I see summer as a bold catwalk show of models flanting their outfits. If winter gave us the chance to study nude models with their bare bones and skeletons, in summer we're greeted with a parade of tree models fully dressed in all sort of haute couture 'designs', which of course gives another interesting perspective on their personalities and interactions. It all may seem too much.
But while nature might be trying to overwhelm us with this latest collection, we have our art toolbox at hand and summer is the perfect chance to put one such tool to work, contrasts. Light and dark, straight and zigzag, skinny and curvy, round and square -- summer will help guide you through its contrasts and in turn, contrast will become our friend helping us to get to know our models yet mode intimately.
First we will go on a (cat)walk to look at our models (yes, you can bring your cat on the walk) and then we'll go 'backstage' (or back to studio..) to have a closer look and dive deeper into our drawing researchers.
We will look at interacting trees and ways to find structure in a seemingly overwhelming mass and chaos of green folliage. This will include simplifying trees into contrasting shapes, blocks of colour, lights and darks, looking at the stuff that happens between their trunks and branches, as well as some more unusual ways such as learning about the tree by drawing the leaf, its very own self-produced clothing attire, and drawing only the shadows a tree casts. And as all important things should be approached, we look at our subject in a fun, lighthearted way.
The main goal of this class is to observe and train your eye, hand and heart so that you have a better understanding of contrasts and finding structure in nature, which will help you when you have bigger pieces to work on. By focusing on those "lower level" (meaning fundamental) skills, you're getting equipped with a new way of seeing, a new way of approaching nature drawing and painting which will show through in your future work. And you might get to know your previously unnoticed trees so well that you'll end up making some life-long friends!
Over to you! Go on a (cat) walk, real or online and gather your materials: photos, leaves, branches, anything that can help you get your models better.
Then get to work: inspired by the videos in this class, do one or multiple studies of summer trees. What attracts you most, what do you find most fascinating, which technique we covered here speaks to you most? Did you manage to take it further? In your own interpretation? Or maybe you want to share one that's entirely your own, something you discovered after or in the process of taking this class?
Post your researches, studies, scribbles, even if you don't get further than the warm-up exercise part!
A multidisciplinary artist and educator living and working in Brussels, Belgium. My work is in the collection of the Museum of Spontaneous Art in Brussels, the Russian Cultural Centre of Belgium and has been featured in the Dutch Design Week. I'm an associate member at the NYC Society of Illustrators and …View full profile