Towns cities and villages provide architectural subjects for painters that offer variety and interest but it is often the introduction of the human element that will bring the whole scene alive

This chapter brings together the buildings in towns and cities with what actually happens outside them, on the streets - the scenes of human activity that are played out every day on the sidewalks creating the excitement that exists in a built environment.

I also consider some of the other evidence of human life around buildings - street signs, cafe signs, market stalls and barrows - all of s 1 Hi I I I II I

the hits and pieces that are a vital part of the town or city scene. If we can see these objects when we are looking at certain buildings, we must consider carefully not whether we should include them, but whv we should think of leaving them out!

There are some new considerations that apply to the subjects in this chapter. Perching on a draughty street corner to sketch a market stall with a constant tide of moving people and the inevitable smells and noise of road traffic is a verv different situation from sitting in the spiritual solitude of a Tuscan hilltop cloister and painting in shade and comfort, or even sitting on the seashore and sketching the fishermen's sheds as seagulls screech and swoop above the lapping waves. I will, therefore, offer some words of advice regarding the practicalities of painting street life.

Firstly, it is usually a good idea to choose a subject that is unlikely to have any visual obstructions - such as large vans or cars - stopping in front of it. Paved or pedestrianised areas are always a good place to start, from this point of view.

Secondly, you will probably only ever develop a series of sketches under the conditions that you will encounter on the streets of towns and cities, so why not content yourself with a series of visual notes to help you to develop a picture at a later date? A few line sketches, a few colour studies, a few written notes notes, and perhaps a photograph (after all, a camera is simply a visual tool) can be quite enough to take away and then develop into a full-scale composition in the comfort of your own home.

Finally, you will often be wanting to sketch or paint people while they are simply sitting or standing about, or going about their work. Quite reasonably, some may not be happy to be constantly stared at, thinking that they are having some sort of notes being made about them. 1 personally believe that it is safer to be direct from the beginning. Approach the people if possible, introduce yourself, and tell them exactly what you wish to do. This will usually produce a much more favourable response than trying to be furtive, and failing.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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