Category Archives: Part 2

Project 6 At home

Ex 1 Quick sketches around the house

I started in the lounge and worked in A2, this was a bit generous for quick sketches, I haven’t got a working brush pen for a thicker line at the moment so they ended up spidery, but unsmudgeable. I like that….

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Because of the challenge of drawing each items perspective, the corners are favourite pictures of mine. Just to explain, my easel is in the lounge, next to the bookcase so that area is very cluttered and our home is on the downward slope, so over the road is much higher and behind the equivalent lower.

The rest of the quick sketches are in my sketchbook two per page, so are a4. this is a much more meaningful size for the nib of my pen.

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My favourite room was my daughters bedroom, she has a bunkbed so the opportunities for interesting angles were much better than everywhere else. however, the opposition to a long stay meant I wasn’t going to do any more than quick sketches. I also enjoyed the toilet, drawn from about a third down the stairs, its quite an imposing angle on the loo, which works for me.

Also like the downstairs hallway, I have a table tucked under the stairs where I can set up still lifes and lay paper down to dry but the view the other way worked better, even taking into account sketching down the stairs.

Ex 2 Composition – an interior

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I picked the hall by the front door for these sketches as they represent a lot of information I can choose from. they get the best daylight in the late afternoon evening from the window to the left of the stairs. I varied my sketching position between standing, sitting and on the floor, I ended up seated at my table for the rest of the exercises as that is the best place to work. so I missed some of the melodrama an upward angle would afford from the floor, for the ability to remove myself from the space around paper and board to big to move.

The pencil sketch has enough information for me, the parquet is more than required and I prefer the colour of the line, mostly as I know the walls are a pale yellow.

Ex3 Tonal Study


I was beginning to lose the will to live by this point. my house is a mess, mostly due to the volume of art stuff littering it and the  number of books I have purchased this year versus the number of new bookshelves acquired to put them on. but here is my tonal study, it looks like I was bored, because I was.



Light sketch under without viewing the paper, ink and brush the lines, colour wash, representing the 2 sides and floor. white crayon was applied prior to wash to ensure the strongest light areas where kept clear. I could work into this more, but it would end up dark, and then it wouldn’t represent the space.

Ex 5 Mixed media.

I moved to the lounge for this one, the light radiating from my floor lamp is warm and inviting and I have a peace lilly planted in a jam jar hanging on the swivel arm. my sofa arm is a warm red and the walls a rich golden yellow. my mixed media studies as a result are all warm.

IMG_7362This one is pencil with oil pastels and ink wash, this hasn’t worked, the oil didn’t resist the acrylic ink wash and the effect is muddy. but because of the oil pastels, I can’t overlay a pen and strengthen the shapes

IMG_7365Tried again with ink line prior to pastel. line is stronger than colour, this also hasn’t worked for me

IMG_7361I gesso’d the first two pieces of paper, this one I attached the labels of some ale (the colours match my lounge) and washed the back with acrylic yellow ochre loosened with matt medium most of the rest is permanent marker with some conte white to highlight over. This is my favourite of the four, the shapes are strong and the white under light comes through well.

IMG_7358 I sat on the sofa for this one, so a much different perspective on the lamp  which misses out placing it with the sofa arm., this one is perm marker, oil pastels pencil crayons and that was enough. I was happy with the previous one so I wasn’t enthusiastic with this.

Pt2 Project 5 Pets and other animals

My parents took me to a Lanseer exhibition when I was about 10? Huge imposing paintings of great animals displayed to feature their best. I can only really remember the stag, in a dark landscape. Impressive, but not as memorable as the Turners we saw.

Which is a great diservice to the cause of animals in art. Its also not drawing.

We have cats, they are 15 and 16 years of age and given the expensive senior cat food they munch, are pretty active in a kind of oh look, you’ve moved out of it the beds ours for the day kind of way. So not really up for an interesting sketch unless you want the disdainful sleeping thing…

So, I visited some horses from a friend.

