Final assignment for the Drawing module – in paint!

This module has taken eighteen months, partly due to my taking too seriously tutor advice to slow down, thereby missing a deadline. It means I need to finish the next two modules in the same time. No pressure then.

The Drawing unit sets out the basics of mark-making with reference to still life, landscape, the human form, and – in my case – whales. This is a detail from the larger A1 piece, made in acrylics on white cartridge selectively prepared with layers of black and white gesso for substance and texture.

There are nods here to Hambling, Turner, Klee, and Hokusai, all of whose work I had copied in preparation. You might notice some curls in the foam of the wave; these are drawn from Hokusai’s Great Wave as is the sharp delineation between with body of the water bottom left and the emerging whales above. Hokusai was a wood block and print man, fixing his images in place with such delineations.

The large brush strokes rising up into the top of the wave come from Maggi Hambling’s expressive gestural style that is interested in the energy rather than the anatomy of its subject.

If you spot some blending – and what else are fingers and thumbs for when given wet paint to play with? – that’s derived from Turner’s style, his in oils and crafted over time, mine more a way of transitioning from broad solid strokes to the insubstantial nature of foam.

That spot of red/orange down near the surfacing whales serves two purposes, the first is to reflect Klee’s Golden Fish, but the second is, as far as my eye can judge, the centre of the Fibonacci spiral that defines the golden ratio. Coming from a science background, it might not be surprising to find this came to mind after seeing a group of engineers in NASA’s live lab (where they’re building the 2020 Mars rover) fall into an almost perfect Fibonacci tableau one afternoon. Geeky? Yep!


The copying process is on my OCA blog along with the sketches and preparatory larger scale pieces if you’re interested.



Cheeky Hokusai Christmas card – soft pastel on black gesso with magic sprinkles via Escapemotion’s Flamepainter.


Next stop, formal assessment of this module – and possible career advice, would I fancy plumbing maybe? – then on to the Practice of Painting module, PoP to its friends.

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