Architecture offers the budding artist many possibilities. As an artist you may be drawn to the outside of building attracted to the large scale or more intimate details of the façade. Alternatively the interior of buildings could be more appealing, how does a vast structure function on a day-to-day basis? Does the interior disappoint, flow or lift the spirits? Architecture can be industrial, public/work space or a domestic dwelling, one only needs to look out the window for material to sketch or photograph. You could be drawn to cityscapes or rolling countryside with farm buildings. Does a particular era appeal to you more; Gothic, Renaissance, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, or Modern Sustainable? Wither you travel further afield or stay local, live in a small village, town or large city there are a myriad of possibilities to explore under the theme of architecture.
A great way to explore architecture embedding large-scale line and form is out and about in your local area armed with sketch book and camera to record your findings. Location studies help reinforce quick sketching techniques, hand eye coordination, recording atmosphere, lightening and changing elements of the weather. A camera is an ideal tool to capture the subject matter for further in-studio studies and developing a theme over several weeks or months.
Paper Collage Exercise
A fun way to remove the tightness from this genre of art practice is to interpret tonal values, line and form using paper collage.
Materials Old Magizines/newpapers 160g + paper or card heavy stock to prevent buckle Picture of Building Scissors School glue Old glue/paint brush
- Select you choosen building ensuring it appeals to you, has sufficient interest, light and shadows.
- Gather interesting colours and texts from old magazines/newspapers that relate to your building.
- Arrange into plies of tonal colours then tear or cut into smaller more manageable pieces.
- Roughly carry out a linear sketch of your building onto 160g+ paper or card.
- Start with covering the background and foreground gluing pieces of paper collage in subtle colours to the paper/card.
- Allow background to dry.
- Build up your structure laying down the large area taking into consideration areas of dark and light.
- Try not to over think and do not be attached to the process; remember JFP (just for practice).
- Once the base of the structure is complete allow to dry.
- Add the final details to your paper collage.
- If needed use a sharpie pen or marker to enhance the building
Some of the students finished studies
Here is a superb how to incorporate collage and painting to make a thing of beauty in Artists & Illustrators Love Devon based artist Mike Bernard saving my pennies to own one of his masterpieces, his book is a well thumbed studio favourite.
Finally before moving onto the final large architectural project a large scale study of building detail was carried out. Observation in key and a good remember that looking should take longer than doing.
Large-scale studies of a small area or details of selected subject matter really helps build up memory recall and helps you get to know your subject more intimately.
As work begins on individual final pieces I am excited to watch them evolve in beauty and confidence. Promise to post pics of students progress at a later date.
Quick quiz – Guess What Building & Where
Pictures I have taken on my travels over the years, can you guess what buildings and where they are located?
Post your answers below