Category: Part 1

Project 2, Exercise 4, Shadows and reflected light.

For this exercise I was asked to choose two objects with reflective surfaces and try to show an interesting interplay of light and shadow. I was to use charcoal and a Putty Rubber, on A1 or A2 paper using bold strokes, with the side of my charcoal stick, trying to fill the paper. I didn’t fill the A2 paper I had chosen, as I found the asymmetrical shape of my still life, would not lend itself to cropping without losing the line of the objects and their shadow, which I really liked. I feel if I had cropped the image losing the full shadow it would have given me a chance of filling the paper, but found this hard to do. In part because I really liked the flow and character of the still life I had drawn, but added to that I normally always leave a generous margin on my paper. I suppose it’s difficult to lose old habits.

I did no preliminary sketches , because I felt this Exercise was still about practicing your mark in a free and flowing manner. Some of my highlights were made by lifting charcoal with the putty rubber, some areas were left as highlights without a mark of any kind.

One thing I was pleased with, was the interplay of shadow and light within the Coffee Pot, which achieved a look of shiny Stainless Steel. The reflected ceramic pot could be seen in both the body of the Coffee Pot and its handle.

Apart from filling the page, which I will have to work on in future, I think this exercise went well, showing shadow, light and reflective qualities.


Project 2, Exercise 3 Creating shadow using lines and marks

There are two projects to this exercise the first without worrying about neatness and accuracy, I had to use four different drawing tools, divide the page into four and produce the items tones using criss-crossing lines, hatching and spots. I used Graphite Pencil, Fineliner Pen, Ballpoint Pen and a normal Fountain Pen which I used like a dipping pen. I chose a Banana I was about to have for my dinner, and had a little fun using different types of mark on the same object. For the Banana with a fountain pen I decided in the main to use dots, it seemed to suit the subject and I really enjoyed working with them. I thought I would do a little research and took time to look at art using dots and came across some fantastic art. One person I noticed was Miguel Endara my use of dots was a far cry from this, however for my first and quick attempt at producing tone using dots I think it was fair. I didn’t enjoy the hatching or line affect as much though on other types of objects they do look very effective.

bananas 1622015

The second project in this exercise was arrange three or four objects making a quick loose three dimensional drawing, the outlines not being too strong, just enough to indicate the shape of the item. Then working fast use hatching or spots show the various tones of the objects.
I found working fast with the dot technique made dot accuracy, given my skill level hard and my dots at times became dashes. I would like to try a drawing using dots taking my time. From the inaccuracy of my drawing and the dashes instead of dots I think my sketch showed I worked at speed. I was annoyed with myself because for some reason I had not positioned my objects well, however for a quick drawing I think I showed the various tones reasonably well, and gave a three dimensional look to the objects. I used hatching for the shadow to make my objects stand out. If I did it again I would carry the hatching into the shadow on the objects themselves or stick with the one method either hatching or dots. I used a Fineliner for this sketch.

On both these exercises I found the natural light from the window had needed to be balanced with light from a daylight lamp, as it was a fairly dull day and my studio is a very small room in a cottage with a small window. On its own the  daylight lacked enough brilliance to give the objects I chose  a tonal form making them appear flat and almost monotone with a slight hightlight. On lighting my objects from the same side as the window which was on the left, I had enough light to show some tonal qualities, enabling my objects to be depicted as having form.

Since writing this I have researched the dot tecnique and found an artist called Lizzie Harper whos Botanical Illustration I admire uses this method of tonal shading.

quick loose scan 1

Project 2, Exercise 2, Observing Shadow using blocks of tone.

This Exercise was about placing two pale objects close together and observing the light and dark areas and the tonal changes. You were to use Charcoal or Conte Stick, working quickly on A1 or A2 blocking in the light and dark areas then the gradations of tone. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, well I didn’t find it that way, as Charcoal without smudging and blending for me, is difficult to do tones.

I worked with both natural light and a daylight lamp as it was a dull day. I worked on both sides of a A3 Sketchbook giving me an A2 picture plane. The drawings were not that accurate in perspective as I did all four at speed as asked for. Each picture showed how I mapped out the areas of tone, from dark and light, to gradation of tones through to how the negative space worked with the items. I made a mistake on where my cream tubes were drawn, they were way out of the centre of the square, I need to work on my placements possibly by drawing border lines in before I start, but it was an interesting study and I don’t think my picture came out too bad, because it looked fairly 3d and you could pick out various tones across the picture.

  block shadow 1422015_edited-1    

Project 2, Exercise 1 Groups of objects

For this Exercise I had to choose at least six objects of different sizes and shapes and some should be three dimensional forms made from rectangles and  cylinders , with others of a less regular form the drawing was to be loose and using techniques used in previous exercises .

I worked on A2 Paper and used graphite, wax crayon, ink and stick, willow charcoal and a charcoal pencil. The main problem was the same as I always have, where to start, I marked out the width and length of paper area needed and proceeded to draw my group of objects. For a loose drawing I don’t think it went too badly. The proportions are not exact and neither is the perspective, but it is near enough to give a nice looking composition. When drawing I took into account what had been learnt earlier, though I was not able to put much emotion into the peace except for my enjoyment and pleasure at doing the exercise. I think this shows in the composition. However I did try to adjust my line and media to portray the light and heavy, transparent and opaque. The darker strokes and marks were used for density and weight the lighter for transparency and lightness. The A2 paper was reasonably covered I think. The only way I could of covered more paper would be to use different objects or a different composition, I think I covered the different sizes and shapes of the objects required so I am reasonably pleased with the drawing.

