Tweaking my glasses

One of the most amazing Santo Domingo workshops that I’m finally getting a chance to write about is “Architecture: Personal Viewpoints,” with Liz Steel and Frank Ching. Liz is one of the people I was most excited to meet because we’ve been corresponding and I’ve been admiring her Australian architecture sketches on her blog for months. Frank Ching is well known to architects around the world for his many books on architectural drawing — but instead of me going on and on about his many accomplishments you can read about him here. It goes without saying that I was in good hands for my baby steps in architectural training.

We sketched at the cathedral of Santa Maria La Menor, the oldest cathedral in the Americas. The building is a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles and our viewpoint was the back of the building (where we could find a bit of shade!). At the start of the three-hour session Frank told the group that he wouldn’t be telling us what to draw but he would be “tweaking our glasses” a little bit. This sketch started out as a pencil drawing on the left hand page of the sketchbook but when it was my turn for Frank to have a look, he told me that by choosing to draw only a section of the building, I hadn’t really expressed the horizontal nature of the low structure. So I added all of the rest on the right. More than a tweak, I would say. The little pencil drawing in the sky is one of his explanations, as he taught me about recording the big solid shapes first and then working towards the details. And the wonderful stamp in the corner was created by John Wright, based on the workshop logo.

Cathedral

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4 Comments on “Tweaking my glasses”

  1. Joan Shouldice says:

    That’s a great tip. From your left hand page I would have thought the building was more vertical in nature. I’m sure I do that all the time!
    Joan

    • I make this mistake all the time so I really appreciated his comments.
      There was even more to it than that Joan but I am always leery of going on too much in my posts.
      Another thing I learned (although I didn’t do it here) is to put myself in the sketch and by that I don’t mean a self-portrait but rather recording the space between me and the building. I also learned to spend some time exploring and walking around the building to get a sense of it. And that one sketch can’t record everything so sometimes a series of sketches would do a better job. All things to think about further…

      • Ethna says:

        These are such helpful ideas, Shari…thanks so much for passing them on….I will really be thinking about them all when next I sketch.
        (So glad you met Liz!)

      • I’m glad they’re useful for you Ethna. If I think of anything else I’ll add it in.


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