Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 3

Peter Doig- reflection on assignment 3 feedback

My tutor is keen fr me to loosen up in my approach and she suggested I look at the work of Peter Doig.  I found a good Telegraph article about him- The telegraph -Peter Doig.  in more than one article I found about him, it was commented that his works often fall somewhere between the figurative and the abstract.

Swamped by Peter Doig 1990

I looked at the painting “Swamped”, which he painted in 1990, see and the canvas exhibits all the hallmarks of his style over the next decade. It features a canoe,  afloat on a sluggish bog, thick with reflected sulphurous yellows, russets and reds. A maelstrom of brushstrokes creates a bewildering sense of visual confusion, so that the painting teeters between the figurative and the abstract.  The surface is extraordinarily complex and dense, in places mottled and stippled like a piece of corroded metal with sensuous, textured, questing application of paint. Doig was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994.

One of the most successful examples of this earlier work is the Concrete Cabin series, (see link to research point here) several large paintings of a modernist building by Le Corbusier at Briey-en-Forêt in north-eastern France, glimpsed through a tangle of trunks and foliage in a nearby wood. The paintings enact the tension between representation and abstraction that is at the heart of Doig’s work. The building’s clean geometric lines, often fleshed out with panels of primary colours so that the structure resembles a painting by Mondrian seen from a distance, are obscured by looser, darker, more furiously energetic marks representing the forest. Flashes of thick, white pigment signifying bursts of sunlight cling to the dark trunks like luminous lichen. Bolts and blobs of bright paint stud the canvases. Drifts of speckled, deliquescent colour float across our view, like surrealistic clouds. The more you look at these scenes, the stranger they become.

Peter Doig- oil on canvas 1994 Coburg 3 + 1 more

In  Cobourg 3 + 1 More, in which an alpine forest and four figures in the foreground are almost hidden by a hazy blizzard, Doig captures the texture of plump snowflakes cascading from the skies, at the same time as alluding to and reworking Abstract Expressionism.

“Painting is about working your way across the surface, getting lost in it,” Doig once said. It’s worth following his advice.

Jeanette Barnes- reflection on assignment 3 feedback

My Tutor suggested I look at the work of Jeanette Barnes after reviewing my Assignment for part three of the course.  I can see why- her work is very fluid and captures a sense of motion and business within a city.  This is something I would love to be able to develop as I tend to have a much more stilted approach.

Jeanette Barnes’ work is urban landscape. She has a method of capturing a sense of people  moving within the architecture and of making buildings come to life.  She often focuses on changes within the city – buildings being demolished and new architecture.

Her method of working is to do lots of sketches on location at a chosen subject -generally using a soft pencil, graphite stick or charcoal. Back at the studio she generally uses willow charcoal or conté crayon on large finished pieces.

To begin the large drawings, she ties a piece of conté or charcoal on to a cane so she can work on the whole of the drawing and not get drawn into working on small areas too soon. This allows her to stand back and think of the whole composition deciding early on where light/dark areas will be.  As the composition changes this may change and areas may be erased.


Assignment Three

Draw an outdoor scene of your choice. Try to find a view that includes some natural objects – trees, shrubs, pot plants, fields, garden plants. Also try to find a view that will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of aerial or linear perspective – in other words a view that has some demonstrable depth to it. Look for a view that offers an opportunity to draw straight-lined objects as well as items drawn from nature: buildings, walls, fences, gates and so on.

Do some preliminary drawings in your sketchbook to experiment with the composition. Try different versions, eliminating and moving objects if necessary to create a pleasing composition. Make some sketches to practise getting the perspective of the scene right.  Next do some broad sketches in charcoal or diluted ink and brush and trial other media before you select which to use. 

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I started this assignment by trying to find a scene I was happy to draw and inspired by, but which also fitted the criteria described.  I did a variety of quick sketches- both line and tonal- to explore various options, of which a couple of pages are shown above.

I finally settled on a view of the same building I used for the small sketches in exercise 1 Part 3, Project 5, Ex 1.  Looking past the tudor style building there are a row of small cottages in contrasting stone.  The cottages recede into the sort of culvert which is dark with trees and the whole is in a gulley as trees and rocks ascend behind them.  It made it very tricky to catch the building in good light as the light tends to come from behind for much of the day and with the recent grey wet weather, the light was making it look very flat and dreary.  I finally came across a day when the light was adding to the scene and creating a sense of atmosphere, so I took a number of photographs to help me to capture it in my final piece of work.  The watery wintery light was shining on the windows and white plasterwork of the foreground building, creating shades, whilst the cottage receded into dark shadow along the path.


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I also played around with a couple of loose, bold approaches exploring which view to use and how I might use interesting media and effects in the final work.  The colour sketch was a far cry from what I was trying to achieve as it completely lacked subtlety.  However, I did enjoy the loose wash effect in the ink/wash drawing.

I started the final picture by taking time to get the perspective of the initial drawing accurate.  Linear perspective came into play both looking along the line of the cottages, and also looking up towards the roof of the foreground building.  I was a little undecided about how to start the work but decided (with reference to the sketches above) that using pen and ink for the tudor-style building and a contrasting finish on the cottages would be a good approach.


I am interested in the effect using washes creates so I thought I would try to create a sense of shade by using a watercolour wash as a background.  I also used water colour to detect the clouds in the sky so they would appear loose and fresh.  I worked up the tudor frontage using pen and ink and an indian ink wash in a number of layers, then used a combination of colour pencils and crayons for the stonework.  In places I used some ink wash to darken and deepen shadow.



Mixed Media on A2 Mixed Media Paper 250gsm

I am very pleased and surprised by the finished drawing.  I was pleased by the looseness of the pavement and the deep shadow around and beyond the last cottage, which contrasts with the light freshness of the windows in the foreground.  The whiteness of the paper lifts the white plasterwork and there is a definitely sense of shadow and sunlight.  When I did this it was during Christmas, so i decided to include the village christmas trees on fixed the front of the building- complete with lights/ baubles!  It was a happy accident really as I think the green lifts it and helps link the whole subject together.  At the back there are plants growing up the walls and there is green algae growing the the brickwork. The sign was also green!

I believe I have successfully put theory into practice here.  The perspective looks correct to me and there is a definitely sense of the cottages receding.  The atmosphere along that path in winter is rather dark, damp and cold- I would like to think I had captured that. The windows and doors in the cottages are quite rustic- while those in the tudor style building look more refined -the widows are reflecting the sky and some of the trees- there is a hint of that.

I was very pleased by my choice of media.  I was amazed by some of the effects I managed to create using just coloured pencils, by blending and creating layers, and using mineral spirits to merge colours together.  They were effective in creating textures of the stonework and plants/trees and the grey tones were not overly bright in trying to capture the sense of atmosphere.

Demonstration of Technical & visual skills-  I think compositionally this assignment demonstrates an understanding of various elements studied in part three.  It shows perspective, depth, has an interesting composition,and successful  use of a variety of media.  I spent a lot of time developing ideas for this by living with it in the back of my mind over a few weeks, which helped enormously with he end result.

Quality of outcome– I feel I achieved what I set out to do- in fact I feel I delivered more than I expected to be able to.  It was a subject that interested me and as I could relate to it and feel it strongly I think this was expressed directly in the visual communication of my thoughts and emotional response.

Demonstration of creativity– I find it very hard not to have a fairly detailed approach in my finished work.  In this case I feel it works however, as looseness and imaginative effects are evident in some areas of this picture, while in other more restrained areas I had to experiment to create affects using the chosen media.