Study of several trees on A1 size paper.
Given the dismal weather I decided to sit in the garden and draw the 3 trees behind and at the side of the shed. They were tall so required a lot of looking up. I was able to use a dip pen and brown ink to which I added a little charcoal. Challenging but felt I had captured something of their size and grandeur and the contrast of the thin tree to the left of the shed compared to the older other two trees. .
What techniques did you use to distinguish the trees ?
I used different weights of line and a lighter tone to distinguish the far left tree from the other, chunkier ones.
How did you convey the mass of foliage and the spaces inbetween?
The trees had lost most of their leaves but there was foliage inbetween (bushes) that were indicated by a darker tone. In order to convey the thin twigs between the branches I looked at the negative spaces. I indicated the twigs by the use of a thinner nib on a dip pen. Also left some of the white paper to express lightness.
How did you manage to select and simplify?
It was impossible to draw everything so what helped was to sketch in the overall shape of the tree and stress dark and light tones.
Looked at Samuel Palmers drawings of trees and trees in landscape – intend to copy one – they are powerful, expressive drawings- wonderful.
Larger observational study of an individual tree.
I went up a familiar path to a seat and drew the tree above it – in the wind and the drizzle. I used a black and ochre watercolour pencil as these seemed easier to cope with given the fairly strong wind.
The tree had highly defined branches and one way of coping was to look at the negative spaces. It became more and more difficult to keep one’s eye on the appropriate space being drawn. I did the best I could. The leaves were turning brown and looked ready to drop. There was a clear overall shape which helped the drawing and a fairly short trunk with lots of branches – a very beautiful natural object.
Project 1 Exercise 1 Sketching individual trees. Birch trees- a lightness about them and grace – very thin pieces hanging down contrasting with the strong branches and trunk.
I tried 4 sketches in 4 different media, pencil, pen
, charcoal and watercolour pencil. Include 3 examples here:
Try for more careful drawing
Look at Munch and Braque for pointers towards composition, line,colour, shape, tone.
Have another go at Kitchen talk – look at shapes of chairs and draw some of kitchen objects in a more detailed way.
Own thoughts – keen to try again with last assignment as hoping I can improve it – I actually find repeating a subject interesting as I never get the same again.
Make regular transcriptions of artist’s work – particularly in relation to projects. E.g. could start with Samuel Palmer and trees.
Concentrate a bit more on sketchbook – at least a drawing a day plus more analysis of works seen. Downloaded the OCA booklet Looking at Artists, as suggested by another student , and find it useful.
Continue with mixing media as, for me, this encourages experimentation – but try at the same time for more skilled drawings.
Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain.
This was a comprehensive review of Auerbach’s work stretching from the 1950s to the present daay. Subject matter was mainly land or townscapes, interiors and figures. Auerbach works obsessively over a long period of time scraping back the paint or charcoal until one day he decides it is finished.
I was struck by the strong sense of ‘presence’ in the work making it arresting and very ‘real’. I tried a transcription of an early charcoal drawing which was difficult because the show was crowded . Intend to go back at a different time – certainly worth another visit.
Drawing in silver and gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns- at the British Musuem.
So far I have visited this exhibition twice as there is lot to look at. The technique needs a lot of skill as there can be no rubbing out. Pisanello’s studies of animals showed an understanding of their unique characteristics and was useful in the drawing animals section.
Detail of a drawing by Rogier van der Weyden in silverpoint: c1436-40
Portait of a Young Woman grabbed my attention- obviously the technique relies on line.
Interesting to see modern artists such as Avigdor Arikha (1929-2010) adapting this technique to create contemporary expressive drawings.
Goya -The Portraits – at the National Gallery, London.
Like the Auerbach these had a strong feeling of presence – and , again like the Auerbach, unmistakable marks of the artist. You feel that talk cannot properly describe what is going on visually. For example the 1787 portrait group of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their children has a remarkable, doll-like atmosphere that somehow sums up the puppet like nature of how these people wished to be seen.
My preliminary sketch helped me map out negative and positive areas and gave me a rough idea of the design. Assignment 2 was the culmination of this drawing section on ‘Your Own Environment ‘,and a piece to show what one had learnt. With this in mind I chose mixed media to include collage, brush and pen with ink, soft pencil, watercolour pencils, charcoal , oil pastel and chalk pastel . I made the subject the kitchen, a place where much communication goes on. Hence the title Kitchen Talk.
My final piece evolved from the above rough sketch and was made from a mixture of observation, memory and imagination.
How does the assessment criteria for this course match up to Assignment 2?
A large part of this drawing section has been trying out different media concentrating on the subjects of natural and man-made objects, animals/birds, and the home. Kitchen Talk was a subject that lent itself to mixed media with its focus on figures within a domestic setting which would include both small objects and furniture.
A large space was created into which smaller areas and objects created contrast. The two figures,essential to the subject ,added depth to the composition. Mark making, colour and light and shade all helped to give the picture atmosphere. If I repeated I would work more on the tonal aspects of the colours. Also I wondered about including a cat.
However I felt the final piece had a certain zing created by the green coloured pencil that was complementary to the warm reddish colours.
Invention and experimentation were part of my practice together with a concerted effort at observational drawing .
Exercise 5 Experimenting with mixed media.
Divided an A1 paper into 2 formats – a large rectangle and a near square.
I worked from 2 drawings from my previous quick sketches round the home. Started with random pieces of brown paper and patterned paper stuck onto both pictures. Worked in oil pastel, inks, 8b soft pencil, coloured pencils, charcoal and watercolour using mostly earth tones but some blue. Although I had the two drawings to work from there was a degree of spontaneity as I experimented with the different media to try and make compositions that worked.
The collage and mixed media gave a sense of presence in their textures and I felt enthusiastic about this approach. I particularly liked the oil pastels and the resist created when painted over with ink or watercolour.
All in all an enjoyable exercise.
Exercise 3 –Tonal study in charcoal.
Light was coming in through the window creating shadows – tried to differentiate between dark, medium and light tones. Shadows helped with this.
Exercise 4 – Line and wash experiments.
Used ink and brush, soft pencil, charcoal, oil pastels and watercolour.
Not used oil pastels before and love the way they can be used with ink or watercolour for resist effects.
Other aspects to note: 7B pencil over oil pastel made a rich thick line. Watercolour over wax pastel creates a resist, charcoal over watercolour creates textures and tone, lines of ink with brush added create tone that can be darkest nearest the line and get progressively lighter.
Exercise 2 – an interior.
Tried out four different formats and four different viewpoints to decide on my composition.
Each viewpoint was interesting but liked the one from the floor the best looking up – gave a sense of drama. Decided to make a composition based on this but using a slightly more square format.
Used a black watercolour pencil and then added ink with reed and dip pen.
Shadows created by the light added to the drama created by the low viewpoint.