I have now finished drawing 1 and have started a new Blog for Painting 1
Author: Julie Wrigley
I have now finished drawing 1 and have started a new Blog for Painting 1
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness design and compositional skills.
Over the course I have no doubt all skills have improved. I am starting to manage to put what I am learning into practice. I still want to push my work to the more detailed stage and I lack speed in application. My visual skills are getting better and I am gaining an eye into being aware of shapes both positive and negative. My compositional skills feel better and I am trying to put into practice, what has been learnt through Drawing 1.
Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
As with Part 4 I still feel quality is second to time, maybe as I become more confident with my work this will get better, but even as a child it was noticed I couldn’t work well at speed. With Assignment 5 I found it a little easier applying what I had learnt, maybe because I had to use this in developing my own ideas, rather than worrying about achieving a set criteria. Communicating my ideas is becoming second nature now, as is the ability to judge where I am going wrong, however I am sure there are areas I still need help with.
Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
This is the fun part, only now am I beginning to feel I have gained enough knowledge of working to this level to now concentrate on being creative and using my imagination. I think the course can be overwhelming when you haven’t worked at this level before. You have to learn what is expected, how it’s applied and what to apply before you can actually begin to settle into what is expected from you. I have seen a difference looking at those who have done an art degree before, as they already know what is expected of them.
My personal voice is beginning but I have yet to get there, though I am now able to use artistic licence when needed in order to improve my picture. I have no doubts of the importance of drawing things in the field. It is so important in the process of being able to invent and use your imagination. To imagine you first need to know your image intimately.
Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning log)
I love my learning log, and it really makes me think about what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what I want to achieve. It is hugely important to me and helps with my learning process. I always like to draw then put the drawing up so I can look at it for a day or two to see where it can be improved. Thinking what I have done well, or where I have gone wrong and the putting it up on the log, is so important, it gives me the ability not to make the same mistake again.
Writing down the research again makes me learn more about what I am reading, the act of writing it down means I have to have learnt about the subject in order to know what to write. Where I am falling down a little is my Gallery and Museum visits, I often don’t analyse pictures, I get caught up in the enjoyment of looking then describing what I have seen is difficult. So in future I will try and take notes at the time.
Using tone studying texture, depth of field, and applying learnt skills.
I have learnt a lot in this course, and wanted to put what I had learnt into practice with my final piece. I love the outdoors and animals and worked as an animal nurse for year, but have until now drawn still life, flowers and individual animals, backgrounds and landscapes have never figured in my artwork outside of my course work.
Texture is something I have become interested in after seeing tactile artwork within the Care Home my mother lives. I had obviously come across texture in contemporary art but hadn’t realised how much it had been used throughout history. The two pictures I have chosen to show of John Constable inspired me the most. His painting The Cenotaph is full of drama and draws the viewer in, the texture adding another dimension to the piece. One thing I notice when studying Deer for Assignment 5 was they blend into their surroundings. He achieved this so well within this work of art. I also liked the very fine branches which can be seen and I tried to add this to my own work.
His other piece that I was inspired by was Hadleigh Castle, wow the depth of field in that painting is amazing. Not only does the texture or Impasto effect cause the Castle to be dominant, but he also manage to get such depth to the picture. I have never painted landscape, but it really made me want to have a go, and played a great part in my decision to draw a landscape and look at depth of field.
I wanted to add an animal of some kind to my drawing as I feel it was the weaker part of my course. After looking at various animals I decided Deer suited the time of year and the ability to help portray distance. After a visit to Dunham Massey I was convinced it was the way to go, having originally thought I would draw closer to home, my mind was made up, the scenery and deer were just what I was looking for. It is an area where I could practice my looser background with a more detailed fore as discussed earlier in the course with my tutor.
I went back to Dunham Massey a few times to collect sketches, photos and get the atmosphere of the area. It was one of peace, there was the odd clash of antlers in fun, but the Deer went about their day behaving as if the public were not there. Some of the trees were enormous, dwarfing the Deer dominating the scene, acting almost like their guardians. I practiced drawing the Deer and found the comment from my feedback really helpful, concentrating getting a part of the animal correct works a lot better. I have always tried to get down as much of the subject as I could before they moved, but somehow, drawing in part, seems to make the brain remember the subject clearer.
After drawing the scene and animals I decided to make the trees my main subject, as they seemed to be the most dominant part of the scene and their size gave them majesty. This inspired me to make them the main part of my picture, not the Deer.
