An Artist's Journeys in Nature

First Steps in Art

Guy Fawkes - Patricia HowittSo what was I doing at this time?

The earliest piece I have, done within a couple of years of moving to Scotland, is a half-finished drawing on a sheet of lined paper ripped from a school exercise book of a tiger attacking a buffalo, copied freehand from an illustration in the book “Man-Eaters of Kumaon” by Major Jim Corbett.

It was perhaps the fist edition of this book, and there have been many since.  I’m not sure if they all have the original artwork, which I think was by the great wildlife artist, Bob Kuhn.  I remember being fascinated by the illustrations in that book – more quality artwork!

And though the book was technically a “hunting” book, it was special.  Jim Corbett has an enormous reputation as a humble yet highly skilled and patient hunter, who rid parts of India of some really dangerous wildlife, while at the same time showing humanity and care for wild animals.  In later life, he exchanged his rifle for a camera, as many hunters do.

Tiger Drawing & Guy Fawkes - Patricia Howitt

Tiger Drawing & Guy Fawkes Painting – Patricia Howitt

Another very early piece was this Guy Fawkes, developed from a black and white logo in a newspaper advertisement run by a fireworks company.  Inside the small circle, probably less than 1″ across, you could just see the face and the tall hat, the armful of fireworks and the side of Guy’s lantern.  Tiny as it was, the quality of the design made an arresting image.

My dad suggested I do something with it.  The challenge was to expand it out, bring in color, and still retain the play of light and shadow created by the lantern.  I was about 10 when I did that.

Learning About Art

Gradually, art awareness began to develop. With help, I was learning to analyze what I saw from a graphics point of view – maybe not with the improved understanding that comes from years of practice, book study and looking, but at least innately. My dad encouraged me to start a “swipe file” of pictures I liked, as a reference tool.  Over the years it grew to huge proportions, but it still contains stuff that dates back to that time.

Island Paradise - Patricia Howitt

Island Paradise – Colored Pencil

Soon, when looking at books or magazines, I was taking note of the artwork. How was that picture done? What about the composition? What about the colors? What about the angle?  At the time I was barely conscious of this, except to know that I enjoyed pictures, but through sharing my dad’s thoughts, the habit grew stronger and  never left me. It took me a while to realise that not everyone sees things this way.  Quite a shock!

Years later,  that old Tiger drawing got reworked it into a fantasy battle between a tiger and a huge snake.  Must have been looking at too much of Frank Frazetta’s  work, he had a real passion for huge snakes!

Tiger & Snake - Patricia Howitt

Tiger & Snake – Graphite Pencil

More coming

Patricia

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s