Part 2 Exercise 1 Basic shapes and fundamental form preliminary sketch work. Pt 2


Preliminary shape work for


A3 dip pen and ink composition I think the pewter pot in the foreground needs a bit more working in to give it the same weight as the round pot on the books. Perspective seems to be correct and while there is no reference to a background, I think the height on the candle draws your eye down through the negative space to the objects below.IMG_6388

I enjoy playing with the background to images at the moment, they really can add to the depth and feel of a piece. so the above Conte on old print works for me because of the added gravitas on the aged pages. I haven’t yet worked out how to get that crisp line I like and can get with Derwent pastel pencils, (or can rub along with unisons) with Contes, so I’m not totally happy with the slightly un-crisp glassware on the right. However, the composition works. The elements are recognisably 3 dimensional and the shadows created as the light bounces around one item hidden from another, feel believable. I can see the weight of the jug adding to the bowl and sitting on the 2 books below. I admit I don’t really think about light as I’m creating, it really is a process of intense focus, then sitting back slightly surprised at how well its worked out. So I’m really happy with the way curve on the wooden bowl has come out.

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Sketchbook work, gel pen on tissue, I really like the first of the two sketches, the tight composion leads in an s shape to the fallen bottle at the front. It could have done with being larger, but the shadows under ground it and the pink isn’t an unappealing negative space. The green didn’t work, the gunmetal metallic grey pen I started with ran out of ink part way through so I moved on to a silver that acted as a highlight. But only when you move the picture into a certain direction.

This set up was the remains of dinner, so is the most honest still life so far…

Then we have this dip pen and ink A3 number, which I can’t say I’m too keen on. the cat turned up and sat right behind it buggering up the light and shadows, She didn’t settle in one position for a while, so I couldn’t really add her in to the picture.


Its not worked in enough with the shadows, the relationships between the objects suffer as a result. As accurate as it is, its a fail for me.

Exercise 1 finishes with an A2 in 2B

Megan Cheetham

4 individual perfume bottles resting on a scarf that is half chiffon and half braided lace in a pale colour. I am happy with the layout, perspective, light and shine to objects, I have included the contents and the shadows both through the bottles and beneath them, to reveal the liquid contents, while anchoring them to the scarf. They fill the paper well and the added scarf helps to link them to each other as do the reflections of the bottles and the shadows of them.

I believe I have exhibited a confidence in the medium and my ability to manipulate it, helping me to make calm sensitive expressive marks. I am happy with this picture.

handbag book this week

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Part 2 Exercise 1 Basic shapes and fundamental form preliminary sketch work. Pt 1

I’m not sure how I’ve managed to fit in 3 sketches around work and this evenings taxi run to cubs, today.

Lets discuss the results.

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First was fine liner pen on a4 over software manual (due to be pulped, guilt free surface creation) the effect is good, the perspective is squewed. I can do better than this, as displayed in image 2, the individual perspectives of each shape worked, as did the relationships and the medium. I also like the way it fills the space.

The dip pen on A3 is a successful picture. The composition gathered at the bottom of the paper, draws the eye up by the candle and pulls the eye to the vase on the books, I didn’t intentionally darken this part, and I could do with revisiting and darkening the pewter pot in the foreground, however, I realise the way I have worked into this image is more appropriate to exercise 2, which is a shame. I’ve left out the window ledge this collection is set up on, which would partially explain the amount of light behind.

I’m waiting for Conte crayons in the post, and I want to try compositional work in charcoals. I also want to set up some A2 sheets with print over-lays to work over, I really like the effect, I have to work harder to make my input the most visible while still creating something that doesn’t fight.

Part 1 exercise 1. Calm and Joy Mark making

It has taken a couple of days to get these two complete, the house is in a state of DIY uproar and three years of art has now been crammed into our bedroom and I am tripping over it and dust is everywhere. So finding moments of Joy have been a bit of a struggle…

It is however an explosive state and that has come out in the pictures. I am happiest with the blue pencil crayon, this was done with Derwent inktense pencil which when wetted, become jewel like in colour, I like the feel of the splat of brighter colour in the middle. I also like the charcoal on orange, no rubbing in, a simple single line that seems quite light to me.