This for me was a good exercise, I don’t often do loose drawings it made me relax and enjoy the process.
If I was to do the drawing again I would try to do it in one media and concentrate more on the mark making to convey my different weights, and surfaces.


Part 1, Project 1, Exercise 1, Expressive lines and marks

This exercise was about creating non-objective images using the energy of 4 different feelings. Four A1 sheets were folded in half and in half again, each quarter was to be filled with an image, in relation to the chosen feeling of that sheet. You had to use four different drawing media. I used Willow Charcoal for all top left images, top right Conte Pastel, bottom left ink, and bottom right ordinary wax crayon. There were 3 feelings already given which were Calm, Anger and Joy, the last sheet you could choose your own emotion. I chose feeling Low, due to a cold I had just caught making me feel miserable, ill and very low. I thought the mood I was in would help with my drawings for that particular sheet. On completion of each sheet your were asked to reflect on your four drawings and jot down thoughts and words in a similar free flow fashion.


calm tWords that came to mind: Sedate, Floating, Still, Chilled, Steady, Drifting, Relaxed.
Thoughts: Soaring birds, bubbles and seeds heads floating, the still flat surface of a pond, lying on a lilo in the sun on the sea.

Angeranger tWords that came to mind: Hatred, Misery, Frustration, Rage, Stress.
Thoughts: Unfairness in life, people being thoughtless, the thought of too much work and not enough time.

Joyjoy tWords that came to mind: Happy, Explosive, Fun, Holidays, Flowers, Playful.
Thoughts: Having pets, Flowers, having days out, fireworks, going on holiday and walking.

Lowlow tWords that came to mind: Sinking, Ill, Black, Lethargic, Falling, Heavy, Sad, Raining.
Thoughts: At the time of doing this I was feeling really ill with a heavy cold, I felt pretty much all the above. This to me is the less appealing sheet, but possibly the one that reflects the most pure of feelings that were projected onto the paper.

Reflecting on the exercises above I was surprised by the way emotion does alter the way in which we express our mark within our art. It’s something I have never attributed to the art I have produced in the past. I paint and draw things that please me, make me feel happy. The other thing I found surprising as it was an unconscious action, was I used in the main all the area within the panel for each drawn action. I am not used to drawing on such a large scale, the thought of filling an A1 sheet is almost stressful. It is funny how within the brief it mentions the separate panels make you aware of negative space and composition, this must have been an unconscious thought at the time, as although aware of space and composition, it didn’t dominate my thoughts when drawing at the time. Overall I think composition is fair, with pleasing negative space. The one I felt worked worst was the sheet marked Low. I asked the opinion in regards to composition and space of someone, with no prior knowledge of the feelings portrayed, they too felt the Low sheet was not as good as the others.

Exercise 1 Warm-up – temporary drawings.

I found this exercise fun, it was a reminder that art is all around us and can be found anywhere, provoking memories and emotions I have not experienced for a very long time. When younger I spent many hours in bed struck down by a mystery illness with no television and nothing to do with my thoughts, one rainy night towards the end of my illness my imagination turned to raindrops that had fallen on the window, they sparkled yellow in the street lamps, their changing patterns enchanting.

With this experience in mind, for my first set of exercises I worked with washing up liquid, shower gel, olive oil, and hand wash. I started out by trying to create a pattern of drops by dropping washing up liquid into a bowl of water. I had little control and it had little impact other than a barely visible circle of washing up blobs, but what I did find impressive was the ripple effect on the water surface after the impact of the liquid.

liquid drop in water 24012015_edited-1

My next attempt was again with liquid soap and oil. I wanted to create a visible effect with colour, rather like the drops and rivulets of water down glass. I dropped oil onto the top of a glass of water, which created a beautiful pattern like rain drops and then I dripped 3 different coloured soaps through the oil into the water, it slowly dropped to the bottom of the glass creating transient patterns as it moved to the bottom. I had little control over the patterns but I found by placing the soap on top of the oil it had a slower decent giving a better visual show. My added bonus was the beautiful colour mix at the bottom of the glass. If I was to do this again I would try dropping all three colours at once.

liquid soap excersize

Staying with creating rivulets I tried something different, I dropped the water onto the hot front of a fire, however it was a little too hot at the time and the drips dried before I could create a good pattern.  I dont think this was succesful if I was to do it again I would wait for the fire to cool a little.

water pattern on a hot fire canopy

My next exercise and moving away from rain drops began with making a pattern through flour which I sprinkle onto a tray. First I drew with a toothpick outlined my shape and then enlarged areas of the pattern with a pencil. I found this fun rather like a primitive form of Etch a Sketch. It held the pattern well but fine detail would have been a problem. Next time if I did this again I would try varying sized drawing sticks.

flour drawing
Finally with my last exercise I decided to use an eye dropper with water dropped onto cardboard. I drew an outline of a house, which I must say was not my best drawing, but I think it filled the brief well. Holding a visual pattern and then vanishing as it dried. If I was to do this exercise again I would make sure I thought out the drawing before applying the 2

I have enjoyed these exercises as it has made me think about the meaning of art and its timespan, which can be for a fleeting moment or something that is more permanent.