More work on assignment 3

Finished Piece Edited and Trimmed

While preparing my coursework and portfolio for formal assignment there were a few exercises that I wasn’t satisfied with and so made fresh attempts at the exercises to increase my chances of passing this first course. Like those exercises this assignment was one that I felt wasn’t up to scratch mainly because of the limited choice of views that I had to draw and the medium I chose to draw the finished piece. I found myself asking these questions: Was the dry watercolour pencil the best choice for this assignment? and if not which medium would be more suitable?

Original Finished Piece
Original Finished Piece

For the Study of Several Trees exercise I had used oil pastel and was really happy with the natural, loose feel of the finished drawing. I tried to imagine the above dry watercolour pencil drawing in the clumsier, thicker medium and the paintings of Vincent van Gogh came to mind, because this assignment included buildings as well as trees I decided to take a look at paintings of buildings by van Gogh.

Van Gogh: White House at Night, Hermitage Museum
Van Gogh: White House at Night, Hermitage Museum
2 - Vincent van Gogh Houses at Auvers
2 – Vincent van Gogh Houses at Auvers
3 - Vincent van Gogh The Yellow House - The Street
3 – Vincent van Gogh The Yellow House – The Street
4 - Vincent van Gogh The Church in Auvers sur Oise, View from the Chevet
4 – Vincent van Gogh The Church in Auvers sur Oise, View from the Chevet

What I like about van Gogh’s paintings of buildings is that they aren’t just blocks with roofs on or basic shapes, they paintings look like that he has painted part of the building and then kept adding to it so that the buildings look wonky a bit like the way they build buildings here in Bangkok and indeed how they built extensions onto old country cottages.

Being a bulkier messier medium than the colour pencil I used in the original finished piece it was guaranteed that the  parts of the buildings that show in the oil pastel drawing would turn out looking wonky but looking at van Gogh’s paintings this wasn’t necessarily going to be a negative.

The finished drawing in oil pastel below was drawn from the original photo, it isn’t the best work I have produced but it isn’t a let down either. The colours are a lot more vivid than the colour pencil drawing and I feel that that the drawing itself is a lot stronger with more character, you can also see a lot more of the temple through the trees than the original picture.

The most difficult part of the drawing was the window on the left which took a lot of scarping and redrawing to get it looking anything like the original drawing, with the bulkier medium I had to sacrifice the fourth pain of glass in the window and with the constant redrawing of the window and the wonky lines it makes it look almost van Goghlike.

Assignment 3 - Alternative Drawing in Oil Pastel
Assignment 3 – Alternative Drawing in Oil Pastel

The down side is though, because I don’t feel that the window on the left doesn’t show confidence with this medium, i shall still only be submitting this drawing as an additional study and not a finished piece, but one thing is certain, it was a study that needed to be done.

 

Finished Piece Edited and Trimmed
Finished Piece Edited and Trimmed

On my tutor’s advice to be a little bit bolder in the depiction of the light and shade created by the layers of leaves I attempted to go over the leaves in the original picture with coloured pencil to try to depict light and shade. Because I had already used fixatives they didn’t layer very well. In the original drawing I had used grey oil pastel as a frame to try to depict the dirty inside walls of the school which I don’t think worked very well, the paper was also torn where I had removed it from the sketchbook, I went over the grey in black and trimmed the paper.

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Tutor Feedback – Assignment 3

My finished Study of Several Trees

Overall Comments

You produce work of a high standard Mark and your submission for this third part of the module is no different. I can see a steady progression in your practice and evidence of it further gathering momentum with the introduction to new disciplines such as the natural landscape. Just as in prior submissions you have also delivered an extremely precise and well-considered learning log. I am greatly encouraged by the quality of your work Mark and look forward to seeing your next submission.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

The preliminary studies and notation describe the developmental stages of the creative process heading towards your finished assignment piece very successfully. The consideration applied to the experimental trials for a suitable medium shows an admirable determination and engagement in the developmental process. The finished drawing for the assignment is well composed and displays a thorough and successful understanding of the portrayal of single-point perspective. I think, on the whole, the final drawing holds together well and is a convincing depiction of the landscape. It displays a strong composition, a good portrayal of depth and your handling of the medium has been effective. My one criticism would be in the rendering of the foliage in the middle ground. I feel you could have been a little bolder in the depiction of the light and shade created by the layers of leaves, thus validating the ’bulk’ of the foliage and accentuating the illusion of a receding background. The lightness of touch has made it appear a little flat with regards form (light and shade) and this slightly affects the overall depth of the piece. Watercolour pencil can be quite a difficult medium to achieve ‘heavier’ or solid depth of tone due to its hard quality, but as you have accomplished this in the rendering of the roof supports, I feel you could have pushed it a little further.

