What a journey I have had to reach this first assignment – I have at times struggled but enjoyed every minute and I have tried to be as creative as possible throughout this first part of the course.
The drawing I have made for Assignment 1 is like a celebration for me – starting a journey that will end with my dream of completing an art degree. A dream I had when I bought the book on the chair – my art bible that has been with me since I was 14 years old, bought with pocket money that I earned at the time (The Golden History of Art by Gina Pischel, Paul Hamlyn 1968). The two good quality Windsor and Newton bristle brushes, which also date from that time also star in this celebration.
The page is open at the section of British painters that I love and on the right is my favorite painting of all time ‘Child with Cherries’ by Sir Joshua Reynolds – which is a part of the Wallace Collection, London – a Gallery that I have had the pleasure to work in.
The chair is a small stool that I obtained in Spain whilst living there and I just love the carving at the back and the ornamental front legs.
After selecting my subject, I put my initial ideas down on paper and with the knowledge that I could only work at night on the assignment, I chose to work from photos. I changed the photo into B&W and enhanced the contrast a little in photoshop:
Then I made some initial sketches in my sketchbooks to decide on medium, colour and composition:
I experimented with various mediums and wanted to use a mixture of ink, oil pastel and large chunky pencils 2B and 6B. I liked the effects I created in the green pastel and the ink sketches. I also liked the idea of layering green upon a golden yellow pastel, which would enable me to scratch, and experiment more on the surface of the paper.
Before starting I made two detail sketches of the chair so that I was better acquainted with the carved patterns and ornamental legs:
I initially thought I would use an A3 sheet but chose to use A2 size instead. I used black acrylic drawing ink and some new Faber Castell oil pastels. I also used Faber Castell Jumbo pencils 2B/6B. In the end I was not brave enough to layer two different colour oil pastels, but did stick to a mix of ink and pastels:
I did use some artistic licence in simplifying the legs and flooring, and as in my small thumbnail sketches wanted to exaggerate the perspective (this did not work entirely!).
There are many errors and I could certainly have been bolder (braver) in my approach but I achieved my objective of creating a celebratory drawing, full of the emotion/ love I have for my books (this one in particular) and my paintbrushes!
In my experimental mark making and previous exercises, there was much that I could have included in this final piece – but I played safe and wanted to make a much tighter drawing than I have perhaps before achieved. I did not fully exploit the use of the ink and the creative opportunities that it can provide with oil pastels, and I think that my final decision to not include an additional colour (eg. yellow) under the green was a mistake. Many of my highlights were contaminated and using a light yellow in the highlights of the chair back was definitely a mistake! I liked the mix of pencil with the green pastel and the scraffiti to create highlights – scraping away at the thick pastel. I could have been more careful at times with the pencil as it is too heavy in places. The mix of medium was very unforgiving and I need to exercise more care and be more accurate with my mark making in future. I wanted to achieve an exaggerated perspective and this did not quite work and the lines of the flooring were totally wrong! Again I should have considered this very early on and been more careful in my initial studies/outlines. The composition focussed on the chair, book and brushes – which was my intention. The scale of individual parts was not accurate eg. the chair back was too big in relation to the chair legs and I could have made the book larger – I have since noticed that in nearly all of my sketches this is the same!
During my initial sketches, I made a blind contour drawing of the same photo which I liked. After completing the final drawing I went back to this idea and made another but larger A3 blind contour drawing using a permanent marker pen and coloured it with watercolours:
Whilst both drawings were hurriedly completed – the spontaniety and freshness was a surprise that I will explore more in the future – I am therefore continuing to practice more with blind contour drawings.