I have spent many sessions working through poses in the New Masters Academy and Croquis Café. The featured image above is one such drawing for this exercise – a 10 min pose. In this drawing I was concentrating on the difficult pose, using smudged shading and line to emphasize form. This was an expressive drawing that had inaccuracies in the chest (nipple positions) and left arm.
Initial experimental 1 min sketches in oil pastel – the right hand drawing finished with additional colours, turpentine wash and pencil (aprox. 10-20mins).
I liked the oil pastel effect on this cartridge paper so carried this further in three more 10 min studies – improving the sense of three dimensional form…
In all three studies there was a shift in weight and gesture away from the model’s central axis. Whilst the centre study appears awkward, the other two studies were accurately rendered – both having interesting poses. The arms/hands represent a still, calm – even comfortable, relaxed pose.
The use of oil pastel and turpentine gave the studies a cave painting/fresco effect and I will try to develop this further.
I felt that the RH drawing was the most effective in rendering three dimensional form by building up sufficient tonal contrast.
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….
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.
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.
There were some key details in the requirements of this exercise: to choose a group of three dimensional objects – cylinders, rectangles, cubes etc and the less regular for example a plastic bag, netting etc., firstly work large, be imaginative in the surface types and colours, use just one colour, fill the sheet with the drawing, imagine you can see through the objects and to try to evoke some kind of expression in the marks made and the relationships you create inside and around the edges of the objects/picture plane….a great deal to think about.
I started off very wooden….creating a large charcoal drawing on a white textured surface. The drawing worked well but was in my opinion not very creative.
My second drawing was very loose – using a purple oil pastel on newspaper print – I did not choose the newpaper sheet well and I believe I used a colour that did not suit the background – I actually used two similar colours. Whilst not a good drawing it helped me think differently about the subject.
From the exercise text I thought about how the objects would look transparent – as if I could see each of them without form – just lines – more abstract. I chose a tinted slightly textured background and a soft yellow pastel for the medium. Again I tried to work quickly and with more freedom.
I was extremely pleased with this drawing as it was more imaginative and could easily be developed further as a coloured drawing/painting. If the lines were tighter and more controlled and the textures more detailed/intricate …… maybe later on I will return to this image!
Next I thought I would use my fineline coloured markers deviating from the one colour requirement. After finishing the drawing – I did not like all the white open space so painted over the whole drawing with a pale yellow acrylic drawing ink which smudged the fineliner marks (better to paint background first in future!) Then I tried to recover the highlights with soft white pastel, then the darks and mid range colour with more fineline marks…..not very succesful overall and I was very displeased with the drawing. This is a selection of the stages of this experiment:
Finally I decided to loosen up again and return to the newspaper print – this time being more selective in the page/background used and the medium colour.
These are the two final images for this exercise:
In the green image – I tried to use a page with just print but this was the only page suitable – and the colo colo badge/dark square below destract the eye a little.
I used several shades of green (not strictly one colour?) and was pleased with the effect created and the change of format to portrait worked well.
In the final black and white image the darkish grey background worked well – using a light grey charcoal – very fast and loose and without leaving the surface when mark making….at last I was trying to give the image some expression. I then worked over the image with white and black to bring the drawing to life. The background worked well this time, the portrait format also worked and my main criticism is that in trying to work loose I think I lost control of the drawing and my initial grey structure.
I found the subject easy to draw, but struggled with the balance of working loose/creative to achieve a more satisfactory result. I need to work on this in future exercises and in my sketchbook.