Assignment 2 – Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of Technical & Visual Skills

I believe that my technical and visual skills are improving particularly if I look back at some of my first exercises.   By slowing down and greater planning my accuracy has improved overall.   There needs to be much more drawing generally and outside of the development of the exercises in the course.

As commented on various posts I still find composition a difficult concept and really cannot assess at this stage how I am doing in this area.   Working through building a composition as in Assignment 2 by photographing different layouts helps me to move through the stages fairly quickly.   And although it is suggested that we make sketches as we go along  I am finding this rather inhibiting.

Looking at other artist’s work helps me to appreciate good composition and this does not yet allow me to analyse why certain layout’s work and other’s do not.   The problem is that we tend to see the compositions which work and only with Guernica have I seen evidence of an artist working through their compositional challenges.

Quality of Outcome

The quality of the work which I have produced has become stronger and more defined as I have worked through this module.   Doing lots of sketches and using different media sometimes in a fairly loose way has allowed my work to become more considered generally.

I am pleased with the outcome in terms of overall drafting and I have used mark-making in an expressive way.   It is a challenge to find the skill to bring spontaneity into the work . In a way I have surprised myself by deciding to use the water soluble wax crayons for the final piece as they are not something I have used extensively before.

Demonstration of Creativity

Whilst I am aware that there is a creative voice struggling to get out this has not been achieved as yet.   My reading, research and gallery visits have greatly enhanced my awareness of other artist’s personal voices though I am not sure how truly analytical I am being when writing about their work.   Interestingly the exhibition which I went to where I was advised to see something that I would find challenging “Conceptual Art 1964 – 1979 –  Tate Modern” was for me one of the most thought provoking.

I certainly made a great many judgement calls working towards the Assignment 2 composition.   Again I am not sure yet whether this comes from the gut or are conscious responses to trying to gain balance, interest, content, context etc.

Context

I think I have at times been near to overwhelm with what I would like to read and research and what it has been possible to fit into the time I have available.   Certainly visiting Madrid just before I was ready to put my final Assignment 2 piece together has brought up many more questions than answers in relation to where I am intellectually in relation to understanding my own creative processes.

This time I have tried to keep more up to date with my learning log and completing each section as I have been going along – apart from the phase where I failed to take notes after a reading week!   Big lesson learnt.

Overall – I would assess my position at the moment of being good/average

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Assignment 2 – Intimacy – A Still Life

Finding a Composition

bin-2

My immediate reaction was you can find a composition anyway. Opened the bin and voila!  This could be it.   I still think that there is something about the colours, textures, different surfaces that are interesting….

charcoal-oct-2016

Did a very quick – 20 minute large A1 drawing of the doll against the fabric background just to see what it felt like working on a larger composition. I like the monumental feel of the image although this is out of proportion to the real object. I am drawn to the black and the tonal qualities.

colour-drawing

Again tried a really quick sketch of 20 minutes initially using just inks.   Then went back to it after if had dried and worked over with white gouache and water soluble wax crayons.  My thoughts were where does drawing stop and painting begin?   I am not sure which this is.

The freedom of some of the marks and spontaneity of the image in parts is successful.   I like the “relationship” between the dog and the doll. Makes it more of a story.

Back in the Box

Completed Still Life Assignment 1 - reduced

Above is my Assignment 1 drawing.

still-life-1I thought:-

  • I wanted to include some of the elements that I had used in Assignment 1
  • Spent a lot of time moving them around putting different object in, plants, dog etc and taking them out again.
  • Began to feel bored and not interested in the composition anymore.   Have I come to the end of the doll story?
  • Thinking about Cotan and feel the composition is not fulfilling  any of the criteria. What is the Story? This is a phrase which keeps reoccurring.
  • Also trying to get an interesting light source – see window cut in side of box – Vermeer interior?
  • Ended day very dissatisfied.

Day Two

still-life-2

Last night listened to an interview with Jonathan Safran Foer (writer) who was being asked about plots for his novels.   He quoted W H Auden:-

“I write so that I can read what I am thinking.”

