Architects do less freehand drawing than most people probably imagine. The majority of time is spent seeing projects through to completion.
With the advent of computer generated imagery the architectural freehand sketch has become less common but more celebrated as a means of communication in its own right. So it’s always a pleasure to find the time to do freehand sketches when time permits.
I’ve just returned from holiday in Tuscany where I managed to spend some time sketching. Whilst less accurate than photography, sketching forces one to really look and understand the subject matter and find a way of recording it. I used oil pastels on thick watercolour paper. Oil pastels are great as they are completely dry and easy to get started with. No need for brushes or various solutions – just pastels, a pencil and a sheet of paper. However pastels are fairly blunt so the result will inevitably have that ‘sketchy’ look. The colours can’t be mixed prior to application so they have to be blended on the page which is part of the fun – and the effect.
Tuscany in summer is a magical place to sketch. Possible subjects present themselves at almost every turn due to the powerful stone architectural forms, the quality of the light and the dramatic shadows. It’s important to catch the shadows early in the sketch as otherwise they will have moved by the time the sketch is approaching completion.
Back to work in late summer in England now – a mixed bag with it’s own particular charms – hopefully an ‘Indian summer’ this year.