Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Research Point - Lorrain and Turner

I had to look at the work of Claude Lorrain and Turner. Then write notes on how those artists divide their landscapes into the foreground, middle ground and background.

Lorrain never worked on any other subject other than landscapes. He separated his paintings with very clear areas. The foreground in the above picture looks almost as if it could be a frame made from bold intricate figures, animals, tress, shrubs and pillars. The eye is drawn through this frame work to the middle ground of more tress and a church/building. This section is drawn with less detail and is much lighter in colour. The background in the distance is so faded that it is nearly nonexistent show only a representation of what could be far away.

Simular to the above drawing, this painting has the same typical structure. The people, boat and the few selected items in the foreground have been awarded the most time and detail to give them a bold look. The mid ground of people, buildings and boats a little lighter and the background faded showing very little in detail almost looking unfinished.

Turner separates his landscapes in the same way as Lorrain. The foreground water with great detail, the ship closest to the viewer is the clearest and richest in colour, the mid section still showing some of the detail of the ships and the background a wish wash of muted colours.

In this Turner masterpiece, he has shown more detail in the mid section of ships, the foreground has lesser detail as it is in darkness and the background more light with the moon shinning down on the hazy detail of the ships and land in the distance.

Research Point - Pentimenti

Mistakes in master drawings are known as pentimenti. Drawings are often more valuable if they contain pentimenti. I needed to find out about pentimenti and restatements and find examples of them in famous drawings and log my findings.

The Old Guitarist

Looking for at pentimenti I found quite a few examples of famous artists work which has been over painted to reuse the canvas but very little work showing these mistakes which have been overworked and revealed via x-ray in ghost like images.

I found a good example on Wikipedia of this, The Old Guitarist by Picasso. Although this total over work when the artist has changed his mind about subject it is not commonly known as pentimenti but as a restatement.

De vredesonderhandelingen tussen Claudius Civilis en Cerealis
In this painting by Ferdinand Bol, when he over painted his figures they would have been hidden my the new layer of paint. Over the years these figures have started to show through which is quite common with age. It is very clear that Ferdinand moved the composition around until he was happen with the position of his figures.

Views of Paestum
This picture shows red markings which were the correction. It can safely be assume that Piranesi sketched this in 1778 and intended to use this as preparatory studies for a series of etchings.  

Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonado Da Vinci is famous for his preliminary sketches which more often than not have pentimenti within them.

In all my studies in art, I have been advised not to use a rubber but to leave any mistakes and over work them. Also pentimenti although I'm not yet a famous artist.

Monday, 7 November 2011

360 Degree Studies

I found this lesson very valuable.

The course book said to find a space where the view is unrestricted. Having had a lot of time wasted whilst I was trying to find my mojo again, I wanted to get on with the course. Time was short this week so I took a long lunch from my office desk and drew the local market square.

I did not know if this would work believing that I would be drawing market stalls and people in every direction, how wrong was I. 

Looking East there was part of a meat lorry and the wall of the bank. North as I regionally expected every area to show was a market stall selling food but a graveyard behind. South overlooked the bandstand, the market shed, a caged area with a folded trolley on top and stalls in the distance. West was dominated by a single stall with two customers stopped and looking at the goods. I even managed to capture a person walking past with a very quick sketch. 

Every inch of every view showed a different thing to draw either in the foreground or the background. I found myself looking at the buildings behind the market and the details in their architecture I had never taken any notice of before. 

A Sketchbook Walk

For my sketchbook walk I visited my local park. 

The top sketch is an area which separates the open gardens and the animal petting area. With the sun sinning from the left the shadows were quite deep on the right hand side of the wall through the centre of the page. What attracted me to draw this area was the way the watering can was rested at an angle and the reflections on the dogs drinking bowl from the tap above. I worked only a few feet from the edge of the wall.

The next picture is of the closed cafe about 30 to 40 feet away from me. It was quite dark and mostly in the shade. I do think I could have been a little more generous with my pencil to show this darkness.

The first  the sketch is of a pathway over a small bridge the day was overcast and being near a large will tree everything was dark. The dense shrubbery looked easy to draw until I started trying to capture the details. The foreground was very close and in shadow. The mid section was in good light and the background dark again. I took the longest time over this picture only stopping after about 20 minutes or maybe a bit longer. 

The last sketch looking over the pond with some rocks in the center. Shaded areas all over due to the large trees. 

