Exhibition – Peter Dreher at the MK Gallery

I happened to be in Milton Keynes on Saturday and went to see the exhibition by German Artist Peter Dreher renowned for his series of over 5000 paintings of the same empty glass produced almost daily for the last 40 years.
From the video I saw at the gallery, he explained he wanted to paint an object again and again for a few days. He couldn’t paint an apple as it would die. He decided to paint an empty glass in oils on canvas. After a few days painting the same glass, he enjoyed it so much he carried on for 40 years. He painted it during the day and at night. The reflections differ at the different times of the day. He would look at a tiny part of the glass, paint in all the details, the move to the next part, paint and so on. Each painting is created in the same conditions, same position and from the same perspective, in one single sitting. It’s methodical and obsessive, and loads the painting of the glass with further meaning for the artist and viewer.

The detail is incredible. No two paintings of the glass are alike. His subtle brush work is so delicate. The glass looks real. When standing in front of the paintings, I felt mesmerised by the glasses. One would jump out and then another. The ritual act of painting the same thing over and over again is meditative, and provides quiet and peace. His work is contemplative, diaristic and obsessive. It highlights minute changes in our surroundings, deliberately marking the passage of time and ultimately providing evidence of,the artists existence.

I particularly like his flower paintings. He deliberately leaves them unfinished, yet in the areas he has painted, he puts in incredible detail. I like his choice of colours. In one of his flower painting, in was not only unfinished, he had lots of pencil lines.

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Assignment four – reflections

Assessment criteria/ reflections
Demonstration of visual and technical skills
For the line drawing, it had to be a choice of pencil, charcoal, ink pen or ink. I do not like using markers. I have done some drawings with ink and brush in my sketchbook. I like the lively marks, their permanence and there is no need for use of fixative. It requires a lot of concentration as you can’t erase and correct. Though I don’t have enough experience and practice for perfect brush marks, I enjoy using it and am fairly happy with the results. The sketches were different. When it came to doing the assignment piece, my nerves seem to get the better of me. I get the proportions wrong or don’t get the line in the angle it’s meant to be. I get some parts right and then mess up somewhere so the whole drawing is ruined. Initially when I started life drawing, I was using a pencil to measure proportions, but lately I check the relation of one part of the body with another. I try and mentally visualise the brush stroke before making the marks. The size six sable brush holds a lot of ink so I could make several marks before having to reload the brush. The sitter, Dwij, is always at the table on his laptop so I had many opportunities to work on this drawing. Compositionally it would look odd to have someone on a hard chair on their own, there has to be part of a desk or table. To make it look like a natural pose, I had to loose part of his left leg under the table and only part of his left arm is showing. He always seems to be in track pants.

For the tonal drawing I was going to use Inktense pencils. After the overworked assignment three, I wanted to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistake. After trying a quick sketch in watercolour to work out the dark tones, I decided to use watercolour for the final piece. The main areas I tried to emphasise are the creases in the clothes. I had done quiet a few sketches in foreshortening at the life drawing classes and wanted to use a lying down pose. I did not put much detail in the face as it’s at a distance and again I just wanted to work loosely. Unfortunately I had not read the second page and did not realise I was meant to put in detailed background. Rather then starting again, I hope what I have I done is enough to get a sense of place, especially the pillow.

Quality of outcome
It is very difficult to convey tone in a line drawing. The nose looks very big, perhaps because there is no tone and detail in the facial features. I nearly ended up drawing six toes on his right foot. I decided to leave the corrections as I was fairly happy with the rest of the drawing. The lower 3 fingers of the right hand are bent at a 90 degree angle as the hand rests on the laptop. The index finger is slightly bent which is why it appears a bit longer than the other fingers. It was very tricky to make the hand appear straight, yet at an angle from the elbow. The base of the chair has five wheels. The right foot is resting on one of the supports at an angle facing the viewer, so the foot appears to be a bit short and the support is not visible.

With the second drawing, my main aim was to get the anatomy and proportions right. I did not want to overwork the drawing while trying to put in tone. The values might not be accurate, as I am still trying to improve on my watercolour techniques.

Demonstration of creativity
I have been using coloured sugar paper in the last few weeks at the local life drawing class. I thought the line drawing would look warmer in the brown coloured paper, rather than white. it absorbs the ink nicely.

The tonal drawing of the model lying on the bed was fun working on, especially as the bed is in a very sunny, well lit area. However, in class there is lots of room to work around a model, at home, it’s not easy to fit in an easel in tight spaces and get the perfect angle you want to work on.

context
I still need a lot of practice with brush and ink, to achieve better brush strokes. I like using ink very much and hope to continue using it and to improve. On my holiday in August I did many sketches with ink and wash and feel confident to draw. Previously i would never dream of drawing in public!
In the line drawing I hope the viewer can feel that the sitter is at an angle on the chair. The left arm is resting on the arm rest,so the shoulder is higher than the right arm. I ended up putting too many marks for the hair, then I really wanted to. This was because the ear was looking a bit odd. And as I mentioned earlier the nose seems too big, even though I tried to draw it in relation to the rest of the features.
For the Tone drawing, I missed reading about putting in detail of the background and I need to work on my watercolours. I seem to have used too much yellow in some skin areas. I have put suggestions of creases in the jeans and t-shirt, but haven’t depicted them well. I wanted to finish this drawing in 90 minutes with 3 short breaks. After putting In the shadow areas first, as the light would have changed, I worked on the other areas. I did not have enough time to put in much detail on the creases and to indicate their curved form. On looking at the drawing now, the position of the right hip compared to the left and the angle ( the pelvic bone) does not feel right. This did not seem apparent in the pencil drawing. Maybe part of the left side is sunk in the bed, like the head and neck in the pillow.

Assignment Four

Assignment four

It’s been really difficult for me to get down to finishing these drawings. I carried on life drawing classes as I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I find it much easier to draw the professional model in a class as they are not worried about the results. I was getting too worked up about trying not to disappoint family or friends who would sit for me. Days were passing by, I am way past the due date… I finally just decided to hand in my work!

1. Line and shape.
I had set my mind on doing an ink sketch after Durer’s drawing of his wife Agnes. I did several sketches of my sitter in graphite and charcoal on A3 paper using an easel. I finally tried a drawing on an A2 with bamboo pen and ink. was not happy with a few things and tried a some more. I finally settled on a brush and ink drawing. I left out some objects near the head as they were a distraction. I liked using the brush as I could get a variety of thickness and tone in the lines.

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2. Tone
After trying a few different poses, I settled on having my model on a bed near a window with the afternoon sun streaming in. I did a pencil sketch on an A3, then a 5 minute sketch using a 1 inch flat brush just to block in tone on an A2 size paper. The final is water colour on a Hahnemule white paper.
The bed sheet and carpet are all beige so I don’t seem to have much colour in the background. I am a beginner in using watercolours but I like the medium very much.

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