This really struck me – I was, yesterday trying to tell the story before I have created anything.   Last time with Assignment 1 I brought the elements together and then wait to see what I am “saying” afterwards.

Went out on a browse the shops and came back with a  seasonal gourd (it was with the pumpkins), a waving cat teapot and some sweet peppers about to turn…

still-life-3

Lots of tryouts with the various objects.

Change of orientation to portrait.  Introduced Morandi box and rejected monkey.

still-life-4

Hanging teapot and cups obscures too much and is getting too congested. Pulled doll’s leg up into the corner.

Opened box out and introduced cat waving teapot.  Not sure about a lot of it.

crop-final

Closed box back in, removed waving cat, hanging teapot and cups and box.

Getting There

crop-final-2

Simplified the whole composition by removing many elements and elongating to include above and through the trapdoor/skylight/escape hatch.

Decide to work with this composition – it is now nearly the end of day 2.

final-final-assignment-2

Learning:-

  • It takes me a really long time to find a composition.   By using photographs rather than sketches I am able to assess the layout better.
  • Even as I begin to do the drawing not sure whether I should stick with a pure Cotan by getting rid of the fabric background and going black again – would definitely like to try this at some stage.

So What’s the Story?

Doll – Again she is hanging – the word hamstrung come to mind and so does the photographic work of Hans Bellmer. The image below is rather provocative. I like that. My doll is dead faced, cut-off, frozen, uncommunicative.

hans-bellmer

Fabric – This is a 1950s design (my early era) and I think  an original piece.

Sweet Peppers – these were going cheap and about to decay – had to use a number whilst I was doing the drawing – kept changing shape and shrinking.

Gourd – Seasonal? I don’t know if it is edible or not

Ginger – Spice of life! Not actually a spice but a vegetable

Leaves – these were left over when I was moving the succulent plant in and out of the composition. Succulent because this is the only kind of plant I manage to keep alive with my brown fingers – doesn’t need watering very often and is very self sufficient.

Box – Containment, safety or not, defined space

Trapdoor/Skylight/Escape Hatch – I’m not sure which if any or all of these it is.

Toy China Teapot& Cup – Childhood, good manners, old fashioned, silly,

If I was Goya what would I call this?   He gave great subversive names to his Caprichos.

The Drawing

assignment-2-drawing

Execution

The Use of Colour in Drawing:-

I think the reason that I decided to stick with the background fabric rather than going back to a black background as in my first assignment was because I wanted to show that I could render a full use of colour for this exercise.   It might have been more dramatic with a black background – and I would like to try this sometime.

The Most Appropriate Medium for the Subject

From my earlier experiments with mixed media I have learnt that I need to make much earlier decisions about what to use and in what order I should use them

I started with an ochre ink wash on the watercolour paper.  I believe that the coloured ground gives greater warmth to a drawing which was perhaps the most successful part about the interior I drew earlier. Using the wax soluble crayons (Neocolour ll) I thought I would have more control over the drawing than I had with the oil pastels.  Also I believed at the beginning that I would work on the detail at the end with coloured pencils. In fact what happened was that I only used the wax soluble crayons throughout but did not add any water at any stage.

Composition & Content –

I am still finding this a difficult issue to resolve.   Also I am not sure at this moment whether I am trying to do something that is too difficult for me to achieve.   I easily become bored with something that is “ordinary” but could argue that if  you can make the ordinary interesting is a great achievement.

I extended the composition up and down because it seemed too symmetrical and the “trapdoor” gives the content more interest. Finding the diagonal in the composition makes it more successful as well as discarding the ribbon as a diversion to the eye.

Mark-making and Contrasts of Line and Tone – 

I have tried to render the different objects and surfaces in various ways. Even though I was using the same materials throughout my objective was to be sensitive to how I could depict the differences with different marks.

As far as tone is concerned I believe that I worked better this time by working over the whole piece more evenly so then I didn’t have to “catch up” with what I had done previously. Overall I think the tones work except in the shadows.   I think that they need to be darker but am worried that I would overdo these – need to be braver I think.

