Etiqueta: Chile

Assignment 5 – The Urban Landscape

Assignment 5 – The Urban Landscape

Drawing 1 has been quite a journey for me and I have enjoyed every part of it.

Even from my early beginnings in painting at the age of 14 years old I was interested in movement and people, cultures and history – something that was with me during this end part of Drawing 1.

For this part of the course I knew that the Urban Landscape would be a challenge for many different reasons:

  • I would have to sketch outside
  • The outside environment – particularly in the City – in Chile can be dangerous with beggars, drunks and thieves ever-present
  • I wanted to find or at least start to find a voice
  • I wanted to draw in a series
  • I wanted to capture the spirit and movement of the chosen places

Among the subjects chosen for this series were the cemetary, the marketplace, the main avenue, the bus terminal and the main square.

Along the journey I also explored ideas from John Virtue, David Bomberg, Frank Auerbach, Dennis Creffield – however my greatest inspiration for these works were from Leon Kossoff’s drawings and paintings of London Landscapes.

In particular I was intrigued by his Arnold Circus drawings from 2012. They are like a documentary of the lives and people who use this area daily to walk their dogs, take their children to school, pass by on their way to work, feed the pigeons, rest, sleep off too much drink? – also there is a record of blustery days, calm days, trees with and without leaves, traffic and bicycles – Kossoff must have produced a huge amount of drawings throughout the year to record such a range of work.  Something that was not possible for me over the course of just two months working on this project.

His use of charcoal over soft pastel was interesting as was his use of broken – fast drawn (possibly blind) line work.

My final works for this assignment are a selection of what I believe to be the most successful drawings taken from Part 5.

I dismissed my Cemetary drawing as not being strong enough and for not using sufficent depth of tone/interest. I also completed several studies in graphite, and on mylar but in the end I was more attracted to the use of charcoal upon a tonal background of soft pastel.

In all of Leon Kossoff’s Arnold Circus drawings he used a portrait format, however because of the wide open spaces in my city I chose a wide angle landscape format – nearly the same size (approx. 60x30cm).

My first successful drawing was the result of several visits to the same site within the Main Avenue. Within some of my sketches of this area there were elements of blind drawing – which I feel Kossoff included in his work.

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The Main Avenue, Alameda, Rancagua. Soft pastel and charcoal on grey tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper (160g)

The main avenue was drawn around midday in what is now our autumn – with the sun quite low.  With the tall trees there is a great deal of shade – like Arnold Circus with surrounding buildings (and low cloud) dulling the light.

The next drawing of the main square was drawn in the morning with the sun rising to left of the view.  The pink building and centre of the square were in full sun with the trees giving some quite heavy contrasting shade.

Whilst there are several inaccuracies in perspective and scale, the atmosphere, colour and light are a good representation of the scene. I also felt that I had shaken off some of the influence from Kossoff and dared to use my own voice in this work.

As in my drawing above there are some strong diagonals and enough foreground interest to keep the viewer’s eye moving around the drawing.

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Plaza de las Armas, Rancagua. Soft pastel and charcoal on cream tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper (160g)

My final selection for this assignment was from my studies of the main bus terminal – this drawing was from a sketch and photo taken around midday with bright sunshine on the building and vehicles. This was reflected in my use of lighter overall tones and some harsh dark shadows.

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Terminal O’Higgins, Rancagua. Soft pastel and charcoal on grey tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper (160g)

 

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Part 5 The personal project

Part 5 The personal project

The main square – Plaza de las Armas, Rancagua

The main square was actually one of my subjects within Part 3 of the course and I wanted to return there to try and capture some of the spirit, character and colour of this historical site.

In making the following experimental drawings I was mindful of the work of John Virtue, David Bomberg and Leon Kossoff.

