The only place I could find that seemed to fit all of the criteria was the staircase, which may sound odd but there was a lot of different lines going on, contrast between light and dark and also a mixture of textures. As I could not think of anywhere elseand I spend far too long already agonising over what to draw, I decided to just do it! (this has become my mantra, in an attempt to stop overthinking and procrastinating)
For the first drawing, I sat on the stairs, looking through the banister, using willow charcoal for a fast sketch.
on the stairs in willow charcoal
Not surprisingly, I found the angles difficult to capture but I think I got the turn of the stairs almost right. I’m not sure if you can make out that the items hanging behind the banister are coats but they look like fabric at least. As is happening frequently of late, as soon as I see the uploaded image, it doesn’t look finished so I end up going back and working into it some more. Hopefully, the fact that I am recognising this means I am growing in some way and am able to admit my mistakes and go back and rework drawings. The first attempt seemed weak and bland before so I have added more contrast and some depth.
My second attempt was sitting near the front door.
hallway in willow charcoal
I struggled with drawing what I could see in front of me, finding it difficult to fit it all in! By coincidence, it was interesting to see in the OCA weekly round-up today, Jim Unsworth discussing Lesley Norman’s work. She has distorted perspective to get more viewpoints in a scene. In case you missed it, here’s the link Lesley Norman. I think I am trying to draw what’s in front and also to the sides of me.
Again, I reworked this slightly as it didn’t have any tone or contrast. The banister was a nuisance, quite fiddly to draw with charcoal so I compromised, I can see areas that are slightly off but I’m happy with the coats hanging, that’s probably my favourite part. I haven’t quite managed to get the depth of the under stair recess though so, on reflection, this needs more attention.
I was feeling quite frustrated with this by now and re-read the exercise and concluded that I had done it all wrong so impulsively went off and drew something completely different.
dining room window in willow charcoal
After I did this I thought it was awful and quit drawing for the day. Now, I think it’s not that bad and has quite an interesting composition which may need further investigation, and maybe more care and attention.
As I did not want to redo the whole exercise, I decided to go back to the stairs and finish the job.
upstairs and downstairs in willow charcoal
I was halfway up the stairs on the turning point so had two different views. I had a view of upstairs and downstairs at the same time. It was somewhat confusing, so much so that I drew a chair that is downstairs on the upstairs landing before I realised how very strange that looked. The downstairs do not look convincing and I pretty much hate the stairs by this point. Even though there are a lot of mistakes I actually kind of like the movement happening here though.
Finally from the hallway
stairs in willow charcoal
Have to admit I was glad this was the last one but again, I quite like the end result, it seems calmer than the previous one. I’m happy that my strokes are stronger and bolder, because I can be quite unconfident when I’m drawing. This exercise was difficult, perhaps because I haven’t drawn anything like this before, I have a fear of straight lines. Sometimes I feel like I have so much to learn and it can be daunting but occasionally I think I am improving. I have preferred the portrait versions, perhaps because they are cut-off from the full view so you just get a glimpse of something and makes you a little curious. This is something to consider in future.
I googled for paintings of stairs and found, of course, Escher, I don’t know how he had the patience to draw that!
I found another one that seems more inviting by Edward Lamson Henry and also James Neil Hollingsworth.
In conclusion, interesting drawings can be made from staircases, I think it took several drawings to discover this.