Assignment 2

-an understanding of the use of colour in drawing
-an understanding of the most appropriate choice of medium for the subject and skill in using it
-The ability to set up an interesting composition
-Variety in mark making, depth, contrast, tone,
-Accuracy and a demonstrable understanding of form,

Select a number of contrasting objects in size, shape and texture.
Natural objects and add a made object.

The pink amaryllis lily I had planned for this assignment was taking too long open. The bud just kept on growing taller by the day. An earlier one opened too quickly and I did not like the colour. I had to find something else to use. One morning I was in the kitchen and the yellow of the lemons near the sink just stood out. The light seemed to be bouncing off each other. I decided I am going to use them. A bunch of daffodils in a pewter tankard were interesting, especially the reflections on the tankard. Too much yellow, so I kept only two daffodils. For contrast I decided to add an apple. I had some hyacinths in the porch just starting to come out. I put the pot next to the objects. Too big, so I felt I should show part of it. The hyacinths were growing so fast, by the time I started colouring in the drawing they were already tall. For the background I wanted to use a silk scarf I was given from Sri Lanka. It has lovely two-tone colours and I felt it would be a good contrast for the yellow. The scarf was casually thrown on a chair behind a table. The other objects are all in front at the edge of the table. There was no strong natural light so I had a daylight lamp on one side. I did a few sketches. Moved the apple forward and put it back next to the lemon. I didn’t feel I had too many objects. To create some interest at the bottom right corner, I added a red chilly. I was going to use oil pastels, but the decided to use watercolour pencils for more detail. I wanted to keep it as an A3 size drawing.
The pot has two purple stripes, just where the shadow of the daffodil fell. It was tricky to colour the stripes and the shadow in the same colour. I could not see the colour of the table reflected on to the tankard, possibly because the surface did not reflect any light. The daffodils had not yet fully opened, that is why the facing the scarf does not appear to have long petals at the base.
I have been looking at still life by Winifred Nicholson and William Scott as recommended by my tutor. I like Winifred Nicholson’s style of depicting flowers. They appear so fresh. For ideas of a composition I have been looking at still life by Samuel John Peploe. I particularly like his paintings with tulips and some fruit, with fabric as background. In his ‘Tulips-the blue jug’ he manages to depict red tulips with a red wall and pink tulips over a pink table.

The hyacinths which grew from 2cm to nearly 15cm while drawing.


Still waiting for the amaryllis to open, it’s about 80cm tall.


Final drawing.


Assessment 2 reflections

Demonstration of technical and Visual skills
I wanted the daffodils to be the main focal point, then the apple and lemons. I am not sure if adding the chilly works. the colours of the scarf is a contrasting backdrop for the daffodils. The ellipse of the tankard seems wider compared to the curve of the base. I used a 220 gsm medium surface cartridge paper, thinking that it will be suitable for the watercolour pencils. I feel that the texture was not right, some areas are grainy.
Quality of outcome
I regret cutting the daffodils stems too short while trying to ‘fit’ them in the composition. While trying to indicate tone, I seem to have lost the bright fresh yellowness of the daffodils. The scarf seems too wide, I could have folded it in further so more of the chair could be seen or I should have put more creases.
Demonstration of creativity
Unintentionally, I managed to use all 18 colours in this drawing, so it has a variety of colour! The composition is safe, on the edge of a table. I wanted to concentrate on showing form and tone of the main objects as well as I could. Having cropped the terracotta pot seems a bit experimental.
I messed up the colouring on the terracotta pot, but correcting it would have worsened it, so I left it hoping it will look like part of the pot. I still need to improve on using watercolour pencils so the colour doesn’t get picked up with the brush or look overworked. The paper did not take colour in some areas, possibly because I had used an eraser there. I need to be able to depict flowers while retaining their freshness and delicate thin petals.

After reading the remarks
made by my tutor I made the tankard darker to make it look metallic.



Fish on a plate

Being a vegetarian, I was going to skip this exercise. My friend offered to handle the fish and convinced me to do it. We took the fish, a herring I think, to her place. I directed her how to position the fish and took photographs. She had lovely plates. I worked from photographs and Sally the cat got to eat the fish the same day so I didn’t feel bad.
The first plate was square, with a border of blue and gold pattern like fish scales. The colours seem to reflect on to the fish, which had some yellow, brown and blue colouring. I had the fish placed so the head is leaning over the edge. I was trying to depict a fish, dead but in despair. It was hard to get the shiny surface of the fish. This is with watercolour pencils.

The second plate is a hand painted plate and the drawing is done with soft pastels. Again it’s very hard to show the glistening wet surface of the fish.
(Photo is below after check and log)

I enhanced the shadows after reading my tutors report. Photos of the fish with corrections at the bottom