Accurate and Expressive Depiction of Form – 

As I was starting the piece I read an article mentioning  spontaneity and control (Robert Dutton – See Bibliography Assignment 2).  This is something I have thought about quite a lot since starting this course.   How can you be accurate as well as expressive at the same time?

I have tried to work around the objects in order to be more expressive with their form as well as keeping the accuracy which I believe was the object of this assignment. My belief is that I am becoming more accurate the more I am looking and drawing but am still disappointed with the expressive qualities I would like to see. At this point I do not know how to achieve both simultaneously.

Experimentation with Idea, Material and Method

I am certainly experimenting with the ideas by looking at the different artists who I have mentioned in terms of context and then trying to find my own way and my own story.   At the moment this still is very hazy and I am not yet able to articulate what I am trying to achieve.

Throughout the process of working through the “intimacy” exercises I have gained some greater control over chosen materials, some more than others and have achieved some success by becoming discerning about how to approach a drawing.

 

 

 

Moving Towards Assignment 2

Background & Context

I am moving towards Assignment 2 but I need to work through a lot of thinking before I can finalise my subject matter and materials.

Recently I have returned from a week in Madrid where I was overwhelmed by the work in the 3 main galleries which we visited;  The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. There is so much to think about but initially I thought that I would concentrate on those painters and paintings which I feel at this time have most relevance to the next assignment.

To back track slightly I was (see Assignment 1) very affected by the paintings of Cotan and drawings by Redon whom I continue to be mesmerised by.   The format of the drawing which I submitted for Assignment 1 was based on my thinking in relation to these artists as well as the format of early medieval imagery.

Before leaving I started to read Goya by Robert Hughes (2006) which hugely enhanced by understanding when I saw the selections of Goya’s paintings, etching/aquatints and murals (transferred to canvas).

Of course I also spent time with Velasquez: Les Meninas (1656) but not enough to really take in all its genius.

Finally Picasso’s – Guernica (1937) had an enormous impact on my understanding of composition.  More later.

The only way I believe I can rationalise – or maybe not- my interests, understanding, emotional response is to summarise my responses to the particular artists mentioned.

Juan Sanchez Cotan

I had done my research before the visit and was looking forward to seeing the 1 Cotan in The Prado – but it was not on show – great disappointment.

still-life-with-dead-birds-1602

Still life with lemons – 1602

What fascinates me about the still lives of this period is the way that the everyday objects are given a reverence by putting them in a setting which could be a kind of altar.   In a time when people were still attached to the source of their food as well as their connection with the religious thinking and growing philosophical theories about life and death.

(The theme of life and death or more specifically the story of life and death seems to run through my interest in all the artists mentioned.)

As I have charted previously for Assignment 1 the still life tradition became more and more elaborate and more and more opulent as the decades progressed and then regressed via the Impressionists and Cubists to everyday themes and content.

The super-reality and the dark darkness also pertains to available daylight and the possible use of camera lucida. Containment is an issue within these compositions which was something that I found useful when working towards finding deep tones and shadows.

I  must admit that my notes to myself after seeing all the epic art in Madrid were:-

MARKS- DIRECTION (light) – DEEP DARKS – GESTURE

Francisco de Goya

Robert Hughes’s Goya (2006) was an exceptional accompaniment to my visit to Madrid.   From an artist I knew absolutely nothing about to becoming fascinated by the different phases, materials, content and context of his lifeworks.

For the purposes of the relevance to my choices and interests in putting together my Assignment 2 composition I would like to highlight the following pieces or phases of his work.

The “Black Paintings” –  frescos/murals which he painted onto the walls of his home

goya

Pilgrimage of San Isidoro

goya-3

These murals/paintings which Goya undertook between 1817-1823 on the walls of his house following his first and then subsequent severe illnesses are the artist’s personal depictions painted in what Hughes cites as “very strange times, both for Goya and for Spain” (p376).   That they were painted directly onto the walls of his home without the requisite preparation of the surface (which Goya had the skills to render as he did in other settings).   That they are very emotional, dark, even horrific renderings of different themes places them completely outside of his former works:- playful bright cartoons for royal tapestries, formal court portraits and different series of prints marks them out as a distinct personal series of works not destined for public eyes.   They were eventually taken from the walls and transferred to canvases is the only reason they were preserved.