Landscape Drawing - Research Point - Looking at Artists

Looking at and researching different artists showed many styles to depict the landscape. The course material recommended that artists such as Durer, Lorrain and Lowry's works were used as examples.
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) The Pond in The Woods (1496)

Durer was one of the first artists to realise the potential of watercolour paints. A German painter, possibly one of the greatest artists of Northern Renaissance.

In the above painting, The Pond in The Woods, Durer has shown explicit detail on the grass in the foreground. Other areas are left looking unfurnished. He creates a depth to the water by using the changes to the colour from a deep blue to a brown.

Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976)
Industrial Landscape (1958)
Famous for his simplistic stylisation of poeple Lowry painted the working class within an urban landscape. Great care was used in the architectural detail but very little to show any weather conditions such as cloud or sun. This does however allow him to show the smog in his "Indrustrial Landscape" above which sold for £602,400 in June 2007.  
Evening Calm a limited edition print by Gerald Coulson
Gerald Coulson
Evening Calm 
Gerald Coulson is an Emglish self taught artist who has been producing pieses of work for over 30 years. He is known for his milarty aircraft pictures with moody backgrounds and colourful skies. I was drawn to this piece of art due to the stillness and as the title the calm warm colour of the yellow sun.

David Hockney (1937)
A Bigger Grand Canyon
Another English landscape artist. He is currently living in USA and working in a huge workshop which suits his very large scale pieces of art. The Royal Academy of Art hang Hockney's largest painting 'Bigger Trees Near Water' which measures 15 x 40 feet. All his work is big bold and bright.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Above is my finished piece from a one day pastel workshop-painting the fauves. We looked at work of Matisse and Durain to name just two. Then the class used photos of landscapes to produce their own landscape in a modern version in this fauvism style. 
All in all a very successful day and very enjoyable. It showed me not to shy away from the use of bright almost luminous colours and that sometimes accurate straight lines are not always necessary to produce a good work of art. 


Goya:Drawings from his private albums I was recommended by my tutor. The book consists of sketchbook drawings mainly in pen and ink. His use of shadow and strong contrast is why my tutor was getting me to look at I'm sure. I was impressed by the use of strong bold lines and shadows and like the loose feel to the sketches. 

The album is full of either drawings of people of animals. Some even combine the two having a human body with a head of a donkey. 

I wanted to try this deep drawing style for myself and show here my version of Goya's The Butterfly Bull and an extracted piece of Nightmare. 

Feed Back - Assignment Two

The second tutor report has been delivered some time ago. He says I'm progressing well but I need to work on a few points in order to make steady improvement that is needed to prepare for assessment.
My tutor was happy with the varied media and mark making used but is concerned about how I show the light direction, shadow, reflection, definition between objects and three-dimensional depth. Comments were also made about my use of black to edge my vegetables in one of my still lives and on the pan in another which can kill form which made it loose its roundness. 
My pencil drawing of the flowers and the lamp he says is one of my better drawings as the line definition is clearer and shows more evidence of light direction and surface light on objects. Attention is still needed on the immediate shadow under the objects and he would like to see a much stronger and variable colour in the leaves. 
It was noted that I have very little in the way of animals in my log book and that I obviously struggle with this subject. 

Suggested Reading:
Goya:Drawings from his private albums by Juliet Wilson-Bareau
Cezanne:A Cezanne Sketchbook:figures, portraits, landscapes and still lives

Both books I have now purchased and given the report, I can see why he recommended this books for me. 

Pointers for the next assignment:

1. More awareness of light direction, immediate shadow under objects, cast shadow, light on     surface.
2. More contrast between light and dark.
3. Definition of line but not too thick lines.
4. Spatial depth.
5. Controlling the use of black.

I emailed my tutor for advice about the next section of landscape work as I do not feel at ease with this subject. He suggested that I join a group of local people either via OCA web site, a local self run group or to pay for tutoring in a similar group.

I joined a local college for a one evening a week life drawing course, booked 3 one day pastel monthly workshops, and joined Hertford Art Society. All far too much I now realise along with a full time job, drawing and painting and a photography course with OCA. I found I had taken on so much I couldn't cope and lost my inclination to pick up a pencil. 
My photography course is on hold until I finish the drawing one course so that I can concentrate on one subject at a time and I've dropped the life drawing at college. I going to continue attending one evening a week the Hertford Art Society. This is very relaxed and I can attend as many weeks as I wish. Every other week is a practical drawing or painting untutored session and the other weeks are critiques, talks or demonstrations.
Having spoken to OCA about my various problems it was suggested by them that I change tutors which I have now done. 
I contacted my new tutor and had the pep talk and now have the pencil securely in my grasp. He seems to be the inspiration I needed to get me back on track.