Mes: agosto 2017

Part 2 Intimacy

Part 2 Intimacy

Assignment 2 – Still life

During the work making sketches around my home I noticed a particular subject that I wanted to explore – in our lounge dresser we have a collection of souvenirs/presents from around the world – China, Russia, England, Spain and Chile.

I was also interested in using the idea of a large group of objects as the subject – similar to some of the tables of objects painted by John Bratby – see featured image above (John Bratby. Still life with chip frier, 1954 – detail).

I also wanted to use bold colours – so I explored the use of oil pastel blended/worked with white spirit, and incorporate soft pencil (and line work) also blended with white spirit – to demonstrate use of colour in drawing, accurate and expressive depiction of form, and a range of mark making with contrasts in line, tone, texture and form.

I took many photos of the subject at different angles and because this drawing would be made over several days, I decided to work from photos displayed on my large computer screen – this also meant that I could work at any time of day. The initial exploration/experimentation worked well and I already had an idea of what I wanted in respect of composition…


I then laid out the initial drawing using a 6B pencil and whitespirit…

Then colour was added using oil pastel/6Bpencil…

When I reach what I felt was enough colour, I then reworked the lines and added deeper shadows.

My final drawing….

Souvenirs and presents. Oil pastel and pencil on A2 250g mixed media paper.


Assignment 2

The use of colour in drawing: During the course of Part 2 and in particular in this final drawing, I have used colour to render form, to improve depth and to represent accurately the objects drawn.

The most appropriate medium for the subject: In this assignment I have experimented with pencil and oil pastel blended with white spirit – something very new to me. I wanted bold colours in this drawing and I believe that I have achieved this aim. The paper chosen worked well and helped produce textural effects as in the background.

Composition and context: The objects are all housed in a dining room dresser which has large double doors. I wanted to represent both sides of the cupboard using views 90 deg apart. My daughter was a little puzzled by the white space in the middle – which could be seen as strange – however it was intentional. The use of repeated colours and more door showing on the left helped to balance the composition.  The objects were not moved at all and were drawn as seen.

The objects are a mixture of sentimental personal items, presents from relatives and souvenirs from my travels abroad.

Mark making and contrasts in line and tone: I have used various mark making techniques in this drawing – including sgrafitti, brushwork in the background, textural marks with oil pastel and line/cross-hatching with pencil, also a combination of brush and line to manipulate the pencil marks in the guardsman’s busby.

Accurate and expressive depiction of form: Within the constraints of the still life subject chosen, I beleive I have achieved an accurate and expressive depiction of form.

Experimentation with idea, material and method: This was certainly a departure from the norm for me and as a method it reminds me of a childrens book illustration (with the teddies) – the material and method was an experimentation which I believe worked except for the fact that the use of a pencil drawing overlaid with bright oil pastel in places became a little muddied.

Part 2 – Intimacy

Part 2 of this course has been an exciting journey exploring many different types of media both wet and dry, and has given me many ideas to use in future work.  I have tried to incorporate influences from contemporary artists as well as find my own application of their styles/working methods.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:  My technical and visual skills are improving, but this is held back by the lack of time to practice daily. I work on the course most evenings and more intensely at weekends – family commitments allowing. Part 2 gave me the opportunities to explore subjects that I enjoy – in particular flowers – and use a range of potentially very expressive media that I have previously not used.

Quality of outcome:  I was particularly pleased with my still life using pastel, the monochrome study of eggs laid on newspaper, and interior sketches/final interior drawing. They have I believe shown a huge improvement in the quality of my work and demonstrate that I have the ability to achieve a positive/creative outcome to the exercises through creative experimentation/thought processes.

Demonstration of creativity: Whilst I have during this part of the course been creative in use of materials and line work – I have much to learn and still a huge amount to explore further. I will continue to explore and experiment – in particular with some of the methods used by John Piper, Frank Auerbach, William Kentridge, Raoul Dufy and Joan Mitchell.

Context reflection: I need to work on this issue more in the following parts of the course. I have read several books during Part 1 & 2 (this is something I need to reflect on), visited many art galleries and carried out a limited amount of research.  I need to include these activities more in the thought processes, methods and preparation of my future work.



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:

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)

Bratby 1
An image of interior with fireplace and window at Greenwich
bratby 2
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.


I then moved on to the lounge…



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.


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…


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….

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…


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.


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: 

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.