“He had no audience in mind.  He was talking to himself. He never imagined that the Black Paintings would be seen anywhere except where he was.” (Hughes p 379)

Furthermore Hughes calls them a “freakish, vivid precursors of modernity”, (p 379 and that is how they struck me.   They emanate a very visceral, deep, dark world.  Figures are often grotesque, contorted, screaming and reminded me of some of Francis Bacon’s work. In a working life where nearly all of his work was subject to wealthy patronage these stand out as something very out of the ordinary.

The subject matter includes ordinary people often in dire circumstances battling against themselves, the elements, life and the fates are what Hughes calls “populacho, or pig-ignorant mob”. (p382) Also the physicality of how they were rendered adds to the aggressive, brutal depiction of Goya’s personal state and the state of Spain at this time.

Without going into details I wanted to note that Hughes also makes the connection with Picasso’s Guernica 1937 (on which I will comment further) (p383) as well as Salvador Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) 1936 both artistic responses to the Spanish Civil war.

For me these pieces show an artist working beyond his own era in ways that did not become common practice until some 200 years later.   They convey an honest outpouring of Goya’s personal experience rendered with a bravura that I find truly astonishing.

These paintings for me show an artist laying out his deepest fears and responses to a world in turmoil, his own inner world and that of his country.  I want to use the word “heroic” but in some ways this relates, historically to a different tradition and these paintings are not in anyone’s tradition but his own.  The human condition being grappled with via epic themes and painted in emotionally bold gestures.

The Caprichos

goya136

“What Rembrandt did for line etching, Goya and his colleagues did for aquatint, and they did it with one astonishing burst of creativity: a series of eight prints that Goya entitled Los Caprichos.” (Hughes p 179)

Again these were not created with patronage but at his own cost and in large numbers, 300 sets.   They are fantastically rendered satirical comments on the society in which Goya lived covering the church, society, the inquisition, moral themes, scatological content, witches and witchcraft, marriage, wealth etc. The use of the aquatint and newly discovered addition to the printers art allowed him to create depth and tone in a much more subtle and successful way than in the past.

It is believed he had seen in the collection of his friend when he was recovered from his first illness prints by some of the English and French satirical artists including Rowlandson and  Hogarth.   Spain was due to its historical position in Europe and the work of the Inquisition cut off from the wider artistic developments.   There was hardly any access to works from beyond its borders and Goya was little travelled (only once to Italy at this point).

There are so many of these prints I respond to not only because of the diversity of his subject matter,  his “black” humour and the outpouring of creativity they are a testament to.

Desastres – Later war related etchings/aquatints (1810 –

goya-the-folly-of-fear

The war with Napoleon saw Goya’s response in a large number of aquatints as strong, emotional and acerbic comment on the experience of Spain at the hands of France.

“At the end, the Desastres de la Guerra open outward, beyond mere human stupidity and detestable cruelty into a pessimism so vast and desolating that it can fairly be called Shakespearean”. (Hughes p 302) Goya did not print this series.  They were not published in his lifetime and did not appear until 1863.

Odilon Redon – The Noir

redon30

I am only bringing the work of Odilon Redon (Assignment 1) back into this context in order to point out my growing awareness, having seen the Goya’s, of the tradition out of which Redon’s work is drawn.

Noir, the Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings & Prints , Lee Hendrix (2016) is the next book which I am going to read in order to further understand these connections.

the-mask-of-the-red-death-1883-redon

Picasso – Guernica

dora-maar-guernica

As epic as it is seeing the real painting of Guernica what really caught my attention were the photographs taken by Dora Maar as the work progressed.   I don’t know whether it had occurred to me before but this series of images show how the composition of the painting shifted and changed over time as Picasso created the work. Alongside these are other works which reference the figures, crying woman, bulls, fallen hero etc.