Pen on paper worked well, and the graphite stick turned into a flower. Sorry about that, I know that the brief was no recognisable images.

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Calm also had me a bit perplexed, its difficult to mark make and just that, no pictures or recognisable images. But its also difficult to pretend that calm as my standard default drawing state is anything other than calculated, planned and controlled. I think this ends up being reflected in the work. either that or it looks like my idea of calm is anything but. I am least happy with the scratch through acrylic

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What have I learnt? Emotions are not like busses. so you can’t really plan a body of work around a specific feeling and sit and wait for it to come along. I also think the work lacks the punch a planned well thought through piece needs and personally it reiterated my view that emotions change to fast to sustain for anything but the quickest of sketches.

Emotive mark making for exercise 1 complete

Research point: Contemporary works

Look for contemporary works where you sense some of the artists feeling – where the marks, lines, etc., offer something of the artists state of mind. Look for speed, pressure, angles, curves, jabbing marks, disjointed and rough marks, etc. For example, see Julie Brixey-Williams’ drawing locationotation at http// make notes in your learning log and consider whether art is really capable of expressing emotion. After all, a drawing is not (usually) a human being so how might it act as an emotional conduit between artist and viewer? Is it the image, the medium or the act that brought the art work into being that makes it ‘expressive’ or ‘expressionist’? Or is it all of these and more?

To be expressive, you are conveying a thought or feeling or sense of something, and technically lines/ marks on the paper can do that and a piece of art can excite, enthral, revolt. Is it the marks or the content? I’ve already commented on how I believe some work can be expressive of confidence in the medium. It can display a knowledge of shape and create a response from the viewer in the final image.

We are asked to look at Locationotation by Julie Brixey-Williams.

Julie’s work  ‘Explores the two-way relationship that the body shares with space, bringing together various approaches such as collage, installation, photography, performance and drawing that aim to expose the traces and choreographic hieroglyphs created in movement’ ( The piece locationotation is I feel, expressive of movement, the lines are graceful, much like the movement of the pirouette the work is based on (a number of ballet dancers performed a pirouette at the same time all around the country. the expression of this movement was then transposed to paper by Julie with graphite) the repetition of the action and then the marks on paper creating an almost 3 dimensional shape which describes the sense of the action, without showing the form or background or the effort a ballet dancer has to go through and muscle control required to create the movement. Maybe we are supposed to feel Julies joy at the sense of movement? I don’t know, I’m more inclined to think that the effort getting everything to work together as a background and then thinking through the motion and technique for the final artistic work probably took away from the original rush of emotion that conceived the idea. I get no sense of emotion from Julie in this way. 


Looking at Julie’s work, I think I get a better sense of the repetitive movement as individuals from One Second Ballet, I can believe each long dedicated strand of graphite is a single persons action. I think this is more expressive than Locationotation.

But again is not a swiftly felt emotion captured on paper, its taken too long to set up to achieve that. even if the style is loose, its too well documented.


In Susan Turcot’s Ghost pictures, she seems to use emotional marks, possibly to display her frustration, anger or confusion about the world and specific events. However she has had to depict the events in pictures so they make sense before creating an area of haphazard marking, dark scribbles over the work. This as a comment without words is expressive, but it feels a bit false to me, having put so much time and effort into the rest of the picture, to quickly mark with jagged lines over a specific bit seems a waste, but maybe thats her point.


Her 2007 work, Wellington is to me more effective than this earlier work, the faces themselves seem unfinished. So the dark, heavy, seemingly uncontrolled areas work as a good comparison to the softness of the faces making them feel almost eerie and slightly lost.


After seeing the work of Julia Atkinson at my local gallery, I can say I admire her expressive use of charcoal, her pictures show sweeping lines confidently burning across the paper, showing an admiration for the way nature has formed something. These are a joyful record of the structure within some plants.


