Assignment One

Assignment One (at last!) : Made objects

OCA manual p 43

It has been 6 weeks since my last post because our house has been over-run with builders and there hasn’t been an inch of space or time to draw.  My Dad has been on the critical list too and he lives 2 hours drive away but is back in his Nursing Home now and the house is in some semblance of order again.  So here goes!

I started with the made objects exercise.  I had to prop my objects on a coffee table as the house was so disrupted but managed 3 efforts before it became impossible to work there any more.

My first attempt at this group (fig 1) took two and a half hours and is on A3 paper.  I was getting a feel for the shapes of the objects and found it extremely challenging.  I wasn’t happy with the composition as it seemed to slew off to the left a bit, but maybe the bulk of the watering can on the right balances it better than I think.  I used pencil with a tiny bit of graphite for shading on the gloves to show their texture.  I liked trying out the textures of the old gloves and the handle of the fork but the watering can was a nightmare with all those grooves and its odd shape.  Lots of learning going on though and a healthy dose of practising manual dexterity.

Fig 1 / initial drawing / #47 in sketch books

For my next effort (Fig 2), on A2 cartridge paper, I changed the objects around to make a more coherent shape and rested the muddy fork on the glove, generally bringing the objects together just as I might have left them in the garden whilst stopping for a cup of tea.

Fig 2 / second sketch / #48 in sketch book

In this second sketch I added ink to create the mud on the fork, graphite to create the deeper shadows on the watering can and more charcoal for the folds and texture of the glove.  The can and fork have been brought out as my main focus of attention whilst the other implements and bottle fade off into the background.  This sketch again took over 2 hours but I know that the more I practice drawing, the more confident I will be of my lines and marks and the less snail-like my pace will be.

Fig 3 below (A3) was not meant to be my last effort.  It was intended as another step on the journey but builders stopped all idea of further work for several weeks so I’ve put this in as my final sketch since I have lost the momentum with it and the items are now scattered far and wide on the building site.

Fig 3 / final coloured drawing / sketch # 49

For this sketch (fig 3), I decided to try another composition and change some of the components that I thought were not working well so have added a little flower pot and removed the mini-hoe.  My shadows never got completed due to being thrown out of the last little corner of the house, so I’m not at all pleased with this effort.  I put these items on the floor to draw them in the hope of getting a birds-eye view which is the way they would be seen if they were in their correct setting.

I’ve used pastel crayon to colour in.  I was getting along quite well until I had to stop so am pleased with some of the contrasts.  The hole in the watering can is a little off-piste but I like some of the contrasts of light and shade on it.

Assignment One : Natural Forms

This was another erratic assignment which was completed in four or five sessions with the items being put away between.  I started with the arrangement in fig 4 which, although perfectly acceptable as a composition, was a bit too similar in style to another piece of work I had done earlier.  The drawing is in pencil on A5

Fig 4 : sketch 1 of natural forms / #50 in sketch book

My second attempt (see Fig 5) was arranged in a different way and I like the composition.  Regrettably everything had to be moved for the builders but we soldier on!  This sketch gave me a feel for the plant material and the stones.  It was again completed in pencil on A5.  I gave this sketch more time and used some shading and shadows, concentrating mainly on the shapes, forms and relationships.

Fig 5 : natural forms : sketch 2 (#51)

My next attempt (below Fig 6) was on A2 paper so I had to be bolder in my strokes.  Again I spent time concentrating on the relationships between the shapes and the negative spaces and gave  weight to the stones with shading and shadows whilst intentionally leaving out the detail of the flower – just suggesting it.  This is a new idea and technique to me and I was pleased with the result.

Fig 6 : sketch 3 natural forms (#52 in sketch book)

My last attempt at this assignment is on A3.  I kept to a similar composition but decided to add a more interesting shaped stone.  In this sketch (Fig 7 below) I started by drawing in graphite to give some definition to the stones and the shadows but I also wanted to leave the light side of the edges less defined.  The flower was drawn with black felt tip and then oil pastels painted on; coloured ink is used for the stem and edges of the leaves and watercolour for the rest of the painting.

 

Fig 7: Natural forms sketch 4 : #53 sketch

The picture is relatively simple in construction but that was a deliberate decision.  I’m new to drawing and often frighten myself off and don’t even go near a drawing because I simply don’t know how to execute it.  I don’t have the techniques and then delay starting.

On this occasion I thought that if I chose simple shapes I could concentrate more on them and the relationships between the shapes rather than being intimidated by something more complex at this early stage.

I am averagely pleased with this drawing since I know the shapes and negative spaces to be as true as I could get them at this point.

LEARNING LOG

  • I felt I had done as much preliminary work as I knew how before starting on the final drawing
  • My large drawing of the still life group (fig 2) was the most accurate of my drawings
  • I made a good selection for the group of objects but a much simpler selection for the natural forms.  If I were to choose again, though, I would probably make the same choice, given my reasoning (above)
  • My drawings could fit better on the paper in most cases.  I have to admit I haven’t paid enough attention to that side of the learning so must do better
  • I found hatching very difficult and need to do lots more practice
For extra-curricular drawing and painting click here
and for other extra activities July – October click here

 

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Part 1 : Exercise – Enlarging an existing drawing

Enlarging an existing drawing (OCA p41)

This exercise was harder than it looked but it’s a fantastic idea for future use so I can learn to draw complex shapes more accurately.  Hopefully I’ll get the stage where I have a ‘good eye’ and need this device less and less.

Below is fig 1a : a simple object, fig 1b : a more complex object and fig 1c : enlarged complex object. 

fig 1 : simple shape : sketch #44

 
 
 
 
 
 

fig 2 : complex shapes (small) : sketch #45

 

fig 3 : complex shapes enlarged : sketch #46

 Check and log

Q.  How successful was I at copying from the smaller squares to the larger ones?

A.  I’ve done OK but it is harder than it looks.

Q.  Am I satisfied ith my larger replica of the image?  What would I do differently another time?

A.  I was pleased with the final outcome even though the lines are so simple.  It’s an exercise I had never done before which taught me a new technique for copying from pictures or photographs when I want a realistic result.  Another time, if I need a really accurate copy I may use a measuring device to see exactly where on each line the crossing junction of the mark should be.