When I was struggling with putting my own composition together I am trying to be less anxious about how this happens and the time it takes.

What’s the Story? – Content & Context

Even a week on from finishing the Assignment 2 drawing I am not clear yet how all this is referenced by what I have seen in Madrid and my recent reading and thinking.

There are themes however that I am starting to recognise:-

  • There is a story behind the drawing or painting.   Though I am as yet not clear what mine may be I am now aware the more I understand the stories of other painters the more possible it is for me to articulate one of my own
  • I am drawn to the darker more introspective aspects of pieces of artwork
  • I also go for humour and a did at the status quo
  • I like the idea of metaphors but do not yet feel confident about using them myself
  • I appreciate both the detailed and larger gestural aspects of the artists
  • I still struggle with what a composition might be

Part 2 – Research Still Life

Still Life  – Research

As I have previously noted in an earlier Reflection I had done all the research and reading at the beginning of this module without taking any notes.   Hence I have had to go through the content again and try and pick up the pieces.

Starting and ending with Morandi via Tacita Dean

I don’t know when I happened upon this article about Tacita Dean (Krcma) but suffice to say that it is about her visit and the making of her film “Day for Night” in Morandi’s studio in Bologna.

A couple of months before starting this drawing course I had visited Bologna, a hidden gem of Italy, and had come across Morandi inevitably.  Unfortunately his studio was undergoing renovation and so the only work which I saw was in the Modern Art Museum. I looked and looked at his paintings and have subsequently spent time reading more (Abramowicz) and am still left with a very blank reaction to his work despite the reverence with which it is held.

So I was captured by another artist’s response to him. Tacita Dean has made a number of films on artists some of whom have subsequently died. (Mario Merz, Joseph Beuys, Cunningham & Cage, Cy Twombly).  Therefore it is with interest that I approach her 3 concerns:-

  • Confrontation with finitude, transience and morality
  • The staging of decelerated and heightened attentiveness to the worn surfaces of the material world
  • The elaboration of formal and conceptual reflexivity which addresses the meaning and value of the artwork as a problem in itself, beyond the technical demands of its making (Krcma)

Evidently what she was captivated by was “the abundant evidence of idiosyncratic procedures and devices” Morandi used. His objects were wrapped, painted or modified in various ways. This reminded me of Cezanne’s still life when he “fixed the objects in their positions by artificial means at the angles he needed for compositional requirements.” (Lloyd)

In naming her film “Day for Night” she also alludes to the Truffaut film (1973) of the same name and the filmic device.

Starting to work on still life drawings I am only just becoming conscious of how many devices are in operation in order to come to the composition of any piece. This includes of course the objects themselves their significance, how they are posed, the light sources, the place etc. etc. That is of course without the political, social, historical, and economic considerations.

I put together a short table to begin to look at the historical development of the genre with significant artists:-

Date Artist/s Place
16th Century Sanchez Coton

1560 -1627

The Pantry

 

Xenia I – a simple meal – raw

17th Century Cornelis de Heem

1631 – 1695

Jan Davidsz de Heem

1606 – 1684

The Banquet

Xenia II – cooked

 

 

“Vanitas”

18th Century Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin

1699 – 1779

The Kitchen

 

“Autonomous”

19th Century Paul Cezanne

1839 – 1906

The Kitchen.

The Dining Room

 

“Non-Illustrative Discourse”

20th Century Juan Gris

1887 – 1927

Henri Matisse

1869 – 1954

Giorgio Morandi

1890 – 1964

The Café

The Studio

The Home

1920s/30s Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

1895 – 1946

Man Ray

 

 
Contemporary    

 

Still life was considered a very minor genre compared to historical painting from the 16th Century onward.   I have related my interest in the early work of Sanchez Coton in relation to the choices of subject and composition for my Assignment 1 composition.

