Part 2 – Project 3 – Research – Home – Alternative Perspectives

My difficulty starting to look at different artists was I was not clear what “contemporary” really means.

Anthony Green

anthony green anthony green 2 anthony green 3

Anthony Green’s work is described as polygonal forms and over the years these have become more and more complex.  Some of them remind me of the phase of Hockney’s work where he was taking series of digital prints (Polaroid ) when laid together formed an overall image with juxtaposing – lines not matching.



There is a sense of stretching the space with both these kinds of work. Also changing the alignment of the planes so that looking is a greater challenge and you tend to notice more because of it.

Phillip Pearlstein

phillip pearlstein  phillip pearlstein 2

Most of Pearlstein’s paintings are considered from an overhead view and interestingly as above the whole figure is not always included.   Again this means that you have to do more work in order to interpret what you are seeing.

I find them engaging and reminiscent of Jenny Saville’s work where she depicts the body in very stark and often unattractive ways.

download (2)  download (1)

She uses extreme angles looking from below the figure which emphasises the enormity of the flesh.

Edward Hopper



So I went back as far as Edward Hopper because he had such a distinct way of creating time and place in his paintings.   They depict the lonely mostly individuals in urban and rural settings in the USA 30- 50s.  The mood is often sombre and restrained, life, place etc hinted at often through windows. His most well known works are in oils although he painted beautiful watercolours.   I also liked this drawing which reminded me of Vuillard – my favourite 19-20th century interiors painter.

Ivon Hitchens


This was labelled as Hitchens last painting.   Although in oils his works whether interiors or landscapes always had a very spontaneous feel to them.   He was working through to the 70s. His paintings tend to be bright, warm, homely and inclusive.    Hitchens was able to render the simplest still life full of energy and colour.

Patrick Caufield

Braque Curtain 2005 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005

Caufield most often worked on interiors using strong blocks of colours and also line.   Some cite his work as photo realism.    He was able to create very strong compositions often using very few tones or colours as is this painting above. Working from the 50s until his death in early 2000s he seemed to be the fashion and then beyond the fashionable sticking with his style throughout his long career.

Carole Rabe



In an interview Carole Rabe talked about her trying to depict presence in interiors without painting figures.    I picked her because it was quite difficult to find a painter who currently paints in a “traditional” style but contemporary settings. I find her work very evocative of current comfortable middle-class American life.   Light pouring through windows, it always seems to be summer.

David Hockney


Walking Past Two Chairs 1984-6 by David Hockney born 1937


I like the multi-dimensional aspect of this phase of Hockney’s work.   This phase of work dates from his Californian life from the 80s.   Again the light is relevant through the colours and sharp shadows.   Also the indicate multi-level living with high ceilings and big windows.   They are positive, upbeat and very indicative of the lifestyle of time and place.

Jonas Wood



Everything from modernism to pop-art is cited when discussing the work of Jonas Wood.   Also working in the West Coast of America.    They feel very contemporary and often include current architectural styles.    His very precise blocks of colour and shape in some ways recall the work of Caufield .   He is also painting his own environment.






Part 2 – Project 3 – Exercise 3 – Material Difference


I became a bit confused between Exercise 2 and 3 of this project in deciding how to go about developing a composition.

These first two sketches are from my sitting room where there is much more light and variety of objects of differing values and colours.


As I mentioned I had been reading about Bonnard and was particularly struck by one of the compositions which was longer and looking down on the subject.


Although not in itself containing particularly interesting objects this is one of the most intimate  views.   Therefore worked on cutting down and looking from above so that I could isolate the subject more specifically. I was surprised how difficult I find this process from different points of view.   We are used to taking in a scene and scanning it not concentrating on particular points of view and therefore it is a challenge to cut out all the extraneous “stuff” when looking.


I came down to the view above slicing through the view and taking in my neighbour’s sunflowers outside the window.   This says particular time – early autumn and place to me.


How I Worked the Drawing

I have never attempted such a large interior – this is an A1 sheet and my first challenge was getting used to the scale and thinking about what materials I wanted to use.

Somehow I was daunted by the white sheet of paper and covered the drawing area with an ochre ink wash.  I realise that I have never actively thought about working on different grounds so this was a first for me.

The next challenge was to pin this down to time of the day.   The light comes directly in during the morning so this is when I decided to place/time the drawing.

I had worked during the earlier part of this part of the course with multi-media materials and as  it is up to us to decide what to use I went for this option.

