Monday, 23 August 2010

Continuing to draw

Having been so wonderfully challenged by the 4 OD series I went back and did the last episode - which I realize was in fact the first and also spent a further 30 minutes doing a quick portrait using pencil and charcoal. My friend has now also agreed to pose for me live - so I shall take her up on that as soon as possible. Tomorrow I shall move on in my formal project work.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Drawing from the Channel 4 Live series

Having got Emma's message about the painting live series on channel 4 I have today spent a couple of hours going through episodes 1 - 4 ... and will return to finish the rest and also, I think repeat and find some folk I can draw from life.

I found I did not have enough time to properly look and then get down on paper what I really wanted to , but I notice that on relaxing things improved. The instruction to forget what you are drawing and to focus what was seeing was absolutely right - the pictures of Ken being the proof of that particular pudding. The 2 quick sketches did in fact loosen me more to relax on the 3rd - although I also see an overall improvement as my afternoon went on and I simply relaxed into the process - there is a theme emerging here!

Once again, the pictures alongside are for my virtual sketch book!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Basic shapes & fundamental forms project log

Aug 14th 2010
Completed the above project today and golly did it take some doing - was at it on the 'supermarket shop' drawing/colour for about 4 hours. Things were just effortless yesterday whereas today has taken real plod! Reasons? I think I inhibited myself because things did go so well yesterday - I wanted to better myself and produce something fabulous, got stuck in 'production' rather than learning to start with. Also, knowing that I was going to put colour on seemed to enhance the importance and bizarrely hampered me. I did eventually relax although i did break the cardinal rule of simply scrapping what I was doing and started again - it was so 'off' there was no rescue. In fact that was good learning as maybe I just need to scribble and doodle for a bit to get going when stuck.

So, learning:
My objects are in the majority the correct size and in proportion to each other - I use their respective sizes to gauge where my lines and shapes need to be placed, including looking at negative space. In my supermarket shop drawing however:
  1. The special K box is not quite the right shape vertically (the photo makes it look worse because of the angle) which I didn't recognize until I was colouring it (using inktense pencils which I hadn't previously had a go at)
  2. The choice of items were not great as both the paxo and t box are economy size and this then makes the other items potentially look distorted
  3. My pen drawing initially had the incorrect size sugar bowl which then threw the mug out of kilter - I was able to correct the bowl but not the jug fully
The shapes between the items are correct - except for the pen drawing where the mug went awry do the sugar bowl problem. Additionally:
  1. I find it really helpful to use each object distance to draw the next item
  2. It is really important to therefore get things right and not "pretend to myself" - as Ian Simpson cites in his book
  3. Also really useful to not use a rubber but to redraw lines as that helps me to get it more accurate.
The objects look solid but:
  1. I think look most solid in the pen drawing as I have defined shape with lines on the from of the object
  2. Also I have used stronger marks at the base of the objects which helps 'place' them on a surface
  3. Should/could have used more shadow on the coloured picture to help with solidity.
There is a feeling of depth in all drawings yet:
  1. The pencil drawing of the jars and jugs appears to be less so - the mug carrying strong lines from the jug which interrupts the eye. I would do well to draw more lightly so things like that can disappear more easily.
Fabulous learning especially that of the fundamental forms and thinking 'through' the item to capture it's solidity.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday 13th August

Have had a fabulous day drawing - taking forward the next stages of my course. Drawing boxes and then cylindrical forms and shapes has really challenged me! Found myself setting up the still life and then doing everything I could to avoid actually tackling it - was seriously scared! Useful to get the hoovering done but less good in applying myself .... once I got over the fear tho I spent deep concentration on what I was doing. The boxes really challenged me - having real difficulty to start with thinking about how everything fitted together but got there in the end. Still struggling with perspective but persevered - at one point I thought I could pretend that one box was not there (as who would know!) but reminded myself of why I'm doing this and plowed on with real success. This work did play to be obsessive need to get things right and hence I spent ages looking and thinking before applying pencil to paper but I subsequently loosened up upon looking at other shapes.

Thinking about how everything is made up of the fundamental forms gave me real freedom to just draw what I was seeing - so much so I gave it a go using pen to test out whether I really could apply my learning. Got some things wrong in terms of size and proportion but could easily identify where and why and was not afraid to try and rectify - despite being in pen!