Also, Sebastian Hammwohners pictures captured my imagination. His expressive use of dark backgrounds to set off coloured lines produces pieces that make you look twice But I think I am more gazing in wonder at the technique rather than the potential meaning the artist may have been trying to get across…


Untitled (2003 pastel on paper Vitamin D Phaidon Press 2011)

Overall, I would say that most art takes longer to make than the emotion can be held onto with the same fire it originally burned with. Emotion at the time the idea pops into the head of the creator can predict the effect the artist wants the work to have, the choice of medium and how it is used can add to that and create pieces that then have an effect on the viewer. Yes, I can see expressive marks, but they could have all been planned and within the continuing style an artist already has with a medium, at a specific size, having achieved the zone on that given day. Elizabeth Peyton according to Vitamin D (New perspectives in drawing. Phaeton Press reprinted 2013) page 252 ‘she admits unashamedly to loving many of her subjects’ and I can see that in her pictures, the faces stare back at you and I can almost believe they love me back, the pictures are intimate in the use of the tools used, but we’re talking celebrates for a large chunk of her work, so actually either she’s a stalker or thats her style, her technique.


Control is actually really important in art. Without control of the materials I use to make a picture, I don’t replicate the idea and point in time internally or externally I have had the idea to recreate. A forceful scrawl of charcoal on paper can show how dark my emotions are but cannot necessarily make sense of them, I need to put an image down somehow to convey to the viewer the extent of the thought/emotion and even then there is no guarantee my hoped for reaction is going to be picked up.

So I think that its more the thought on what/how I’m going to make that image and my technique and style that has the impact in the final product than my emotional state at the time I am making the marks.

Part 1. Exercise 1. Emotive marks: Anger

Creating art and making it obviously emotional is tough, I don’t paint and draw angry, I go for a drive. Go for a run, find somewhere to be away from that which helped create the anger and calm down. I tend to have anger as a real loud burst rather than the seething long-winded kind. I’ll admit I’m a cow and verbally nasty when I’m that pissed off, and to be honest, you are probably going to lose the argument. So making marks whilst trying to contain that kind of emotion is difficult.

Also, the fact that art is to me a calming action doesn’t really help…

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Anger as a mark is swift strong and destructive. it leaves an indelible mark you can’t miss and is almost structural in what it leaves behind.

Piece 1, liner and pigment pens on white paper. I ended up using 3 or 4 different pens for this, the speed I was dragging the pens across the paper was too fast for the ink to make it down to the end of the pen, so I kept having to rest them. I was also concerned I’d break them, they aren’t as cheap as own brand ketchup, especially the permanent ones. The way the ink distributed itself at each end of the line was completely unintended, but its created a ball in the centre of the paper that is almost three dimensional as the physical shape of anger. I quite like that as an idea. On paper, I can contain my anger, even if externally and verbally I can’t.

Piece 2 was a thin layer of acrylic with a squidge of black poster paint in it (I’m not too sure why) this was spread over the paper with one of my favourite tools, the amazon gift card, the scratch lines where created with an embossing tool and a pallet knife. I was pissed off, I nearly went through the paper.The initial spreading moved the matt poster paint over and into the glossy acrylic, this was then moved further with the drawing tools.

Piece 3 wasn’t created the same day as 2, but the idea of going through the paper stuck with me as an idea, so as the box (the really thick book ) Vitamin D arrived in was un branded, having cut it up into usable surfaces, this seemed the ideal opportunity to take the mark making further. I used a small screwdriver and scratched through , remaking some marks and chewing up the surface. This piece would have more impact if I’d painted the top a nice contrasting colour to cardboard brown. the rips would really show through, however I think this would take it from plain anger to violent and I didn’t go through the bottom of the board.

Piece 4 is Derwent charcoal pencil followed by willow charcoal sticks on orange pastel paper.

the initial cross hatches where smudged over creating a background for the second layer of marks. I think this is effective.

