Part 3. Project 2. Exercise 3. 360 degree studies

15 minutes sketching an expansive landscape looking at North, East, South and West.

I was a bit dispirited by how boring these sketches were! I prefer the conte, charcoal and drawing pen sketch both because the media made it more lively and also because the composition had much more depth than the other drawings.

conte, charcoal and drawing pen. My favourite drawing out of the four.
I wanted to try a low horizon. Without colour in the sky it is very dull.
The composition is quite interesting but the use of a soft pencil makes it all a bit meh.
I like the clouds and birds – gives the image some feeling of the wind blowing. Otherwise dull composition.

Part 3. Project 2. Exercise 2. Sketchbook walk

I enjoyed the sketchbook walk but due to it being cold I only did the first sketch outside. For the other two I took photos and sketched quickly indoors. This also allowed me to chose a variety of media I wouldn’t necessarily carry on a walk.

I am fascinated by this tumble down barn. The curved corrugated iron roof has fallen in creating an unusual shape in the landscape. I intend to return and sketch this barn from a number of viewpoints
This tree and the surrounding landscape were tonally extremely dark against the very bright sky.
I like the angle looking down into the bridge arch. I have noticed I am attracted to a very tonally dark point in the landscape be it a doorway, an arch or a tree against a bright sky.

I have noticed that I tend to focus on a central dark point. Is this a weakness? I will explore different viewpoints in future sketches but maybe I need to look at where other artists place very dark points in the landscape.

To do:

  • look at other artists’ approach to tone in landscape
  • sketch the field barn from different viewpoints.

Part 3. Project 2. Exercise 1. Cloud formations and tone 

This exercise was much harder than I expected.  I started with some wet in wet watercolour.  This is a technique I haven’t really used before.

I decided to put in a horizon as the tonal contrast between land and sky emphasises the darkness on the land and the lightness of the sky. I didn’t get the land dark or sharp enough though.


I tried oil pastel. I have always found oil pastel hard to smudge, I tried blending it with some olive oil which created an interesting effect and a yellow tone which the clouds did have.

oil pastel

I tried a very sketchy effect using lines

oil pastel

I moved on to conte crayon but I found I couldn’t capture the billowyness off the clouds


I moved onto charcoal which is always great for curves and billowing


I found different material worked better with different subjects, the trees and landscape worked better with harder materials and the clouds worked better with softer materials

clouds – charcoal, landscape – conte

In this sketch I used charcoal for the clouds and conte for the landscape. I like the abstract effects of this. I spent longer on this sketch, lifting out the light in the clouds with a putty rubber.

I was itching to get the patches of blue sky into a sketch. I used chalk pastel and I really like the soft feathery effect I could get with this medium.

chalk pastel

The thing I like about the contrast of cloud and sky is the solidity of the colour in the sky contrasted with the tonal variations of the cloud. I’d like to produce a piece where this is expressed – in the following sketch, the sky is a little patchy.

chalk pastel

I loved just looking at the sky and clouds and really observing the tonal variations in the clouds.

To do: continue sketching clouds, look up oil pastel techniques.