Updated: Oct 4, 2022
October marks the start of Fall as a season; thus it is fitting that our theme for the month be Fall Leaves & Colors, the subject for our two workshops, one live streaming on Sunday 2 October, you can access the recording here for only $10! and the other in person on Wednesday, 26 October in Holbrook Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Avenue in Atherton, CA.
I will be visiting my son and his family in Ontario Canada and i am looking forward to seeing the trees start to turn - one of the most spectacular sights! And following that, I will be visiting old friends who have an 18th century farmhouse in Northern Vermont where, for sure, I will be using my paints and colored pencils to draw fall in all its stunning beauty.
For those of us residing in California, the seasons are not as dramatic as elsewhere. However, I remember clearly biking down Bryant Street in Palo Alto to teach beginning drawing at Pacific Art League, stopping to take photos of the brightly colored trees lining the street as they turned all colors in October and November.
The Inspiration for our workshops: Canada's 'Group of Seven' artists.
The collective work of these painters, and specifically those who painted in Fall of Autumn, is the inspiration for our workshops this month. The group was originally known as the Algonquin School, named after Algonquin Provincial Park in South Eastern Ontario with its lakes, rivers and forests. The painters who formed the group shared in the belief that the artist's personal feelings towards their natural surroundings should determine the style of the painting. The different approaches of each artist also mirrored the span and variety of the Canadian landscape.
But to leave out other wonderful and inspiring painters of fall would be remiss, thus we must also turn to the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, contemporary of the Group of Seven, but working in a different part of North America. And then we have fall in Japan with the red Japanese Maples, plus David Hockney’s paintings of the turning of leaves in his childhood home of Yorkshire in the UK. There is no end of inspiration! And the uniting factor in all these paintings is COLOR.
Capturing Fall depends on understanding how to its hues.
It would be difficult to do justice to the beauty of fall in drawing in black and white, thus we will be working in color. To that end there are some basic rules of color mixing and harmony that will not only help you with your colored drawings and painting of fall, but with any creative practice in color!
This color wheel shows the range of the colors of light from red to yellow, aquamarine, blue, violet, magenta and back to red. The colors seen in fall range from crimson to yellow green and all colors between. These colors all touch one another on the wheel creating a pleasing mix of hues called 'Analogous Harmony'. These are all warm colors, and seen alone could be a little dull until you add some of the cool colors from the opposite side of the wheel from blue violet to blue green. Using these contrasting hues in small quantity makes the reds, oranges, yellow and lime greens pop out.
Drawing leaves: The best way is to NOT actually draw leaves….
It was Claude Monet who showed us how to draw leaves - by NOT drawing them! He says
“Try to forget what objects you have before you - a tree, a house, a field, or whatever.
“Merely think, 'Here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow,' and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you your own impression of the scene before you.” Claude Monet
While knowing the different shapes of leaves is important, when you look at the foliage on a tree you see the leaf in so any iterations directions and and so forth, the advice of Monet to forget the significance of what you are drawing and concentrate on the shapes and colors and lines you see is critical to your success. For those beginning their drawing journey, this can seem such an odd way to go about drawing leaves, but in fact it makes it so much easier! It is also somehow freeing to disassociate oneself from the significance and just LOOK.
Finally, abstracting what you see in this manner also simplifies things down to the essentials of what you see -- just study the images of the paintings in this blog, or any that you personally love, and you will get the idea.
All of our monthly themed workshops dig deep into each subject at hand and Katy and I are working hard to bring all our past drawing workshops to you, complete with recording, slides, worksheets and images. So watch for our announcement of when we will have these ready for you to watch and study!
Our final advice.
The best way to learn to draw is by drawing often and these workshops give you lots of exercises and build your confidence and drawing skill bit by bit.
Learning to draw doesn't have to be a daunting and difficult journey - with our drawing books, videos and live workshops you will surprise yourself and those around you with how good you can get! Try it and see.
And do join us this month for some fun with fall leaves and colors and learning some skills which will help you with your landscape drawing!
#Drawing for beginners
#Learn to draw
#Drawing in color