During my trip to Europe earlier this year, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Cologne.  Whilst there I saw some photos and postcards of the City showing the devastation by allied bombing in 1945.  The drawing below was a graphite drawing made from one of the postcards and was an idea I thought I could possibly take forward to use for drawings of the main square in Rancagua:

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Further experiments in graphite included this watercolour graphite after a charcoal drawing by Dennis Creffield:

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I then spent some time sketching in the square – this rather messy drawing made in charcoal and chalk in my A5 sketchbook does actually capture the square quite well. I particularly liked my statue:

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The next drawing was completed in graphite – with graphite powder, soft pastel (which was difficult to lay on top of the graphite!) and 9B graphite pencil.  Looking up at the scene (drawn from a bench) did not give me enough space to show details of the ground but was dynamic enough to show the two most important monuments – that of the statue of General Bernardo O’Higgins and the cathedral, which again captured the atmosphere  of the history and feeling of this important site.

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The next sketch – made at home – was an experiment to introduce colour.  The pink of the cathedral was particularly important as was the autumnal colouring of the trees – but the most effective point of this drawing was the crop.

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Drawn in soft pastel and carbon pencils 4B and 9B, I was pleased with the style and use of colour.

I made another visit to the square to make more drawings with the idea to make a final drawing (or drawings) of the square in the style of Leon Kossoff.

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The above quite detailed sketch was enough to capture the atmosphere of a cold and bright Saturday morning. The next sketch I finished with some colour to give me some ideas for my final drawings. The bright blue sky, the pink cathedral and the autumn tree colouring.

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As the statue is so important to the square, I decided to make a further more close up study:

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For my final drawings, it was important for me to use Kossoff as my inspiration but also to allow myself space to experiment with my own voice.

This drawing of the square was developed from my colourful sketch above:

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As one of my last drawings of this scene it has many faults – the first and obvious one is that of the composition! No focal point, the battle between the statue and the cathedral for centre stage, and the lack of detail in the buildings and statue. A more dynamic viewpoint cropped tightly would have made a better subject.

My final drawing of this scene was much more successful using my sketch above, inspiration from Leon Kossoff and a photo taken of the same view:

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The drawing was on Fabriano Tiziano 160g paper which had a creamy yellow tint. I first drew in the key landmarks and built the drawing up gradually with several layers of soft pastel colouring and detail.

The pink regional building in the background was the focal point of the image, with a seated figure in blue on the LH side drawing the viewer diagonally backwards and forwards into the scene. The central foreground figures add interest and movement into the quite tranquil scene, with the brighter open pink space to the RH side balancing the darker trees in shadow to the left. Many small details: figures in the background, small trees, shrubs and lanterns allow the viewer to explore the square as they wish.

Part 5 – The personal project

In the cemetery

The local cemetery located in the centre of the town was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2010, and has been restored as much as was possible.  It includes some antique tombs with wonderful architecture and was of interest to me as a part of the urban life of Rancagua. (Not much activity there as everyone is resting!)

I made a slow drawing:

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and then a couple of faster sketches:

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I returned to Leon Kossoff for my final drawing of the cemetery. I used the effect of his Arnold Circus series as my guide:

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Rancagua Cemetery – charcoal and pastel on grey tinted Fabriano Tiziano paper 160g/m2 – 65x50cm

Like most cemetaries – even in London – there is a curious mixture of styles and in this view I have included tombs of many shapes and sizes.

In this drawing the mark making was not varied enough and I did not use tone effectively – even though in Kossoffs Arnold Circus series there is also a lack of tonal rendering! Because of the nature of the forms – tombs – described in this drawing my linework was very rigid.  In Kossoffs series there are buildings but none are drawn with straight lines.

His lines are broken, rapidly drawn, made up of a combination of line work with layers of lines not just one firm line – in some of his drawings it is like he has carefully laid the structure using lines/marks and an autumnal wind has swept them up to reveal a more energetic, more abstract version. In his catalogue of London Landscapes there are 25 drawings of Arnold Circus – all around 65x50cm in size – and I am sure that he made many more.

On the day that I was drawing in the cemetery there was an absence of wind and people and the sun was blazing with a temperature of around 27degC. The light was strong – nearly overhead and so not much change in tone/shadows on the grey stone buildings and monuments.

I need to lay a better foundation of pastel before applying the final marks if this style is to work for me.