Liz!

  • Barbra Joan says:

    Liz, before I go one step further let me say this. I don't even remember how I found your blog about a week ago . It started out in 2014, and I was hooked. A few days ago I went back to your early writings, sketchings etc. Today I realized that you are indeed up to the present week Sept 5. Before I read another word or look at your wonderful work I had to write you.
    I'm a watercolor artist from Florida, now living the past few months in Tennessee. How I would love to learn your free and loose way of sketching. I now see that you do online classes and llooking into that. Some years ago I purchased Noodler pens, inks , from Goulet and also always on the lookout for a sketching pen . I like 'real' ink. Won't take more of your time right now . I see your on a new sketching venture. Must go read about it.
    Regards , Barbra Joan.

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