Part 2 Intimacy

Project 3 – At home (Research Point)

Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format, etc. Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

This is an artist I wish to study more – I love his complex, tranquil, intimate interiors.

Edouard Vuillard drew and painted many interiors during the course of his career. Many of his drawings include a window – almost certainly for the effect created by strong sunlight entering the room as in the pastel drawing (above) – As well as a single or indeed multiple light source for the interior. I deeply admire his interior painting of people reading, taking breakfast (not a mobile phone or even a TV in sight!) – as in the oil painting below:

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Artists mother taking breakfast

In each of the rooms we are allowed to share in all of the intimate details of his home and his mother looking out of the window, eating breakfast etc.

In the painting of his mother taking breakfast, the busy table is balanced by the very decorative wallpaper, the open door/dresser and the wallpaper are counterbalanced spaces. The artist has used a limited palette to mantain harmony which has resulted in a very tranquil, quiet space. The subject is looking down at the table aparrently unaware of the viewer. A wonderful painting.

John Bratby (1905-1992)

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An image of interior with fireplace and window at Greenwich
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Interior with Monopoly board

These contemporary paintings by the British painter, John Bratby are busy and full of life – crowded spaces with recognisable items such as a woodburner, open fireplace, childs highchair and floral curtains. These rooms are on display with the viewer given a ‘circle’ seat from which to view the scene. The viewer is invited to see very nearly the whole room with all its clutter – the upper image displays living room, dining table, bed and what looks like a cooker in the background, whilst the lower painting shows us just the kitchen/diner with a person playing monopoly in the nude (was it a very hot day?)

Both paintings have used many triangles in the composition, along with strategically placed chairs.

Alberto Giacometti (1909-1966)

During the course of my studies so far, I have joined many other students wondering what defines a painting and what defines a drawing – Giacometti has very much blurred the answers to that question.

I will explore and investigate further Giacometti`s work in the next part of the course and in Part 4.

Studying the two images above it is interesting to note that in the LH drawing Giacometti uses darker lines in the foreground and lighter lines in the background to create depth, also the diagonal emphrasis of the table and other object to the front RHS draws the viewer into the picture, whilst in the RH painting darker tones are used to represent background areas with lighter areas in the foreground. Again there are diagonals in the placing of the stools and door frame/table legs.

Part 2 Intimacy

Project 3 – At Home

Exercise 1 Quick sketches around the house

This was an enjoyable exercise but I found that I was limited to the lounge and bedroom of my house due to the other areas uninteresting or too tight a space to draw in.

I used a 2mm permanent black artist marker pen which I found reasonably expressive and meant that I had to keep all the marks without erasing.  I made the sketches A2 size on Daler Rowney smooth cartridge paper 150g.

Bedroom…

I then moved on to the lounge…

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I found the lounge much more interesting, the other two corners included a door to the kitchen and a fairly blank corner. So remaining with the second image, I experimented with a little colour.

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Exercise 2 Composition – an interior

I then looked at my compositions and tried various cropped portrait formats of the colour image above…

 

I liked the LH crop best and my use of a large 8mm permanent marker – both sketches were A2 size on smooth cartridge paper.

I also made a colour copy of this crop…

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I then decided that I had not quite followed the brief correctly and made a few more sketches moving around a little – also experimenting with more media – this time childrens ‘Tempera’ paints…

Chosen image to carry forward….

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More dramatic foreshortening perspective – more potential

Exercise 3 Material Differences

After choosing my composition, I decided to move ahead using the children’s tempera paint as a background, black expressive marker pen outlines/deep shadows etc, finishing with 6B pencil and soft pastel highlights.  Nearly all of the sketches were made in the evening with only interior wall lighting – which made a cosy intimate environment (but a difficult lighting to actually work in).

Final drawing…

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The final drawing was executed on A2 smooth cartridge paper 150g. I was extremely pleased with the outcome and the combination of materials. On occasions I was too loose with my lines but on the whole I was able to combine expressive mark making with good tonal rendition.  The white spaces help to keep the viewers eye moving around the image whilst the central focal point is balanced by the ornaments on the table and the white spaces – lamp, cushions and space to the right of the table (the RH vase should have been a little more to the right). Once again (I made a similar mistake in Assignment 1) the floor lines were badly executed and I did not follow the closed in perspective chosen for other elements in the drawing – however black marker pen is impossible to remove!

I sat in front of the drawing for quite a long time and made several final observations/adjustments for instance: reflections in the TV, reflections on the table, deeper shadows in pen and pencil, highlights in yellow soft pastel.

 

Part 2 Intimacy

Part 2 Intimacy

Project 2 – Exercise 4 Monochrome

After completing Exercise 3 I was keen to make a start on this exercise which I already had in my head.

The use of chinese ink with watercolour had fired up my imagination and I wanted to use the combination again but this time with a little more delicacy and a will not to overwork the drawing.

