These drawings were done, as suggested, in conte chalk pastel and charcoal-monchrome and coloured studies drawn quickly capturing contrast and tone. The first set of drawings were done before I found Constable’s sketch book drawings from the V&A museum(see below) the subsequent set with Constable in mind.
Drawn in Conte and black charcoal and worked back into with putty rubber.
Drawn with red chalk, and black charcoal. I like the movement in this sky.
I chose to draw this picture in portrait as the sky grew in tone intensity from horizon and then calmed in tonal intensity as it went away from the earth. Charcoal was a good medium for these dramatic tones.
The sky to the left of the chimney pot had a hint of lilac in it and the clouds were small and white and transparent. Ihad problems with the mixing of the chalks .
This sky had no distinct clouds but a transparent total layer of fne cloud which reflected different colours in different parts of the sky. It was drawn in coloured chalk pencils and oil pastel with some charcoal. I do not like the sketchy nature of the chalk which meant the colours were difficult to blend one into the other.
Looking at Constable’s skies
I couldn’t find many drawings in charcoal or chalk by Constable -his sketches seem to be entirely in coloured oils and then I discovered one of his sketch books (see below) on: :http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/constable_sketchbook/
Design for an illustration to Gray’s ‘Elegy’, Stanza III.
- Object: Drawing Place of origin: Great Britain, United Kingdom (painted) Date:ca. 1833 (painted)
- Artist/Maker:John Constable, born 1776 – died 1837 (artist)
- Materials and Techniques:Charcoal and grey wash on laid paper
- Available at the V&A museum
- On line source (June 2013) from http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O113443/design-for-an-illustration-to-drawing-constable-john/
Constables drawing is divided into two parts -the sky in grey wash leaves the moon free of tone and sweeps across the page with horizontal lighter clouds overlaid with darker heavy stroke of loaded brush. In front of this he resorts to charcoal in order to produce an even darker and harder applied area to denote the foreground trees which rise in a looming composition.
Constable Sketchbook used in 1814 Dedham Vale. (on line image) from the Victoria and Albert museum
sourced June 2013 from :http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/constable_sketchbook/
Constable in (what appears to be) one medium here, his sky is light with short hatchings in a variety of directions, the hatchings being both closer and heavier where the dark clouds start to develop. His more distant clouds are but squiggley lines on the white of the paper. The foreground is also hatched in heavier closer lines and the middle ground drawn in mid tone blocks or left as white paper. There are a few diagonal lines emanating from the sky which by virtue of their distance apart I would think represent beams of light through the clouds onto the whilte patches of field. When viewed fro m a distance this light on the white of the field in the middle ground is very prominent. After looking at this I realize how much my clouds/skies are drawn in block shading and feel I should try again in hatching.
Artist (if known) (Year) Title of image, or a description in italics. [material] [online image]. Place: Gallery holding original work (if known). Available from: URL [Accessed date].
My drawing –the view West 26/6 at 20:20hrs looking into the setting sun -dfrawn after looking at Constable’s drawings
Better in hatching , better with increased tonal pressure in the foreground-view point less advantageous to that of Constable’s but overall image better. Constable has a lot in his image despite it being entirely clear what it is. I still don’t feel Ive got the clouds right, Constable’s clouds have themselves a sense of perspective –how has he achieved that? -it seems the nearer clouds are in the upper part of his drawing, are larger and greater in tone and definition -those further away, in the lower part of the sky have much less shading and consist in many places just of light pencil squiggles. I have drawn in black conte, which appears to be thicker than that used by Constable and hence less able to give definition.
Further images from Constable’s sketch book by virtue of the link to the Victoria and Albert museum : sourced June 2013 :ref:http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/constable_sketchbook/
This fine sketch appears to have used a staining ? by watercolour under the pencil skecth to give tone to the land and parts of the sky. The pencil touch is very light, with cross hatching in the trees, small lines to represent clouds and foreground and closer but lightly applied pencil work in the mid ground.
Dedham Vale (?). Constable Sketchbook used in 1814
Dedham Vale. Constable Sketchbook
sourced June 2013 from : http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/constable_sketchbook/
I selected this image in order to look more closely at Constable’s use of cross hatching -the near foreground has dark diagonal hatching which becomes softer in the near field leaving patches without shade and areas demarcated by curved flowing lines. The trees in the mid ground are darkly crosshatched -squiggles, even, with the mid tree having hatching which is soft thicker and almost light block shading. The cloud hatching is light and sparse diagonal and horizontal and the outline of clouds are marked in places by a soft line. The distant horizon is drawn with soft line and the distant hills with shading which appears to consist of a few horizontal lines.
Towpath near Flatford Mill. Constable Sketchbook
sourced June 2013 on line from:http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/constable_sketchbook/
Having printerd a few of Constables sketches above, I took them outside to draw the distant view of Pendle Hill–the wind was blowing light rain was falling (June 30th 14:00hrs) and the technicalities of using chalk pastel or charcoal with no fineness to the tip and the environement lead to me getting very annoyed with the attempt. Constable’s sketches are light and finely controlled, mine are by comparison violent and clumsy. I don’t think he used chalk pastel or charcoal but fine or soft pencil in these sketches which gives much more control.
My attempts at the view based on Constable’s skecth of Dedham Vale (above)
1. The view over the fence:
View of Pendle Hill drawn in chalk pastel-in attempting to keep a lightness of touch as Constable seems to use, a hint of distant landscape and fine lines for clouds this picture has turned out “pathetic” –the clouds are too heavy in pressure and far darker than the hill and the use of colour confused the tonal contrasts.
2. View of Pendle Hill drawn in pencil charcoal-once again the sky was drawn in too heavy a tone and so worked back into in putty rubber. It is better than the above picture but the hatching is untidy—In excuse, I was influenced by the weather and the papers flying every where.
Conclusion: More detail/ Finer drawing implement with sharper point and more attention to contrasting tones -=particularly sky v land