Exercise 1 IMG_7146   IMG_7149 IMG_7150

this represents the first days sketches, in the field there is a white pony and a white horse. All sketching was done around the middle of the day, 2 sessions on hot days and the last was humid and we had had rain. The horses weren’t in the best of moods for the last one, but it meant they moved and flicked, presenting ticks.IMG_7148IMG_7147

The first days sketches developed towards the end with more muscle visible as I noticed the bone and strength around the face, neck and legs.


Day 2 presented the movement for my first exercise, the sketching is becoming more accurate with a feel for the individual animals

IMG_7177 This is my A1 sketch for Ex1, its not as much of a line darwing as I would like, I have softened it with the water solulbe pencils, but it represents the lack of movement and relaxed feel of the ‘sittings’

Ex2 is the foxes skull which I have played with in my sketchbook already. The graphite sketches I created when I originally borrowed it were strong work, and far better than the charcoal work I achieved in readiness for the final exercise piece. however I am aware that I have issues working charcoal small (still resting my hand on the page) and wanted the challenge of creating with the medium in a larger size as my feedback from assignment one had included comments on not blending it seemed an ideal point to prove that I am happy with charcoal.

I rested the skull on black fabric, I wanted to be able to see a direct contrast between the bone and not bone. then worked the paper (A2) with a thick wash of acrylic yellow ochre, overlaid with two coats of gesso, this gave the paper a warm old feel which seemed relevant given the subject, as well as some tooth for the medium.

I used a 5.6mm lead holder with charcoal which I can sharpen with a pencil sharpener, getting a fine point with pastels/charcoal and conte has been a bone of contention for me so this provides an answer for at least one option.


Ex3 using line and tone.


The third days sketches where more prone to movement because the pair where annoyed, with me and each other, the flies where doubly annoying and the flicked more. this is a movement blended from two sketches, the background is blank as I don’t think its necessary, the horse is grounded with dirt and its own shadow. Its quite heavy to me, but I am happy with the shapes I created the horse with. its done on pastel paper just shy of a1 with conte crayons.

Ex 4 Using source material

The exercise asks us to pick anatomically based pictures, use them for study then personalise the style, make it our own.

I’ve gone with Stubbs as he dissected horses for a while before he painted them, which explains why he was so good at them. his detailed sketches show skin level, peeled to muscles, then down to bone.

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My interpretation is a gel pen and light ink wash with a hint of grey permanent marker,sketch of the head on a preprepared brown paper stuck on water colour sheet, washed with inks. Its supposed to show movement as it swings round, the intense scribbling that works the effect is too long winded for it to have worked though and I keep being told it looks like a unicorn ?!?  If I add the boddy to the left, it just unbalances the picture, and it makes no sense to do that without adding the legs bottom right. Win some and lose some.


Pt2 Project4 EX4 Monochrome


Mackerel are cheap, they don’t take up much space in the fridge and 3 of them balance on a couple of chiller blocks out of the freezer easily, which is handy when you are creating on a hot day and the bloke at the fish counter states that mackerel start to smell faster than all the other fish….

Incorporating a man made object, a plate. why a plate? in my natural home setting meat only sits on plates as an end product (a meal) or because its defrosting. another block of wood picture? I’ve done a few of those in the last couple of weeks already.

Fish needs to be wrapped in something to transport it and plates have a finish that is rarely anything less than shiney, so I think I’ve really achieved a contrast in textures as asked for by the exercise.

Why yellow? looking at my fish i could detect many colour options that would work on their own or all together, thats the thing about an iridescent surface however, yellow stood out as the most common colour. but by its nature, I couldn’t justify colouring in the whole fish and by gessoing the spot where the fish lay, they stand out from the print as it repeats the effect of them being lit from overhead. The fish are definitely the stars of this picture

I keep feeling I am cheating as I come up with solutions for pictures, should I have drawn the newspaper? It would have changed the effect and possibly the levels of meaning, it wouldn’t have had the viewer thinking about the extra layers, and would I think look less contemporary.

