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.