I started with a line drawing in ink which I then very quickly enhanced by moving gentle washes from the lines drawn to find the middle and darker tones.

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At this stage, I let the drawing dry completely (overnight) and the next day moved on to laying washes of blue/purple to improve on the tonal gradation of the eggs, newsprint and bowl.

In trying to keep to the brief, I had chosen three different surfaces to represent in the drawing; each with a different texture – the eggs with their perfect white profiles/shapes, the newsprint crumpled upon which the eggs rested, and a blue fairly shiny bowl.

I did consider really zooming in on the eggs, and just paint them on their own but that did not meet the exercise requirements. I also wanted to use an expressive line but maintaining accuracy of form (ink/charcoal are excellent for this but are punishing if you make mistakes!) As I had enjoyed the use of chinese ink previously I wanted to explore this medium as much as possible with pen and brush (although in the image I used the brush to lay washes and chose to not use it for line).

In considering the format I chose a portrait format on A3 watercolour paper but used a drawn border which I deliberately exceeded in some parts.

Finished drawing: 

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Eggs for breakfast. Watercolour, chinese ink and graphite pencil on Hahnemuhle 300g watercolour paper.

The newsprint was drawn in using a very sharp 5B graphite pencil which worked well and did not distract the viewer as much as say ink would have done – there was also the risk of ruining the image with an ink blot/mistake and the pencil was much easier to control.

I finished the image with some more ink lines in the deep shadows which may have risked overworking them.

What worked well…

The combination of watercolour and ink is an expressive combination and worked well. I was pleased with my expressive mark making which did on this occasion maintain the forms of the chosen objects. I achieved a sense of depth in the drawing and feel that I modelled the eggs well even keeping some of the reflected lights in place without resorting to additional means such as gouache/pastel etc. The use of graphite pencil for the newsprint was a great choice and I was pleased with the result. The choice of paper and format was also a positive. (This paper is a joy to work with and I will look to buy some more whenever possible)

What did not work so well…

The deep shadows were overworked and too deep in many places. My final marks with ink in these shadows was a mistake. Next time I need to build the shadows up with layers of watercolour or diluted ink not heavy line. I represented some reflections of the eggs in the bowl but in hindsight these were too bright and distracting /confusing to the viewer.

 

 

 

 

Part 2 – Intimacy

Part 2 – Intimacy

Project 2 Still life – Exercise 3 Experiment with mixed media

For this exercise I set up quite an ambitious still life with bold colours and several extremely different textures.

I made several small sketches using different materials in my A3 sketchpad and then made two larger studies:

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I liked the ideas but wanted to use ink with watercolour and perhaps gouache or/and oil pastel so I continued to experiment but on a larger scale:

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Chinese ink, watercolour and oil pastel

This experiment was carried out using watercolour, chinese ink and oil pastel on Hahnemuhle 300g watercolour paper. I felt that the eggs and lemons worked but that I would have to work tighter on the chicken mesh basket and eggs in the basket! Some of the watercolour also needed to be bolder.

My next experiment was using a brush to add wash to the ink:

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Chinese ink with pen and wash, watercolour, colour fineliner

 

Whilst I liked the effect of the chinese ink in this image, I was extremely heavy handed and need to be more delicate with this awesome medium. With the eggs I saw an opportunity to explore further with this ink in expressive mark making and use of tone all in one.

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Eggs – detail

Maybe this is something I can revisit with the following monochrome exercise?

Experimenting with the chinese ink, I found that immediately after making marks it was easy to move a wash from the marks made but with EXTREME care or the ink can run disastrously.  Also I found that when the ink was very dry it was more difficult to dilute the marks with water, and that I could place a watercolour wash over the top with care.  I smudged the marks with my hand accidentally twice which was a disaster – I made two heavy mistakes this way with the result that I had to start again!

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Workspace – Final piece in progress

My final piece worked reasonably well but I need to work with more care and precision – something that I am continuing to practice. During this final work I started with the ink first, then again I made a mistake but in doing so used kitchen paper to remove the mistake. I then used the kitchen paper to make similar ‘smudging’ of the ink rapidly all over the image. An innovation – but possibly resulted in the image becoming less fresh and a little muddied. Next I laid on some watercolour washes. Once this was dry I laid some heavier watercolour washes on top. Left this to dry and then worked once again with the ink. Finally I placed heavier colour over the piece using oil pastels.

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Pancake day – mixed media on Hahnemuhle 300g watercolour paper

Overall I was pleased with my experimenting and use of mixed media – I feel that I have overworked the piece and lost some of the freshness available with the mediums used. I think the combination is ok and that I made a reasonable attempt at a very ambitious still life – I could have kept going with the experimentation but need to move on (and revisit the ideas in the future). Unfortunately my photos of the final piece do not do justice to the complexities of the build up of colours in the different mediums.

The approach was original and used a mixture of many ideas and influences from a wide range of images in books, Pinterest, and the internet in general.