I’m really happy with the effect I have achieved with this piece. Its a really strong picture and would work well as a series of different fish lit the same way to help achieve the colour blending to the edge of the paper. Its A2, newspaper acrylic mediumed onto thick watercolour paper then 2 layers of gesso to the centre. Black fine liner pen, grey letraset marker pen for the shadows, a light pencil crayon to apply the yellow to the fish and yellow/yellow ochre acrylic mix to wash the newspaper. then a light rub of silver acrylic paint over some parts of the fish.

Project 4 Still Life, EX1 using line EX2 using tone EX3 experimenting with mixed media


Putting depth in a still life involves shading and tone, so the grouping of objects when those are denied you, is more important. After some brief sketches in the sketchbook around positioning the items, the first picture in this exercise is more illustrative than painterly, its a selection of objects on the same paper, but there is nothing to connect them other than their obvious link to water.


Picture two, has the overlap of objects that gives the scene more believability, but I accurately darkened the seaweed and its taking too much prominence as a result of which I don’t like it as much as I think I should.IMG_0198

Picture three I’ve pretty much ignored the seaweed and personally, I don’t find it stops the picture from explaining to you the viewer, what everything is. the white top left is the tiny window under the stairs, which is west facing (ish) so was brighter than the bleached  starfish I like the way that the light frames the objects and helps centre your eye unusually off centre to the paper. Would I crop the paper to frame this piece? Don’t know, square would work well, but I kind of like the unfinished side. Is it a cheat as the light is adding depth? Yup. Its too much of a study otherwise.

Ex 2 I took this exercise 2 ways, one is to the letter, 3 colours that reference light, mid and dark tones to create the image, the colours limited as they are then after creating one of the pictures that way, I added colour on top.


Don’t like this one, its unfinished and messy.


This is more finished, you can tell the distinct shapes of the objects but it lacks the crisp edges. these two where Derwent pastel pencils, they are harder and less expressive than my proper soft pastels, the smaller medium is really good for fine detail, features and the like, but they don’t lay down colour with the same immediacy as my Unisons and Jacksons pastels. also, I used sketching paper which doesn’t grab the medium in the same way as the Daler Rowney pastel paper below.


This is three colours over dark paper and a brown to denote separation of the objects from the wood of the table. Its done quickly and I’m really happy with it. I’ve accurately depicted the board the apples and jug resting on it and the shapes of the objects are believably round. Of course it helps that there is a bevelled edge to the cheese board for the light to reflect off to legitimatly provide an edge and therefore a line, hey, who am I to argue.


This is my favourite, the red as an addiditon brings the apples right out of the picture Its a really fast creation that as much as I think breaks the rules of the exercise, makes it the best of the 4 pictures. however, the most accurate to the request is the third

Just using tone can create beautiful impressions, but I feel they lack the clarity and focus to get you attention. they are indistinct images.

Mixed media is currently something I really enjoy using. The only issue is normally, will that medium work on that layer. I like the depth you can get working into a picture so there is more for a viewer to search out without overburdening  the image with iconology (I’m a simple soul).


my continued viewing of Picasso’s Drawings 1890-1921 (Yale University Press 2011 Organised by Susan Grace Galassi and Marilyn McCully) is continuing to influence the lines I’m creating, Picasso as much as he played with media extensively, created strong lines and clearly defined shapes, I am still strongly taken with the Henry Moore overworking with charcoal, and while the first try of this exercise was a fail due to the angle I was working at, mostly because of the size I chose to work (A1, unfortunately, the space I am working in isn’t really big enough to put the easel, I managed it in the end, but not before I originally taped the paper to the wall and stood to sketch in the objects. this put them on the wrong angle and separated them from each other from the start. Which is a shame, if I had achieved the right angle I wanted from the beggining, I would have persisted with the first picture and I believe it would have been successful.


