Research Point – Patrick Caulfield (Part1)

drawing in the style of in the chair that I would patrick caulfield

Patrick Caulfield (29 Jan 1936 – 29 Sept 2005) was an English painter and printmaker who started his formal education as an artist at the Chelsea School of Art in 1956. He then studied from 1960-1963 at the Royal College of Art where he was one year below students who were credited with starting the UK pop art movement.

As a student he was influenced by abstract painters such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock even though he only experimented in abstract painting for a short time. His bold, colourful prints and paintings are deemed to be Pop Art even though Caulfield himself was wary of being connected with any such movements. His association with the movement with ‘Pop Art’, mainly due to exhibiting alongside David Hockney, Allen Jones and R B Kitaj at the ‘New Generation’ exhibition in 1964.

Unlike the American Pop Artists his works depicted ordinary every day subjects such as a vase, buildings or interiors rather than images of popular culture such as celebrities or advertising products. It is the way he treats his subject that that gives his work a Pop Art feel, creating ambiguity by treating fine art subjects in an unrealistic and stylised manner.

When I first looked at Caulfield’s work it seems to me that the negative space plays just as much an important role in his paintings as positive space. In some of his images he uses negative space to sculpture the objects which in some cases are an abstract image but we get the sense that we are looking at the whole thing subject.

In the ‘White Ware’ screen prints he has managed to balance out the level of importance between negative space, reflected light and what we automatically presume is the main subjects such as a vase. With this he leaves the viewer trying to imagine what the light source maybe or what could be causing the shadows in his images. He also creates a good sense of distance between the foreground objects and what’s happening in the background by using very simple shapes to depict reflected light for example.

Lung Ch’uan Ware and Black Lamp 1990

In some of these prints he has inserted a second object behind the main subject, this is made up of one or two shapes and difficult to work out what it is but is just as important as the main subject. I love some of his other paintings and in the future I would very much like to paint something in the style of ‘After Lunch 1975’ due to the simplicity of my Bangkok apartment and the technical city scape outside. For now I will concentrate on the task at hand and make a drawing in the style of his ‘White Ware’ screen prints for this research point.


Tone and Form – Check and Log

How difficult was it to distinguish light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light?

I was very aware of where the light was coming from on the first two drawings of the Johnsons baby Powder Bottle and Mug in the first exercise, and even clearer while working on the second sketch. There were other light sources in the room as I worked on them in the evening but still it was quite easy to tell, I think using the ceramic mug helped.

In the second exercise it was not so easy to tell but I did know what to look for so it helped; the easiest reflections to make out was the light reflecting from the ping  pong  ball on to the apple. But even though I knew  which light came from the primary source I wasn’t quite sure where certain reflections of light on the mug were coming from. I could only guess.

How as awareness of light and shade affected your depiction of tone and form?

I could have gone my whole life missing certain reflections and shadows out, saying to myself ‘Yeah, that’ll do’, trying to copy as precisely as possible, thinking that’s enough. However, these two exercises have made me more aware of reflected light and I’m starting to piece together where the light in certain places is coming from, this has helped to make these drawings more realistic than anything I’ve done before so it’s something I will continue to observe.

Research Point – Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916), started drawing as a young boy, and was awarded a prize for drawing at school at the age of 10. At 15 years of age, at his father’s insistence, he took up formal architectural studies, but failed to pass his entrance exams at Paris ‘Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts). On return to Bordeaux he took up sculpture, and also etching and lithography under the instruction of Rodolphe Bresdin.

Threw his early career he continued to work almost exclusively in black and white, in lithographs and charcoal drawings right into his 50s. These drawings became known as his Blacks ‘Les Noirs’. He developed an extremely unique repertoire of weird subjects such as strange creatures, insects and plants with human heads on; these subjects were often influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe.

In 1975 he studied trees and the Underwood at Barbizon in North-Central France, the same year saw his Blacks reached the ‘Most distressed period’ with him often depicting the topic of prisoners in his works, appearing behind the bars of windows or isolated in a nightmare or hallucination. Has he said about his Noirs “They were executed in hours of sadness and pain”.

From the 1890s due to illness and a religious crisis which transformed into a happier person he began to use  pastels and oils, expressing himself with use of vibrant colour, creating works that depicted mythical scenes and flower paintings. Odilon abandoned his Noirs completely after 1900.

He always remained a fairly private person but the end of his life he became a rather distinguished figure with various awards and recognitions and was also regarded by the surrealists to be one of the forefathers of the surrealist movement (I was almost certain that it was going to say this in at least one of the online biographies as I began to look at his works.)

