Category Archives: Pt 2/project 6

Part Two, Project 6, Exercise 5 -Mixed media

Assemble a range of drawing media including coloured media such as oil pastels, watercolours, ink and coloured pencils. You might also incorporate small areas of collage (using found images, scraps of newspaper, etc.). You may need a heavier paper if you intend to use watered down PVA glue or flood large areas with wash. Glance through the studies you’ve made so far and notice which have been most successful in terms of pictorial effect. Work either from direct observation of your interior view or from one of your exercise studies. Try mixing media you are less familiar with and experiment with several studies of the subject, looking at it from different viewpoints.

I looked through the sketches I had done in exercise 1 of this project and decided I liked the concept of this sketch of my husband’s gym.  I like the clutter and the way that things are not arranged aesthetically, but practically!  It is actually in our basement so there is limited light down there which I though i could also play with.

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I worked from the sketch rather than the actual interior view as I thought this would give me more freedom to play around rather than getting caught up in facts!  I did a couple of experimental drawings, mainly to explore the potential of oil pastels.  I discovered using oil paint thinners to melt the oil pastel into the paper and which also intensified the colour which i really liked.  I also liked mixing lots of colours to create tonal areas of lots of mixed hues.  I also liked the slightly ethereal effect in the lighter sketch and how the running machine blends with the background.

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“Steve’s hideout” oil pastel and soft pastel on A3 smooth 330gsm Aquafine Daler Rowney hot pressed watercolour paper.

There is a lot of experimentation in this picture which at times I really struggled with.  I had an idea what I wanted but not how to use the medium to achieve it.  There are distortions in the shapes of the bike and the running machine and I have drawn the window incorrectly, but I enjoyed exaggerating the light streaming in through the window (which i real life it can’t really do as the window is submerged a little below ground!)  I hope that the light creates a mood though- gloomy, a bit of a secret place- but warm and welcoming.

I went a bit overboard on colour and nothing is as it really is in real life!  the vibrancy and the awkward, unwieldy nature of oil pastels seems to encourage the use of vivid bold colours, for example in this picture of a lady by Greg Mason Burns http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Oil-Pastel-of-a-Lady/411235/1662175/view.  I still have a lot to learn about how to keep that intensity and bold vibrancy.  I was finding that putting the pastels on thickly resulted in strong colour, but also in clumping, while using the thinners to smooth it down also wiped away some of the oil pastel layer.    In the end I added a top layer of soft pastels to create light streams and to intensity some of the colours.  I am pleased but frustrated with this but have raised issues that I now know I need to research, experiment and overcome in future.

Assessment criteria points

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (35%).
  • Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).
  • Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (25%).
  • Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning logs and, at second and third level, critical reviews and essays) (20%).
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Part Two, Project 6, Exercise 4 -Line and wash

Select a range of media including pen, soft pencil, oriental brush pen, charcoal and oily pastels. Work on any scale but be aware that small paper will limit your gestures. Warm up by drawing continuous line in different media without looking at the page. Try to maintain a loose approach and keep working until you feel confident that you understand the different qualities of each medium.

Work on creating interesting tones by using just one or two colours mixed as a wash (watercolour is best for this).  You could use Indian ink for the darkest areas for dramatic effect.  For the lightest tone, you could try a wax resist technique using a light coloured oil pastel or wax crayon overlaid by a darker wash. This technique is most effective when used sparingly.  Experiment and enjoy the freedom of drawing loosely with wet and dry media.

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Blind contour drawings using various media:

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Then I went on to do a more carefully observed ink drawing using a bamboo dip pen and indian ink on A2 cartridge paper:
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I used sepia ink as the wash.  I thought I had finished (See picture above) but when I looked again, I decided the picture was too flat and similar in tone, when in reality the statue and pillar at the front are much darker and sit in the foreground.  I added some Indian Ink to create contrast and darken these areas:

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Was I able  to convey mood and feeling by making rapid statements?

Assessment criteria points

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (35%). I think I captured the perspectives and feeling of the hallway, where the light falls from a central atrium in the ceiling. I made an effort to use rapid statements with both the ink line drawing and the wash- accepting and tolerating where mistakes were made and incorporating them into the finished picture.  I successfully captured the light coming from the top, becoming darker with increased depth of wash towards the bottom.  I managed to stay free in my application of the wash and some of the accidental runs and mistakes add to the interest of the picture.  I think I started with too dark a wash for the mid-tones and would have benefited from lighter tones in general, so that the main feature stood out more.  Application of black shadow at the end helped with this.
  • Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%). In the end I felt the outcome was good.  I worked loosely and had a good idea how to approach the task.
  • Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (25%). I had to be creative about how I represented some of the areas before me, whilst still giving the picture life and depth.  For example I didn’t want to get bogged down in details of the bannisters or the actual stairs, while still making it evident what they looked like.
  • Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning logs and, at second and third level, critical reviews and essays) (20%).  The medium lends itself to a loose interpretation as demonstrated in classic art such as this picture by Rembrand called Interior with Saskia in bed: 1640-42+Interior+with+Saskia+in+Bed+pen+and+brown+ink+with+brown+and+gray+wash+and+some+additions+in+red+and+black+chalk+The+Frick+Collection,+New+York.jpg  Here the loose drawing and wash give a atmospheric, evocative sense of the dark room with light falling from a window to the right.

