Monday, 17 October 2011

Assignment Two

A fish on a dish ...

Having enjoyed the fish on a plate project I determined to repeat the challenge for my assignment - really focusing on different mark making and detail, whilst representing the form of the subject and creating an interesting drawing with the simple line representation of the plate.

The piece took me about 5 hours to complete and has been thoroughly absorbing - using a variety of pencil markings including outline form, hatching, squiggles, circles, shading and smudging I have created a reasonable sense of contrast and representation of the wonderfully varied shapes of the fish skin. Having learnt from my original sketch in my note book I resolved to repeat the use of ink tense pencil for some colour to add some interest to the picture but much less so as not to distract from the pencil drawing itself. I also considered drawing directly on newspaper to have the fish 'laid' on it but dismissed this idea in case the type of the newspaper detracted from the drawing. I'm pleased I made this decision.

I built up detail using multiple layers of drawing, smudging and then drawing further - and again became utterly absorbed in the detail. The pen outline of the plate is deliberately placed to add further interest and 'set' the fish in some context yet one which could be interpreted in anyway that the viewer chooses ... again I considered alternative approaches and thought about using a shrimp as an outline repeated in the background but again dismissed this as I did not want to over complicate the view.

I am happy with the final piece although I do wonder if it is good enough for the assignment and will keep my fingers crossed!

Check and log

Drawing animals are not easy! An understatement...why are they difficult? The accurate representation of the anatomy and the fur or skin is really important to convey a picture that is recognisable as that which it should be - there is no 'hiding place' if things are inaccurate as we all recognise animals and have a sense of how they 'should' be!

I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed I used drawing with simple hb and 3b pencils - I really valued the control and different marks that can be achieved using them - I think I almost forgot about them, having enjoyed the fibre tip pens so much!!

I am incredibly lucky to be going on an african safari adventure in a fortnight and it is my intention to take my sketch book and attempt to capture some creatures - on the move! Whether this will be possible, doable or indeed successful is another story and one that I shall report back on!

Exercise: Fish on a plate

I have been looking forward to undertaking the project - never having tackled a fish before. Deciding to use my sketch book to help me feel that it was 'less important' to get it right I approached this exercise using pencil and ink tense pencils - thinking the latter would introduce some fluidity to the form.

I tried a different technique of 'smudging' the pencil with my finger to develop a 'smooth' impression of the fish and was surprisingly pleased with the result. The detail within the fish and the markings were utterly absorbing and I simply kept going for hours - using different marks to convey the skin of the fish as best I could. The inktense pencils worked reasonably well yet I think on reflection were a little over powering and the colour detracted from the potential of the different mark making.

I so enjoyed undertaking this exercise I have decided to abandon my original plans for my final piece for submission as my assignment and use the fish again!

Project: Drawing animals

I have broadly failed at this project principally through a lack of animals! Sadly my dog, Zouga died recently and hence have not been able to draw her and the only other people I know with a furry pet are away on holiday.

So, I cheated and sketched some donkeys that I took photos of on a recent break to the new forest. This is not work I am proud of but very much respect the challenge of drawing animals. I have drawn my Zouga in the past, including 'catching the moment' but despite hunting cannot find my pictures.

Having explored George Stubbs' work I also very much recognise the value of being aware of the anatomical structures of the 'creatures' being drawn - the same being applied of course to humans - the skin being the drapes to the muscle and bone structures. This is an aspect that I did (albeit hopelessly) consider with the donkey drawings - considering where the hip bone and how everything connects. Being a psychiatric nurse by trade I have a rudimentary knowledge of skeletal form and the necessary connections but I cannot pretend that this has made my 'furry' drawings more successful.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Exercise:drawing with other coloured media

Developing my thinking from the previous exercises and that distilled from exploring Ben Nicholson I decided to take a slightly different approach to this exercise.

Using acrylic inks (which I have had for a long tie but not really played with much) I loosley drew the chrysanthemum plant heads and some foliage. I paid attention to detail in the form and positioning but stuck to loosely drawn forms. Woebegone at this appalling presentation I then picked up a charcoal stick and started to sketch in the forms of the flowers a little more fully yet still outlines the sprayed the surface to hold the charcoal. I then returned to the ink and loosley blocked in some colour and re drew some forms and shapes of leaves etc.

I'm not sure it qualifies as a good drawing but I really do rather like the effect - the looseness of the ink against the definition of the charcoal makes for interesting viewing, I think. It adds a bit of something extra that makes a pretty mundane subject matter more interesting. I notice I'm more relaxed with charcoal than with ink or paint and yet combining the 2 helped my loosen up with the ink. I'd like to work on this a bit more as my painting is often very 'wooden' and perhaps combining these approaches will help both my painting and my drawing.

I've started to think how these may combine in the future fish drawing as I could see some real value in introducing the fluidity with the fish due to it's nature. I may of course be being way over ambitious!

Plants and flowers in coloured pencils

OK, confession time - I HATE drawing plants and flowers ....I really struggle to get 'in tune' with them - namby pamby things. However .... deep breath, went outside to draw some in situ to make it all a bit more interesting, then it started to rain so returned dispirited inside. I do really like sunflowers and sweetpeas but sunflowers have long gone and I have only a few sweet peas in the garden left and am desperate to hang on to them for my final piece (which is brewing in my head ... a combination of line drawing using fibre tip pen and perhaps acrylic ink for the flower heads perhaps; an inside piece that would also help develop my next painting assignment ... not finalised yet as am looking forward to the fish drawing ... however, I digress). So, set about my detailed drawing in coloured pencil, lasted 2 hours and then declared NO, enough. So I have not completed this exercise and am not going to. I don't enjoy or like the effect particularly of coloured pencils - they simply are not 'man' enough for me. They don't offer the depth of colour that I enjoy or the vibrancy that I feel a subject deserves. Of course it may just be that I am feeling particularly bolshy at the moment!!

I have decided that this is important learning ... in developing my drawing skills I do have to want and need to draw the subject with the media I wish so decided to 'abandon all hope' and moved on to something else .... I sat and spent many happy hours drawing the plant in detail with fibre pen and then painted over it which wrecked it completely but it was interesting and prepared me for the next exercise.

Project : Drawing plants and flowers

Exercise: Negative space in a plant

Throughly enjoyed tackling this exercise and used a fibre tip pen as my media - in fact fibre tip pen is rapidly becoming a firm favourite. There was a time I would never have drawn without pencil or charcoal but fibre tip pen is right up there now!

I am very aware that I am consciously considering the negative space when drawing at the moment so this came easily although it is equally easy to get distracted by the detail which I worked hard to avoid.