I had never heard of this artist until I was asked to research him but I’m glad I got the chance to do so. It was good to get a chance to see all his paintings side by side and to see how his works changed over the years, rollercoastering in and out of an often dominating dark mood until his change in mediums in the 1890s. I found a lot of his images disturbing and quite a lot of the hybrid characters made me feel uncomfortable like ‘The Egg’. However I was inspired by some of his darker works like ‘The Convict’; since my childhood I have often tried to put something similar down on paper but never got around to it.

The Egg, Odilon Redon 1885
The Egg, Odilon Redon 1885

I find a lot of his works interesting and could probably gain inspiration and ideas from them. Although I would find it hard to bare my emotions like he did, for all to see I quite often like to depict some of my innermost feelings and beliefs into my work and will continue to do so.

The Convict, Odilon Redon 1881
The Convict, Odilon Redon 1881

Shadows and Reflected Light and Shade

Finished Drawing, Shadows and Reflective Light and Shade

In this exercise I was instructed to ‘Use charcoal, a putty rubber and pick two objects with shiny reflective surfaces. Decide on the size of the composition, use A1 or A2 paper so that you can do bold strokes. Try to fill the paper with your objects showing the reflected light and shade of one object falling on another and try to leave very little background space.’

Shadows and Reflective LIght and Shade
Photo of Chosen Objects, Sieve and Ladle

I went out and purchased a few objects specifically for this exercise, after putting them together in pairs to see how they reflected off each other I settled for what I think is some kind of sieve and a ladle. I chose A2 for the composition because my drawing board wasn’t big so an A1 size drawing board will be my next purchase. The brief said to leave very little background but I wanted to show some of the handle of the ladle and the shadow that it cast but to be honest I could have shown a lot less and made the objects bigger.

Drawing Pattern of Shadow with Charcoal
Drawing Pattern of Shadow

I sketched an outline with an H3 pencil then as instructed I drew the basic pattern of shadow first with sweeps of charcoal. I did try hatching but the charcoal seemed to leave too darker marks on the paper even trying the charcoal at different angles, this may have been down to the smoothness of the Carson paper that I used.

I tried to stay away from smudging the charcoal as it said nothing about it in the brief but when I did resort to smudging my finger took too much off so I used a stump that I forgot I had. It was great for smudging the charcoal without taking too much off as well as drawing solid outlines. I think if I had used A1 sized paper I could have probably had a better chance of completing the drawing using hatching.

Finished Drawing, Shadows and Reflective Light and Shade
Finished Drawing, Shadows and Reflective Light and Shade

I did start off with the darker tones on the ladle but just on the inner shadows to make sure I was drawing the correct shape (hopefully in time I’ll get more confident with charcoal) and then once everything was fine I switched to the mid tones and then built up to the darker tones.

For the lightest tones and the light reflected from the bendy lamp I used a putty rubber to erase the charcoal. I bought a couple of Conte  knead-able erasers which were much better quality than the ones I bought when starting off the course which stuck to everything in the Bangkok heat and left debris on the paper.

I enjoyed the exercise and proud of the result but I am still lacking the confidence with charcoal. I seem to still have a lot more to know about the different types of charcoal, if time allowed I would have liked to have done this again on an A1 sheet of paper to see if I can do the whole exercise without smudging.

Study of Light Reflected from one Object to Another

The brief was to ‘Arrange two three objects ,  at least one of which has a shiny reflective surface, side by side with a small space in between them. Place a light source so that it is to one side of your (two) objects to cast clear shadows. Sit so that you can easily see the shadow on one side of the objects and the light on the other’.

Objects with Coloured Paper Background
Objects with Coloured Paper Background

The first sentence said two or three and the second paragraph said two but the example students drawing had quite a few objects so I want for four, which were a ceramic bowl, a pearlescent vase, a Chinese style vase and a glass teapot. The glass teapot had a chrome band around it but it didn’t cover a large area so I filled it up with a very strong black coffee in order to make the glass more reflective

The sample student drawing was on coloured paper which gave me an idea, so I bought some large sheets of orange coloured paper and set one as the background and did the drawing on the other. The medium I chose for this exercise was hard pastel by Cretacolor, I had never drawn with hard pastel before and this was the perfect chance to lose my virginity.

I was instructed to draw the main shadow pattern created by the light source first then add the reflective light and shadow patterns to the drawing. I followed the instructions drawing it in graphite pencil first as I knew that when it came to add the shadow patterns and reflective light with the hard pastel I would have to work on an object at a time due to how much work blending in this medium needed especially on the coloured paper that I chose.

A Close up of my Finished Drawing in Hard Pastel
A Close up of my Finished Drawing in Hard Pastel

I found that I bit off more than I could chew and it took me about 6 hours to finish the exercise, and the colours on the objects in the drawing were quite different from real life, I find blending most mediums quite difficult and really need to spend more time experimenting before working on a piece.