Putting texture to a drawing is not something I have done in the past, but I had read about Gesso and tissue applied to support material and I decided on using them together. I did attempt to cover the whole application with silverpoint ground for added grain but found rubbing down the Gesso to be more successful. I tried various experiments with the Gesso and media until I finally decided on pencil, carbon, and polychromo. I applied the Gesso in several layers and rubbed them down gently with sand paper. Next time I will try to experiment with adding sand or something like marble dust to improve application of media. In the last layer of Gesso I applied it thick enough to add textured lines, indicating bark on the tree. Sadly there is a time limit when doing work for the course so I could not apply the layers a slowly as I would have liked, which led to a slightly untidy look.
I have found it interesting reading of the layers of Gesso and grounds added by Fine Artist to their pictures and how they went about applying texture. In the future I would like to carry on looking at texture and its application, as it seems a most interesting path of study.
The journey to produce this picture was an enjoyable one, and I have learnt a great deal in its production. I am still in the experimental stage of using Gesso but on the whole it worked well to emphasize and give form to the picture. The one thing I did find troublesome is the shine produce when using graphite on it. I decided to not to add colour in the end in order to hopefully show I have learnt to use tone and can suggest depth with mark making. The whole picture is drawn with various different marks. To work in fine detail would have taken far too long for the Assignment piece, as this is an A1 so an enormous project for pencil work and I have discussed with my tutor my technique and decided to concentrate on the trees in the fore, using the Deer to help give some sizing. Most of the Fore is done using hatching, however for large areas I used graphite powder and the rubbing out technique. I applied this to some of the trees at the back and will use it again as it gave a good texture.
The tree bark in the fore was first done using the powder then shadows were put in with hatching, then the design of the bark was accentuated with a black polychromo then removed some giving a less blocky look.
I decided to leave it to a black and white project, in part because I have never used graphite in such a large picture, and it was more stable than charcoal or pastel which I had used for Assignment 4. I still have to fight myself to not add a lot of detail, but time would not allow a too detailed approach. Having said that I am getting better at using mark as a suggestion, even though I do feel my work is still half finished. My choice for the drawing would have been on board and then a covering of gesso but due to weight when posting, I decided to use heavyweight watercolour paper. Fabrino Artistico 300 accepted Gesso but I didn’t want to cover the entire area as I was still having problems with the shine even when the Gesso was rubbed down, any build up of graphite or carbon would cause shine, Graphite powder which I used for the background was ok, but it would not build depth of tone enough so I used a black polychromo pencil to get the darks. The trees were deep in shadow one side and it gave them form. Unfortunately the paper has a cream tint and they highlights were not as bright as I wanted.
To begin with I drew out the scene loosely, then applied the Gesso and tissue to the area I wanted heavier texture. I decided to only apply it to the foreground on this occasion as it would have meant a lot of rubbing down to get the smooth surface and as mentioned above I was still working on getting rid of graphite shine. If I use the technique in the future I may try marble dust or sand in the mix. I used perspective lines to gauge the size of the Deer in the picture, trees were not as essential because they come in so many shapes and sizes, what was important was to start off correctly sizing the nearest Deer with the trees. After that I drew perspective lines to the horizon and matched the other Deer in the picture in order to get it correct. This then helped with the tree sizing behind. I also tried to incorporate the Golden Mean placing the Deer in specific areas, though there are two in the background which were put in just to add interest to the viewer.
I started drawing at the top of the picture, due to its size I used graphite powder as it covers a large area fast, this worked well on the paper and on Gesso, but the Gesso looked overworked if I tried to get the deeper tones on it. I will use this method in the future and it has its place, but if this had been a finished piece of art I would have worked a lot slower. It is hard to get Graphite detail on watercolour paper so it did work well emphasising distance within the picture. One thing I didn’t like was in certain light you can see the change of surface colour between Gesso and paper. However walking around the room I notice something that artists in the past noticed with texture oil paintings, depending on where you look at the areas that had the Gesso the depth of tone changed, so I think I am hooked at trying to perfect drawing on the surface and will experiment further in the future with its application and use.
Overall I am pleased with my final piece, I wanted to produce a drawing that showed what had been learnt throughout Drawing 1, and I think I have done that. What I did struggle with is letting go and allowing, as they say, happy accidents. The foreground showing the texture was developed using tissue and Gesso, this gives the look of fallen branches and other vegetation. However I had little control over how this looked and had to an extent go with the look and work with it. The trees were different, they worked really well and are tactile, I managed to manipulate the bark better by using pallet knives which didn’t seem to work as well with the finer work. I did put random marks a little further towards the middle of the picture, these didn’t work as they were too small to rub down and I found it hard to work them into the picture. Also I got a little Gesso by accident to the side of one of the trees and found it difficult to make that look natural within the picture. I think in the future I would like to take this drawing further, I would use Gesso over the entire picture and experiment more with it adding some form of grit and try different supports.
