Sunday, 12 December 2010

Observing Negative Space and Perspective

Looking at the outlines of my selected objects, I followed the instructions and drew the line from the left side of the paper. Secondly I when back to the starting point and retraced the table line but this time I drew the lines of my object under the table level, after which I filled in the details of the basic outlines. The whole time I spent concisely looking at the negative spaces and the picture as whole.

The same exercise was attempted without taking the pencil from the paper. This was more difficult than I thought it would be, and I tried to resist the temptation to erase the mistakes made to start over and correct them.

Using Texture

Some more experiments with making marks, this time to show texture. Not all of them worked as well as I hoped, although one showed a stunning effect I didn't expect. One of my squares I painted with a very wet wash of orange watercolour then sprinkled dishwasher salt on it. As it dried the salt drew in the colour leaving deep rings of colour where it had been. It is a shame that the photograph here does not show the sparkle the salt left behind.

Having practiced with texture marks, I attempted a picture which would show texture to the maximum. The bath puff worked well I believe along with the sacking around the soap, but the face funnel I'm not happy with at all. I started the drawing with tinted charcoal and found that the colour range was not suitable so finished the picture with soft pastels.

I really enjoyed looking around the house and garden for textured surfaces for the frottage section and have shown some of the results here. This simple but effective effect gave me inspiration and I used this technique to make a cover for my A3 sketchbook below.

Check and log

I have discovered some interesting new ways of making marks to show texture and I'm now more excited about experimenting with different techniques and materials. Things that would not be first thought of as for drawing or painting, such as the salt experiment above.

It is clear that I do need extra work on my form. I found myself wanting to shade and hatch where I knew it was not appropriate when showing textures.

The technique of frottage is something I will be studying more. I loved the whole process of looking for items around the home and garden to use for my rubbings of crayon and graphite sticks. I want to spend more time on looking into ways of making pictures with these markings. I was compelled to just cut them out and make collages from them, as the above sketchbook cover.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Composition of Natural Objects

For my composition of natural objects I selected two apple halves, some grapes and what I believe to be the most beautiful fruit when cut in half, the kiwi.
I just love the the colours and the rough texture of the kiwi and although challenging, I wanted to have a go.

Once I had drawn my objects in 2b pencil, I realized the upside down apple piece did not work, so I removed that and took to my pastel pencils to add colour to the page. I think the end result is not so bad, the kiwi is ok also the apple, and the grapes work really well. I am struggling with certain shapes and had difficulty drawing the plate on this occasion.

Check and Log

I think it is easier to show three dimensions on man made objects. Natural forms are inconsistent with shape so any shadow, highlights and shading do not follow any regimental shape or lines.

My composition showed a sense of solidity due to having the objects overlapping each other, having them next to or slightly behind one another. The shadows becoming one underneath the composition as well as having a feeling of depth about the picture as a whole.

When changing composition of my arrangement it changed the why I approached the drawing. Different objects became the focal point in each arrangement, although the technique is still the same to create form.

I choose to position myself looking slightly down on the objects to show ample shadow falling from the composition. The fruit arrangement was influenced by the uppercut side of the kiwi and a little of the textured skin underneath showing through. The shadows and the way the highlights reflected off the objects influenced me for my view point on the man made objects.

Still Life Sketches of Man Made Objects

 For my first sketch I chose five objects, a lipstick, the lipstick lid, mascara, nail varnish and a nearly empty bottle of perfume.
I liked the composition but felt it was a little busy for a small sketch.

I used pencil and cross hatching for the shading. I used the pencil on the side for the frosting on the perfume bottle, and picked out the highlights with a rubber.

Having taken out two objects I liked this composition much better. It was less complicated and I liked the balance of the three items
Next I wanted to test some new pastel paper. As I've never used this before I first used charcoal. I loved the effect of the heavy grain and only need to add more pressure for the shading. With such a bright arrangement I couldn't leave it at that and wanted to show the colours in my sketches. I used pastel sticks and pastel pencils. The sticks were harder to use and mainly relied on the pencils and rubbed in the dust with a contour stick to make really dark shadows and highlighted with white soft pastel.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Check and log - Cast Shadows

The cast shadows fall from an object and will have different gradations. On that casted shadow you may have the reflection of the object's colour on it as well as the objects contours and highlights. The reflected shade and light work in the same manor as the cast shadow but with different contours. Also the reflection of the object will bounce back on to itself, especially on a shinny surface.

The first lesson in depicting realistic reflected shading and lighting is learned in the power of observation skills. Once you have learned how to see an items contours and its different shading in the shadows, you can then concentrate on showing this in your drawings. I found I had to keep looking at the angle of the contours as I was drawing as they do not always follow the same lines as the original object and will often refract, therefore they will not always be a mirror image. This can be shown in careful shading and highlights as you would if it were the solid object.

