Sunday, 28 August 2011

Assignment 3 Observations in Nature - Final Piece

The final piece for this section asked to pull together all of the things covered so far in the assignment - colour, media, composition, variety of mark making, depth, contrast, tone, and produce an accurate drawing! No mean feat. Having completed the drawing as I'm writing this I'm worried that I have missed aspects as it's hard to remember everything at the same time. I hope that I have practiced these things enough that they have come naturally.

I tried a couple of set ups for the still life but I was pretty confident with the vase of flowers and the bottle, I liked the way their shapes and colours contrasted. I added a glass and removed the fruit bowl, not really sure why , just a gut feeling that they worked better.

I wanted to do a tonal drawing, breaking all the elements into 4 tones and numbering the areas. I've done this before and I'm not sure it really helps, maybe it's just the fact I' doing a sketch and looking at the subject helps.

Composition sketches A4
Tonal sketch A4
 I wanted to put down some ideas I had thought of while planning this drawing although I was pretty sure at this stage I wanted to do a more traditional drawing to fulfill the brief. I had considered doing a Ben Nicholson style drawing, having the still life in front of a window and draw the landscape behind. This idea really appealed to me but I chose not to do it (A) because I don't have a nice view from my window so I would have had to invent one which is a bit naughty; (B) because that kind of painting would require the objects in the still life to be very basic, if not outlines then not to detailed which I think would probably have gone against the brief and (C) I wouldn't be able to use all of the aspects of the assignment such as tone and contrast and producing an accurate drawing. I also considered a close up of the flowers, similar to the style I did for the vegetables. I felt this didn't cover the brief because it asked to choose a number of objects contrasting in shape, size and texture.

Ideas A4
 I was really excited about the prompt to try more than one medium in this drawing as we haven't really been asked to do that before and it's something that I like as you can get the best points from one medium without worrying about the negative aspects because you can compensate with another medium. I had great fun playing with oil pastels and pen on coloured paper and liked their effect together with ordinary pastels.

Media Experiments A4
Media experiments A4

Following these preparatory sketches above I chose to use a grey A2 paper as I found having a colour really helped show the highlights and gave an extra something to the drawing. I chose to use predominantly oil pastels which came as a bit of a surprise to me considering my previous efforts but I really liked their rich, strong colours with the off white background. I also used the pen and ink to get a kind of outline first which gave a good effect. In the end though I lost this effect in the final piece because the pen disappeared with layer upon layer of oil pastels. I tried to thicken this as much as I could but I wanted the line to be natural and uneven. I also wanted to use ordinary pastels to block in the larger areas. I found this quite a useful way of laying down a base layer of colour first but I don't think it shows up that I've done this. Not sure whether that's bad or good.

Oil Pastel, Black pen, pastel A2 grey paper

Close up fruit
Overall I'm happy with this piece. There are bits that I really like, e.g. the fruit (close up above) which were so easy and done in a couple of minutes and bits that I struggled with and took ages e.g. the bottle, but I'm pleased with it in it's entirety. The composition is maybe a bit cheesy and contrived but I figured that I couln't push the boundries too much for an assignment final piece and that combined with my lack of adventure makes for a dull (still) life. I was however very happy with the oil pastels and I will definitely use them again and again. I'm interested to know how they would work when painting with oils or on top of acrylics and with a more textured effect maybe collage.

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