Cotan Still lIfe with Game Fowl

Suffused with meaning Joanna Woodall (Laying the Table 2012) takes up the narrative of Dutch still life into the 17th Century.  Where power, trade, accumulation, wealth and exploitation become the signifiers of the compositions which have moved into the dining room and more significantly depict the banquet. She quotes Roland Bathes (1953) “ Man has washed away religion only to replace it with man and his empire of things….this superficial sheen and shine, this visual intensity as a fetishistic projection on the part of the artist and view.” However it is also made clear that this was an age of emergent scientific thinking and deep philosophical debate on the nature of” knowledge and truth.” (Woodall)

Further reading should include Adorno’s Theories of Aesthetics (1970), Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1934)  and Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida (1980).  There are areas of philosophical and artistic theory which it has not been possible to include at this time.

Stepping briefly into the world of Cezanne Lloyd remarks that “one of the most intriguing aspects of many of Cezanne’s still life’s is the special ambiguities that he introduces into them”.

You could argue that the work of the cubists including Picasso, Baraque and Gris was an extension of this development. Flattening out the planes, tones, colours, and perspectives extends “analytical exercise for the purpose of comprehending the world as he (Cezanne) saw it”. (Lloyd)

Lucy Somers – The Implications of the Still Life in the Context of Contemporary Art” takes on a fairly simplistic interpretation matching her arguments to those of Platonic thinking.

She does however point out that “with modernism, artist began the most dramatic reinvention of the still life has seen, and adapting it as the static clothes horse, on which to hang their post-impressionist and cubist experiments.” Moving on through to the 20th Century where “The attitude now is that art is in the motivation, intention and idea regardless of how it is carried out.”

Bringing us to contemporary work “The value system of a piece have changed wholesale now, by the fact that the very choosing and placement of the objects is now given artistic value.” (Somers)

The “modernist school” for Somers “The statement is not the assemblage of the objects, but the treatment of them…the manipulation and thus the art would be in the viewing of the paining”. However I believe that the artist has constantly been manipulating the “image, field, content, context etc etc.   What has changed is not necessarily how that is being done but in the means by which it is done.

For this I revert to the original article about film being used (and I have not had time to review this in relation to the development of photography from the 19th century and its influences). Note to self – re-read Susan Sontag – On Photography

And Morandi – I still don’t get it – I get Dean’s filmic response to his objects and studio without becoming more appreciative of his paintings. I’ll keep trying!

Postscript

In terms of looking at contemporary still life I find myself drawn to mainly female photographers whose compositions are funny, mocking and thoughtful.

Krista van der Niet

Krista van der Niet

Laura Letinsky 2

Laura Letinsky

sAARA eKSTROM

Saara Ekstrom

Emma Bennett

Emma Bennett

Project 2 – Exercise 3 – Experiment with Mixed Media

This time I did take lots of photographs before I started drawing.   See sketchbook for photo.  Also I became particularly interested in what the background should be and was thinking about patterned fabric.   Bought a number of 50s & 60s fabrics on Ebay to use.   Find these very evocative and the objects I chose also seem to depict different decades in my life.

Project 2 exercise3 finding still life final

Having originally placed these by a window I felt that there was too much going on and ended up back on the table viewed from above.

Project 2 Exercise 3 Mixed Media 1

Worked with markers, chalk on a pastel paper.   The design of the fabric is fighting with the objects.   I have allowed myself to loosely depict the fabric by concentrating on the pattern effect. Not really successful .   Feel however the movement of the girls dancing by not working in too detailed a fashion.

Project 2 - exercise 3 mixed media 2

Pink pastel paper with a white watercolour wash.  Used oil pastels, ball point pen and markers. This is another drawing where it would work much better in a square format.  I like the texture of the oil pastels but as yet are finding them hard to work with. Maybe it is the size of the work making detail difficult to define.   But the ball point pen unexpectedly adds something particularly for the African head and the dog.

Project 2 - Exercise 3 - mixed media 3

Oil pastels on black paper. Could work but head not well drawn.   On reflection the composition of jut the 3 objects is good – I like the tightness.Background too scribbly and distracting.