Friday, 3 December 2010

In the style of Patrick Caulfield

I spent some time researching Patrick Caulfield's work to enable me to produce a piece of work in his style. I choose to use A4 sketching paper and coloured charcoal for my picture of a jug. I wanted to draw shadows under where the handle would be to give a feeling of depth within the negative shape and inverted the shadow to give an illusion of 3 dimensions to my 2 dimension drawing.
I will be repeating this exercise at a later date, as I would like to try this style again but with other mediums such as acrylic paints.
The following pictures Reserved Table, 2000 (acrylic on canvas) by Caulfield, Patrick (1936-2005)taken from influenced me in the above drawing.

Reserved Table, 2000 (acrylic on canvas)
Caulfield, Patrick (1936-2005)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK

Lantern (screenprint) by Caulfield, Patrick (1936-2005)Lantern (screenprint)
Caulfield, Patrick (1936-2005)
St. Mary's Hospital Paddington, Art...
PAD 344270

Shadows and reflected light and shade

I loved this exercise working on a large scale. I've never worked on anything larger than A3 paper so looking down at a clean A2 sheet was at first a little scary. The large sweeping movements of the charcoal had me lost in my own world and concentrating on where my next mark would be. This is probably one of the first pictures I've not had the rubber next to the page waiting to be used. I was determined not to make any mistakes which would result in starting again. The light was coming from almost directly above which made the reflections and shadows more of a challenge to record in my work, and my putty rubber may never be the same after lifting out the highlights.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Reflected light

For this exercise to show reflective light, I used 2b pencil, water soluble pencil and 2b graphite sketching stick.
The use of the water soluble pencil clouded the highlights which were totally lost on the vase and side of the perfume bottle. I tried unsuccessfully to save the picture with adding highlights of white pastel pencil.
The table top went wrong looking like a muddy mess of graphite sketching stick. I used a small piece on its side to attempt to shade like I would with charcoal.
I was very disappointed with this as I was happy with the shapes and angles of my objects.

My second attempt was much better, although I'm still not entirely happy with the out come. The shadows and reflected light look correct but I had difficultly with the lines and angles of both the vase and the perfume bottle. Maybe I would have done better to leave this project until another day.
The lesson has taught me to be more careful with the media used and test the techniques before using them on the main piece of work. I intend to have in future have a small test sheet close to hand, and to have little more patience with myself.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Drawing and painting for pleasure

 Although I enjoy working at my own pace from home, I do feel that sometimes its nice to have feed back from other people. The OCA site is very helpful and the other students are always ready to give advice if asked. Still this does not replace the face to face contact and it can feel lonely at times.

Having looked on the Internet I discovered a local drawing and painting group. They meet once a week and can offer support and encouragement where needed. The group decide on a weekly theme to draw or paint. This was the result of my first week, the theme being white china. Pieces were placed in a central table for everyone to work on their master pieces. Half way through and tea time, everyone looks at others work. No one else worked in the same way as I did, as the display as a whole did not appeal to me, I separated individual pieces and drew three pictures. This was quite a shock to others who had not considered doing that.
Not everyone choose to draw the theme and some worked from their own pieces or from pictures. One person used soft pastels and seemed to enjoy explaining to me how to use them and make the most of the medium. Two others used acrylic paints, one or two used coloured pencils but most watercolours.

It was a most enjoyable evening with some really friendly people, so I'm looking forward to next week when I will be taking my pencils and charcoal with me.

What a lovely way to meet new people, fill a sketch book and gain valuable practice to help my studies.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Odilon Redon

Research Point - Nineteenth-century French artist Odilon Redon and his work.

Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)

Bertrand-Jean was born in Bordeaux on 20th April 1840 and later gained his nickname, Odilon, from his mother. He studied architecture as his father wished but failed his exams.
Odilon's younger brother became and accomplished architecture, whilst Odilon once again took to watercolours. He became a ysymbolist painter and printmaker. He died at the age of 76 on 6th July in Paris.

There is some interesting information on the following web sites:

Odilon has an interesting imagination, which shows in his work. There was so little that I could pick in the way of examples of paintings that I liked, as although he may well be a very talented artist, I personally don't like the style in which he paints. A lot of his work included spiders with human heads in strange forms, like the picture to the left.

Credit: Oannes, c.1910 (oil on canvas), Redon, Odilon (1840-1916) / Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo, Netherlands  / The Bridgeman Art Library

The following drawing was one that I like very much. It has an almost child like form about it with the butterflies looking like they have been placed there for no apparent reason. The bright colours used were typical of this artist.

Battle of the Centaurs (pen & black ink and pencil on paper)

"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased." (From wikipedia)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Water Soluble Pencil

After reading on the formus on OCA site not to use hairspray to fix drawings, I dicided it was a good time to visit the craft shop. While I was purchasing some fixative I also found some water soluble pencils that I have wanted to try for some time. Here is my first attempt with them, which I'm pleased with. It was a very quick sketch then a lick with a damp paint brush while the dinner was cooking!

Tone and Form

For this Tone and Form exercise I showed observation's of shadow and light formations on the surface of two candles. My light source was a very strong daylight lamp, which did not allow any reflective light on the opposite side of the light source and strongest highlights.