All of these pieces use straight lines and no curves. they are not soft and delicate. Even though they are all different mediums on different surfaces, they are essentially the same mark.

Part 1. Exercise 1. Emotive marks: Frustration

Ok, I haven’t used A1 paper. I don’t have any. I also haven’t used A2 as I think separating the 4 pieces gives me more head space to create distinct lines and formations in their own place instead of worrying too much about whether they are too similar. This means I can use a relevant surface for the medium. pastel papers have a tooth that I appreciate or maybe experiment with the surface? (not much point experimenting in the sketch book to not use the learning in the exercises really) The exercise calls for one colour per piece in mark making medium, I realise that white or black against different colours is moving away from the brief, but the background colour is (for me) helping with -as a viewer- feeling the emotion. and changes your perception on how intensely the marks affect you.

Frustration (completed a couple of days ago, I still haven’t achieved the habit of pressing save, even on drafts, so what I wrote at the time did not get published before the PC had a blip and got shut down)

I work 25 hours and a bit a week. I volunteer at the same school, as that is where my children go, I am a mother and a wife and the chair of my Children’s PTA. There are lots of demands on my time and headspace.

Our home is a standard sized 1950’s property designed for the amount of belongings a 1950’s family own. They don’t expect the man of the house to have a hobby playing guitars (plural, even though theres only one pair of hands) and they don’t expect the wife to have enough craft stuff to cover a large range of creative options, or an increasing number of books for children to learn to read from or that I have picked up over the years. And I like books.

The washing does not do itself, the meals don’t create themselves. Also the ages of 9 & 10, my children need company getting too and from places.

So you see, frustration has a very real and enclosing place in my life when you think of how I plan to fit in all I need to and then this course, or working on anything artistic. So an obvious one to draw from for emotive mark making. (I realise these are first world problems and how lucky I am)

Frustration is a repetitive, limited feeling and I think that is reflected in the pieces created on the back of this

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They are pattern forming as they happen again and again, the marks are quite impressed into the paper, but there is still control there.

I like the green pastel on white paper, the overlays between circles almost like ripples in water. I also like the white gel pen lines on dark blue. its not thought through to much, its just a bunch of lines in the same place, but its striking in its simplicity and such a contrast from the darkness and empty space around it.

I want to use the same mediums for all the emotions, partially to see a direct contrast in the marks and also because then as companion pieces, I have an option on looking at them by medium as well as by emotion. It makes for useful comparisons.

Top left is pencil on paper and top right is Derwent coloured pencil I can accept both patterns as being explanatory to the emotion, I would however, prefer them to be in a stronger medium, I like my work to pop of the surface a bit more. and I don’t think the pencil really says frustration strongly enough from the white paper unless you get up close enough to see the impressions on the surface.

Keeping up with the sketchbook…

I’ve still not found the time to sit in front of the easel and concentrate enough to do emotion. My home is invaded by my offspring till the education system takes them back Tuesday and I’m in for a TD on Monday while they stay at home. I should get some quiet next week though, in the afternoons while they are still up the hill being educated and as much as I’ve got to finish painting a Henry on the wall of a cleaning cupboard, that shouldn’t take too much of my time.

I have been playing in my sketchbook though, doing things I haven’t done since childhood and have never done before.


This is poster paint over crayon. I remember doing this in primary school. I don’t remember it taking so long to dry. I like the effect though.I’ve been reading Vitamin D and was drawn to the work of Daniel Hammwohner, he has used this over crayon technique,. I like the effect, its strong, not subtle, I couldnt just make marks, they had to make sense, to give me something to judge how useful the technique is. so the hand.


This is with a dip pen and acrylic inks. The dip pen arrived yesterday, so I set too trying the various nibs. I scratched the paper quite a bit, there are definitely nibs that don’t work for me. This evening, I thought I’d try something a bit more detailed. I like the effect, I’ve used acrylic inks, so I can still do a wash of colour over if I want to.