Project 2 Exercise 3 - mixed media 4

White paper pre-drawn with water soluble crayons and then water added and left to dry overnight. Had moved the composition around and guess what makes a square!  Overworked in more wax crayon, chalks, drawing pen, and tipp-ex.

What I like:

  • The density
  • The variety of mark making
  • The opacity of the African head and dog

What I don’t think works:

  • The composition
  • Sylvester
  • Everything is floating
  • Background material

Project 2 - Exercise 3 - mixed media 5

Tried again for being more defined?

Paper worked in coloured inks and left to dry over night. Worked with oil pastels, drawing ink, pencil.

Felt a bit more in control of the oil pastels and like their density. The background is still unresolved and the objects are still floating.   Is this a good or bad thing?   The relative size of the objects is not correct but resolves some of the issues caused by the dominance of Sylvester’s black and white.

Learning:

Making choices in relation to materials to use is hard and deciding on what order to work on in the drawing is confusing.   Some of the drawings would have worked better if I had thought through the different stages, may be make a list of the stages I need to work through.   I am still tending to “go at” drawings in a spontaneous manner and am learning that I need to slow down the thinking.

Am caught between how realistic, perfect drawing I need to achieve versus keeping the drawing lively, interesting and felt.

This is a good link to the next monochrome exercise…..

Project 2 – Exercise 2 – Still Life in tone using colour

Fruit in bowl photo

Fruit in dish coloured pencils

OK I realise I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough on this exercise and just went in and drew using coloured pencils without restricting myself to the 3 colours which had been specified in the exercise.

However, I like what I have achieved with the fruits and bowl.  Particularly I like the build up of the cross hatching and tones created by building up the layers and different directions of the marks.

Learning: I need to read the instructions for the exercises more carefully.  Need to re-do this exercise.

exercise-2-tone-using-colour

Reworked the exercise using 3 colours and white.   Slight cheat!

Find it easier to work in colour than just line and tone.   However some of the spontaneity of using mark-making tends to disappear so tried to be more adventurous with this version. I think it could take even more and realise I could have gone stronger on the background tone which would have pushed the still life forward more.

Need to be more aggressive with the tones generally in order to create greater depth. Getting better at working round a drawing but need to step away more often in order judge the weights of the colours overall.

Project 2 – Exercise 1 – Still Life Using Line

Project 2 still life - line drawing 2

This was generally a difficult exercise for me.   Chose 3 round objects:- a melon, a tennis ball and a small round pewter (silver reflective) vase.  Worked with ink and a stick on Khadi paper.

I had previously tried a number of experiments in sketchbook on using line both in white ink and black ink on different papers.

Composition –  I don’t think this is very successful but had tried different placements and was trying for something more “contemporary” . However I do like the variety of marks  particularly on the melon and tennis ball which can be achieved. After a while I got into more experimentation with mark/line than being effective about being able to build up the tones and drawing the composition together.

I am interested in the pewter vase but it does not “read” as what it was/is.

Project 2 still life - line drawing 1

Moved on to depicting 3 stones gathered from the beach. Each are interesting in themselves and drawing the objects together makes the composition more effective but still not that interesting.  Tried so many placements where I could see the contrasts in the types of rock: 1 chalk, 1 flint, 1 smooth with variety of tones.

Again drew with ink and stick on Khadi paper – all laid on a piece of paper which had folds on it.  Actually think that the folded paper added quite a lot to the piece and helps with definition. Altogether it is a more successful piece of drawing and the media suits the subjects to an extent but not entirely.

Learning: Could spend more time on this type of drawing but perhaps using different materials combined.

Project 2 - still life line drawing 3

Final piece using the same 3 stones + 1 more and used a drawing pen with washable ink.   This was on plain white paper.   Composition less successful – is there something about odd numbers and composition : 1,3,5 etc.

I suppose this is a bit of a cheat by using water to create tone.   Some of these stones are really interesting and could achieve a better outcome.   Not sure that the use of line for this project works for the subjects I have chosen.