Bee

 

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Part 1: Exercises : Experimenting with Texture / Drawing with Textures

Experimenting with Texture

On page 39 of the OCA manual I was asked to gather different textural objects and practice different ways of drawing texture, including the use of frottage.  My effort is below (fig 1) 

Fig 1 : practicing textures : sketchbook #40

I hesitated to start this exercise because I’ve not used any of the techniques before so it was all about experimentation.  Once I put pencil or pen to paper, I really enjoyed myself though I’m aware of my amateur status and lack of training so didn’t know how to begin.  I got inpiration from trawling through the drawings in my study books but still did not know how to achieve the results the artists had achieved.

Looking on line for lessons helped a little but I realise I need to find some training.

Exercise : A drawing with textures (OCA p 40)

Fig 2 : preliminary sketch : sketchbook #41

 

 

This exercise was daunting and fun.  I first created two quick sketches to practice using different media and to find a composition which I liked. 

This sketch (fig2) had a couple of problems I felt.  From the point of view of composition, the table horizon was too high and the cones were posed a little too evenly – even the jug was face on with the handle to the right.  Altogether a little too symmetrical.

The flowers in the vase were also too dark – the real ones are quite ethereal.  I had used charcoal for this sketch so definitely need to change my medium for the final drawing.

 

Fig 3 : prelim sketch 2 : sketch #42

 

Figure 3 shows my second sketched comostion.

I tried to get more of a flow to the objects to improve the composition.  I prefer the cones in a group but feel they have less connection with the flower vase so perhaps will change this once again.  I prefer the table horizon a bit lower.

For this drawing I used a dipping pen and ink but also a little graphite for the softer shadows.   

I need a lot more practice on textures throughout my course but am struggling to find the time to sketch outside of the hours I set by for OCA work.  That’s something to work on.

 Final textural drawing (fig 4)

Oh what a ride I had with this one!  

Fig 4 : Final drawing : sketch #43

For my final exercise I moved the cones around once more and put the handle of the little pot to the back as I hadn’t felt it did anything for the composition.  My eye level was just slightly lower, bringing the horizon up to give a gap between the foreground and the wall.  I think it is better balanced now.

 
I used pencil for the flower-heads and seed-heads and ink for the cones, charcoal for the cloth.  The top half of the  drawing looked very washed out.  I blurred the charcoal on the cloth with an eraser to lighten it as it was way too dark.  Still the piece looked bottom-heavy.  I decided to charcoal in the wall in the background and that was a mistake as it made the flowers look even more washed out so I used a drawing pen on the seed heads to give them more definition.
 
After other tweaks I felt I had done all I could but I’m now practicing another textural drawing as I’m not really satisfied with my efforts.
 
One of the reasons I’m mostly dissatisfied with this work is that the wall texture is too heavy which leaves me with little contrast and a picture which hasn’t enough oomph!  Maybe it would look better with some colour.
 
Check and log

Q : Have I discovered any new ways of using my drawing tools to depict surface and texture?

A:  Yes.  I enjoyed dropping ink, making various marks with my drawing pen, smudging and really looking at the objects to see where the texture was and to try to work out how to achieve it in a drawing.  Using rough paper creates lovely texture, particularly with charcoal and graphite.

Q :  How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?

A :  The objects I chose had their own shape and form that needed great care to draw: tiny little pencil marks to create the little flowers, bold shadow around the shapes of the pine cone spikes.

Q :  What are my impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?

A : Great fun and I’m sure I’ll use it in future sketching.  Getting the right material to frottage is important but also drawing on paper that’s thin enough to take the pattern.

Bee

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Part 1 : Exercise: Observing negative space and perspective.

OCA page 37 

Fig 1 / sketch #38

We were asked to draw only the top line of a set of objects from left to right.  Then to draw the bottom line, then fill in any missing outlines. 

The purpose was to notice negative space.  (see fig 1).

In the second exercise we were asked to do exactly the same thing but no erasing and no taking our pen off the paper, no matter how wonky the final image turned out (see fig 2)

Fig 2 / sketch #39

 

This was a lovely little exercise for noticing negative space and for noticing how far out I can be when drawing the top separately to the bottom!

 

It will be a useful practice exercise for the future too.

 

Bee

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Part 1 : STILL LIFE / Composition of natural objects

OCA p 36.  

I found this exercise even harder than the last one but I discovered that the reason was that I hadn’t found a suitable composition that pleased me or one that had any message at first. 

My initial attempts at thumbnail sketches are below: 

Fig 1 shows my first composition of biscuits, fruit, a bottle and a little dish of blueberries.  I wasn’t so keen on the arrangement once I saw it in black and white.  I used a 4b pencil.

fig 1 / sketch #34

 
 
 
Fig 2 shows a drawing-pen version of these items, differently arranged.  This is better but I still didn’t feel all that inspired and when I’m not inspired I procrastinate.

Fig 2 / sketch #35

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Unfortunately I procrastinated 24 hours and by that time someone had eaten the blueberries. 

In fig 3 (below) I decided a broken biscuit in the foreground might perk the piece up and I put some colour on but then, on reading further into the OCA manual, found that colour is a new subject which is coming up soon so I changed my mind.

I didn’t like the blandness of this composition so procrastinated for another 24 hours before trying again.

Fig 3 / sketch #36

 Another day, another arrangement.  This is my final piece (fig 4) below.  I took some roses from the garden and put them in a square vase.  I put what was left of the fruit in a bowl (after the gluttons had had their fill!) and half peeled a satsuma for foreground interest.

Fig 4 / sketch #37

 I arranged it on a small table draped with a tea-cloth and chose an almost eye level angle.  I’m not sure that I’ve done the background shading too well, but I felt happier with this composition which is on A2 paper and rendered in charcoal.

 I do find charcoal difficult for creating fine, detailed work but it does have its charm.

 Check and Log: 

Q:  Do I think it’s easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects? 

A:  I find man-made objects slightly easier because so far I’ve used objects with smooth surfaces.  Glass is tricky with all its reflections though.  Man-made objects are also a little more predictable and readable.  For instance, the roses (natural object) are highly complex with unusual  curves and shade and light where it might not be expected. 

Q:  How did I create a sense of solidity in my compositions? 

A:  Perspective gives a sense of a solid object, as does cast shadow and reflection.  Also tonal values help. 

Q:  Do I think changing the arrangement of my composition made a difference to my approach and the way I created a sense of form? 

A:  Absolutely!  These exercises did me the world of good.  When I originally arranged my objects, I thought my first arrangement was fine … until I tried again with a different arrangement … and then another, until I found something that worked as a picture and a cohesive composition. 