This second image works for me as a collection of objects creating a different landscape. the bottom layer is an old envelope, wrapping paper and patterned tissue attached with acrylic medium. Next is a wash of loose colours in acrylic paint. Then I tried pencil and charcoal and couldn’t get the strength in the line I was creating, so went to using an acrylic ink and Chinese style writing brush. this then had an overlay of permanent markers, and some dip pen with Conte over that. Thats created the most depth and took the back piece further away. Final highlight with white acrylic ink to bring the starfish over the brown paper and a couple of edges on the shell and I have a piece that successfully displays the objects in A2 (fits on my table) going back in space.

I admit the use of found papers at the back sort of creates a false background to the piece, but thats a different level of interest which I think I’ve toned down to a point where it compliments.

So, the line gives the detail, the tone the place in the space. Next is colour…

Project 3 Detailed observation of natural objects Line drawing with continuous line is inExercise 1 Using markers or dip pens Exercise 2 Detail and simple line Exercise 3 Detail and tone

Now I had much more fun playing with this exercise!

IMG_6820 Sketchbook work on line and detail of objects, mixing graphite, pen and charcoal/chalk, over colour wash

IMG_6849Colour swatching some new letraset Promarkers, they are fantastic to overlay to get the colours I want, the problem being in a house where interesting fruit and veg don’t exist without me buying them to draw/ferment or preserve in sugar, man made objects are brighter.IMG_6882

IMG_6871These are letraset and fineliner. I really like them both.

The final piece for this as a result of me arsing around with tins and packets, is in my sketchbook.


Its letraset and charcoal but comes over quite sublime colourwise considering the medium. I like the fact there is negative space in the bottom left corner, your eye runs diagonally through the branch with the shadows on the stones, even though the stack of stones is upright.

I have alongside this wasted some time reading ‘Looking at the Overlooked’ Four essays on Still Life Painting by Norman Bryson (reaktion Books Ltd 1995 reprint) the four essays (Xenia, Rhopography, Abundance and Still life and feminine space) were very interesting. Well three of them were (rhopograghy, the study of the small things around religious and historical messages especially) and the fourth lost a chunk of my interest the moment Freud and Oedipus got mentioned. Understanding why pictures where created in their time is important alongside the how of it. However, taking the roots back to a rebellion against your relationship with your mother and the ordered space of domesticity negates the potential of comparing it against a similar quantity of work by women. We just haven’t counted throughout history as much as men so the work does not exist/ is not attributed to us. Stating we therefore wouldn’t create pictures the same given the requirements in saleable art at the time is small-minded to say the least. I read this book as a gentleman on an OCA course suggested my final piece for assignment 1 was strangely masculine given that I am female. In my defence, in this day and age, for the purpose of this course, I am allowed to composite my still life’s with things relevant to me and my life (according to the request of the course). I am not creating these pieces for a client with a message in mind, I am learning about materials methods and genres, as much as I am studying historical context alongside. OK its a way of looking at content, but it negates that a picture can just be a picture for its own sake.

This one might have just got my goat a bit.

Ex 2 was a pain in the arse. line drawings aren’t complex, they are no more difficult than any other drawing. I found myself tied up with the item to draw though and it took a while to work out why the two halves of a cabbage were giving me such grief. they would not sit comfortably in a picture with other items of foodstuff.


It finally dawned on me that I kept arranging them side by side and they reminded me of body parts.

IMG_7100After I worked out the problem, it was much easier to work out how to involve them in a picture. They form the first layer over red paper, in white, aided by some filler with an atomiser. the next layer in another colour builds on this, as two halves of a red onion. this all seems quite clinical to me without the extra colour to fill it in. this doesn’t worry me though, and body parts don’t always need the addition of colour to be correct and identifiable…


Exercise 3 Detail and tone I Bought Faber Castell Polychromos pencil crayons after looking at reviews. I’ve got Derwent inktense pencils, and when you wet them, they become much stronger in colour on the paper, however, I wasn’t impressed.

