This is a detail from my sketchbook; drawings of metallic birds in biro, and watercolour finger-painted into place. The support is pink sugar paper pasted into the book. It was probably the first time I had made loose drawings of this kind and it came after buying a copy of Henry Moore’s book full of ‘wire frame’ drawings of sheep. I think this series of drawings represents something of an early milestone in exploration of different media and supports as I had never used either before. My approach to drawing had also changed in this work, looser and less ‘perfect’. I would attach this work to Learning Outcomes (LO) 1 and 2.
This landscape in pencil on black sugar paper is less than half A4 size. It reflects the colours I had seen in Jack Stuppin’s work and much closer to home, Sarah Duffield, a local artist. Again, this was a departure for me from the tight drawings I had been making at the beginning to something almost abstract in its shapes and palette. I think again, given the different medium, support, and style in this sketch, I would view it as meeting LOs 1 and 2 criteria. As composition is also a factor, I would include LO3.
This is my final assignment piece where I really felt I had taken off and found something of myself in my work. I had completed what I had thought would be the submission following a series of drawings of large waves, whales, and seascapes. I had copied Turner’s Fishermen on a Lee Shore, Klee’s Golden Fish, one of Maggi Hambling’s crashing waves series, and Hokusai’s Great Wave in preparation with a view to reflecting elements of these styles in the final piece. I used photo references to help with the shapes and movements but bent these to my own purpose. The result was an A1 landscape piece in deep blues with Hambling-esque splashes of complimentary colour and a graduated progression right to left from gestural to a more stylised appearance as per the artists I had used to develop the idea. Two days before I needed to hand it in though, I saw a headline which I read as ‘oceans burning’ and this new image came to mind. Both versions are in acrylics which confirmed to me that painting was my direction of travel.
I felt as though I was taking a risk with this, given the medium I chose and the time scale I needed to work to, but I felt satisfied at the outcome which I think meets criteria for LOs 1-3, while the work-up to it meets criterion 4.
This is my copy of Klee’s Golden Fish, made in soft pastel on sketchbook cartridge prepared with black gesso. It was an interesting challenge to replicate and also to ‘own’ this drawing using different media, and to explore a style – somewhat naive and cartoonish – I had not really considered before.
I am finding it hard to relate this to a given LO but it was very apparent to me that translating an image across both media and personal style gave me an insight into how drawing works, how colours work, and how it is possible to copy without meticulously reproducing an image. Perhaps this qualifies as LOs 2 and 3.
I made this piece on A1 cartridge prepared with a layer of white gesso to give substance and also texture for the oil crayon drawing. In particular, I made rough brush strokes where I wanted to represent the woodwork on the door frame and in the floor boards. I found the multiple horizontals and verticals of three off-set doors difficult to achieve, especially the foreshortening of the kitchen cupboards on the left but I really enjoyed the process of applying, scraping, scratching and scrubbing the medium on the gesso layer, and pulling texture out of, it seemed to me, nowhere. I think this exercise as much as any addresses LOs 1, 2, and 3, in terms of an exploration of new media, basic skills and techniques in drawing, and composition and perspective.
For various reasons, I have had to use myself as my own model, sometimes using photographs, and sometimes a mirror. This is in soft pastels on A1 cartridge prepared with white gesso. I had begun to appreciate the substance and resistance a layer of gesso could deliver, and how it made paper less fragile. I found, and still find, self portraits difficult, partly because of the intrusion of either the camera or the drawing implements – which made me question so many of the self portraits in galleries where neither is in evidence – but also because I don’t really look at myself beyond a perfunctory sweep for presentability.
I think here I was beginning to get a feel for composition (LO3) and framing – what to include and what to leave out.
I like this sketch because it was about the first time I had been able to represent foreshortening that convinced me. I had also succeeded in leaving it be instead of trying to over-detail it. The hands are some way off, and the calves are somewhat elephantine, but as a sketch, it felt like a significant result. This is black conte on white cartridge.
I think this sketch meets the criteria for LO2 and 3.
This too is a favourite. Coloured pencils this time so more about line than tone. I was pulling another face. Perhaps that is my rather defended way of observing myself. I think Moore’s influence reappears here; that wire-frame technique of making circular marks until a whole shape emerges.
I would make the same attributions regarding LOs here as for the image above with the addition of LO1.
This is another sketch on A1 cartridge. I love the sea and I love Brighton. This was a view along the promenade, looking down the railings. I drew a lot of perspective lines to anchor it, and in the process found I wanted to slip the image slightly as if it had been split and taped back together but with part of it unfinished. I find explicit perspective quite difficult but once I had the lines, I could go with my ‘feel’ for this. Another challenge was the contrast between the fluidity of the sea and rigidity of the man-made structures, I wondered if my hand would know what to do. I found that softening with putty rubber helped avoid any triangular wave peaks. Given this is a digital submission, I would like just to point up the tiny touch of Brighton jade green on the railings in the foreground. The medium is black conte and hard pastel.
This addresses primarily perspective and composition (LO3), and secondarily as this was not in the front of my mind at the time, LOs 1 and 2.
I am not sure why but this sketch in Inktense of a row of manicured trees and under-foliage felt like quite a triumph of execution. In a little A5 sketchbook, it took very little time and surprised me at what it delivered. I used to pass that small row of trees nearly every day until lockdown, and I am looking forward to seeing them again soon.
LOs addressed here are, I believe, related to medium and drawing; LOs 1 and 2.
Moore, H., and Clark, K. 2003. Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook. Thames & Hudson.
Jack Stuppin, homepage. [online] Available at http://www.jackstuppin.com/ Accessed 30 April 2020.
Sarah Duffield, homepage. [online] Available at https://www.sduffieldart.co.uk/index.html. Accessed 30 April 2020.
Fishermen upon a lee shore in squally weather. J.M. W. Turner, 1802. [online] Available at https://www.southamptoncityartgallery.com/object/sotag-1396/ Accessed 30 April 2020.
The Gold(en) Fish. Paul Klee, 1925. [online] Available at https://www.paulklee.net/the-goldfish.jsp Accessed 30 April 2020.
Yoo, A. 2012. Bold Breaking Waves by Maggi Hambling. My Modern Met. [online] Available at https://mymodernmet.com/maggi-hambling-breaking-waves/ Accessed 30 April 2020.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Katsushika Hokusai, c 1829-1833. [online] Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa. Accessed 30 April 2020.
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