Q:  How did I decide how to position myself in relation to the objects? 

A:  Trial and error.  For the dressing table arrangement, I wanted a sense of someone getting ready to go out so I didn’t alter the height from which I drew but I did alter the arrangement of objects until I was happy with the flow.  For the natural still life (above) I changed my position until I was almost eye level to the table and was surprised to find what a difference it made to the final picture.

 

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Part 1 : STILL LIFE : Still life sketches of made objects

Fig 1 / sketch #31

 

OCA p 35:  For this exercise we were asked to create a still life composition from a small selection of themed objects, having first drawn thumbnail sketches.

My first two sketches (fig 1):  In an A3 sketchpad, I used graphite to sketch my still life but found the arrangement a bit crowded.

In the second sketch I traced the outlines in pencil, then used a drawing pen for my sketch.  I finished the piece off with just one bright colour, using a pastel.  The arrangement didn’t work for me and I haven’t got the composition or placement of objects within it quite right either.

I do like the dash of colour and enjoy using ink as a drawing medium.

I prefer the composition of my last preliminary sketch (below Fig 2) and added a little more colour but I think it is less punchy with the colour spread around the piece.   I have used biro and this sketch is in my A5 sketchbook.

Fig 2 / sketch #32

 
 

Fig 3 below shows my final work.  It is on A2 but I have made the picture square.  I’ve focused in on the lace edge of the cloth and have kept to the same viewpoint, which is my view looking down at my dressing table.

 I used ink, charcoal, coloured crayon and pastel for this piece and I’m quite pleased with it.  The composition is better than before and the square frame with the diagonals of the lace cloth and draped shawl help the flow.  Also I find my eye moving around the picture because there are uprights such as the nail varnish to create movement.

 

Fig 3 / sketch #33

I found this project a real challenge as it forced me to take my time and be more accurate in my representations.  This picture took a couple of hours to complete which must be a record up to now.

Bee

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Research: Giorgio Morandi (OCA p33)

There is no doubt as to the talent of Giorgio Morandi.  His subtle use of colour and tone and his expert capturing of reflection, light and shade – but I find his work soulless.

I know I have a lot to learn about art appreciation and certainly the OCA choice of “Blue Vase and Other Objects” is somewhat livelier than many of his other still life pieces but what I’m lacking is any emotion about them.  They don’t inspire me with joy or sadness, energy or calm.  I find them frankly boring and wonder what kind of a man painted them.  Did he have a vibrant character?  I doubt it from what I have read of him.

He lived with his Mother and Sisters in Bologna and worked from his studio-cum-bedroom, taking around two months to complete each painting.

Many of his paintings show objects lined up like soldiers, shoulder to shoulder (fig 1).

Fig 1

Notice how the objects in the background are obscured by those in the foreground.  They certainly were not placed in a traditionally artistic way.  It’s as if no thought was given to the composition.  It reminds me of a group photo at a wedding where some of the guests are too short to see over the tops of the others’ heads.  Perhaps this style of grouping was a way in which Morandi challenged himself?

This type of composition does make me curious but not in an excited way; more a “why would someone place those objects in such a sterile manner?” way.

Another observation I would make is that the objects themselves are lifeless; no fruit or flowers, just boxes, jars, jugs and bottles.  There is no context to set these pictures in – no background of kitchen worktop or dining table; no reference to the age in which they were painted or the atmosphere of the place.

The Cezanne connection

Morandi was an admirer of Cezanne and made a life-long study of his work.  I find Cezanne’s work much more exciting, interesting and arresting.  The piece below “Still Life with Dish, Glass and Apples” 1879 shows me the furniture and wallpaper of its time.  The colours are beautiful and the half-drunk glass of wine and the knife tell a story.  It is a still life with real life flowing through its’ veins.

Fig 2: Still Life with Dish, Glass and Apples 1879. Paul Cezanne

Perhaps Morandi’s own words: “Everything is a mystery, ourselves, and all things both simple and humble” explain his attitude toward such stilted scenarios.  He found fascination where I do not. [1]

This little sketch of Morandi’s interests me more (fig 3), perhaps because it is monochrome and is not attempting to be a perfect representation.  It is simple.

Fig 3: Still Life 1958, pencil on paper

The shading in the background highlights the bowls on the left but there is no reference to why there is shading there so it leaves me wondering.  Also what is the line of hatching in the foreground?  Is it there as interest or was it there in reality?

The angle that the picture is drawn from is very interesting.  Almost eye level to the table top or even just slightly below which is most unusual and, again, creates questions in my mind.  To me, this is a much more thrilling picture than most of Morandi’s paintings.  The shadows cast by the bowls are lovely too.

In complete contrast to the blocky still life above (fig 1), here I present “Large Still Life with Coffeepot” c1933 (fig 4).  The composition is altogether looser and there are marvellous shadows and reflections.  The bright light striking the fallen pot in the foreground and the coffee pot behind is a little confusing because it doesn’t seem to be affecting the other items in the bunch.

The hatching and shading are exemplary though I find the cluttered nature of the work uninspiring as my eye travels from pot to tin to jug and round and round.  I find a focal point of light that baffles me but I feel no emotion.  Is it me?

Fig 4: Large Still Life with Coffeepot 1933

I found a description of Morandi : “reflective yet unchanging for all of his life; a still, contemplative life” [2].  Yes, his paintings are still and contemplative to match his life and maybe it is for this very quietness that his work is loved.  They are unassuming pieces wrought with great technical skill.

Further information [3]

Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna 1890 and died there in 1964.

During his study years, 1907 to 1915, he travelled around Italy to learn about Renaissance art whilst at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna.

He enlisted in 1915 when Italy entered the first world war but was soon discharged, having suffered a mental breakdown.

He taught drawing in elementary schools from 1916-29

In 1930 Morandi became Professor of Etching at the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his works began to be shown abroad.

He won international acclaim in 1948 when he won first prize for a painting at the Venice Biennale.

Bee

[1]  www.thepainterskeys – quotes

[2]   www.studio-international.co.uk/reports/morandi

[3]  www.artrepublic.com – biographies

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EXERCISE: creating a Patrick Caulfield style drawing (OCA p32)

Research point:
Like Giorgio Morandi, Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005) painted many still life objects, but there the resemblance ends.  Morandi painted in a realistic way where Caulfield portrays his objects as 2D.  Morandi used hatching, shading, reflections and shadows to great effect where Caulfield has a flat and hard approach with no soft edges and the only reflections or shadows in cartoon-like block form.  His mastery is in the negative space rather than the positive and he often uses only one object as his focus.

