Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 1

D1 Assignment 1 A personal still life

Choosing objects to draw has been a challenge all of its own for me. The key was an easy choice, it represents my ability to do this course in the first place, its the gate key to the site where I work, a place without which I would not have remembered I can paint and draw in the first place. Through two of the schools onsite, being given back some of the confidence that eroded through 6 years of full-time motherhood and general marriage, plus the financial ability to pay for this higher education. I’ve attached the keyring as it was a gift from a leaving pupil in return for a painting of a duck I handed on. I think it adds weight to the key creating a larger impression around that object.

To me the shell represents time with my children on Boscombe beach. its a thing I try to do most holidays, we are only 45 mins away and its a beautifully non threatening place to go. Sam and Jamie go play in the sand, I can sit and keep an eye on them and either study, draw or read.

This leads to the cup. A V&A porcelain mug I picked up in the staff shop when I worked at Waitrose. I originally had two, that didn’t last long. I like drinking coffee out of porcelain, same as I like drinking water out of a stemmed water/beer glass. I think its something I picked up from my Gran. I’ve chosen the finer things in life that are achievable, that make it worthwhile to me, and I look at those, even if the things around aren’t perfect.

Some would say I have an addiction to coffee. I don’t think its an addiction, just a necessary tool to get my communication abilities working in the morning.

The pewter coffee pot is something of my grans. At time of writing, my granny is still with us and has been handing stuff on to lessen the load on the house. The pewter pot and other pewter items (I’m sure they aren’t the same era) were things I played with when I was growing up, they have a weight and patina that adds to their age, and they are beautiful objects that remind me of my Grans style and taste as well as reminding me of my grandparents and the rocks they have been in my life.

The next issue is what medium do I choose to represent the items in? I have made extensive use of ink and charcoal and graphite throughout the lead up to this assignment piece, I would say I have had most innovative success with ink, however, the feel of the ink picture, is not as representative of my feelings for the objects.


The first picture completed was the A2 graphite, this is drawn on a prepared surface of brown parcel paper attached to a half sheet of 200 gsm cream cartridge paper, this has presented a wrinkled surface which I then put a light layer of gesso over to bring up the tone in the graphite. The overall effect is falsely ageing, which given the nature of the pewter pot is relevant. The composition brings the eye down from the top of the pot or reaches out from the centre, there is an area of deep shading at the central point that helps guide focus.


The second picture again on a preprepared back including the matt medium adhered wrapping paper, this time with wet on wet acrylic ink spatter, these spatters are approx. relating to the objects, the pattern on the cup is blue on white, the pewter is the darkest object. The items were grouped slightly closer together for this picture, and the use of white gel pen contrasted well with the backing. I like this as an image, I believe it works as a picture, I just don’t get the feel as much as the other two pictures, it is too sharp for me.


The third picture that rounds off this assignment is a charcoal sketch created over a layer of charcoal, treated reductively (if thats correct). The major issue with this piece is that the brief called for an A3-A2 piece and this is on A1 (Mi-Tientes pastel paper in a soft pale grey colour). My decision to do this is based on my blending technique and the size of my fingers. I use blending tools extensively in my use of soft pastels, I can work layers, stabilising with fixative as I go, achieving the finest lines and blending with the tools, however, they took off too much of the charcoal in this instance and as much as I will quietly wear out my fingerprints rubbing mediums into paper, the size of the bendable area has to be greater than my finger.

The effect is a soft representation of the objects, which I have rendered 3 dimensionally through shading and tone. There is less of an interaction between the cup and the pot in this version than the ink, where you can see the cup bounce back, but thats due to the time of day the picture was done. the shadow on the pot (added to with conte crayon) helps bring up the light on the cup, in this piece, I am most amazed at how well the lightest areas show up given I haven’t drawn on brilliant white paper.

I think this assignment has added to my skills well, my understanding of rendering shade has come on, as well as the speed which I sketch at. It has introduced me to ink drawing and made me think about the subject I choose to draw emotively as well as just a pleasing image.

I have enjoyed viewing artworks by Odilon Redon, and its due to this research I ended up doing the final assignment in charcoals.

The aspect I have played with most is the surface I have worked on, this is more in deference to the single colour nature of the exercises and the added impact effect I believe I have been able to achieve by undercoating the lines I have drawn.

The toughest part of this section was the emotive marks at the beginning, finding the time and place to carry these out in a family home is difficult, I think this aspect is going to continue to be my greatest challenge moving forward.