Early research and experimentation
I started this part by brainstorming ideas for the Urban Landscape:
From this very busy and too overwhelming chart, I made another more specific one:
I heaviliy studied the catalogue of Leon Kossoff’s London Landscapes and was intrigued by his frantically scribbled drawings and Gouache paintings – I stuck some in my sketchbook:
and then made a larger copy of one of his drawings of Arnold Circus…
I used smooth paper to allow me to blend the pastel and to make marks with the charcoal with as least amount of grain as possible. Using a slightly bigger scale showed me just how skilled Kossoff is – the amount of mark making and range of mark making needs to increase considerably. I did not achieve this in this piece of work but gained a sense of what is required.
Studying further I came across Dennis Creffield who went to the same evening classes as Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach – their teacher was David Bomberg, whose famous charcoal drawing of St Pauls rising from the ashes of bombed out London – his use of charcoal (burnt wood) significant – was obviously a strong influence on both Dennis Creffield, and much later John Virtue, in their drawings/paintings.
The following pages from my sketchbook show copies of Creffields drawings/paintings:
I particularly liked these drawings as they allowed me much more freedom in mark making and representing forms in a more abstract way.
Going back to Kossoff, I experimented a little with gouache and used the following as a basis for this investigation
I used gouache, soft pastel and charcoal. Kossoff made many versions of this scene all around 70 x 90cm, my version is just A5. I did however make the following observations:
- He has typically used a high viewpoint
- All his versions were made in gouache with one in oil
- He makes use of contrasting/complementary colours
- He uses several layers of colour to build up his base for the image and then uses heavy dark gestural linework or dabs of paint to complete the painting.
I did not continue with this line of investigation as I saw it as more painting than drawing. I hope to get the chance to explore this again in POP1.
At this stage I also explored the use of collage on its own and building it up more with graphite and pastel:
Local marketplace, Rancagua
I sketched in my local marketplace and then worked from photographs in pencil and gouache:
I liked the colours which reminded me of one of Frank Auerbach’s paintings which I then copied in oil pastel on mylar:
The effect of oil pastel on mylar was interesting but difficult to control and maintain clean. It is something that I will try and take further in the future.
Finally with David Bomberg and John Virtue in mind, I made a black and white sketch of the scene using charcoal on gessoed newspaper:
- Leon Kossoff, London Landscapes – Catalogue
- Frank Auerbach, Speaking and Painting by Catherine Lampert
You tube videos:
- BBC Four, British art at war – David Bomberg
- Leon Kossoff, London Landscapes trailer
- John Virtue, London paintings and sea paintings