Monday, April 27, 2015

Conductor Paul Phillips

Yesterday we heard a performance by the Brown University Orchestra, led by Conductor and Music Director, Paul Phillips.

I drew the overall silhouette with two brush pens, one filled with clear water and the other with black ink. While that was still wet, I used a black water-soluble colored pencil to define some of the smaller forms.


Yorky said...

Wonderful action sketches James.

Rich said...

Great sequence: bears some resemblence to a music sheet, or staves.

Tom Hart said...

What a wonderful sequence of drawings. Simple really is (ofen) better. Considering your description of materials, am I correct - looking at the predominance of gray - that you first indicated the relatively small black areas and then dragged the gray from those spots with the water-filled brush? Or...?

jeffkunze said...

Hello James,
I'm curious about something. I'm not here to criticize but just want to ask if you can fully appreciate the music while you are sketching. Unless I'm mistaken you sketch these at the concert. And I know that you're using your eyes to draw and the music is for your ears but your mind is split between the drawing and music.
I sometimes sketch during a movie while I'm relaxing in the evening and sometimes I'll miss a lot of the movie because I'll be concentrating on my drawings. Sometimes if it's something I REALLY want to see (and not a romantic comedy that my wife picked out :) I'll not draw or anything and will give the movie my undivided attention.
And sometimes when I'm doing design concepts or animating I will absolutely not listen to anything. But other times I find some music can really help me work.
Just curious about your thoughts either way. Thanks!

arturoquimico said...

Great sketches! Brevity may be the soul of wit, but the simplicity here inspires me to remember that shapes and value are the soul of painting...

krystal said...

Love Sibelius! Have been listening to Martinu a lot these days, too!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Arturo, Rich, and Yorky!

Tom, you are very perceptive. I put spots of wet black ink where I knew I wanted darks. Then while that was wet I pulled it up with the clear water brush into the full silhouette. And as that was still damp, I drew on it with the black watercolor pencil. It might have been easier if I had a light gray water brush.

Krystal, my favorite Sibelius pieces are his Swan of Tuonela, Finlandia, and Violin Concerto. This concert had his First Symphony.

Jeff, I listen more actively in a way because I think I tie my drawing to the rhythm of the music. I always liked to draw as a kid when listening to my teacher talking (not all of them understood), but when they tested me for recall, I did better when sketching.

Arturo, yes, that's it: Simple shapes and value. That's so important.

Dean Johnson said...

Hi James,
Thanks for explaining the sequence of black ink to clear wash, to watercolor pencil! I was sketching my kids during their piano lessons just today, and went in the reverse order: some watercolor pencil, then clear water brush, which was fine till I got to the black ink, which went where it pleased... I was curious what was going awry, and I think you answered that for me...put the black ink on the dry paper, then direct where it should go, with the clear water brush. Also do you carry a paper towel along to dry off your brush if it gets too wet?

As for sketching teachers, that was a habit I was into all through school, and I also found that it seemed to keep me focused during lectures. Now it's unthinkable to part with all those boxes of old school notes, because of the little sketches that might be interlaced here and there.
I can imagine that you find yourself calling to mind parts of the concerts you attended when looking back at your concert sketches.

Regarding going for simple shapes, love this quote I saw just today, featured on the website of the Frederic Chopin Society of MN...

“Simplicity is the final goal. After one has played a vast quantity of notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”

— Frederic Chopin