Although happy with the finished drawing I feel I have let myself down and could have gone out of my way to find better objects that were more reflective, although the teapot reflected the colour of the other objects quite well over the small reflective area, the pearlescent vase also did quite a good job.

I could have also done a better job of positioning the objects on the paper which was approximately A3 with about a third of the paper gone to waste.

The valuable lessons that I have learnt from this are that I should choose my mediums and objects wisely and  to use more of the paper next time.

Bad Example of Paper Wastage
Bad Example of Paper Wastage

Tone and Form – Tonal Studies

The brief of the first part of this exercise was to draw four 5 cm squares in my sketchbook using 4 different drawing tools such as a pencil, drawing pen, nib pen and black ink and a ballpoint pen. Try to make 4 distinctive grades of hatching with each square without paying too much attention to detail, suggesting that we have close our eyes as this will help eliminate most of the detail.

I totally read this wrong, drawing the squares in pencil and then hatching within the square using the 4 drawing tools that it gave as examples as above. I tried different types of hatching to do this including, cross hatching at an angle as well as using horizontal and vertical lines to give a much denser tone. The nip pen was probably the most difficult for me and couldn’t quite graduate the tones.

Tone Using Hatching
Tone Using Hatching

The second part of the exercise was to arrange 4 objects such as an apple, orange, ball, cup or other kitchen utensils, draw the objects then use a hatching technique to technique to add tonal shadow patterns to these objects. The 4 objects I initially chose were a mug, a small bowl an apple and a pong pong ball and chose to have a go at cross hatching with a Faber Castelle Ballpoint pen.

1st Drawing Using Ballpoint
1st Drawing Using Ballpoint

I failed miserably in my first attempt, I even forgot I was hatching with a pen at one stage and went to smooth the pen and smudged the ink across the paper having to fill in the background to cover it up. However it did give me some well needed practise.and confidence towards the end to have another go with the ballpoint pen.

2nd Choice of Objects
2nd Choice of Objects
2nd Drawing Using Ballpoint
2nd Drawing Using Ballpoint

My second attempt was much better, this time I swapped the bowl for a tupperware container turned on its side and I could clearly make out what each of the objects were in my finished drawing, well…apart from the ping pong ball that is.

3rd Drawing Using 2B Pencil
3rd Drawing Using 2B Pencil

For my third attempt I went back to a 2B graphite pencil, the tool I feel most comfortable with and successfully cross hatched the whole drawing without smoothing any lines with my finger and this time even the ping pong ball was clear enough to make out in my finished drawing,. I think deciding to start off the exercise with a ballpoint pen was a very wise idea and may have even helped to improve my cross hatching technique.

Observing Light and Shadow Formations on a Surface

The brief for this exercise was to place two objects together and position a lamp so they are lit from one side, or natural light if its a bright day. Originally I wanted to get out on the balcony during the daytime but housework took me right through to early evening, so I settled for a bendy lamp in the living room and I’m glad I did because it threw more definite light on the objects that I chose, which were a Johnson’s Baby Powder bottle and a ceramic cup.

2 Drawings Light from Alternative Sides
2 Drawings Light from Alternative Sides

I started with a simple sketch that I knew I could alter as I shaded back through the drawing. I begun with the mid tones but was very tempted to start on the darker tones first. The objects were placed on a glass table, however I put some paper down on the table top to cut down on where the reflected light was came from.

Light from Left Hand Side
Light from Left Hand Side

I was very happy with the first drawing, the sketch itself took me about 10-15 minutes and the areas of dark and light were very clear so I didn’t think it would take me long to complete the shading, which in the end took me well over an hour. To complete the drawing off I shaded in the background as the edges on both of the objects were quite light and I wouldn’t have been able to show that on a lighter background.

Light from Right Hand Side
Light from Right Hand Side

For the second drawing I pointed the lamp on the opposite side, which gave me different shadows and light and dark tones in different areas so between the two drawings I think I managed to get quite a lot of practise.

I really enjoyed this exercise but would have probably preferred to do it in colour as the cup looks more chrome than ceramic done in pencil.

Basic Shapes and Fundamental Form – Check and Log

Are the objects in your drawings the correct size and shape in relation to each other? 

In most of the drawings in these three exercises, especially Boxes and Books, the objects were the correct size and shape in relation to each other apart from when I started to use pen for the Jugs and Jars, but with a bit of practise I managed to get them in proportion, a better quality pen helped.

Do the shapes between the objects look correct? 

Yes, one thing I don’t seem to have a problem with at this stage is the space between the objects, it helps to get them right the first time and then make sure you are looking from the same angle as you continue to draw.

Do the objects in your drawing look solid? 

Yes the drawings in the Supermarket shop exercise all look solid, however the objects in the watercolour pencil drawings do not look as sturdy as the others, but with more practise I will get better at drawing with these.