I'm looking forward to drawing the household shopping still life now and feel less daunted that I could have imagined.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Transferring learning from Painting 1

Monday 9th August

Whilst undertaking the Drawing 1 course I am also undertaking Painting 1 in parallel and in exploring tone (within the painting course) I found that my previous drawing project (making marks etc) was invaluable and not a little surprising in that I could use the charcoal so much more effectively. I became unafraid to use the side of a charcoal stick to create lines and also the blunt end far more powerfully to create darks. I am sure I would not have attempted to do so in such a defined way previously. I was not necessarily pleased with the literal representation of what I was doing but my mark making was definitely better and more persuasive.

Meantime I have visited the Nottingham Contemporary - exploring the exhibition by the twins Gert and Uwe Tobias and was particularly struck by their 'drawings' created by the use of a type writer. Using simple, marks to create a striking image of delicacy and interest. It really got me thinking about you could use the most mundane of marks to create something really imaginative - which then led to more extravagant and challenging pieces of art. I shall remember that as I move one, as I so want to develop my art work.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Log reflecting on mark making project

2nd August 2010

Having completed the Mark Making Project I am startled at how much I have learnt and the variety of marks that may be made using different media, specifically:
  • the differing values and effects of varying hb pencils, not having been aware of the different uses and impressions able to be made by the lighter, finer 3H and 2H pencils - always previously having used the heavier, darker yet softer 2B - 6B pencils
  • the different qualities that different media can represent - softer materials such as charcoal being wonderful for depicting 'softer edge' items or organic things (e.g. people, flowers etc) whilst a harder pencil marks may be better for more man made, specific items (e.g. buildings, furniture etc)
  • experimentation of new media - specifically ink has opened new thoughts to mark making in my drawing and is area that I look forward to developing further
  • the 'cutting back' in charcoal with the use of the putty rubber offered the creation of different mark making that did not allow for great precision but much expression and s an area that I will continue to explore
  • introduction of color was an aspect that I enjoyed and did not consciously undertake but gently gravitated to in all of the exercises - I did experiment however more than previously with pastels and conte crayons, neither of which I found very satisfying. Both being pale and not easily controlled - I did appreciate the translucent nature of them both and welcomed that juxta positioning against the dark charcoal (for example) but as drawing tools I found them difficult to control
  • Holding the different media, particularly pencils, pens and felt tips has introduced a versatility to mark making that I was not previously aware. Holding the pencil/pen further up the stem away for the nib offered a delicacy that I found surprising without necessarily forgoing control of the process itself. This was both helpful and 'liberating' in undertaking the doodling exercise which I initially found difficult to relax into, yet holding my pen differently enabled me to 'free up' and relax into the piece, learn from and also enjoy. Strangely this experience also helped me gain confidence in mark making generally and allowed me to feel comfortable enough to sit outside whilst waiting for a friend to arrive (for an evening out in town) to sit and sketch a local statue - a first for me!
This exercise has significantly developed my consideration of which marks to use, which medium to make the mark in and to be truly thoughtful in application of both - rather than simply and always going with what is nearest to me.

I especially enjoyed the research project - in which I examined Van Gogh's "Pollard Birches" (1884) with the aid of the internet, and was stunned to learn of his use of apparently simple lines and marks to create a complex and evocative illustration. Principally using a combination of vertical and horizontal lines with little apparent use of 'block shading' the artist conveys great depth and expanse within the picture - in addition complex illustration of figures and sheep are captured in the picture that the eye does not immediately settle upon due the the use of darker lines drawing the eye. Different pressure on the pencil also adds additional dimension to the lines and darkness of shading which, alongside the use of light spaces creates an evocative sense of space and bleakness. By contrast the sheep are 'soft' non linear marks, creating a sense of movement and life that the trees do not have. I was left with a real sense of learning that "less is more" and great drawing is exemplified as much by what is not there as much as what is.

Familiar with some of his paintings I was unaware of Van Gogh's drawings and in addition to examining his mark making within the "Pollard Birches" I was inspired to go on and read his biography and learn some more of his artistic career.

I'm now looking forward to applying learning into the next project.