Friday, January 02, 2009

28th December 2008 (15:30) - Frozen Pond

28th December 2008 15:30 - a frozen pond
8.5" x 11.5, pencil and coloured pencils in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The surface of the Ecology Park Pond had a very thin sheet of ice over the centre when I visited it last Sunday afternoon. These are the reeds to the right of the last sketch and I've turned about 60 degrees to the right to sketch them. I spent about 15 minutes on this one and then decided I was absolutely freezing despite the many layers of clothing and that I needed to start moving.

I did a complete tour of all three parts of the the pond to see what the views were like from different angles. I've never done this before and was pleasantly surprised at how many really good views there are. As a result I've decided that what I'm going to do is have the whole pond as my subject and I'm going to keep touring round the edges and doing sketches from different angles as there is lots and lots of potential material there and it would be silly to waste all that by just doing the same view all the time.

However I'm also going to have one view which I'll try and do at least once each month and that will be the first one I did on Boxing Day - The Ecology Park Pond in December.

I've decided that I'm also going to take photos of the pond through the year as well as sketch it so that I get a better sense of what it looks like at different times of day in different months of the year. I'm getting the photos organised so that they'll be on Flickr and be accessible to public viewing. I think I might do a set for each month. There again - there are three parts to the pond and different perspectives and different times of day - so lots of opportunities to ring the changes on Flickr sets!

I'm also going to do draw a map of the pond so that I can then annotate it and say where I was when doing each sketch.

What's going to be very helpful about going to the same place a lot is that I'll get very used to colours and will be able to use photos to develop drawings when the view is of a location where it is difficult to sit. Especially those where you have to stand for any length of time - as that's something I cannot do with my very dodgy feet, particularly when it's cold. I love my sketching but I'm not about to risk having another spontaneous rupture of my instep for sketching!!!

Drawing ice is difficult! In the end it seemed to me that where there was ice, the water was completely opaque ice whereas in the places where there was no ice - at the edge, next to the reeds - the water had reflections and also developed little ripple marks as the breeze blew across it. This may seem obvious - but when the water was glassy still it really wasn't quite so obvious.

I've decided that drawing water is also about drawing what surrounds water and what grows in water. Drawing reeds is also difficult when it's cold. They all look the same to start with and all look like they're all the same colour. Then you realise they're all a bit different in terms of how they're growing and the colours change slightly depending on which clump they're in. But none of that it recorded in this sketch - however hopefully I'll get better with time!

The ice also had a steely blue tinge to it while the areas of water which had reflections of the reeds was a very murky olive green/brown. I need to find a pencil which is near that colour as I can see I'll be using it a lot. My recollection is that Caran d'Ache do a lot of good colours in the range of olive brown that I need. The reeds are a peculiar mix of yellow ochre and true blue/green at this time of year with lots of raw umber thrown in.

What was particularly nice was that the sun was setting behind me and as I was sketching the apricot coloured sky started to appear at the front edge of the pond and coloured the section which wasn't under ice.

I'm going to be doing a series of posts introducing different parts of the pond as the sketches develop.

The next thing to do is to visit in the morning - which is what I've got scheduled for this morning - and it's very gray and dull outside!

You can see the first 'proper' drawing I've done in Making A Mark in 2009 - The Plan. Here's a little version of it. It's of the same day but I'm looking west rather than east and at a different part of the pond - and I've begun to get a better idea of how all the reeds work!

The Ecology Park Pond, 28th December 2008 #1
14" x 10", coloured pencils on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell


  1. These are gorgeous, Katherine. I really like this idea of exploring
    the pond for different viewpoints and lighting. I love especially the one looking WEST-- well, really, as soon as I say that then the other one looks great... They are going to love these new ones on WATERMARKS.

  2. All I can say is that you should be in a newspaper. You should most definitely be recognized for your work. Its not every day that I get to see art like yours. Go ahead, publish your stuff because I guarantee you that you will be noticed amongst millions of other viewers! Go ahead, take advantage of your talent, you got it!


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