Assignment one

Assignment one
First drawing of natural forms.
When I thought of natural forms, immediately seed heads and drift wood came to mind. I thought of teasels, poppy seed heads, rose hips and berries that I often see growing in the wild. Unfortunately at this time of the year, I could not find anything except teasels. I spent a lot of time thinking what to put with the teasels to add some interest and colour. I picked different fruit and vegetables that caught my eye at the shops. I also wanted to have a variety of textures. The final choice is a pomegranate, avocado, Aubergine, teasel and two physalis fruit. The group is like a collection of seed pods, from near and far. I used soft pastels, conte crayons,charcoal, graphite crayon and charcoal pencil for this drawing. After trying different tools, I felt the pastels would be the best to depict the fruit. The objects were placed on a table. As the table lamp was very close to the objects the cast shadow was emphatic. I used charcoal pencil and dust for the shadow and it seems the tone may be too solid black. I tried to make it lighter with grey pastel, but It would not take.
The petals of the physalis are very thin- almost transparent. the shadow had different nuances and I could see the reflection of the fruit in the shadow.
The texture of the avocado was rough. The area where the light was falling, there were shiny spots. The shadow on the left of the avocado may not look correct, but angle the light was falling, it cast a double ended shadow.
I struggled with getting the correct colour for the Aubergine. I found it very hard to blend the purple with black to get dark purple. It is not correct in some areas, but I left it as the more I tried, the worse it looked. I was happy with the reflection of the pomegranate on it and did not want to lose it, so I did not attempt to use another tool for the Aubergine.
I added blue marks in the negative space just to cover the white areas and make the fruit feel vibrant.

Second drawing of made objects.
I wanted to draw my small fork and trowel as I use these a lot in the garden. After trying to add other objects, such a gardening clogs, a jug, just the fork and trowel alone, I decided to use my gardening hat. The fork and trowel are made of stainless steel with black and grey matt rubbery handles. The floppy sun hat is made of cotton. It’s actually a very long strip of cloth stitched like a spiral. I placed the objects on the floor, so the view is looking down on them while sitting on a chair. The desk lamp was on a table so the intensity of light was less. The cast shadows were light. I thought I would add a stippling of watercolour to give a mossy sandstone effect as background. It looks like I may have gotten carried away. I have used charcoal, ink, conte crayon, charcoal dust and gouache. The trimming on the hat is done with sepia ink.

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Still life study of natural forms.

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Collection of made objects.

Assignment one Reflection
Did you do enough preliminary work before starting work on your final pieces?
I feel I have done enough preliminary work. For the study of natural forms, I had sketched teasels using different mediums till i felt confident I can depict their honeycomb and spikey form fairly well. I wanted to show the texture of the avocado, so I tried various tools, including oil pastels. It looked good in the oil pastels, but I knew I could not use them for the other fruit so I ended up using the soft pastels for the final drawing.
Do your large drawings give an accurate interpretation of the still life groups? If not what went wrong?
Yes they do. The trowel in the made objects may look wide, but that’s because its at a diagonal angle. I could not make it very long, so proportionally the width seems big. The tools are actually 1.5 times bigger on the drawing. When I finished it, I placed them against the drawing to compare and they look correct.
In the study of natural forms , the physalis on the left may look a bit bigger compared to the avocado behind it. That could be because it was right at the front.
Did you make a good selection of objects or did you try to include too much? Would you change the arrangements of objects if you were to start again?
I don’t think I have too much and I have tried to include as many shapes and textures as I could. For the natural study, I had started off with peppers, teasel, Aubergine, physalis but it looked too busy. I then tried to have more teasels on their stem lying horizontally in the middle. That had an effect of too many lines (including the shadow of the stem). I liked the teasel against the dark Aubergine, so I put it in the middle and arranged the rest of the fruit around it. I also tried a sketch of several upright teasels in a vase and looking down on them. The sketch looked good,but for this assignment, I felt I would not have used many of the techniques I have learnt.
For the made objects, I arranged the tools as if I have left them there on the ground while gardening and gone off for a break. I am quiet happy with the way they look, except for the watercolour stippling in the background. I can not remove it as the paper would be ruined.
Do your drawings fit well on the paper or could they be improved by working on a larger sheet of paper?
They fitted well as I haven’ t used large, tall or too many objects.
Did you have problems with drawing or find hatching too difficult?
I had problems drawing the sun hat – trying to depict the folds and the trim accurately. Though I looked, the hand would not draw what I saw. In my preliminary studies, the hat looked fine, I am not happy with it in the final piece. Also I accidentally ‘kicked” the objects 3/4 way through as they were on the floor, and I couldn’t get the hat the way I had drawn it originally. There is a slight bend in the fork and i haven’t managed to depict it. I was feeling apprehensive about the made objects as i prefer drawing natural objects – probably because they are not hard, symmetrical and all identical. There must be a quicker and better way to depict the trim on the hat.
I used directional marks to depict the form of the fruit. I did not have any problems drawing the fruit, except perhaps trying to depict the long shape of the Aubergine at a diagonal angle.

Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills
Material, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills
I have tried to use a variety of tools that I had discovered in the mark making exercise. I used the most suitable tool and technique I thought best. In terms of visual awareness, I have drawn the shapes as well as I could, included shadows and reflections to show form and depth. The composition of the natural objects may look odd,mixing teasel with fruit, but I am looking at it as various seed ‘pods’, some fleshy and some dry. I am happy with the composition of made objects, though not sure about the stippling – it may be visually too much to look at and takes the focus away from the objects.

Quality of outcome
Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
At this stage, I am just beginning to overcome the fear of making marks on a blank paper. I look forward to my tutors feed back on areas I need to improve.

Demonstration of creativity
Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice
I have enjoyed the exercises so far and applying some of the experience on the final studies. Depicting a teasel can be difficult, but I feel in keeping with the rest of the fruit, I have managed to indicate its form fairly well. The delicate thin petal like cover of the physalis and its veins were interesting to draw, with the partly hidden fruit. I positioned them so you just get a glimpse of the orange fruit, like a pearl.
The colours may look garish as a composition, but in this study I wanted to use different colours.
For the made objects, it was supposed to be a study in charcoal, but ended up as a mixture. I would have to be careful while planning negative space next time. Looking back at the sketches, I prefer the drawing I did on the A3 paper, it’s simple and the tools stand out more.
Amended photos of the two assignments

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Project Enlarging an image

Draw a simple sketch of a simple object, about 10cm square. Draw another grid of larger squares and copy image of the small squares,square by square onto the larger grid.

I chose my mug for this exercise.

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Next, we had to draw three of four objects and enlarge, by transfering the image square by square.
I chose a lemon, a scotch bonnet chilly, two tomatoes and a small jug.

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Check and log
How successful were you in copying the lines from the smaller squares to the larger squares?
It seems like the larger image is similar to the smaller one, except of course bigger, so I would say I was quite successful.

Are you satisfied with your larger replica of the image? What would you do differently another time?
While copying the image on to the larger grid, I was marking the points on the grid where the lines of the objects should pass, then joining them, almost like a jigsaw puzzle. It worked out fairly well,except for the round objects such as the tomatoes, I wasn’t getting the curves correctly. I had to correct one or two of the curves to get an overall shape of the tomato, and not a geometric shape!
I wouldn’t change anything, except be more aware of the overall shapes of the objects while joining the points on the grid.

A drawing with textures

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I wanted to use a teddy bear, wicker basket, small log and a folded velour throw. I felt a bamboo pen would be a good tool to depict the long fur of the teddy bear and the weaving of the wicker basket so I gave it a try. After doing some practice patches to get used to the thickness of the pen and draining off excess ink, I went ahead with the drawing. It was exciting making the different marks, using the pen sideways to get thinner marks. I like the vibrancy of the ink. I tried to use the pen when the ink was running out in areas where the light was falling to indicate tone. I remembered this when I studied Vincent van Gogh’s drawing. I could have left blank areas on the bear to indicate light, but the fur was long so it made sense to make lighter marks. I did leave some blank areas around his nose to show that was higher than the rest of the face.
The log was looking flat so I tried to do some hatching to indicate some roundness. I was scared to add more in case I messed it up. I tried putting in some shadows with hatching as well. The weave in the basket is not perfect and apologies to the maker, as in real life the basket is beautiful. It was also difficult to show the folds of the throw and get the velour tufts to follow the curves. Overall I feel I have managed to show some texture and am pleased that I am getting used to using the bamboo pen.

