Deep seeing the pasture

Despite finding a good pasture last summer, I remain drawn to an even nicer one that Barbara White shared on Flickr, and which I wrote about earlier last year. There is nothing quite like trying to reproduce something to make you look at it deeply, and as I’ve done only enough scenery modelling to know how quickly it gets out of control, I took some time to dissect the Burnstown Road farm scene before I dive in.

To dissect the scene, I started with a colour pencil drawing. Unlike paint, colour pencils force you to slow down when drawing. You get only one size of “brush” and the colour goes only where you ask it to. Colour pencils force you to slow down and that in turn gives more time to observe.

I taped an unfolded plastic page protector over the drawing so I could note things as I found them in the drawing. Even in this simple scene, I found details I hadn’t noticed when viewing the photograph – from cattle-churned mud in front of the gate to stumps among the bulrushes in the foreground.

The finished drawing won’t win any awards, but it certainly helped me explore the scene.

2 thoughts on “Deep seeing the pasture

  1. That’s a neat way to really dig into the details. I think a key to good scenery is trying to capture the endless variations in nature as they exist within the specific landscape. Important that the effects of drainage be reflected in what grows where, its colour and height, etc. This drawing is a really useful way to be deliberate about that.
    As you dissect this scene, a couple of questions come to mind for me:
    – is any of this to be used as a backdrop (whether photo or painted), or is it all to be modelled?
    – if a bit of both, where is the transition from model to backdrop going to fall?
    – putting the 2nd Q differently, how much space do you really have from the foreground modelled area to the backdrop? How much of that pasture can be compressed into that space?
    My two cents: the wire fence line on the right half (and everything back of it) could be backdrop. On the left, you could model the path/road just past the counter-clockwise bend to the back/left. Each gives you a way to hide the joint with the backdrop. A line approximately connecting those points coincides with bend in the creek and the bush that blocks it from view, allowing a hidden transition from modelled creek to backdrop. It might work to put the portion reflecting the sky on the backdrop, and the darker more pebbled foreground portion in the modelled scene.
    Looking forward to seeing the next steps!

    1. Thanks Rob. The scene will be part backdrop and part modelled. It’s going in the back corner, behind the roundhouse in an area that is something like 18 inches deep. My initial thought is that the barns are on the backdrop and the fence marks the end of the scenery. Next step is to find out if that works!

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