Have you managed to create the feeling of depth? 

I would say that in all three exercises I managed to create a good feeling of depth but more so in the charcoal sketch and the colour pencil drawing of the Supermarket Shop exercise

Making Marks – Check and Log

How did holding your pen or pencil in a different way affect your drawing? 

By holding near the bottom of the pen or pencil you allow yourself more control when making marks giving you more precise lines and the control to add more pressure if and when needed. Holding a pen from the top or ‘dangling from the top’ creates less controlled, lighter marks but and can allow you to fill larger areas at a much quicker pace. By holding the pen with finger pushing down on the tip you create broad heavy strokes that are both dark and smooth.

Which drawing tools suited the different mark-making techniques you used? 

For shading the best tools in my opinion are soft pencils, solid graphite pencils, graphite sticka and charcoal. Pencils, fine drawing pens, ball points and also coloured pencils are great for cross-hatching; felt tips may also be good with a bit of practise and knowledge of which is the best paper to use with these. However felt tips are great for stippling as the ink soaks into the paper quickly to leave a strong dot, drawing pens are also great for stippling.

Did you find that any marks or tools you used matched particular emotions or feelings? Did one convey calm and another frenzy for example? 

This is difficult to answer, one can convey calm with tools such as soft graphite pencils, graphite sticks, drawing pens and charcoal by making regular marks, smooth lines and strokes with soft edges but then the same tool can conveyed frenzy when used in a different way on the large sheets of paper. I found that the nib (dip) pens were quite scratch and so probably created a more negative mood.

How did the introduction of colour (soft pastels, Conte crayons) affect your mark making?

Introducing colour especially soft pastels, Conte crayons, wax crayons and hard pastels was distracting because it made me realize I really need the practise and so spent more time trying to get things right than being creative. However once I had used them for the first time it left me wanting to use them more.

Which of these experiments you found most interesting and rewarding? 

Definitely the Line and Other Marks exercise, it introduced me to colour for the first time plus tools that I had never used before as well as finding out how different mediums react to one other.

Basic Shapes and Fundamental Forms 3 – Supermarket Shop

I originally wanted to do this exercise as quickly and as simply as possible, but then turned into something that I needed, a practise for using different medium.


I did a practise drawing in charcoal pencil rather than graphite, I probably should have sketched it out in pencil first to see if it fit on the paper as I lost the top of the box of baby food but it felt good to do something completely in charcoal.

1st rawing with charcoal and Pencil
1st rawing with charcoal and Pencil

I wanted to produce the finish drawing in watercolour pencil, but I needed to get work up some confidence as I had never used watercolour pencils before so did an initial drawing in ordinary colour pencils, and I’m glad I did as it taught me a few crucial lessons.

1. I would never buy any drawing tools made in Thailand again, the leads kept breaking.

2. Next time I produce a colour pencil drawing to use paper with less tooth, rough paper is hard for blending.

3. Place objects at the best angles so I don’t have to spend hours producing every bit of detail.

4. Read the exercises in the course materials properly. Most of these objects were cylinders with only 1 box and no packets.

2nd Drawing Colour Pencil
2nd Drawing Colour Pencil

After completing the colour pencil drawing which wasn’t great as I left a lot of text out off the objects plus the tin in the the middle was too light (the rough paper making it hard to blend) I went to do a bit of shopping. This time I purchased Faber Castell watercolour pencils not trusting the Masterart ones I had in the drawer and some A3 watercolour paper.


I changed a few objects, I had to use the gravy for Sunday dinner so swapped that for parsley sauce, swapped the tin for a big bag of Nesvita cereal drinks, took the plastic lid off the Rosa tin and swapped the baked beans for a bag of Tipco something or other that the school director gave me for Christmas.

3rd drawing watercolour pencil on watercolour paper
3rd drawing watercolour pencil on watercolour paper

I’ve never used watercolour pencils or watercolour paper before so instead of spending hours trying to learn how to use them through trial and error I jumped onto YouTube to have a look at a couple of videos.

However once I started the exercise I learnt some more valuable lessons:

1. This probably want the best medium for this exercise with all the writing on the boxes.

2. I probably should have used a heavier paper, the 190 I was using begun to warp like mad.

3. The video was not enough I should have practised before doing this exercise.

Even though I did not rush through this exercise (it took a good few hours split up over a couple of days) the final drawing in my eyes looks a complete mess due to the very reflective purple box in the middle that made me lose my rag. However I am happy that I allowed myself the chance to start using watercolour pencils and to be honest for the first drawing ever with this medium, I don’t think I did too bad even though it does looks better without my glasses and my eyes squinted.

Overall the shapes were fine, the shapes between the objects were pretty much perfect and there is depth there so in that respect I was successful.