Part Two, Project 6, Exercise 3 -Tonal study

For this tonal exercise, work on a large scale (A2 to A1) and use light marks to map out the composition. Be sure to use all of the picture space.  Notice the lightest areas and map them in. Using charcoal, soft pencil, conté or pastel, work out the mid-tone areas and the darkest. Find a way to convey the subtle gradations within these areas. All of the media mentioned will give you problems of smudging, so work from the centre of a dark area outwards so that your hand doesn’t rest on an area of heavy charcoal or graphite. Don’t worry if you lose lighter areas; you can use a putty rubber to pick out highlights. You could also use white paint, chalk or conté for this, but be careful not to overdo it. Look for the lightest tones again when the drawing is almost finished.  Keep looking from your subject to your drawing while squinting to check on tonal values.

This is the view I was working from (as sketched in exercise 2).

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Firstly I did a light pencil drawing to map in the main areas.  I used charcoal powder to smudge in the main tonal areas- medium and them dark areas (ie. the back of the sofa, shadows on the walls and the piano etc).  Then I worked in shading and detail using willow charcoal.  I tried very hard to respond to the tonal information before me rather than focusing on details.

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“Music Room” Charcoal on Daler & Rowney 220gsm heavyweight A2 cartridge paper.

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Assessment criteria points

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (35%).  I was very pleased with  this piece of work.  The charcoal and moody tones echo the victorian feel of the room.  I deliberately chose this interior because I liked the play of light in the room and I worked hard to observe and capture this.   I think the composition adds to the success of the work- I like how the sofa is situated perpendicular to the fireplace.  By leaving the white paper to shine through (e.g. on the mirror and cushions) this creates highlights which contrast strongly with the deep shading, to lift the picture.  I haven’t been over-obsessive about detail, and in my opinion, this looseness gives the picture life.  Careful observation of where shadows fall lends objects in the room a sense of form and mass.
  • Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).  I felt quite confident using charcoal for this drawing as I had developed knowledge of it’s limitations & its use from part one of the course.  It was the correct choice for this exercise, and achieves the effect that I wanted.
  • Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (25%).  I had a strong feeling that I wanted to play with the light/shade in this picture before I started it.  Creativity was mainly in how I used the media.

Part Two, Project 6, Exercise 2 -Composition – an interior

Look carefully at the angles and areas of your chosen interior view and note where objects are placed. Keep shifting your viewpoint until you find one that pleases you. Look for strong tonal contrasts, textures, linear qualities and strong positive and negative shapes.  Establish your observational position – standing, sitting on a chair or on the floor. Ensure you can work comfortably and see clearly.   

Make four quick sketches to outline basic shapes and map out tonal areas using a soft pencil, conté or charcoal. In each sketch shift your viewpoint or eye level. You’ll notice the apparent distortion of certain forms due to foreshortening. Vary your studies by shifting the viewpoint up or down, or moving in and out.

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The exercise instructions suggested doing these studies in both portrait and landscape format. As suggested I did find that the portrait format was more interesting in terms of perspective while the landscape format produces more of a sense of intimacy. In this case the landscape format definitely worked best as it gave more of a sense of the room and the context of the piano within it.

What worked: The landscape format was more of a complete composition.  The portrait look a little bereft to me- the piano standing alone.  I enjoyed using all three media- pencil, charcoal pencil and pen and liked that the effect produced by each one was different.  I enjoyed playing with the dramatic shading in each case.

What didn’t work: I should have taken more time to change my view more drastically and maybe to home in more on the objects in the room.  I think cutting off elements of the composition (like a photo does) would have made it look more interesting and less predictable.  I chose this interior view because I liked the light- it is fairly dark around the piano as natural light comes from windows at the other end of the room- but there is a sofa next to it which made it difficult to change my view too drastically without cutting off the piano completely.  the fireplace perspective in the landscape sketch  is not right- it slants away too steeply!

Part Two, Project 6, Exercise 1-Quick sketches around the house

Take your sketchbook  with a selection of drawing media. Aim to work your way around most rooms around your house over several sessions.   In each room make four quick sketches, turning 45 degrees after each one to face another area of the room. You’ll find that looking into corners works best.  Make fast visual notes without getting involved in detail. Try to work without preconceptions. Observe, note and reflect. Your drawing approach is up to you. Some drawings may contain few marks, some will be simple line drawings, some may have elements of tonal analysis. Don’t worry if some of your drawings appear childish or scribbled or wrong in some way. Keep moving on but notice and note down any errors in observation or execution.

I have numbered the sketches (1-8) for ease of discussion below:

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5.   IMG_0599

6.   IMG_0598

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8.   IMG_0596

I didn’t develop each room quite as much as the exercise required, mainly as I was pressed for time in order to meet the course deadline.  However, I hope I selected sufficient interesting angles and views to have benefited from the exercise.  We live in quite a large house, so I had to be selective, or I would have been sketching for a long time!!

Some areas were difficult and frustrating to work on.  Mainly the more straightforward and boring ones. For example  I didn’t enjoy 1&6, which looked interesting before I started, but as line drawings they ended up being quite boring both to do and to look at.

However, other sketches attracted my interest and I found myself being drawn in as I tackled them.  I really enjoyed nos. 3&4.  The top of no8 was also interesting but very tricky, due to a rounded plasterwork ceiling and stairs.  In some of the these pictures I could not resist adding some level of shading because just the contour sketch was unsatisfying to me.   I enjoyed using charcoal pencil because it encouraged me to be quick and ignore detail and I felt quite free ( e.g. no3).

Picture 2 was an added bonus, done whilst having breakfast in the local pub.  The view was complex with table settings and different rooms leading away from me.  I would have loved to have had time to develop this to an ink drawing or ink and wash.  I was very pleased with the perspectives etc that I captured however.

picture 7 was done whilst stuck in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her gymnastics class.  I know it isn’t an interior but I enjoyed playing around with the perspective and trying out using ink.