He trained at Chelsea Art School (1956-60) and the Royal College of Art (1960-63) where David Hockney, R B Kitaj and Allen Jones also studied and returned to Chelsea Art School later, to teach there. [1]

Although his style developed over the years, we are looking at his “White Ware” work for this exercise.  White Ware (1990) was a series of six screen-prints clearly depicting the negative space to highlight the object on show (fig 1).

fig 1: Philip Caulfield. Six images for White Ware

I find these pictures sharp and blocky.  They look like paper cut-outs – a method of collage -but they are simple areas of white surrounded by black or charcoal and one other subtle colour such as mauve or aqua to give an edgy highlight.

He adds minimal shadow and light in solid blocks – no soft edges, no blending, no change of hue.  There are no distractions yet I find these sharp-edged images interesting because they cause me to wonder about what isn’t shown.  They remind me of the relevance of the negative spaces in everything I see and how beautiful are the simple positive outlines of the objects around me.

Here are two of my favourite Caulfield paintings (fig 2 and 3):

Fig 2: Fruit and Bowl 1979

Fig 3: Sweet Bowl 1967

Perhaps it’s because of the colour that I like these.  They were both earlier works, created 10 and 20 years before White Ware which is interesting because they give us an insight into the development of the ultra-simple, the sparse, the stark – the negative space as king.

In 1987 Patrick Caulfield was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 1996 Patrick Caulfield was made a CBE. [1]

Exercise: Bee’s effort at a Patrick Caulfield style drawing: (fig 4)

Fig 4: Bee's version of Patrick Caulfield's negative space

 This picture (fig 4) was really fun to do.  I looked around for something I liked the shape of and transferred that to my A5 notebook with a pencil outline.  Then I outlined the shape in black felt tip pen and created a light space for the shadow and added other aspects in the way I had seen in Patrick Caulfield’s work, including the carmine highlight.

I filled in the negative space with a black permanent marker.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the exercise and hope I have made a reasonable stab at it.

Bee

[1]  patrickcaulfieldprints.info/biography

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Part 1: 2 exercises : Reflected Light / Shadows and reflected light and shade

In this study I’m taking a closer look at reflected light bouncing from one shiny object to another (OCA p20).  In fig 1 I have sketched three objects.  The vase at the rear of the group is ceramic and there are glasses in the front.  I’ve hatched the areas that light is shining onto most and the reflected light in the cast shadow.

Fig 1: sketch #27

Figure 2 shows the same group drawn in H pencil in my A5 sketchpad.  There are mid-tones, deeper shadow and highlights.  The glass on the right is hand-blown and distorts the shape of the vase behind in an interesting way.  The vase shape also distorts more sharply in the wine glass on the left.  I was working in daylight with a lamp shining in the same direction but the shadows were scattered nonetheless.

fig 2. sketch #28

This exercise really made me look closely at the many different areas of shadow and reflected light and was fun to do.

I tried another one with a different arrangement of items.  see fig 3

fig 3. sketch 29

I cannot seem to get good photographs of my work though I try to put it in an evenly lit place.  This one was taken in the evening with flash though, so the middle looks a big bright.  This sketch is on A3 paper and I’ve used a blue pastel crayon to give some colour to the mug.

Shadows and reflected light and shade

For this exercise (OCA p31) I used my A2 sketchpad and charcoal.  I shone a bright light from the right and gradually shaded from middle tones to darker and highlighted either by leaving white space or using a sharp eraser.  See fig 4.

fig 4. Sketch 30

The only two chrome or shiny objects I had were my toaster and part of a steamer but they have such reflective surfaces that the steamer shows up clearly, if wonkily, in the curved side of the toaster, as do the curtains and light shining from the right.

I managed to achieve clear cast shadows with this grouping and again, loved the process of studying and seeing for the first time, the interesting reflections in these objects.

I’m not so good at handling charcoal so found it a messy and frustrating task but I’m reasonably pleased with the result even though I know I will get much better with practice.

Check and log: (OCA p33)

Q.  What are the difficulties in separating cast shadow from reflected light and shade?

A.  Sometimes there is a bright patch just where the cast shadow meets the object, especially when a light is shining through glass.

Q.  The reflected shadow and light follows the contours of the objects.  how have I show this in my drawing?

A.  See fig 2.  All the objects are curved and the r.eflected light and shadow follow the shapes

 

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Extra-curricular activities, May / June listing

This addition to my learning log is to recall and comment upon those activities relating to art but not directly to the OCA course.

Talks : Catrin Webster

I’ve already added a short blog about Catrin Webster’s talk.

TV : Next Great Artist

Each week I’ve been watching “Next Great Artist” on Sky Arts.  This programme follows a chosen group of young artists who are put through a new art challenge each week.  This week their challenge was to create meaningful graffiti art on 42ft sq walls in New York.  Another week they met a group of children who had each painted a picture.  Their challenge was to create a complementary piece of art work to the picture they were given.  Another challenge was to make art out of machine parts.

What I find interesting about this program is the way in which they are judged.  The team of judges is made up of a world-renowned art auctioneer, Simon de Pury who is also their mentor throughout each challenge; Bill Powers, gallery owner / collector / writer; Gerry Saltz, writer / art critic; China Chow who hosts the show and is one of the judges.  She has been an avid art enthusiast all her life and is involved in many art and fashion projects.  There’s also a specialist in the type of art the challenge is based upon.

They talk about what works for them and what doesn’t and why which helps me realise that art has to create an emotion within the viewer; that it is often best to leave something unsaid so the viewer can fill in the blanks; what makes art bland and uninteresting and what does the opposite.

This critiquing is a huge learning for me.

TV : Architecture School

This may seem an odd choice and, in fact, much of the screen time was given over to petty issues.  What attracted me yet again, was the feedback for the young architects.  Their challenge was to design a home in a devastated area of New Orleans.  They voted on which of the students’ designs would be built and then, with some supervision, they built the home themselves.

I learned some of the same lessons the students themselves learned. What they should have thought about before the project was:

  • Suitability to place / landscape / existing architecture
  • Suitability of use for the likely future owners
  • Function and form
  • Collaboration with the community in advance

I wonder how this might apply to art?  For instance if I were to take on a commission at any time, these would be important factors.  Where will the final piece be hung? What do the owners want to feel when they see it?