Submitted Piece for Assignment 3
Submitted Piece for Assignment 3

I wasn’t particularly happy with my submission for this third assignment nor the task for this assignment as finding a view that was suitable was very difficult.

‘A View from a window or door – 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…’ 

This could have been my favourite assignment if I was in the countryside or back home in Yorkshire but not in the built up area where I live in Bangkok. There were views with some of the above but not all, the view from the school window was the best I could do but I wasn’t really keen on it. 

However, besides all this the tutor’s comments were very positive and he was right saying not being bold with the depiction of light and shade made by the trees has ‘made it a little flat’ and so with other drawings that need attention I shall try to give it some depth before assessment.

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays Context

You have continued to produce a thorough investigative learning log Mark. You honestly identify situations that have hindered you and are equally open about your successes. Although you mention in your notes for this part of the module that you were not overly excited by the prospect of drawing landscape you have proven to me, and most importantly to yourself, that you do have the ability to overcome this doubt. I was pleased to read that you found looking at the work of other artists (Claude Lorrain and J. M. W. Turner specifically) helpful, by recognising the importance of defining fore-, middle and background, and that you have employed those findings to your advantage. I get the feeling that not only due to your obvious growing abilities it is your determination, enthusiasm and wholehearted interest in drawing that will define your progress to me as your tutor, but most importantly to you. That realisation is patently the greatest benefit to even further progress!

Sketchbooks

This part of the Drawing One module concentrated on working outdoors, or en plein air. Due to the unrest in Bangkok I’m sure the prospect of doing these exercises must have felt like particularly poor timing for you and been very difficult at the time! I must say however, even with these enormous obstacles, you have undertaken the exercises and the assignment very well indeed and have produced an extremely thorough and well-focused collection of work.

Your drawing is strong Mark. The enthusiasm and engagement you put into the exercises shines through in the work you have presented. The ‘Sketchbook walk’ and ‘360 degree’ studies are dynamic and show a methodical understanding of how to portray the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional image. I particularly liked your fourth and final sketch for the ‘Sketchbook walk’ series: it is confidently rendered, very well observed and displays a solid understanding of perspective and composition.

A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB
A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB

I must admit the drawing above was one of my favourite drawings from this exercise and I am thinking about enlarging it for my assessment….but will it work?

It was also great to see you wholeheartedly taking on the challenge of new media for the ‘Drawing cloud formations’ exercise. You are lucky to be in a country where there is a defined difference between cloud and sky! The results were well considered in terms of their delineation – the most successful, and intriguing, for me were the night-time clouds on black paper. The drawing has something of the Odilon Redon about it. The developmental sequence for the ‘Plotting space through composition and structure’ exercise was transfixing and I think a very successful drawing.

3 - Plotting Space through Composition and Structure - Watercolour Pencil Mostly Dry
3 – Plotting Space through Composition and Structure – Watercolour Pencil Mostly Dry

The perspective exercises again have been undertaken with confidence and have displayed a good understanding of the representation of both parallel and angular perspective. The angular perspective drawing is particularly well-observed. This thorough understanding of the rules of perspective is confirmed by the beautiful series of townscapes you have included in your sketchbook. These are excellent studies Mark that show wonderfully realised depth through perspective and the subtle but effective use of tone. I especially liked the ‘Limited palette’ studies.