I have drawn 5 rough positional sketches to decide on how I am going to draw the final piece. I needed to know which area I was going to sketch from. I decided on an area in the wood at Dunham Massey as this had larger gaps in order to place the Deer so they could be see withing the drawing. The final one is the one I think I will do, giving a little licence to the placement of the Deer. I think it looks more balanced, however both tree and front Deer needs moving to the left.
I am working my way to the final piece and what I am going to do. I have decided to go with the textured drawing with gesso but have one final experiment to perform before I actually decide on the drawing. I put Gesso over tissue paper and I also applied it thickly to the area and when drying put marks into with cocktail sticks and a pallet knife, it gave a great affect. The charcoal doesn’t adhere to the Gesso as well as coloured pencil and oil pastel as it is so smooth. I over lay some silverpoint paint to try and give a grittier surface but I don’t think it worked too well, so I am going to try a small sketch this time and sand it to roughen the surface. The oil pastel has depth so in my final piece I am going to place the deer through the wood, however I do like the larger deer in the foreground, so I think I will go with a mix. The near branches look better in texture so I will apply it to the foreground.
My final Gesso experiment was done pretty much the same way as before but I rubbed it down with sand paper. This worked well and the pencil adhered well. The drawing which is the middle one above wasn’t best compositional piece I have done, but I was short of time and needed to try the media and technique. It worked well so I am now going to do a few sketches now in regards to composition.
I needed to now look at textures and how to go about using them. It’s not something I have ever really tried before, except for a little collage. I had been looking at variations whilst studying artists and found people often use Gesso and tissue to create a textured surface in which to draw. I felt it may be a good way of producing the effect I wanted. Tree bark pattern is different for each type of tree so taking a few rubbings to get the feel of the marks was one of the first things I did then I tried out various methods on how to create and use the texture.
The first textured work was done using Acrylic paint tinted with watercolour and tissue. It was totally random and I wanted to try out the technique whilst waiting for my Gesso to arrive. I used Charcoal, C. Pencil and Pencil, I liked the tinted background but I feel it will limit the distance in the picture, but I did like the texture on the tree stumps this was effective and felt tactile. So I thought I would extend the texture further back into the picture next time.
I then tried Gesso and tissue to create the background in which to draw, and used oil pastels and coloured pencils to draw on the surface and silverpoint in the background. I felt there wasn’t too much texture in relation the rear of the picture, so it lost depth, however the foreground was really nice and the affect was how I wanted. The colour was a nice touch, but I wasn’t sure there was a little too much. The definition on the bark wasn’t good either and the tree came out looking flat and overworked, so I needed to tone down the overuse of media and try something a little less dominant. I did like the oil pastel in the foreground it gave the whole area a tangled look which was similar to the wood near where I live. Silverpoint did work but it didn’t bring anything to the table graphite wouldn’t in this particular picture.
Next instead of using tissue, I covered the paper with tinted gesso, this was left rough, the brushstrokes giving a lovely textured affect. I really like the deer which is a coloured pencil sketch. Unfortunately for the Assignment I really needed to showcase all that had learnt in Drawing 1 and this type of drawing wouldn’t show that. However I decided I would to try and better the technique in the future and improve on the above, it is a style I feel will combine with my more photorealistic style and I find it really enjoyable to do.
I then did various experiments using the Gesso and mark making and went through a number of media, both on Gesso alone and on Gesso overpainted with silverpoint paint in increasing layers 1-4. When mark making I used cocktail sticks, pallet knives, wire, fingers and piping, all worked well enough depending on what texture you wanted, and as I discovered earlier you can get a good effect from the hairs of a paint brush. Most media worked relatively well and had its use, but one thing apparent was there was little change in quality with the increasing layers of silverpoint ground. Silverpoint worked well on the surface but I am not sure I will use it in the final work as its delicate mark feels a little at odds with the heavy texture of the trees.
Having decided to draw deer I have found two areas where I can draw them in the wild. I was amazed at Dunham Massey how near I could get and how obliging the deer are. I found it easier than the first deer I drew which were in a field near to where I live, and didn’t like their portraits being done. The top picture was drawn using pastel and Conte sticks, I have not decided on media, or if I am using any colour in my final drawing, so I wanted to experiment with a limited palette the drawing was done from a photograph and my sketches. I have sketched two different types of deer, which will explain the difference in their appearance. The Fallow are bigger, the Roe are daintier.
I looked at various animals sketching and looking at the way in which I could portray them within my work of art. I had decided to do a drawing with texture and after discussion with my tutor would like to marry the outdoors with animals. The major problem I have with this is the time of year, trying to get naturally occurring animals in the winter is difficult. I looked at various animals and in the end decided on drawing deer. Above are a few quick sketches of various animals. The two more finished drawings are from a couple of vary obliging animals, the rest of the time it was just really quick sketches. The goat seemed awfully interested in what I was doing although I am not sure it liked my sketches as it ate some of my page! The goose, I really wasn’t sure who was doing the studying.