IMG_6769 IMG_6682 These do not involve cross hatching or strong backgrounds, however both represent overlaying colours with these pencil crayons to create the strength and correct chroma I wish to represent. They are believably three dimensional and look pleasantly edible.IMG_7101

This the final piece is in response to reading about Picasso’s Drawings 1890-1921 (Yale University Press 2011) Composition with a violin as a strong cubist image used newspaper under the drawing to help define a shape. I have used the paper to represent the table with a grain associated to it. However, all but the wall at the back are individual pieces of paper, collaged on. I made sure I cross hatched for this the final piece the effect is much free-er in the apples.


I am still having difficulty drawing down the thought processes and organising of the pictures I create, I am happier using the sketchbook to practice the techniques involved rather than the orientation of a picture, or a light source (which is a bit limited given I am left handed and working on a 90cm square table pinned into the area under the stairs the still life has to be to the right on the table so the drawing board can be on the left under my hand). Also, for this exercise, I actually used a still life set up I inadvertently did for a later exercise I started out of place (Pt 4 Ex2) its less close up than it should be but I really like the colour reference between the jug wood board and table and the apples, the red stands out, but works with the other objects.

Of the three exercises written up here, the last as a final piece I think works the best however I prefer the work that went alongside practising for the final pieces in both ex 1 and 3 much more. As ideas to bounce off the exercises are providing wonderfully well, however I am not happy with them on their own. They seem less worked in when I stick to the brief.

Project 2 Physical and visual texture Exercise 1 Experimenting

Frottage has to be used as a part of multimedia pictures, as experimentation for creating patterns its fun, for giving ideas on what shapes will create the patterns you put into work, its useful, but as an inclusion in art pieces, it is limiting. You can’t work through the paper you draw with, its too thick and potentially too unwieldy to take on location. Thin paper is delicate and has issues with damp, glue and creases. The medium you pick the frottage off with can be resistant to other layers you may put over the top (wax) or be delicate itself (charcoal)

IMG_68192 of fabrics 1 of a caster oil leaf

I have of course since this exercise found some interesting patterns in town I would like to capture, photographically and possibly through rubbings I will be dropping this stuff in throughout the course, its going to make the sketchbooks disjointed. But as its going to be a collection of A3 starter books joined together I’m not too worried.

Project 1, part 2. Exercise 1&2. Compositional sketches of man-made objects/Compositional studies of natural objects

My first group of objects was an espresso cup and saucer and a silver coffee bean spoon. these are objects that to me are beautiful in their simplicity, I hankered after a set of Silver bean coffee spoons for quite a while, then received them as a family secret santa gift ( I asked for them). I love the weight and balance as well as the shiny surface which tints the reflective shapes because of the patina in the metal. Placing the cup and saucer below the eye-line produces the most noticeable shadows and I think the spoon on the table to the side is more indicative of the ritual that is a good cup of coffee, however I like the eye level view too, especially as it was drawn after the sun had gone down so the back light on the wall was much lower, it becomes a much more thoughtful piece. I would probably choose that over the other images, the misplaced saucer over cup whilst having a lighter attachment has too many comedic connotations I don’t want to associate with a well drawn still life at this time. I would aim at A3 and go with pencil crayon, I think that could accurately depict the delicacy of the porcelain.

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I have also tried a second grouping with a mostly empty bottle of wine and an open box of Alker Seltzer. This seems much more cause and effect for a meaning, even if it is cliche´d. As its presenting the morning after I could aim at A1 for the final image, glaring light from the front and a harsher brighter medium, oil pastels, brighter soft pastels on a rough paper or marker pens.

Or maybe aim for a dirtier effect with a back wash of colour and fine-liner? its either the loud effect before the medication kicks in, or the story, that ‘Oh my god! What did I do?’ moment. If the latter, smaller size could work well. maybe down to A4, On the basis that the memory may be better forgotten?


