I thought I had a photo of the value sketch, but I missed that one--I'll add it later if I can get a photo tomorrow.
Then she put up an easel so we could all see her, and we did this under-drawing together step by step, so she could walk us through it. Again, I think of myself as fairly adept at drawing, but doing a street scene like this is an exercise in perspective, and mine is woefully inadequate! So the walk-through was really useful--we found the horizon line, then we found the vanishing point, and then everything was directed towards that. She showed us how to anchor our cars to the ground by starting with the tires and placing them properly on the road, then drawing a box for the approximate size of the car and refining from there. Cars are surprisingly difficult! I think my exercise for the next few weeks is to go sit in the parking lot of the library on my lunch hour and draw them from every angle until you can distinguish in my drawings a Prius from an SUV from a Fiat. Size and scale is particularly difficult to calculate, but Keiko also showed us how to know how big to make things--if they are on the same plane, they are the same size, but if they are forward or backward in the photo, then they increase or decrease accordingly. Sounds simple. It's not. And knowing how big to make people is similarly challenging.
Then some of us went to lunch. There are always those die-hard students who skip lunch or down a quick sandwich while madly painting, but I personally need a break from all the stimulation!
After lunch, Keiko finished the painting in about 40 minutes while we watched, and then we went back to our desks and attempted our own versions. Here is hers:
You can see how much she alters from the original photo--she places the cars differently, she adds people for interest, plus the guy on the bicycle and the flags flying from the building on the right, and what seemed like a snapshot of a not-very-remarkable city scene suddenly became something special!
I have to say that I have never worked as hard and been less satisfied with my results. The cars look like toys, the people are weird-looking, the buildings are overworked and have little of the light-and-dark pizzazz of Keiko's--finesse is missing. But I am proud of myself for putting in the time on this (three hours at the workshop and another hour when I got home!), and I know that if I just do this about 300 times more, I will have something I'm really pleased to show! For now…here's my best effort:
Tomorrow is the last day, and we are choosing our own pictures from which to paint. Hmmm. What to do, what to do. You'll see tomorrow night…