Capturing the Impression of Movement in a Painting – July 23rd 2015 Summer Day Course

There are many approaches we can employ to help us make the optical illusion of movement. Today in the Summer Day Course we completed three exercises to suggest different speeds of movement: an animal sauntering along, a bird in flight and a person walking (or trying to walk) towards a gale force wind.

But the first exercise of the day was to complete some preliminary sketches. These were completed on Artists Trading Cards, always a very useful resource as you are making your thumbnail sketches. Comparing each learners three ideas, after our initial discussion, proved a beneficial way for the group to critique the work.

With the animal sauntering along it was the mere movement of the paw that gave the impression the animal was moving: that is all. All learners used the pastels with some very pleasing results. I would like to organise a further pastel course as discussed in the classroom today.

With the bird in flight – not only was the bird soaring above the water, but the sky was moving across the back of the composition and the water below was moving slowly. So different techniques had to be used to suggest each separate element moving. A good way to represent cloud is to use a circular brushstroke – wet on wet. To represent a body of water, horizontal, zigzag or diagonal lines make a body of water “move”, the direction and speed the brushstrokes are applied to the paper will determine at what type of speed the water appears to be moving.

The person walking towards the gale force wind: it was good to represent one movement against another, a person trying to battle the elements. A graded wash was used for the background, with reference to our section on mixing greys earlier this year, and the figure could be painted in as a silhouette or as the colours seen in the photograph we worked from. An umbrella is always a useful prop to have in a painting or a drawing when painting a rainy or stormy scene.