Part Three, Project 3, Exercise 1 -Developing your studies

Review your preparatory drawings from Project 2 and select those that have most of the elements that you would like to include in a larger drawing. It may be that you’ve already produced a composition that you now feel is strong enough to take further. You could decide to focus on a single form that dominates the composition, or you may have in mind a group of forms that can be positioned in an interesting manner, using repeated colours, lines, marks, textures and so on across the picture plane. Whatever you decide, try to be adventurous in your subject and in your composition. Test your growing skills and show that you can work beyond the expected.

I looked at my sketches from project 2 but decided to revisit the churchyard to investigate alternative views to draw.  I had already drawn a sketch of the churchyard but I thought it was a bit flat and although it had fore- & mid- ground they were on the same level at the bottom of the page.  I found some interesting headstones that I drew from a low perspective sitting on the ground and looking up past them towards the church.   I chose to work on a sketch of this view of the churchyard for this exercise.
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This sketch is quite rough, using charcoal pencil, and was purely an information capturing exercise. I liked the way that the headstones in the foreground dominate the picture and the way they are in deep shadow, with the church and a number of headstones and memorial stones creating interest behind.  I like the textures and colours in the stonework.  The headstones produce repeating shapes acoross the picture that are silhouetted against the church stonework and trees/ vegetation.
I got a bit caught up in this view and when I got home I tried doing a different interpretation using bold felt tips- trying to reduce the colours down to a monochrome image:
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I like the way I managed to simplify some of the detail and the slightly quirky nature of all the stonework.  The lines are not quite straight or in perspective- which adds interest to the drawing.
I developed the drawing further to produce a very technical drawing, with shading marked in using hatching and cross hatching:
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St Mary’s Church:  pen on Daler Rowney Aquafine smooth 300gsm A3 watercolour paper 
However, in response to this drawing, even though I was pleased with the result, I was getting frustrated with myself for being too tight in my approach, so i started to experiment further.  I wanted to see if I could still produce a “sense of place” using a more abstract interpretation.  My first attempt was using indian ink (dry/wet brush, pen and ink, splashes, drips and droplets…) to capture the main elements in an abstract manner…..
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I was quite encouraged by this experiment.  although it was fairly random, it captured the main elements of the picture (light/ shade/ shapes) and created an interesting drawing.
Then I had a go using a variety of colour media (acrylic inks, pastel, pen).
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This picture tightened up more than I had intended, but nowhere near as much as the pen and ink drawing.  In some parts of the page it is quite abstract.  The colour creates depth and interest, I like the shapes and some of the accidental effects (colours intermingling, splashes etc).  You can see what it is a drawing of but you also know looking at it that it is an interpretation of the scene rather than a reproduction.
Observational Skills: I think the subject was well observed and well investigated through different approaches and media

Technically, I am using different media with varying effect and success, and am experimenting with different techniques.

Content: In retrospect I think the subject may be a bit busy and not have enough calm areas.  There is also a lot of “dark” as the sun was actually behind the church.  Unfortunately, this side of the church does not get direct sun, but it would have been nice to have some sunlit walls to contrast the dark areas. I did use some artistic licence to achieve this in one or two of these drawings.

Creativity – I dont know how to measure my own creativity, but I try to be creative by experimenting with different materials and techniques.   In this exercise I was much more creative than usual because I was so aware of being very tight in my first effort and wanted to prove to myself that I could loosen up and interpret the drawing in different ways.  I hope/think I achieved this?

what I would do differently:  I might try a different view another time.  As I worked on this picture I grew frustrated by the lack of strong light/dark contrasts.  However, where the church was in the sun there were limited objects of interest to use as foreground.  I would like to develop my style more to be looser and to master some of these media more so the abstract effects I created were more deliberate than accidental.

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