Check and log
Have you discovered any new ways of using your drawing tool to depict surface and texture?
I think I have managed to depict surface and texture with the bamboo pen by using a variety of marks. The marks in different directions with dark and light tone seem to indicate fur on the teddy bear. The thick curved marks show the texture of wicker on the basket. The texture of the log has not come out so well. I need to practice getting gradual thickness and thinness by turning the pen at the right time – to indicate the cracks in the bark. I like the impression of tufts on the velour throw, though I could not depict a surface of the throw with a different tone indicating where the tufts are based on. That is the disadvantage of this tool, it’s very difficult to show surfaces in various tones. I tried to indicate the surface of the table with a few hatching marks.

How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?
I feel I have successfully showed form on the bear with dark and light marks. I was not able to show the dark areas on the wicker basket where the weave was going inside the basket-hopefully the curve of the marks is enough to imply some form. I had to make some hatching marks at the base of the log to indicate roundness, otherwise it was looking flat. I indicated some curves on the throw by distorting the lines of the tufts.
I added some tonal hatching at the base of the objects to indicate shadow

What are your impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?
It’s a very quick method of getting texture and can be a very useful technique. I did not particularly like some of the abstract work done solely by using frottage. Though I enjoyed using it to make an impression of a Lilly, it’s very difficult to find as may interesting surfaces now such as wood grain, as a lot the things are machine made and mostly smooth.
I might incorporate frottage in part of a painting if I found an interesting texture.

Project Using texture-Experimenting with texture

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I used pen and an 8B pencil to depict textures of various items around the house. Most modern items don’t have any texture, they are all smooth and plasticky, but surprisingly after a while managed to find all sorts of things.

For my experiment with Frottage, I drew an Amaryllis lily on paper using an 8B pencil and an upside down metal sieve. I am quite pleased with it as it looks like I have achieved the texture of the petals as on the real flower.

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I enjoyed using frottage, so while trying to decide what best tool to use for my texture drawing I did a quick colour version in oil pastels of the lily.

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Exercises: Observing negative space and perspective.

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This is on an A3 paper with a graphite crayon. I got the sizes and shapes of the cup, milk jug and apple fairly well. The vase came out too wide and not at all symmetrical.
I found the exercise interesting and made me think why I got the vase totally wrong. With the baseline as the horizon line, and looking at the objects at eye level, the objects appeared flat, and I was more aware of the space around the objects.

Project Still life

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Some thumbnail sketches of made objects of different arrangements from different viewpoints.

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Some fruit and vegetables on a plate in different viewpoints.
My final drawing (down below), I placed the squash at a slight diagonal angle. There is ginger next to it at the back and carrots. The tomatoes have a reflective surface and I could see the light from the squash and white plate. This is on a A3 paper drawn with a Derwent. Charcoal pencil. I found it difficult to get even tones with the pencil.

Check and log
I found it difficult to suggest the length of the small squash looking at it from the front. It was not a problem sideways. I found it easier to suggest three dimensions of made objects, especially the book by indicating the angles. It’s also difficult to show the spherical shapes of the tomatoes. However, the made objects are perfectly straight and symmetrical or have ellipses- which are harder to get perfectly. It’s easier to draw the natural objects as they are irregular and you can get away with shapes which are not perfectly formed.
I created a sense of solidity in my composition by giving the shapes tonal values with hatching. I tried to follow the forms. The made objects such as the book had straight lines, the milk jug and sweet tin curved to show the cylindrical shape. The tones of the shadows emphasised the solidity of the objects.
Changing the objects and arrangements made a big difference to my approach and the way I created a sense of form. I got difference tonal values, different cast shadows and the overall shapes changed. The objects in relation to each other gave a different result when I moved them around. Some looked right and others did not.
I found this exercise very helpful. After changing the objects around and with the second or third sketch, I just seemed to get a better feel for them. Depending on how the light fell on the objects, how well I could i could see the forms I found it easier to decide how to arrange them to make a good composition. I still need to work on a more variety of natural forms to get the spherical shapes and give depth to long vegetables.

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