Assignment 2

 

I originally had 2 different ideas for this assignment.

1. A portrait formed by butterflies

2. A nautical theme

I cant remember how I came accross reading about the real man of legend behind the movie Dracula and concept of vampires. I have always loved Dracula stories and movies since I was a toddler, but now I got impressed by the real authentic “son of dracul” that was more savage than any movie I have ever seen produced. The legend of living dead came about from beleif that he was immortal because he drank his enemies blood.

I thought of how I could incorporate observations in nature and the legend of this impressive historical figure to give him some tribute. I envisioned how his spirit still would live in all organism and the strength of his gathering spirit will call on the form of butterflies to make his portrait on air his castle showing in the background.

I spent quite a long time searching for suitable butterflies and even insects to form his facial features and also costume and hat. I also looked into etymology behind each butterfly, in fact it opened up to me first time realise there is whole lot of symbolism attached to insects and butterflies, beliefs and folkstories, a vast source of inspiration for stories and illustrations if one was sort of them.

I also thought of how I wanted to convey him as a person, I imagined a face that is haunting on the brink of lunacy. The lunacy that was stamped on his personality in his childhood as ransom captivity in his enemy camp, that he had now sworn to destroy by any means !

The second idea for the assignment I had was a nautical theme, a really nostalgic theme evocing all senses of smell and atmosphere and even sounds of waves and seabirds. I got this idea long ago and has been gathering items since, old fashioned glass floaters, fishnet, sea shells and stars and urchins, etc also man made objects, I also started freeze drying different fishes I have about 5 of them in the frigde two have finished drying enough to store in room, it still smells, smells like the sea shells but no more fishy. I didnt have possibility to do this right now I look forward to doing it later, perhaps in assignment 5 and also defenately painting, in any case I could make a series of drawings nautical theme since I like it so much, for sale etc…

I decided to make conventional flower arrangement with fruits and vegetables. I bought a bouget of flowers and went to look for some branches to accompany it, I placed them on a posyvase that I adore and cant get enough of, love the dark rich colour and the shape. I spent quite a long time arranging the still life, I was looking at many different aspects. I had previously made tonals studies of two paintings that I really liked.

 

Valentin Serov’s painting: Girl with peaches

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ Samson and Delilah

 

 

I also thought of the hypothesis presented to me from Patrick Caulfield paintings of bringing the foreground and background to the same plane. What really interested me in the Samson and Delilah painting was how half of their bodies are blended into the background in chiaroscuro through same tonal value, in fact almost entire painting is of the same darker tone only the skintones are the brightest value making them the focal point.

In the painting Girl with the peaches I was pleased with the overall effect and really wanted to analise why it was so pleasing to me. There is strong contrasts of blacks and whites but what brings the image together in unity is the repetitive forms. The girls hair is black, so is the bow and the chairs, they are making the continuation of the main subject to the background. There is also another visual trick, if you look at the bow shape, its actually the shape of the window in negative, this makes the connection from black to bright.

 

This is my final composition for still life

 

 

In my composition, the geometrical shapes of coffin and copper fire cover, together with softer rounder shapes of the vase makes a transition from manmade objects to randomity of natural objects. The fishnet and sea urchins further breaches the gap between arbitrary inconsistencies of natural elements and solid bound forms made by man. The bow tie effect repeated in negative in the window in Valentin Serov’s painting is lended here or seen in the sea urchins that are negative to the center of the flowers (the flowers have vilted here badly may not be so visible but you can see it in the drawing) There is the typical suggested triangle in the composition. Fruits are positions on the left side to break away from symmetria and add some interest through imbalance.

Darkest areas. in fact pure blacks, make a snake like travelling starting from the chinese coffin to eggplant continuing from the dark shadows under courgette back to coffin again and there to darks of the vase.

Most of the important work was done during the planning stage, the desired effects had been employed already I merely had to draw this as it was with few effects. I remembered Patrick Caulfields theory and I allowed the background to travel to the foreground by means of fading away at the edges.

 

Self assessment:

 

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I have used inktense pencils with coloured pencils markers felt tips and inks in conjunction. Due to using water with brush most of the marks have disappeared, I aimed however not to be too pretty and left some roughness an evidence of handwork. The fascinating thing about Inktense pencils is that you draw with them like coloured pencils, once you apply water with brush they act like watercolour pencils and once dry they are permanent ink !!! 

I made use of this by leaving some of the drawing lines as is. I also discovered that I could still further alter the Inktense permanent inkmarks with markers that are alcohol based too. I used markers to spread and soften the leaves to more smoother consistency. Same was with the liquid inks, since they were alcohol based they also reactivated the permanent inks and blended again, this helped me to create very flat appearance on the large leafs behind flowers.

I personally think drawing looks more appealing when it shows visible handmarks, however it requires skill to do, it should not leave the drawing look unfinished. Im not 100 percent sure it looks finished, if I looked at this later I may be decide to retouch it. My eyes have become weary of this image right now to see it clearly.  I think I have observed the composition very well Im very pleased with it, its conventional, some may think boring, but I like it, its visually pleasing and balanced still life composition.

Quality of Outcome

I have taken into consideration the relationship of colours already at stage when setting up the still life, there are no harassing colour conflicts, red is a strong colour in itself and quite bold decision to use bright red flowers but I really wanted them to shine here and placing them against green colour what helped it, I also used a lot of colours to make them as tense as possible with no paper showing through. I didnt use harsh blacks in order to soften the image, neither did I want anything to compete with the red colours tonally or othervice. The chiaroscuro is still achieved by darker tone, it appears succesful to me.

One thing  I was asking myself, this is observation in nature, have I used too much man made objects ? However I felt like it was necessary to add enough geometric clean cut shapes to balance out the rough random shapes and even further enhance the shapes of the flowers as if to compliment them. If I had too many natural objects they would have compete with the flowers, of course one could have zoomed in very close, that could have solved that problem but then I would have not had all the celebratory items included that I really liked.

The Patrick Caulfield theory has been taken into use, there is nice transition from the bright curtain through the fishnet travelling to the front and again out of the round table. This could have not been possible without the fishnet, it would have looked awkward without it, in fact the fishnet was very helpful here, I have fallen in love with the fishnet !

The leaf patterns are also nicely repeated in the curtains, I think the curtain maybe looks a bit awkward in this drawing but it doesnt in the picture, why ? Must be because I left it so white, should have tried to add something still, white is not good, nothing is ever white much in real life. Overall I cant seen any other problem here than that the white area may make it look at bit unfinished and that some may think this drawing a bit boring or conventional.

Demonstration of Creativity

How much have I used imagination here ? Do I have anything unique here ? I find this somehow difficult to judge, if I understand well it seems I was a bit boring because I merely made a simple still life that is so conventional, I even excecuted it very conventionally nothing out of extraordinary here. Did I invent anything here, not so much, rather I studied old master paintings compositions and tried to learn from them, not quite sure how succesful I was, obviously its not as good as the previous paintings, is it because Im lacking personal voice for looking into the past masters ? Am I lacking voice or is this my voice, admiring them and trying to learn from them ? Do I ponder too much ? I think I clearly did experimentation as everything Im doing in this course is new to me so this still life also was an experimentation.

Context reflection, research, critical thinking

I have done quite a lot of this, I spent a lot of time in prepairing for this assignment, more in the first two ones that I was contemplating on, I had different approaches in those two previous ideas, in the portrait a spiritualism and expressing or making connection between person and nature and also the concept of death and host of other thoughts too, it would have been a thought provocing and inventive way of doing this assignment, not something one would expect. Also in the nautical theme I have really spent a lot of time as Im sort of money I need to scout out for bargains and rummage second hand shops to look for suitable material. Forexample the expensive looking embossed copper fire cover was found only £5 from second hand shop. What also really took me loads of time was the fact that nautical things are strange to me, I dont know what all things are involved, what I mean by this is that I was thinking of all the interesting vintage man made objects I wanted to use for backgdrop. I also wanted to (and still want to) acquire dried sea creatures so I have scope for different still life set ups, I have forexample spent hours on ends on ebay looking to order some exotic crab species from all the way Philippines. All these things take time to acquire but Im getting some picture of the things I want to actually paint. Since Im handicapped by my ill health, its beginning to look like I will be doing still lifes mostly, acquiring the material for it makes sense and is ongoing. Im not complaining I feel like IM always on treasure hunting and now suddenly I have a proper reason for carrying all the fancy interesting completely USELESS items home.

Another field of interest that has always been there is dry flower arrangements. Well not just dry flowers interest me I love fresh flowers as well, but I have always loved the muted colours of dried flowers. Since realising during this course that most of the time and effort goes into setting up the thing that you are drawing accessing the items looking for the location etc I have started thinking about drawing different ways. Everything that I have in the house is what I can use to draw, everything now has a different meaning and can be converted into valuable artpiece. It makes even more sense now that I should forinstance plant as many flowers as possible in my tiny backyard, and when its autumn time I will get access to cut flowers that I can arrange into awesome dryflower arrangements that I can now use in my still lifes !!!!!! I have tried the other courses as well that are yet to come, drawing outside, drawing human beings and by far I can say that my ultimate favourite is the course IM doing right now, of  observation in nature, it is quite a vast subject as well and the fun part is in having a evergrowing collection of interesting vintage man made objects to use to accompany the natural objects.

I have fascination with some things, like copper and antique patina items, dark oak colours, aqua to dark green hand blown glass items or transparent handblown glass items that seem to vibrate and shimmer like water, they seem to give me some kind of inner piece and satisfaction of soul. I also like metalustre items, love how the colours are in the shells, in generally I like muted colours or broken earthy colours but in right composition or context anything can look good. This is another field that interests me, how some colours when presented together looks absolutely delicious, this will be like try and error mixing colours anyhow and by accident discover something interesting, also I have looked some home designing magasines that often presents a colour theme those are good colour resources as well. I also love all certain retro designs but IM very picky with them, there is also lot of rubbish, I have even purcahsed few dishes just based on the beautiful colour combinations and designs. 

Human form is interesting to me too but unfortunately I have no access to a model that could pose for me as I would want, Im going to have to use myself mostly on the human shape courses, though I have gone to nude lessons and drew from there  I felt it was extremely boring, IM thinking about the energetic lively people of Peter Paul Rubens and if I wanted such I would probably just use some youtube videos to search for interesting poses and facial gestures, and whats wrong with that anyways ????????????????????

If I look back at my first flower drawing, I can see that I have evolved a lot, my best discovery so far has been coloured pencils, I erraneously used to think they are cheap tool for children to use but actually they are brilliant on the go accurate and dont mess, completely care free ! The main thing for me that has helped me the most in my drawings has been the discovery of negative space, it also restored my faith in the fact that drawing really is something that you can learn,  at the end of my course two Im left with very positive feeling that the masteryof painting  really truly is within my reach through learning.

Observation in Nature: Compilation of random stuff throughout course

 

 

I purchased inktense pencils, you use them like coloured pencils but once on paper you brush them with water they turn into immensely deep or bright coloured permanent ink, emasing stuff. Here a picture of them lovingly organised into 5 different tonal groups, I even taped a sample colour when wet on each pen and the respective tonal range number so when IM working I can just spread the pencils Im using on a table carelessly.  I sampled my coloured pencils as well, Im feeling contented about this arrangement. Behind the pencils, you can see a picture of my adult high school (A-levels) teachers I graduated from 1999.

 

 

The tonal ranges on a paper brushed with water.

 

A still life with Japanese umbrella fruits and vase of Daffodils done with coloured pencils

 

Dead bird with charcoal on old memorybook

 

 

Using complimentary colours behind fruits to stand them out, done with coloured pencils

 

 

Mugshot of a dragonfly (close encounters hehe) done with coloured pencils and 20 X enlarging goggles as visual aid, you can see the crack on the left side eye ball caused by my kitty cat

 

 

Drawing one of my cats as she is chillaxing on the transparent roof of my art cabin

 

 

I was closely observing a spider in a jar feeding it with insects, in this still image it is wrapping on of its meals, when I drew it alone as that it looked really boring so I started playing with idea of filling the space with abstract forms and ended up with these studies

 

 

Sketch done at the mill, I was drawing the river scene when the swan and ducks took over, as always…

 

 

Fruit studies done with oil pastels on smooth paper

 

 

Experimenting with texture, abstract fruits

 

 

Little Wood Mouse done with Inktense pencils

 

Excercise Fish on a plate

 

For this excercise you need to buy a fish. Find a decorative plate and place it in a relatively neutral context. Use water-soluble pencil and or coloured pencils and inks on a Bockingford A3.

Sit slightly above the fish to capture as much as possible, pay attention to the plethora of colours and the unusual metallic texture of the fish.

When you have finished your drawing, be critical. Look at the fish again. see what you have managed to capture effectively and what hasn’t worked so well. Learn from this and make notes.

 

The first drawing I ever made was the down right corner with pink background. Huge salmon, mackerel, sardine and oyster. In all of these fish drawings I see the main problem is composition I didnt really plan it enough and though the background should be neutral I basicly didn’t add anything at all which does not look right at all.

These were all A3 in size but started cropping them with scissors.

 

I continued to persist, to tackle the composition problem I tried to add some more interest to the backdrop and drew the second fish on a thick square transparent glass plate placed on a surface of cut tree facing the river Ouse in Bedford city center. These following two next drawings I used mostly Inktense pencils, my most ambitious art buy up to date worth every penny !

What are Inktense pencils ? Check this video !

 

The next fish to try was a perch that I came accross at the mill drawing the scenery I saw a dead perch floating on surface. Love the shape and colours of this fish, I pierced it with needles on a piece of wood spreading the fins and placed a stone inside the mouth to open it up. I had also previously found  a huge dragonfly in my “garden” and butterfly trapped into my art rehabilitation greenhouse plastic and plastic roof which I cruelly also pierced (were already dead, mind me) I think this composition is nearing a masterpiece compositionally vice, I really love all the elements and colours that are going on here and look forward to try this with oilpaints later on. In the background I let the random background elements on the table overlap in Patrick Caulfield style, more consairned about the flow of lines and what it makes to overall composition. I now realise that the metal clip is like an echo of the dragonfly but wasnt thinking of this at the time, the metal clip maybe a bit too prominent could have toned down a bit, on the other hand it leads the eye from down right corner to left up corner so it maybe serves it purpose as random as it looks like….

 

I add this final picture of gigantic 2kg salmon on a basket laying on a bed of fig branches, its also drawn on a A3 bockingford rough paper mostly oilpastels. The fish was in a curve because it was too big to fit in, I was not however very successful in conveying this, looks a bit wonky, I may still go back to this its not completely finished.