If I have a gallery exhibition in the future, the cohesion of the work will be important; the gallery’s ethos; the space available.  I’m sure there are many ways in which I could learn from this show.

Art Groups and Classes : Critique

I attend a local art group weekly.  The last group was a critique and I took one of my paintings which seemed a brave move since most of the artists are very advanced and some semi-professional.

The ‘judge’ was Leslie Dearne who is a local professional artist and she was staggered by the good quality of our work but gave feedback where she thought it could be improved.  Again, this feedback is essential to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Her critique was based on all the basics, colour, form, contrast, tone and even framing.  My style of painting is unlike other members and was enjoyed even though I could give myself feedback on what I had could do better!

I know colours can be distorted on screen but, if you are seeing the same colours as I am, I felt that the greens in the lower half of the artwork were not quite compatible with the upper half, especially the darker shade.  If I were to paint this again I would also make the alliums in the background larger – if not those in the foreground as well.

The techniques used were: molding paste applied to shape the allium flowers in advance.  Alcohol technique to create the tapestry of acid green leaves in the background, syringe to apply gold swirls and leaves.

Art Groups and Classes : Lessons

I attend a 2-hour art class each week.  We are nor formally taught; we are expected to bring a photograph, painting or idea to copy from.  I sometimes copy but often do my own thing.  Whenever we are stuck on a colour mix or a technique we are advised how to overcome our problem and in this way we learn.

I’m currently doing my third silk painting because I like the technique and wish to improve my skill.  I’m using gutta outlines and filling in with silk paint.

Reading

This month I’ve been working my way through the OCA material and How to Succeed as a Mature Student by Teresa Rickards.  I also read my Artists & Illustrators magazine from cover to cover every month.  I’ve just started on Sylvan Barnet’s “A short guide to writing about art”.  Looks good so far.

Exhibitions

I have four paintings exhibited at the local Community Centre, one at the Traveller’s Gallery to raise money for the charity MIND and one at The Gate, Roath. I’ve only painted a few pictures that I like and the more I look at other artists, the less I like my own work! I know I’m a beginner though, so exhibiting is more about taking a leap of confidence than it is about expectation. The feedback I get is always complementary … which isn’t going to help me improve.

Wildlife Photographer of the year

My husband and I went on an Exhibition trail yesterday afternoon (Saturday 23rd June).  We started at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the museum in Cardiff.  Wonderful work, much of which was beautifully artistic.  This was one of my favourites:

Arthur Morris : Snow and Geese

I love the repeating patterns of wings and dangling legs.  The picture is almost monochromatic except for the touches of orange on the geese’ feet.  Some of the flock is almost obscured by snow and the snowflakes in the foreground give a speckled, ethereal feel to the work.  There is such crazy, frenetic movement that one expects the birds to collide into one another though, of course, there is a rhythm and order that we humans cannot fathom so they never will.

Impressionist Gallery: Cardiff Museum

We then went to the impressionist gallery which has many beautiful works.  I got up close and personal to Sisley, Cezanne and Monet, paying particular attention to their brush strokes, the thickness of paint, the background colours that showed through.

I was searching out Van Gogh because he was part of this month’s research and I wanted to see a real live painting rather than a photograph of a painting.

Below are my snaps of (1) the context in which the picture is hung; (2) the art-work “Landscape in the Rain” painted by Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-oise and (3) a close up of the beautiful brushwork:

Cardiff Museum with Van Gogh to left of archway

 

Landscape in the Rain : Vincent van Gogh

close up on brush-work

The closer I got to the impressionist paintings, the more I marvelled that they could possibly know what the effect would be to a viewer standing well back from their work.  Often the brush marks seem random or unclear and undescriptive and yet from a distance all becomes clear and descriptive.

The rain, painted in blue and white streaks across this work not only bring life and movement to it but also break the whole into fascinating sections, each with its own story to tell.

Three more galleries

It was a bit of gallop to visit three more galleries before they closed, but the purpose of the visit was to find out what’s available in the area and which galleries would merit another visit.  We also asked if they had an exhibition programme for future works and how often the gallery’s main stock was renewed or recycled.

The galleries we visited were the Martin Tinney Gallery, The Kooywood Gallery and the Albany Gallery.  Each of these galleries specialise in Welsh artists’ work so the Museum Gallery may be of the most use to me in the future since it has a wide variety of paintings and sculpture from several eras.

I had a fun and learning-packed afternoon and wonder why I haven’t visited the museum more often in my years living here though it is a half-hour away in the car and the cost of parking is prohibitive.  I rarely venture into Cardiff unless I have to but I shall definitely visit the museum and look at more of the work there whenever I have an opportunity to do so.

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Part 1 : Odilon Redon research (OCA p29)

I find the work of Redon fascinating.  All those ghouls and monsters and long-leggedy beasties pouring forth from his imagination and then, later in life, a change of mood to the prettiness, colour and contentment of flowers.  What happened?  There is such a stark change in the emotional content of his work as well as the physical.

Many artists grow and change throughout their careers and Redon was not unusual in his move from monochrome (largely 1860s to 1880s) to colour or from charcoal and lithographs to oils and pastels.  He was a master of contrast and tone; of light and shadow in his drawings.

When painting takes over more of his time than drawing and lithographs, his subject matter is still the fantastical though some of the paintings show women with flowers surrounding them and there seem to be more angels and saints rather than monsters appearing.  His work is ethereal and his paintings stem from an active imagination but leave the viewer to his own imagination also, often leaving apparently unfinished areas or ghostly images laid one over another.

We are concentrating in this exercise on his drawing techniques, however; in particular his use of shading and hatching.  The OCA workbook shows “two trees” where the shading goes from deepest black shadow to highlighted tree trunk and every shade of light in between.  There are stark contrasts in large areas of the picture.  I’m amazed at the subtlety of shading that can be achieved with charcoal.  I have a lot to learn.

What I learn from Two Trees is the way the marks follow certain directions to delineate the flow of land or bark, particularly on the bent tree.  He has scraped into areas of darker shading to give light grasses and I don’t know how he made those dots of light but they look magical.

The work below “Centaur aiming at the clouds” (c1875)  has subtle shadows and textures.  Yes, there is a dark area on the underside of the centaur and light at the back, but it has been drawn with pencil and there’s a certain gentleness in his marks even though the subject (the centaur) is so strong.

He describes his work as ambiguous and undefinable:  “My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined.  They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.” [1]

“The Head of St John The Baptist”, below, was drawn in pencil and chalk.  That’s not a combination I’ve come across before so I’m interested to think about why this was his choice and what he hoped to achieve by it.

