The task for this assignment was ‘to select a view from a window or from an open door. Try to find a view that includes some natural objects: trees, shrubs, pot plants, fields or garden plants’ also to ‘try and find a view that will demonstrate your understanding of aerial or linear perspective – in other words a view that has some depth to it.’
The brief also says to ‘look for a view that offers an opportunity to draw straight-lined objects as well as items drawn from nature, buildings, gates, fences and so on. It then says that ‘this may all seem like a lot to look for, but most views from windows and doors will offer you a bit of all these things’…
I have spent the best of two months trying to find a window or a door with view with any of these things and came up almost empty handed. The view from the 26th floor of an apartment block in Bangkok only offers you one of the most complex city views you could ever imagine.
I took a camera with me everywhere trying to find a view that would accommodate the criteria for this assignment and almost came up empty handed and then right at the last week of the school term, the last week in February for me I dropped on 2 views (by accident).
One was the view from the top floor of the school, which offered mostly concrete and not much of anything else, the other was a view from the school’s second floor window looking out of one of the windows of the school building that I had drawn in both ‘A Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings‘ and a ‘Limited Palette Study from Your Sketches‘.
I decided to start by having a go at sketching all three, starting with the view from the second floor window, which even on the small preliminary (rough) sketch in my notebook proved very technical.
The second was a half-hearted sketch of the view from my apartment window, working from the photograph I gave up after 5 minutes realizing that it wasn’t a drawing suited to the size of paper that they wanted us to do the final drawing on (A3). But maybe it would be something I would like to come back to later with the possibility that it could be painted in a style close to L.S. Lowry.
The third sketch was from the window of the classroom on the top floor, which all though had most of everything, the tree in the view wasn’t very big at all and so after a second larger (partial) sketch on A3 I decided that I was to go with the view from the 2nd floor window.
View from the 2nd Floor Window
I started do do a study in line of what I could see from the window. This turned out to be a partially finished drawing but helped me to decide to crop the view to the middle window as it was very technical with the roof beams. It also helped me to decide on getting rid of the railings on the windows.
My next drawing was in A4 and was basically a quick sketch to see if I could meet the assessment criteria in my final drawing.
After the Study of several trees exercise I said that it give me an idea for the final drawing and that was to use oil pastels as I was impressed by the way they left white specs on the paper reminding me of a Seurat painting and if I had committed to the view from the classroom window I would have probably gone with that medium…after trying other mediums first of course. But, with the more intense view out of the 2nd floor window, on the small size paper I decided that it would have to be done in colour pencils.
Still, even though I had already made my mind up the Assignment had asked for broad brush stroke studies to decide on the colours I would use for the final drawing so I tried a couple of mediums that were very different to what I had decided on drawing for the final drawing.
Both of the studies turned out to be quite pleasing and both mediums quite feasible. It was the first time I had used the liquid watercolour as a paint and not as an ink and even though the colours were great, my watercolour painting skills leave a lot to be desired.
I had been plodding on too slowly with this assignment and to be honest that’s because I was not happy with the subject and it was very stressful but eventually I had to start the final drawing and it had to be in dry watercolour pencil.
An English language student asked me the other day what I thought has been the hardest medium to draw with and when I replied colour pencil they weren’t surprised. The Derwent artist are very waxy so I prefer using the watercolour, dry, but stillI do have problems blending even though my I have come along way since the beginning of the course.
I started by drawing the shape of the window to act as a border then I drew in the window at the side and the roof beams as well as the horizontal line of the fence then I got stuck straight into the colour starting on the fancy Thai style roof beams (or props or whatever you want to call them).
I spent about an hour layering the colours to get each of them a different tone and looking quite accurate but then realized that it didn’t really matter how long I spent on those as they wouldn’t be the focal point of the drawing.
Next I worked on the window and the wall then the rafters and from there the tree that came up both sides of the fence, through the roof of the outdoor secondary cantine and on the other side. At first I was going to draw the tree with a form of squirkling in colour but when I did the broad brush colour studies I could see a reoccurring pattern of almost star like shapes and so I spent a lot of time trying to simplify the shapes and drawing them by layering yellow over green, from there I filled in the negative space in between to give the tree some thickness.
So far I wasn’t looking at all great but then I decided to use a form of squrkling in three colours on the dry fallen leaves with the occasional star shape trying to mirror the green leaves above, the result was quite nice and it made me feel a bit better about the assignment.
Once I hatched in the fence and the double roof of the canteen below everything started to come together but the problem now was that I didn’t leave myself enough space to draw in enough of the large orange roof behind and so a lot of the roof is hidden by leaves. I do still feel though that because of the direction of the roof beams and the perspective of the roof that the viewers eyes will still look where I want them to and that is to the temple and the road to the right.
I completed the drawing with one of the worse mistakes ever, I decided that I would draw the wall all the way around the window in oil pastel the result was a complete mess. My only hope is that I can crop and frame it when I come to send off my work for final assessment.
Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills
Although the final drawing is somewhat messy I do feel that I have definitely shown a demonstration of technical and visual skills in my final drawing especially where perspective is concerned and I feel that the drawing shows a clear understanding of both aerial and linear perspective. I also feel that the final drawing shows a substantial improvement on the way I have been drawing trees.
Quality of Outcome
Well to be very honest I am not satisfied with the quality of this final drawing that looks more like an exercise than an assignment. I really found this assignment stressful, it was very difficult to find a view that I was happy with and the problems we have been having here in Bangkok haven’t helped. But a poor craftsman always blames his tools.
I let myself down with the preliminary work on this assignment but this was due to being very busy working all hours to try and make up for loss of income lost through these protests. If I had more time for the preliminary work the quality of the final piece would have been much higher.
The work in the previous exercises in part 3 as been high quality let down by a low quality final piece.
Demonstration of Creativity
I believe I have demonstrated quite a lot of creativity through this part of the course I haven’t necessarily shown this in the final drawing. I would say the projects where this was more visible was Drawing Trees and Townscapes where I let go of trying to pay attention to detail and tried being more creative.
The troubles here in Bangkok have been a great drag on this part of the course. I started out feeling really positive and in October when the protests started hit a brick wall. However I do feel like I have learnt a lot from this part of the course and I no longer feel that drawing landscape is a problem for me.
I have tackled every exercise to the best of my ability and even though I’m not happy with my final drawing I do feel that everything I have practiced through this part of the course is evident in the final piece.