2b pencil on A4 sketch paper

Tonal Studies

For the Tonal Studies I wanted to try different media to compare the outcome.

My preferred media is pencil and I love the control of a 2b which enables very soft shading to hard cross hatch lines.

Charcoal worked well so long as I could resist the temptation of smudging it with my finger, although the lines are a little thick and would suit a larger sketch.

Pen gives a dramatic effect with deep dark lines to produce very heavy shades. I did find this difficult to show the lighter shades next to the highlighted arrears.

Water colour pencil was the hardest for me to use as it not so easy to see any hatching lines unless they are wide apart. I found myself try to press like I would my 2b pencil to attempt to make the colour deeper in the shadows with little or no effect. May be the pencil was sharp enough for this study.

Carrot - 2b pencil and coloured pencil
Stapler - charcoal pencil
Mug - 2b pencil
Spoon - No 5 drawing pen

At first I found I was temped to graduate the shade from the highlighted side of the light source to the dark heavy shading on the opposite side. It was only when I studied the objects for a while, that I started to see all of the reflective light on the surfaces. The spoon not only had lines of light running down the handle but it also bounced light into the wooden worktop, way in front of the handle. The scanned picture does not show this to the full effect as drawn. I found this fascination the way two shadows were appearing when I was careful to have my lamp at the same angle as the natural light coming from the window.  I spent more time studying the objects, shadows and highlights than I did drawing them.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Supermarket Shop

For this exercise I took items from my kitchen cupboard. I first drew them in pencil and added colour pencil.

I am happy with the overall out come but could make many improvements.

It was difficult getting the correct shades with the coloured pencils I own and will now be looking to expand my range. I did use some water colour pencil in an attempt to get more shades.

I had problems making the objects look grounded. Shading the background helped.

The proportions in the drawing seem correct. The size and shape of the objects also look correct in relation to each other.

The overall distance beween the objects seems to be in correct proportions.

Better shading would have given a more solid look to the packaging which I did'nt find easy with coloured pencils.

I did feel I created a feeling of depth in my drawing although improvements could have been made. For example, drawing a background would added something to the image along with shadows from the objects.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Mark Marking Exercises

I experimented with different ways of holding pens and pencils.
Whilst holding them at the end I was able to do long sweeping marks as they lightly touched the paper. The closer to the nib I held the pen or pencil the more control I had over the pressure on the paper which in turn allows control of shade and smaller more accurate markings.
Pencils are very adaptable and suit most mark marking. They are easily erased and can be very light, dark or shaded, used to make sharp lines, blended or cross hatched.
Pens and drawing pens make bold marking and cross hatch shading. Italic pens are difficult to keep the marks the same across the page, as was the dip pen and ink and calligraphy nib. The drawing nibs were a little easier to use but my home made dip pen made from elder was almost imposable to keep the ink marks even.

Pencils give a softer feel than most other media I used. Random cycles in both pen and pencil gave a floating feeling whilst squiggles in pen gave an erratic feeling to any mark used with them. Cross hatch with marker pen feels almost like there is a barrier between the viewer and the paper.

Colour adds drama, blue flowing water, rich flowers or growing trees and grass. Pastels and conte crayons can give the same dramatic rich colour but also can have a softer hue. They seemed to be more suitable to thicker lines or blocks of colour.

I found the most enjoyment from experimenting with charcoal but it was also the most frustrating media due to the mess it can make. The slightest touch can leave smudges.

The high contrast between bold lines and soft blended shadows makes charcoal suitable for most uses but are very effective with portrait or figure drawing.
Compressed charcoal was the easier to use whilst I enjoyed using the willow more. Both filled the page quickly with shading.

The use of a putty rubber was quite amazing giving strong highlights or bold negative shapes.

Vincent Van Gogh

He was a Dutch post-impressionist painter born in 1853 who died in 1890 aged 37.
Mental illness troubled Van Gogh and may have contributed to him cutting off his right ear and committing suicide with a shot gun.
Fame did not come until after his death, leaving behind around 2,000 pieces of art work consisting of paintings, drawing and sketches.

Fame did not come until after his death, leaving behind around 2,000 pieces of art work consisting of paintings, drawing and sketches.

Van Gogh was largely self-taught using bright colours and large brush marks in his paintings.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

OCA Drawing 1

I found art when my youngest daughter took art as one of her GCSE subjects. I began using pencils to copy other works from books that I had purchased finding that I was able to reproduce drawings that actually looked similar to the object in question.
The techniques I have used in drawing to date have been limited and I’m hoping to gain insight into new mediums and to find a style I’m confident with.
I have completed a short photography course with Open University this year and achieved a pass with 74%. (Sure I could have done better!)
I've almost finished a home study course on painting and drawing with The London College of Arts, then discovered OCA at Art in Action in July and applied to study for a degree in October 2010.
Working full-time, I will be studying around my commitments and hope to be able to complete the required work on the Drawing 1, 3 levels of painting and 3 levels of photography necessary to graduate.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking art the OCA web site, blogs and reading about learning logs and feel ready to start learning!!