Close-up, there is a luminosity to the face so that might be the reason.  The lids, the brow, the cheek contrast in a pearlescent way with the shadows that define them.  I have been unable to find out why there are figures drawn at the back of the head.  Are these his persecutors I wonder.

I also notice, in this drawing, the way the focus is placed upon the main subject simply by failing to draw in the fine details of the platter upon which he is served.  Another lesson for me here.

These are my observations on the artist.  As to his life and times [2], he was born in Bordeaux in 1840 and had a talent for drawing from an early age.  His formal art education began when he was 15  when he studied with Stanislas Gorin, who encouraged him to draw from his imagination.

In his 20s he became a critic for a while and the artists whose work he reviewed exerted a huge influence on him.  One of them was Rodolphe Bresdin, a painter and printmaker who created macabre landscapes.  He mentored Redon and was the perfect teacher for him. From Bresdin, Redon learned etching and lithography.  Another influence at that time was the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

For over 20 years Redon focussed on his fantastical imaginary, and usually dark, world; he was dubbed “prince of dreams”.

So what happened to steer him into a world of flowers?

Bee

 

 

 

 

[1] www.odilon-redon.org

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Part 1 / Basic Shapes and Fundamental Form : Tone and Form / tonal studies

Tone and Form:

This project on tone and form (OCA manual p 27) asks us to carefully note the different areas of light and shade and to study the gradations across the places of an object.  An exercise in “observing shadow and light formations on a surface” was then completed to help that observation reveal itself.

First I did a rough sketch of each of the objects and marked up where the light and shade was to make me look really closely (above).

Next I drew a rough sketch in a soft pencil, of the objects together, again paying attention to the gradations of shade. (above)

Followed by a more careful drawing, using an hb pencil.

This exercise caused me to realise that I can be impatient.  My rough sketch was really rough and I had to slow down considerably to create the pencil drawing.  The objects in this drawing are in better porportion to the real thing though I left the face of the clock out of the detail so that I kept the objects simple.  I still haven’t quite drawn the top of the clock correctly, looking at it again now.

Tonal Studies (p28 OCA)

I wanted to get the feel of my natural hand-position when hatching so drew some straight lines to see what felt right and when I might find turning the paper helpful (below).

 

My next task was to practice some more hatching in various media:

Both these exercises helped me recognise what needed to be done to achieve varying shades of tone and shadow but I know that I’m still a long way from producing quite the range I would like.

Lastly I drew a still life, using different media to create the shading.  The plastic beaker is created using a 3b pencil and smudging in the shaded areas.  The marmite jar has been drawn and shaded with graphite.  It didn’t seem at all easy to create the light areas of the jar but I had a go.  The marble egg is drawn with dipping pen and for the orange I’ve used a drawing pen size 0.8.

The main object of this exercise was to look at the shadows cast by the objects and define the various ways that the light bounces around.

I have taken more care though I know I have to practice, practice, practice patience and mountains of careful detail.

check and log

Q:  How difficult did I find it to distinguish between light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light?

A:  As you can see in the last picture, there is a dark shadow and patterns of paler shadows branching off and dancing around each object.  I may not yet have the skill to render every gradeient but I was pleased to learn how reflections are not just a single shadow but a play of light and shade.

Q:  How has my awareness of light and shade affected my depiction of form?

A:  Looking back at other drawings I’ve attempted, this one definitely has more depth and definition, more subtlety of the shadow areas which gives an insight into what is going on outside of the picture.  If these multi-layered shadows are being thrown by those objects, then that tells me something about their surroundings.

Learning points: patience, practice, seeing more accurately.

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Part 1 / Basic Shapes and Fundamental Form : 3 exercises

These first efforts are for the exercise ‘boxes and books’ (OCA manual p 24).  I’ve used a B pencil to outline and my first attempt is not as accurate as it could be but it was a really interesting way to make me really look at shapes.

My second attempt was a slight improvement in terms of the boxes and books relationship with one another:

No 3 boxes and books is more accurate and also I’m a bit more confident so my lines are firmer:

I’m pleased to have made progress in such a short time.

Jars and Jugs

In this exercise I gathered together some cylindrical objects of differing forms and, again, concentrated solely on the outline and the relationship between one object and another. (OCA manual p24)

I’ve used a 5B pencil for my outlines and left in some of the mistakes and learning lines (above)

My next attempt is with graphite pencil because I wanted to be bolder in my approach.  My husband had taken the bowl away, thinking he was clearing up!  I was much more careful to get the sizes more accurate and also the relationships, one with another; checking the negative space all the while.

My third attempt was also about checking negative space to improve the accuracy though I’ve made the base of the glass too large.  I used a drawing pen for this one.  I’ve enjoyed this exercise very much and am feeling more confident by the minute.

The third exercise in this section is “Supermarket shop” (OCA manual p 25)

I’ve used a 3B pencil for this one and coloured pencils to fill in.  I was pleased with the end result as I can see an improvement in my accuracy though I realise I need lots of practice to improve further.  The couscous on the right is not quite tall enough.

Check and log:

Are the objects in my drawings the correct size and shape in relation to each other? : Getting better all the time.

Do the shapes between the objects look correct?  :  I enjoyed looking at the spaces between objects and tried to think of them as objects in themselves to get them more accurate.

Do the objects in your drawings look solid?  :  I think the ones that just have outlines have solidity at the edges but without shading, they look rather flat.

Have you managed to create the feeling of depth in your drawings? :  The elipses and perspective edges do add depth and the different layers and placements also help with this.

As I haven’t had the courage to draw previously, I am feeling quite motivated by my progress, however small.  One particular error I have made in most of these drawings was not including my horizon line or table area.  I think the last one benefits from that.

 

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Part 1 / Mark Making / Research : Eric Ravilious

(OCA manual page 22)

What a contrast of character Eric Ravilious would make if he had been alive at the same time as Van Gogh.  One of his friends from The Royal College of Art, Douglas Percy Bliss, once said he had never seen him depressed.  “Even when he fell in love – and that was frequently – he was never submerged by disappointment.  Cheerfulness kept creeping in” [1]

Eric Ravilious 1903 – 1942

“Happiness is a quality that is difficult to convey through design, but Ravilious consistently managed to generate it.” said Alan Powers, reputedly the greatest authority on this artist.

