Put together a still life. Demonstrate a growing understanding of:
- use of colour in drawing
- the most appropriate medium for the subject
- composition and context
- mark making and contrasts of line and tone
- accurate and expressive depiction of form
- experimentation with idea, material and method.
Throughout this critical blog of my second assignment I will put in brackets the number of the above listed points that I am referring to in my writing.
When putting together the composition for this assignment I took a long time looking around my home for inspiration (3.). My feeling was that I didn’t want to use objects I’ve used in previous drawings completed on the course so far. I have a lot of ornaments, boxes, stones and so on but I found it difficult to actually choose pieces I wanted to draw. Thinking about colour (1.), I started with a peacock designed box and decided to choose a few items which contain similar colours or pick out those on the box. Below is the composition I settled on (3.).
I began by testing out the hues of my coloured pencils and blended some of the colours (1.). There are purples in the composition but not purples in my pencil palette. My hope was this wouldn’t be a problem as the pencils blend nicely. I tried mixing the coloured pencils with soft pastels and fine line pen (2.).
My feedback from my first assignment was to include a lot more detail in my final piece. So this has been something I’ve kept in mind in my preparatory pieces as well as my final drawing for assignment two (5.). The other prominent thought in my mind was some other feedback, to stick with just two types of media. I felt the coloured pencil worked much better than the soft pastels for the objects in this composition, so I decided to focus on just this media, with pencil for the initial sketch and details (2.), (6.). I started with a quick pencil sketch to get an idea of the different textures and tones (4.), (5.) see below.
Reflecting back on previous exercises in this part of the course, I thought about how using different marks on different objects would help with giving different feelings of weight and texture and so on (4.), (5.). For example, using heavier marks on the bottle where I needed to create a sense of solidity, and using lighter, more delicate marks on the easily damaged apple. I then moved onto thinking about which other medium to use (2.), baring in mind that I wanted to capture the different and similar colours (1.), I decided on coloured pencil. Below is my first coloured pencil drawing.
I took a long time thinking about the details of all the objects in the composition and also spent time trying different colour combinations with the pencils (1.), (5.), especially purple as this wasn’t in the palette. Although fairly pleased with the overall effect, I felt the material under the objects on the floor wasn’t accurately depicted, in part due to the peacock feather being difficult to draw around (6.). I also wasn’t satisfied with the balance of the composition (3.). Something I thought might help was giving it more dimensions, as in an Anthony Green painting, for example. I spent some time looking at Green’s paintings to get some inspiration for how to improve my still life. http://www.anthonygreen.org.uk/paintings.html. I started to look at the composition from different angles to find the most pleasing shapes within the still lie as it was (6.).
Thinking of Picasso’s still life drawings, where different perspectives are over-layed in one drawing, I attempted to sketch two views of the composition over one another to achieve a more dynamic drawing (3.), (6.). Below are some of the Picasso still lifes I looked at, and my drawing along these lines is under these.
I added some colour for definition and identification of the objects (1.), but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get enough detail in the drawing if I pursued this style (6.). So, I looked again at the composition and thought about adding an extra element (3.). Thinking of Anthony Green’s work, where there are different views going on of the same composition, I decided to place a mirror in the composition to give it some balance and an added dimension. I tried out a more detailed drawing with the addition of the mirror, along well as a new drawing perspective (3.), (6.).
I spent a long time on this drawing making sure I paid close attention to detail. My depiction of the different forms is, I feel, successful, and I am pleased with the balance of the composition (3.), (4.), (5.). Although I was quite pleased with the finished drawing, I still wondered about making the composition more interesting. I experimented with breaking the drawing up into different perspectives of the same composition and bringing them back together to create a fragmented composition, reminiscent of a photo collage (6.).
I liked this idea but was coming up to the deadline for my assignment so decided to stick with the complete composition I had drawn in pencil, but this time drawn with coloured pencil on hand-made banana leaf and jute paper.
In review, I hope I have adequately demonstrated an improvement in my technical and visual skills since the beginning of the course. Bringing in greater detail and looking more closely at the objects within the composition as well as the most balanced and pleasing way to arrange them, I’m pleased with the finished drawing (3.), (4.), (5.). I’ve spent time looking at the design of the composition and through reworking the drawing a few times I feel I’ve improved my visual and observational awareness. Hopefully I’ve communicated the build up of my ideas throughout this assignment (6.). My depiction of the forms has, I feel, been on the whole quite successful (5.). The parts I found most difficult were the box and the petals of the mirror. I was also concerned about adequately depicting the folds and resulting tones of the different fabrics. I spent a lot of time reworking these areas and decided to use graphite pencil rather than coloured pencil to draw the fabric on the floor as I felt this worked better (2.), (5.). I decided to make the peacock feathers on the box less emphatic than the single one in the foreground to demonstrate the latter is a real one and those on the box are printed (5.). With the mirror, I felt I hadn’t correctly captured the odd angle effectively in previous tries, but I think I’ve done a better job in the final drawing.