A Limited Palette Study in Conte, Pastel and China White
A Limited Palette Study in Conte, Pastel and China White

I am wondering whether or not to include this in the work for submission. It is probably a good choice as I have some great studies from the previous exercise.
Your studies for the ‘Drawing statues’ exercise raises my expectations to see your work for part 4 of the module. These again are very well-observed studies. The conté and pastel study of the Soonthorn Poo bust has been beautifully realised, the solidity of the representation skilfully rendered. This is also true of the studies for the ‘Drawing trees’ exercise, particularly the larger study of the individual tree and strong oil pastel study of several trees – I agree, it does appear like an admiring nod to Georges Seurat.

 

Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil
Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil
My finished Study of Several Trees
My finished Study of Several Trees

Suggested viewing/reading Context

As it is obvious that you are continuing to make gallery visits and are clearly getting a lot from these sojourns there really isn’t much I can suggest you look into Mark. I am undoubtedly preaching to the converted but continue to gather references of other artists’ oeuvre and truly look into the way they work. Then look at your own work in a similar depth. You may be familiar with the writings of John Berger but if not check out the following two books:

Berger, John (2008) Ways of Seeing Penguin Classics ISBN: 9780141035796

Berger, John (2009) About Looking Bloomsbury Publishing PLC ISBN: 9780747599579

I couldn’t find About Looking without purchasing online but I was very lucky to find a copy of Ways of Seeing and exercised my new fresh view of seeing things in the research point Investigating Artists’ Self Portraits.

Pointers for the next assignment

As you know the next part of this module is all about the figure which I’m sure will suit you. Hold on to the enthusiasm and commitment you have shown and carry on looking and researching. It is evident that this way of working is very good for your practice. I look forward to seeing your submission for ‘Drawing figures’ Mark.

I understand your aim is to go for the Painting/ Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

Assignment 3 – A View from a Window or Door

Submitted Piece for Assignment 3
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil

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.

view from my apartment kitchen window - Photo taken from back wall of living room
view from my apartment kitchen window – Photo taken from back wall of living room

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).

View from a 3rd floor window at school
View from a 3rd floor window at school

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‘.

View from second floor window facing temple
View from second floor window facing temple

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.

1st Sketch ifrom 2nd floor window in my notebook
1st Sketch from 2nd floor window in my notebook

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.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom

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.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th 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.

An attempt at Line Drawing
An attempt at Line Drawing

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.

My Chosen View - CRopped down to the middle window
My Chosen View – Cropped down to the middle window

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.

Colour study in Marker Pen
Colour study in Marker Pen

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.

Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour
Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour

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.

Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing 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.

Assessment Criteria

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.

Context

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.

 

Assignment 3 – A View from a Window or Door

My Chosen View - CRopped down to the middle window
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil

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.

view from my apartment kitchen window - Photo taken from back wall of living room
view from my apartment kitchen window – Photo taken from back wall of living room

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).

View from a 3rd floor window at school
View from a 3rd floor window at school

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‘.

View from second floor window facing temple
View from second floor window facing temple

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.

1st Sketch ifrom 2nd floor window in my notebook
1st Sketch from 2nd floor window in my notebook

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.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom

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.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th 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.

An attempt at Line Drawing
An attempt at Line Drawing

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.

My Chosen View - CRopped down to the middle window
My Chosen View – Cropped down to the middle window

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.

Colour study in Marker Pen
Colour study in Marker Pen

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.

Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour
Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour

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.

Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing 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.

Assessment Criteria

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.

Context

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.

 

Landscape Drawing Check and Log

A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB

In what way did you simplify and select in your study? Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information available to you?

For me these two questions are intertwined I was able to simplify and select by putting everything into group shapes in the sketches and or blocks of colour in the larger study.

How did you create a sense of distance and form in your studies?

I created a sense of distance by using stronger shading or colour in the foreground with lighter shading or colour in the background to make the background look generally more misty.  I also used softer pencils in the foreground or in sketches where I used pens I created a sense of distance by drawing simpler and smaller shapes between the more dominant ones to make them look like they are at the back.

How did you use light and shade? Was it successful?

A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB
A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB

In the sketch above I made the tree solid black and put the shadows in the foreground to depict the sun shining behind the tree then drew the leaves of the tree in a lighter pencil to show light shining through the trees. The result was definitely a success.

What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

Like I said in the exercises, for me and where I am, to do the drawing trees exercises before the final study would have been a great help.

Research Point Claude Lorrain and Turner

Mount Vesuvius in Eruption

Look at the work of Claude Lorrain and Turner. Write notes on how these artists divide their landscapes into foreground, middle ground and background.

Claude Lorrain

In the earlier research point I refrained from looking at the works of Claude Lorrain as I knew I would be looking at them again here. However looking at his paintings now, some of those artists may have possibly been influenced by Claud Lorrain himself.

I looked at quite a few of his paintings but for this research point I chose three to look at in detail.

Claude Lorrain Landscape with Merchants
Claude Lorrain Landscape with Merchants

The first painting that I chose out was ‘Landscape with Merchants’ a prime example of how Lorrain used different levels, like platforms, to divide his paintings into a foreground, middle ground and a background helping him to create a great sense of distance in his paintings with the foreground level being the clearest and the most colourful with each level on top fading to the background. In this painting he staggers each level to depict the river flowing in a snake like pattern around the hills into the distance.

Landscape with Aeneas at Delos
Landscape with Aeneas at Delos

Again with the next painting ‘Landscape with Aeneas at Delos’ he has used the layers in the same way but this time arranged them into what I would say blocks on the left which remind me of stepping stones and doing this has managed to depict the coastline of a sea or massive lake with one final layer set to one side allowing him to show the sea meeting the sky in the horizon.

Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia
Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia

Trees also play a big part in depicting distance in Lorrain’s drawings often using them to divide the foreground from the middle ground like in the ‘Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia’ above’.

J M W Turner

I looked a few of Turner’s paintings, his later seascape paintings were a bit too stressful for me so I decided to take a closer look at his earlier work. The first painting I came across was ‘Composition of Tivoli’.

Turner - Composition of Tivoli
Turner – Composition of Tivoli

Realizing that it did have an uncanny resemblance to Lorrain’s paintings I decided to look at the web page from which the image came, which turned out to be an article on the Guardian’s website entitled ‘Turner Inspired – In the light of Claude‘.

Interestingly, the article goes on that Turner was even known as the British Claude and ‘In his immense and complex bequest, Turner left two landscapes to the nation to be hung next to a pair by Claude so that the affinities would be fully apparent to succeeding generations. You can see them in room 15 of the National Gallery to this day.’ says Laura Cumming who wrote the article.

‘What Turner took from Claude is all there at a glance: the aerial view, the graceful staging with great trees on either side and the landscape dissolving into the distance in untraceable gradations, the mastery of hazy golden sunrise and the luminous glow of dusk; Claude’s magical light.’

However, in ‘Mount Vesuvius in Eruption’ below he takes the magical light that he got from Lorrain to the next step and actually depicts the eruption of a volcano. In this painting Turner uses the same kind of levels as Lorrain but he wants the background and Vesuvius to dominate the painting and so drenches the foreground with light in the form of reflection off gentle waves.

Mount Vesuvius in Eruption
Mount Vesuvius in Eruption

 

 

Drawing Trees – Check and Log

Larger Study of an Individual Tree

How many different tree types have you drawn?

I actually thought I had drawn 3 different tree types but looking at the drawings again and my photos I think I have only drawn two, three if you count the strangler fig as a species iof tree. I thought that the trees in the study of a several trees exercise were a different species from the Banyan tree in the Larger Study of an Individual tree but looking at them now I think the tree in the latter is the same tree in the later stages of being strangled to death by the fig.

What techniques did you use to distinguish each type?

I’d say smoothing and hatching the first ‘Alien’ tree in the sketching individual tree exercise was very smooth like it was naked without bark. So smooth that you could see the stretch marks in the tree so for this tree I used very fine hatching, smoothing with my finger and erasing with the putty rubber. For the individual Banyan tree I used more hatching and did less smoothing but with the study of several trees it was all very rough hatching with oil pastels.

What did you do to convey the mass of folioge?

The banyan trees were pretty much borrowing most of their folioge but where their was some I used squiggling and the sketches of an individual tree I came to realise that the leaves were in groups of three and so I squiggled in a kind of upside down Adidas trifoil shape not that it is noticeable in the drawings. To convey depth I then shaded in under the squiggles with more pressure on the pencil.

How did you handle light on the trees? Was it successful?

For the first sketches the light was above the folioge and so I showed light and shadow on the tree by way of hatching and yes I think I was successful. For the larger study of an individual tree the sun was behind the tree and so the whole of the tree was very dark but I depicted the light shining through the branches on the right by drawing the trees fainter than on the left. I don’t know how others will see it but it worked for me. I was going to use the putty rubber to show rays of light shining through but I sprayed it too soon.

Larger Study of an Individual Tree
Larger Study of an Individual Tree

In the last exercise I used colour, it was early evening, and I think I managed to show this quite well in my drawing.

 Did you manage to select and simplify? How did you do this, and what could you do better?

I did this differently in all three exercises. In the first exercise it was a case of not drawing to the top of the tree and only drawing what I felt was important, the roots, the trunk and the squiggled leaf shapes that framed the branches and trunk.

In the second exercise, I wasn’t too sure where branches and leaves were coming from and would have probably had to draw another 5 plants and bushes to get to the source, so I decided draw only what was within the branches of the Banyan tree.

With the third drawing, a study of several trees I simplified by zooming in, I could probably do better next time by drawing more of the branches of the trees. However, I am still pretty pleased with the close up of the trees in the finished drawing.

 

Study of Several Trees

My finished Study of Several Trees

While in the park browsing unique trees for the last two exercises I came across this group of trees and just had to take a photograph. I have no idea what kind of trees they are but they seem to be the same tree as the Banyan in the last exercise at the early stages of being latched on by the strangler fig, I don’t know why but they made me think of wailing banshees.

My chosen group of trees
My chosen group of trees

Being in a great location with a European style bridge visible in the background and some nice reflections in the water behind them, I had no doubt at all that it would be these trees that I would be drawing for this exercise until it came down to choosing the medium. Given the trees surroundings oil pastels were ideal but on A3 quite clumsy and so I thought twice about them. I also thought twice about drawing these trees and started to look at other photos I had taken.

My finished Study of Several Trees
My finished Study of Several Trees

In the end I did like the brief suggested and zoomed in on the three trees in the centre until I thought they were large enough to work on in oil pastel and give some texture through hatching rather than clumsily sketching from a distance. Being late with my third assignment I was dying to rush through this piece but I decided to take it steady and use a second sheet to get colours and blends right before committing to the final piece. There would have been nothing worse than getting half way through the drawing and messing up.

testing oil pastelsI love the final drawing, which, because of the texture of the paper seems to be made up of little dots which reminds me of a George Seurat painting and has given me some ideas for my assignment piece.

 

Larger Study of an Individual Tree

Larger Study of an Individual Tree

I have no idea what kind of tree I drew in the last exercise ‘Sketching an Individual Tree‘ but my subject for this exercise was very interesting. In the same ‘Trees in Literature’ section of the park was a Banyan tree, and this one was a wonderful example.

The Banyan Tree

The Banyan tree or ‘strangler fig’ is the national tree of India, it is pollinated by fig wasps and then the seeds are dispersed by fruit eating birds. If the seed is dropped on soil it is unlikely to survive but often the seeds are dropped on branches of other trees, where they germinate and send roots to the ground. The strangler fee often envelops part of the host tree and is also known to starve the host tree until it has rotted away inside.

The tree in Chatuchak park had been well and truly taken over and it looked to me like the strangler fig was squeezing the host tree so tightly that the tree had been deformed by it’s grasp, with the branches of the host reaching out in every direction as though they were desperately reaching out for help.

Larger Study of an Individual Tree
Larger Study of an Individual Tree

The sun was behind the tree facing me and so the tree was quite dark which was great because I got to use some wonderful tones and like the previous drawings of my alien tree in the last exercise the finished drawing came off looking quite ‘bio arty’.

I started with a 6B pencil and then realised after about an inch of drawing, that the 6B pencil on the more toothy A3 sheet I was using, was far too smudgy and so quickly changed to a 4B pencil.

I began by drawing the outlines of the branches in the top left hand corner of the paper and then drawing in the leaves with a squiggly line technique and from their I moved onto the texture of the branches and then did the same with the top right hand corner working my way down to the tree trunk. This was to make sure I didn’t smudge anything with the palm of my hand. