Monday, 18 July 2011

Assignment 3 - Still Life

Still Life Group using Line

I struggled with this exercise to choose a subject and I think I've chosen the wrong combination. The flowers and the glass and too tall while the rest of the objects are small in comparison. If I'd had something else, mid-size it would have helped. Becasue of this, the composition is all to one side. I should have moved it over to the left and shown the right hand side of the cloth more. More planning is needed at the preparatory sketch stage.
With regards to the medium, I think the drawing is ok. At the time I struggled with to show the folds in the cloth but actually I think that bit came out quite well. Now I look at the brief again, I think I have concentrated far too much on tone again. I start out with that in my mind but then I get carried away with all of the other aspects of the drawing.
Preparatory sketches

A3 Rotring Artist Pen

Ultimately my main problem is that I am rushing things too much. I am fully aware of this but time is just not on my side. I am constantly aware I only have an hour or so to work at a time so things always get rushed. I find this so frustrating. If I had more time I would just start again and repeat this excersise. On the other hand I always think that if I was studying this in a class setting there would be time constraints and not every assignment would work and this is part of the learning curve and something my tutor should see. Studying at home it's very tempting to repeat and repeat until it's right but you wouldn't be able to do that in a class. Anyway I'm just making excuses now for not starting again so I'll shut up!

Still Life Group in Tone

For this excercise I chose pastels. I'm not really a fan of pastels so this was going to be a challenge for me. I always find I smudge too much and I can't get the detail with them. In the end it wasn't a horrible as a thought it would be. My problems with the drawing are the odd angle I chose to draw from and that I have too much empty space outside (so the composition could be improved). In hindsight I would have included some background to stop it floating - this is something I have recently realised I do through my tutors comments of the last section. I have always left the background out so that it doesn't detract from the subject but I now realise it doesn't - hopefully my future drawing will include background!). Now I look at it the top of the bowl is the wrong angle too. Aaargh!
With regards to drawing with tone I tried to keep the ends of the spring onions and the parsnips and other highlights nice and light and contrast this with the dark areas in the bowl and underneath. I struggled a bit with the shadows inside the bowl, inbetween the vegetables. I just couldn't find the right colour and in the end I think I added the dreaded black which makes it jump out instead of sink back. The squash was particularly hard to get right with the pastels, I think because of the smooth surface.

Check and Log

1. What aspects of each drawing have been successful, and what did you have problems with?

For both drawings I am not happy with the composition. I didn't realise there was a problem till it was too late for both. I also didn't stick to the brief properly and do a line drawing  in the first section as there is too much tone. The second drawing has faults in the basic shape of the bowl which should have been picked up at the beginning. So my biggest problem is rushing!
In the first section I found it was difficult to create the same depth and form with line only that pencil would achieve. Pencil and other soft media can do this via gradual changes in layering but every pen mark is final and each mark is similar in strength to the next.

2. Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawings and still life groupings helped to creat that sense?

The table cloth in the first drawing was difficult to do. I've had this problem before with flat surfaces. I tried to make my marks fainter at the back of the table to show depth and distance.
In the pastel drawing I think I'm lacking some depth possibly because of my lack of experience with the medium. I felt I didn't have the correct colour to give the dark tones so the vegetables seem to be separate entities and not touching.

Depth can be conveyed when objects are placed in front of each other. Shading conveys form and shows an objects curves. Also colours can be used to show things are behind each other. For instance reflected colour. 

3. What were the difficulties created by being restricted to line and tone?

Well since I got carried away in the first drawing and didn't stick to line only, I would say one of the difficulties in being restricted to line is just that! I needed someone sitting beside me shouting "stop!" everytime I started to scribble. When you are restricted to line only it's very difficult to show the form of the objects. You have to look at the subject and see the basic shapes not the shadows and patterns. It's a different way of drawing entirely.
Being restricted to tone has it's own difficulties. The pastels complicated this for me because I struggled with the correct colours to get the shadows. In a black and white drawing this would be easier and could be done just be increasing or decreasing the darkness of the areas. I think I possibly thought too much about the tones here and so added too much dark brown/black.  

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