This is the quality I see in Ravilious’ work.  One could hardly fail to miss it; that joy in and of life.  Something Van Gogh sadly missed in his short years even though he did paint pictures which convey joy to the viewer.

Caravans: early 1930s : These caravans became Ravilious’ temporary home and studio in the early 1930s.  They are depicted as parked near a remote cottage at Glynde, in Sussex, where he was visiting fellow artist Peggy Angus.  Ravilious was known to love the Sussex landscape and claimed that it changed the way he painted forever, particularly his use of colour. [2]

Many of the marks are similar to those of the Van Gogh painting I chose for that research.  The grassy banks are made up of short strokes, closer together to show shadow areas and father apart in the light.  The difference between the two is that the marks are all in the same direction where Van Gogh used random directions.

I do like this directional flow of the grasses because it leads the eye toward the focal point.

The telegraph wires echo the line of the road and are drawn just lightly enough for us to know they are there.  The sky is hatched in the same direction as the wire so it’s marks are pointing to the focal point.

The bush / tree to the right of the cottage is heavily hatched with outward flowing movement.  Maybe it’s an evergreen since the other trees show few leaves.  Their shapes are interesting though and very simple.

The soft grey markings of the road and grasses contrast tonally with the solidity of the trees and caravans.  The shapes are kept simple.

Many of Ravilious’ drawings, paintings and wonderful lithographs were of the Sussex landscape though he was also famous for producing designs for Wedgewood pottery and creating posters for London Transport.  He was a mural painter, illustrator and designer – an artist in every sense.

Above is the Greenwich Observatory.  I lived in London until my early 20s and can remember seeing and admiring Ravilious work as it cheered up many of my journeys.

During the second World War, Ravilious became an official war artists, painting ships, aircraft and submarines:

The long hatching in the body of the submarine, and its directional flows, really give a sense of the darkness and shape.  The composition is wonderful with the light table and the ring of men enjoying a break in the cross of bottom-left-thirds. (Rule of thirds).  The eye easily moves around the picture, as encouraged to do so, with the addition of the ladder, the chimney and, again, the directional flow of marks.

Sadly, one of the similarities between Ravilious and Van Gogh was that Ravilious died young; age 39 in 1942 he died in a tragic aircraft accident.

 

[1] The Guardian, 30th April, 2011 “Eric Ravilious : Ups and Downs” by Paul Laity

[2] Culture 24.org.uk

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Part 1 / Making Marks / Research : Vincent Van Gogh

This exercise led me to look at the work of Van Gogh, or Vincent as he signed himself (OCA manual p22).  I found his drawings inspiring and his use of marks lyrical and expressive.

I wanted to choose a drawing that was made toward the end of his life to see if I could spot changes hence the above “Auvers-sur-Oise by Vincent van Gogh, sketched late in the month of May, 1890 pencil, pen, brown ink”.

The trees on this drawing are less ‘swirly’ than many of his previous drawings.  He’s used curved edges to deliniate them but lots of small marks to give an idea of the direction of the foliage; some straight and some slightly curved.  Some light-weight to ensure they recede or give an impression of light and some heavier to show shadow and depth.

Curves are repeated in the edges of the banks of the water and to the right of the picture, the stone wall has harder edged curving lines which give the stone stability as well as form.

The perspective lines (of the walls) lead one firmly into the picture, with their long strokes, as does the water itself, just smudged for effect.  He has hatched shadows neatly and I notice the lines to represent grasses differ only in their slight diagonals yet one knows exactly which is which.

He uses long flowing or straight lines to deliniate form and structure, even on bushes and by the water where there would not normally be such a hard edge.  The sky, like the water, looks smudged but not ‘drawn’ as in “Starry Night” and other works.

Little dots and circles are used effectively to show the ground in the garden area on the right.

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Part 1 – 3 exercises – Mark-making : charcoal : lines

(OCA manual pages 19, 20 and 21)

The first challenge was to think up different ways of mark making / shading in each 5cm square.  I found this exercise a good way to improve my patience because any painting I do tends to be quite fast and spontaneous.  This is partly because of my lack of learning when it comes to techniques so any exercise which makes me think and slow down has to be good for me.

I found it fun to use the different tools I had available and liked the results that drawing pens produce.  Maybe drawing with a pen will be something I’ll try more of.  Each tool has its own characteristics:  I would use pencils for a soft but controlled effect; charcoal for its strength and depth of colour; gel pens, biro and ink for a defined line, pastels or charcoal to blur my edges.  This lesson has taught me a variety of ways to create the effect I’m looking for.

I don’t yet feel I have be any means mastered shading and contour.  I’m still not very good at the graduations.  I seem to have a light, medium or firm touch but not much in between but more practice will improve that.

 

The next exercise involved using charcoal.  Very messy but fun.  I love the easy way it flows against the surface of the paper and the different thicknesses of line and tone one can create.  I enjoyed the ribbon effect of holding a piece of charcoal on its side and wiggling it along the paper.

Smudging will no doubt have its uses.  Bringing out highlights with a putty rubber wasn’t easy for me.  I haven’t learned to control the amount or thickness of the area I want to remove yet.  I couldn’t try the exercise with bread as we don’t buy it.  I would think charcoal would be a good smudgy shading to use when doing an ink drawing so I’ll give that a go this week.

My next exercise was in Line and other marks.  I attempted varying hand-holds, pressure and movement techniques and found this exercise fun and informative.  I’m not too good at handling oil crayons as they are thick and unwieldy.  Ditto the only wax crayon I had available.

There must be a thousand ways to make marks but my brain only came up with this set so far.  The most fun and interest came from drawing with found objects – the quill and tip of a feather, a toothbrush, a stone, a round washer, a root, a sliver of bark, the prongs of a fork and a piece of cardboard.  Each produced their own unique mark and, with more practice, these and other items could make interesting and innovative marks in future paintings.

 

 

check and log (OCA manual page 22)

Q.  How did holding my pen or pencil in a different way affect my drawing?

A.  Dramatically.  Holding the implement at the very end gave me little control whilst further down I could grip it well and make more accurate marks.

Q.  Which drawing tools suited the different mark-making techniques I used?

A.  I found wax crayon the most difficult because it is thick and bulky but for larger work it would be fun.  I enjoyed using a drawing pen though it doesn’t have the delicacy of subtelty of a pencil.  Charcoal is a messy but interesting medium and I know I have plenty to learn about it’s use in future.  Pastels are fun to use and I enjoyed the soft graduations they can make.

Q.  Did I find that any marks of tools I used matched particular emotions or feelings?

A.  I hadn’t thought of that but using charcoal in big sweeps was an enjoyable experience.  It reminded me of the joy I felt making mud pies as a child.  Messy but fun.  I think I shall have an interest in pen-work int he future too.  There was a satisfaction in making those marks that I don’t feel with a pencil or crayon in my hand.

Q.  How did the introduction of colour (soft pastels, conte crayons) affect my mark making?

A.  I adore colour.  I am affected by colour.  I enjoyed bringing in the pastels, crayons and paint though I also realise that, just as in photography, there’s a place for monochrome.

Q.  Which of these experiments have you found most interesting and rewarding?

A.  That is a hard choice because I’ve enjoyed all three.  The last exercise “line and other marks” was the most fun though especially when drawing with found objects.

 

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Extra curricular : Art Talk by Catrin Webster

On Monday 28th May I attended an art talk by Catrin Webster, a Welsh artist who currently holds the post of lecturer in fine arts at Swansea Met.  She has exhibited and lectured widely, including at the Museum of Modern Art, Wales (see picture below).  Her canvasses are often very large, colourful and abstract:

Ynyslas : After the Longest Day 1999

Catrin talked us through her early work which involved a completely new way to view landscape.  She pointed out that the traditional view of a landscape would involve just one piece of it, as if seen through a viewfinder or in a photograph.  In fact we have peripheral vision and the landscape we are in has many facets all around us; it has repeated colours such as blue in the sky or water or an advertisement or flower.  Catrin wanted to paint her experience of the landscape from within it.  Here is an example of that idea:

Catrin Webster, Stackpole quay

And here is one of Catrin’s larger works in situ at the Hafod Estate, Wales:

 Catrin walks for miles and takes her camera with her as well as her paints and sketchbooks.  One one of her journeys through Europe she made small sketchbooks of 60 pages each and vowed to sketch ideas and small pieces of landscape as reminders of each days walking.

As soon as she had filled each little book she sent it home to herself!  That way she had a discipline, a record of each day, a way of capturing every day of that journey after she returned.

These sketchbooks were tiny – only about as large as the picture above – and this enabled her to capture the essence of each little joyous moment.

Bee

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Part 1 / Mark making and tone : Doodling

(OCA manual p 18)

My first doodles were completed on a sheet of A2 paper and, using different tools, I didn’t look to see what I was doing at all; just found a place to start the doodle and let my mind drift, enjoying the feel of making marks without fear.

The charcoal doodle on the right has a curvaceous feel created by the shading that came about naturally.  I notice I have jagged lines and sinewy ones; think and thin but I also notice that I haven’t produced much in variation of pressure.

My marks have been made with gel pens, charcoal, grapite, biro and pencil.

 

On my next page I watched what I was doing so the doodles have more intention.  I tried dots and dashes, sweeping marks, geometric shapes, continuous lines, patterns … whatever doodle seemed to present itself to me.  The marks are made with pastels, gel pens, 6B pencil, graphite, biro, B pencil and drawing pen.  I attempted some changes in pressure, leading to changes in tone.

 

 

 

The last sheet takes influences from things around me:  A spiky plant, a bee fridge magnet, a shrub in the garden, a broom head etc (they are labelled).  I’m still not getting the variation in light/heavy touch.  I’ll have to work at that.  I really enjoyed this exercise and it opened me up just a little more.

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Pt 1 / Mark making and tone : Making marks

 

So, I’ve taken the plunge and made my first marks on paper (OCA manual page 16).  It’s odd to think that we make marks every day when we write, even adding an extra squiggle when we sign cards; or a smiley face or flower when we send a note to a friend.  However, drawing – actual picking up a pencil and using it to attempt a set of lines and shapes that represents something in the real world – well, that’s something most of us avoid.

I’ve completed 2 hours today and worked through ‘holding pens and pencils’ and ‘doodling’.  I enjoyed the process though I don’t know how well I’ve done because I have nothing to compare with.

My first attempts were mainly with pencils HB – 6B, graphite and charcoal as these were the tools available to me.  I’m not yet seeing enough contrast in tone though I did press lightly and heavily though clearly not enough in either direction.

Letting the pencil dangle was interesting as it makes for erratic marks that I wouldn’t otherwise produce.  I like graphite’s coarseness and strength.  Again I don’t have a selection as yet.  More materials are on their way.

 

 

My next attempt is a continuation of the first but with 4B pencil, black water-pencil, pastels, chalk pastels and oil pastels.  I began pressing harder and softer which creates more interesting marks.  I must find out if there’s any difference between ordinary pastels and chalk pastels.  I didn’t feel the oil crayons worked at all well so I need to find out how to use them more effectively too.

 

 

 

Lastly for this exercise, I used watercolour pencils and water soluble pastels, trying to achieve some different types of marks.  I particularly like the one on the top right where I drew a squiggly line and blurred it with water.

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Post 1 / In the beginning … a blank page

So this is it.  My first blog post and the beginning of my learning log.  I have yet to pick up my pencil but have a planned session in the diary for tomorrow.

I’m so looking forward to this learning journey and hope I enjoy it enough to see it through to the Degree though the enjoyment and knowledge is my main focus.

I haven’t drawn with a pencil since I was a child – probably not for 50 years.  I’ve designed gardens which entailed technical drawing and I began to paint a year ago in an expressive way which didn’t require drawing skills.  I enjoyed that so much I realised I wanted to know how to produce works of art rather than just daub for my own pleasure.

So let the journey begin.

Jose Rodriguez Fuster : 1946 –

Fuster's Crab

 

Today I watched a Sky Arts programme about a ceramic artists called Fuster from Cuba.  He is a philantropist within his community.  He says that his community is very rich because they have free health-care and free education through to University level but they have no money.

He thinks that makes him a millionnaire because he has money from his art sales.  With his profits he decorates all the neighbouring houses in styles that they collaborate on so that his community has beauty all around them.  The area he lives in is now called “Fusterlandia”, not only by locals but by Cubans generally.

One of Fuster’s main influences was Picasso but also the works of Gaudi in Barcelona.  He paints, engraves and sketches but is most famous for his ceramics / mosaics.

What I love about his art is the spontenaiety, joy and colour.  these are qualities I would love to bring to my art as I develop.  I’m unlikely to vere towards making art with a dark, evil or frightening message.

I’m keeping this log brief because I want to get on with the real work of learning to draw.

 

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