Of the two group options, I prefer the wine bottle and the bottom left picture, some residual wine in the bottle, the lid on the table and the box open in front. It really could be drawn either way, hangover bright or remembering small. Or both and then decide after.

I read about the grid method in The new drawing on the right side of the brain  by Betty Edwards (published by Harper Collins 2001) Its presented in early exercises while drawing the hand, and is effective for measuring out accurately. I’m not happy with drawing the lines on the paper though because I have then got to remove them. If I am using lines for measurements, (Jacksons art shop has a grid app that tells you what the measurements would be for the lines and overlays them on a photo that is customisable to the size of paper you are using, I have used it to get the general distances in the final assignment piece in part 1, however, I put the tool down to look at the still life in front of me as soon as I was happy it was mostly accurate because I wanted to work with what was in front of me instead of the photo, something I knew I would have to do when I started doing this course) I tend to mark off the edge of the paper and the crossing points only and lightly. It does give greater accuracy, which when working to a large size can be preferable, it depends on how accurate you like your work to be. I’m not a huge fan of hyper realistic work, Photography is a skill that you have to learn much the same as painting and drawing, observation in sketching and drawing and an accurate technique is mildly addictive, for the satisfaction you get at the end, however, I think it then lacks the thing that makes it recognisable as the work of someone specific, it can lack the potential voice a picture can have.

Exercise 2

I picked an aubergine a marrow and a pepper as my natural objects as I liked the contrast in the colours. I expected my finished picture to have the pepper as the most prominent item due to the bright orange, however I’m not convinced the Aubergine didn’t become more focal.

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I toyed with the base, just table, (I tried this sketch in my sketchbook, in a Henry Moore style as recommended by my tutor, I have now read Blitz and Blockade: Henry Moore at the Hermitage.Fontanka; 1st Edition edition 2011. Its a good start, but its unrefined and flat to me) glass cake stand then napkin on cake stand to separate the veg from the brown wood of the table this brings the strong colours of the veg out and the napkin complements the negative space of the wall almost making the veg float.


The light ended up coming from above as I could get a starker almost clinical feel to the objects in front of me, this has not come across in the final piece which is infinitely softer and underworked.


I tried to create a pencil watercolour sketch in the style of Cezanne and I think I achieved the pallet if not the post-impression perspective, however, I think the overall colour is more reminiscent of  John Cotman without the almost paint by numbers effect I see in his work. I could have worked back through in pen and ink to attain a stronger sense of form, I don’t think the pepper has enough oomph to bring it forward or make it a believable, however, the aubergine a the focal works for me. I like the purples I think that the shape is both multidimensional and has an almost unreal shine to it that I like.

The man made objects are easier to create 3 dimensionally, mostly because of the uniform shape. I could have picked more difficult objects, like the perfume bottles from the last part, or a twisty vase I have that would have been more complex to render from the start. I also picked the veg based on colour, not texture. I have created a simple un-complex watercolour sketch that is pleasing on the eye but not challenging. I’ll have to make sure I don’t do that again, see if I can get the point just before a picture is ruined by doing too much to it.  Mostly because I am not going to learn if I don’t start pushing the working in and studying to re-work to make a picture take longer to create.

changing the composition around created different pictures, formal versus natural, portrait, square and landscape, different shadows, as much as the aubergine is the star of the picture, it is the same size as the marrow and definitely takes away from it, the pepper only became potentially prominent by moving it away from the dark of the aubergine, this means more observable reflections between the two.

Interesting exercise and nice to draw on the research, however, in doing all the reading I am leaving myself less time to fit in the drawing. This week my plan is two exercises and a book called Looking at the Overlooked (Reaktion Books LTD reprinted 1995), as a suggested book by a fellow student. As its payday on Thursday I will be ordering up my tutors other suggested artist to study which is Picasso.  I have however got my children and my schools summer fayre at the end of the week, so its dubious as to how much I will actually fit in…

Amendment. I went back into the veg and worked it with the pencil crayons which created a more pleasing 3d effect.