Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Designing Nature With Katie Whipple

The past few weeks I have been taking a class called "Designing Nature" with Katie Whipple at the Grand Central Atelier here in New York City.  As all of you know, I love painting my fruit and flowers, but drawing is another story.  I really do not like drawing.  I'm not very good at it, so I avoid it if possible.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that it was time to get back to drawing.  I've been wanting to take a class on drawing flowers.  Not because I'm going to stop painting.  It was really more of a desire to learn about the structure of flowers.  With oil paint, it is very easy to just get something on a canvas.  Plus I always feel stressed to go as quickly as possible before the flowers start wilting and die.

All I was finding were botanical classes, which is not something I am interested in.  I like to look at botanical art, but it is not something I want to do myself.  Over the summer, I looked at Katie's Instagram page, and she mentioned her new class.  I checked out the description and it sounded like the perfect class for me.

Each week we bring in a bloom or a piece of fruit and just work on that one thing for the entirety of the class.  We have the option of drawing or painting, but I am sticking with drawing as that is what I need to work on.

Here is a sunflower I did the second week of class.

I am working on grey toned paper using pencil and white charcoal.  Of course, I started out trying to draw every little petal, something I would never do while painting.  Luckily, Katie spotted me and came over to remind me to start out with the basic shapes and work from there.  

After getting the shape of the flower right, I started putting in the petals, paying careful attention to their shape and making sure they went in the proper direction.

At this point, I started adding in the darks and some lights.  This was my first experience using white charcoal and I really like working with it.  

As you can see, I went a little heavy on the darks.  I'm still trying to master getting the right dark with a pencil.  In a painting it is very easy.  You just mix up the appropriate color and put it on.  If it is too dark or not dark enough, it is very easily fixed.  Not so with pencil.  I'm practicing using a lighter touch and I think that is helping.

Leading up to the big finale...

This is where I finished for the day.  It's not great, but not horrible considering it was my first time out drawing flowers.  

The week after I did the sunflower, I decided to tackle a pear.  Pears are hard to paint (for me) and I discovered, even harder to draw.

This is the end result of the pear drawing.  I can't believe I'm going to put this on the internet for all to see, but I like to be honest about my art trials and tribulations.  This little pear drawing took me about three and a half hours!  Yes, you read that right.  Just getting the shape and proportions right took a long time.  

Katie doing a demo of a rose for the class.

All drawings and paintings by Katie Whipple

Katie brought in some of her own drawings and paintings for the class to see.  Aren't they amazing?  If you would like to see more of Katie's work, check out her Instagram feed.  Tons of beautiful roses and peonies that she has been painting.  

Even though drawing is hard for me, I'm really enjoying this class.  It's always good to challenge yourself and drawing is certainly doing that for me!

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