Check and log
What were the main challenges of drawing animals?
Apart from the obvious challenge of the animals moving about, getting the proportions right and making sure I understood the way the legs bend. Their joints are totally different, especially the back legs. I tried to put in a bit of character of the animal I drew. This is time consuming and very often the animal will not always go into a pose you want them to. Even taking photographs is a problem, by the time you click, the animal has moved off, and you get the back legs. You have to get to know them well and ‘make up’ certain parts of the drawing to make it interesting.
Which media did you enjoy using most and which did you feel we’re best for the subject matter and why?
Most of my quick sketches were done with a graphite stick as I find it very quick. Some of them were faint so I had to go over later on, which was good as it re-enforced the shapes in my mind. The ink pen is also useful for quick sketches. I used oil pastels to colour the rooster as I felt they were the to bring out the rich colours and to depict feathers. Although I did a detailed drawing of Sally in pencil, I found that I enjoyed doing the final drawing in charcoal. It’s a wonderful medium to depict an animal. You can erase to correct the marks, smudge to add tone, depict hair if you want to or none at all. You can achieve several strengths of tone and sharp edges which is just right to show an expression, eyes, etc. I know i still need to improve a lot and hopefully will with a lot of practice. I found the pastel gave a better texture to the fish, than watercolour pencils.
Where can you go to draw more animals? Think about sorts of places that will give you opportunities for animal drawing. Have you tried drawing a moving animal yet?
Probably a zoo, but I am not sure if you can get animals in interesting poses when they are confined in cages. There are open parks, weather permitting.
I tried drawing a moving cat and rooster. I found that if you get the head right, the rest of the body is easier to fill in.




Grabbing the chance

I started of with very basic sketches of a cat called Sally, who is the master of my friend. Sally has her own mind. She saw me with a sketch book and kept doing her ‘cat walk’ instead of lying there curled up as she normally is when I visit my friend.



This pencil drawing is mostly from a photo. One of her favourite places to sit is on a tall chair in the kitchen.

At Middle Farm yesterday, I saw a rooster with very long feathers round it’s feet, like as if he was wearing oversize trousers. Here are a few sketches and a drawing in oil pastels to show his shimmering plummage.


I did a few sketches of a tiger from a TV programme. I love tigers.



My final animal drawing is in charcoal after a few ink sketches.



Drawing with other colour media

Here is a drawing in ink.

A very quick one in soft pastels. I like the roses in pastels.

A quick study in markers


Check and log
How will your experiments with negative space help your observational drawing in the future?
These experiments have been extemely useful, especially when i was doing the large A2 pencil colour drawing. it helped me place the flowers, leaves, stems correctly. i will continue to incorporate negative space while drawing and as part of the exercise, not something to be ignored or looked at later.
What techniques did you use to ensure you drew your plants in proportion?
I would draw overall shapes of the big flowers, then work my way round the rest of the drawing making sure the sizes are correct. I still find it very hard to use a pencil to measure the size of the object for proportions, I am still relying on judgement. I must try and practise to use a pencil as a guide more often.
How did you achieve a effect of three dimensional space in your drawing?
I tried to achieve this by putting in tonal values and colouring in the direction of the petal or leaf. it was difficult to achieve this in the ink drawing. I felt I was not exploring mixed media enough and using their combination to their full potential. I wanted to get more detail, so I tried using water colour pencils, markers and ink (below). I still feel I need to be more adventurous to get a drawing with an impact.


Plants and flowers in coloured pencil

Exercise – Plants and flowers in coloured pencil
This exercise required us to do a drawing on an A2 sheet in pencils. We could choose cut flowers in a vase, plants growing in a pot or growing naturally outdoors. It was too cold for an outdoor plant, so it had to be cut flowers.
There must have been a reason for us to do a drawing in pencils on an A2 sheet- it’s a lot of space to cover. Some objects in this drawing are from a special person and as I got into the drawing it actually became a pleasure, noting all the details. This pencil drawing has taught me to think two or three steps ahead. The negative space exercise was very helpful and I used that knowledge to keep my place amongst the leaves, stems, flowers, petals, etc.
I did quite a few experiments blending colour prior to the drawing. Using pencils enabled me to put in more detail. Also I am not worried about the paint drying or running into other colours. The pencil does exactly what you want it do do. The main disadvantages are that its very slow, you need to apply a lot pressure and the colours are not bold.
I still seem to be drawing without taking any risks or experimenting. I need to come out of my comfort zone. I would like to exclude each and every detail, and be selective.

Drawing plants and flowers-negative space in a plant


I have drawn a Pachira plant in my living room against the French doors. The plant is about 8 years old- some stems have been cut. The drawing was done with Indian ink and dip pen, on an A3 paper. I filled in the larger negative spaces with a brush and ink.
I found this exercise very therapeutic. Filling in the negative space, then seeing the leaves and stalks appearing by ‘magic’. It’s made me realise how important this space is. I normally just tend to look at the objects while drawing.

Exercise – Drawing using oil pastel


This is oil pastel on 220 gsm medium surface A3 paper. I read the instructions several times to make sure I understood everything i am supposed to do. I really struggled with the composition. After having used ink which just flows on paper, I found it very hard to use the pastels. I sketched in the main shapes, then blocked in the darkest areas. Then I worked over them to strengthen the tone. I got the apple muddy and over worked as I did not have the right green. Also I did not have a purple in my set of 24 sennelier pastels. Mixing red and blue would have made too many colours for the shadows, so I just left them in blue. Half way i felt it wasn’t working and wanted to give up. i wish I had put the bowl slightly more on the left or right as I always seem to be getting everything in the centre. The bowl is in front of a folded tablecloth on a table. I am still struggling with depicting folds of fabric. I could not get smooth sharp edges with the pastels. I did not apply the colour thickly so as to leave white gaps. I stop fiddling with it now and move on…