First big mistake – I had thought about doing the drawing with coloured pencils but when I started to work on a piece this size I thought it would take me far too long to complete the exercise. So I went for oil pastels and coloured pencils.   Unfortunately they do not work as the best of friends if you lay down the oil pastels first – the surface became very slimy and unworkable.

Panic! – Should I start again or do something drastic?   I did something drastic – used some white gouache to block in the main “light” tone areas.   Second big mistake.

Day 2 – Spent quite a lot of time trying to get rid – scraping back both the excess oil pastels and the gouache.   This was possible in some areas but not others.


Spent a lot of time trying to get the tonal values across the whole drawing correct but found this was very elusive.

The area I feel that I couldn’t resolve because of the decisions made on the first day are the curtains on the left of the composition.   In real life they are not textural like in the photograph but just messy.

Using the oil pastels works in some areas and not in others as do the coloured pencils.


I did my now usual thing of cropping the final image – taken out the curtains on the left.  In some ways I think this makes a better composition all round but regret loosing the hint of the table and its warm light.

My Neighbour’s Sunflowers – Conclusions

  • Still not disciplined enough with myself to stop and think about making a plan of action when undertaking a piece of work
  • I like work that is less fussy than the work I produce
  • I need to learn more about the materials that I use and definitely for the next assignments do more tryouts before committing myself to a final piece
  • I really hate the sunflowers – they look too false and formulaic- although in a way they are.
  • I need to learn more about aspects of foreground and background.   It was interesting in reading that it is said that Bonnard was democratic in his compositions – everything was equally important.
  • The coloured ground really works and brings a warmth to the whole piece
  • Finding a composition is a complex task which takes practice – it does not come naturally to me
  • I am still finding it hard to follow the instructions in the exercises – I get carried away and then when I go back to them I often find I have misinterpreted what was wanted
  • Working at larger sized pieces needs different skills that I am not used to and needs to be practised

I thought I would do a final Bonnard action – he worked on pieces of canvas without making decisions about the final size of the work and often worked on more than one image on one piece of canvas.   So I have  cropped again:-


The sunflowers look even worse in this but I like the chair, cushion and reflection on the curtain.


A bit messy – especially hate the left over gouache light shadows on the table. The gate is a bit wonky too!

Part 2 – Project 3 – Exercise 1 & 2 – Interior sketches and studies


Started with quick sketches around the rooms in the house.  Concentrated on line, shape, proportions etc rather than tone. Also was considering along the way what I would like to concentrate on drawing in greater depth.


Made notes as I went along considering the compositional possibilities of the particular view.   In some cases like the one above of part of my studio thought it would be too complex and confusing.


Then moved into the dining room and particularly liked the shapes of the chairs and how the different struts intersected.


Tried different viewpoints but thought this was getting back too much to still life rather than interior.   The view below has lost the interest of the chairs.


In some ways liked this one but too much like still life again.


As I took a longer view there was greater interest in the shadows coming through from the doorway of my studio.  Bit of an interior within an interior as the dining room itself has no natural light source which I thought might be a problem.

Further along I think this would be an interesting subject to tackle with all the different tones and shadows.


As I moved into the bedroom started using a charcoal pencil which I feel gives more definition to the objects and more structure all round.   Thought at one stage that I would like to concentrate on this view for the detailed study but again this room only has limited natural light.

If I went ahead with this I thought it would be better being a rather dark scene – it would have been better with a figure on the bed and full of mood.   In the end felt that it would not really work for showing the use of colour but it might be something I come back to in the future. Has a real feel of the “noir” and Sickert type of scene.


During the process of doing these drawings I was reading the Bonnard book (Metropolitan Museum 2009 – The Late Still Lifes and Interiors).  I thought both the scene above and particularly the one below with the dog on the bed were very evocative of the kind of interior he produced.


Learning Points

  • Initially I was hesitant about drawing interiors which I had not attempted in the past but gained more confidence the more I drew
  • Viewpoint is more important than I had realised and only by doing my own drawings did I start to become a bit discerning about how to tackle an interior
  • I am still very nervous about depicting the nuances of tone and light – I would like to have tackled the interior within the interior view from the dining room but felt it was too complex a composition to take on first time round
  • In some ways I am drawn to the simpler compositions but would like to learn how to make the complex more simple – i.e. how to draw out the essentials in a scene