Not only did they appear in the wood where I live, I love drawing trees. When starting this course my first studies included the charcoal drawing of Odilon Redon’s Two Trees. It is an atmospheric drawing which I found inspirational and still do. I also love the atmosphere and drama in the painting of The Cenotaph by John Constable. Trees have a beauty of their own and are very tactile, which making them a good subject for a textured piece.
For this Assignment rather than take inspiration from artists who painted and drew animals, trees or outdoors. I thought about Impasto painting. My Mother is in a Care home and I have seen various paintings on the wall which are textured and tactile, their ability to encourage me to touch them, fascinates me. This set me thinking about concentrating on adding texture to my drawing and to look at artists past and present who used at this technique. There are various reasons texture can be used in artwork. It can be an attempt to give depth, texture add another dimension to the light falling onto a chosen subject, and draw attention to a particular part of the picture, or enhances movement. With the thicker medium this can be done by using the paint straight from the tube, adding sand and undelaying with paper and various other options. With drawing there are various methods, which are largely down to preparing the base of your support using texture, this can be achieved by painting it with something like Gesso or layering with other support materials. This creates the texture before the drawing is applied. More texture can be added between layers and the process can be repeated. I looked at various works of art and artists and feel I will experiment with both collage and gesso.
I was amazed at how many artists past and present use some form of texture in the paintings and drawings. The one that came to mind straight off was a self-portrait by Rembrandt 1659. This link shows the brush strokes used well and the Impasto can be seen clearly on the face. Bold brush marks with thick paint cause a texture which brings life and light to the subject in the area of the face. It causes the eye to look direct at the face which has a life like glow. It is in contrast to the painted canvass that surround the face where the paint seems to show the grain of the support below.
Lucien Freud is another who’s Impasto work can be seen. He is an artist suggested by my Tutor to look at and I have chosen the painting of A Filly a horse he had owned. Its coat has multi-angled brushstrokes emphasize the look of a heavy haired animal, which has gone through the winter and is finding it itchy as it is cast. It has that enjoyed a roll in the straw or mud look. His mustard coloured walls contrast beautifully with the horse, and you can almost see the strands of straw on the ground.
Impasto can also be seen in Van Gogh’s work, with his brush strokes the texture and mark seem to describe movement and atmosphere. His mark and brush work are clear and directional they seem to show the viewer a different dimension to the subject and a movement within the still snapshot of time.
The Olive Orchard shown in one of the links seems to have a tapestry affect the brushwork almost like the stiches within the picture. It has a gentle rhythm about it. Nothing sinister it reminds me of the heat haze and gentle breeze blowing through the Olive Groves I used to visit in Greece.
John Constable also used impasto style. In his depiction of Hadleigh Castle in the link below it shows how he used textured layers to paint the picture. The mood created in this painting is amazing. I must say how much I enjoy using the magnification to actually see the brush strokes and layering. I didn’t realise the little boats in the picture until I looked under magnification. I have always loved his work and have also included his painting The Cenotaph which shows his textured brushstrokes bring another dimension to the trees, his deer adds to the drama with its powerful antlers and strong muscular body almost blending in with the surroundings, something I have noticed when sketching them of late.
There are a number of contemporary artists I have taken inspiration from. One artist I enjoyed for his use of mixed media and a seemingly continuous experimentation with texture and application he is called Ian Murphy. His paintings and drawings have a second dimension for the viewer, they are of limited palette and hold great drama and movement, but most of all seem to take on a life of their own.
There are many artist who’s work I looked at in my study of applying texture and depth to drawing, but I was inspired by a collaborated piece of work by Matt Shane and Jim Holyoaks called Quagmire which was different in its application. An amazing work that fills the walls of a room and then they applied collage to the drawing which gave a depth and movement and drama.
Last an artist whom I discovered very recently, I am not one for a lot of colour but the expression, movement and mood produced by and artist called Iris Scott is amazing. She paints using her fingers and reminds me in part of the way Van Gogh worked each mark applied with her fingers is not only a meaningful application of texture, also colour and light, she uses colour as a contrast and light giving an amazing effect. I was spellbound the first time I saw one of her shaking dogs, but her landscape Whispering Wheat has a glow and like the sun, gives that holiday feeling we all get on a sunny day.
When I started looking at texture in art I never thought I would come across so much work where artists have used it in one method or another and I am to a point overwhelmed with the amount I have looked through and have had to make some difficult choices as to the ones I have mentioned.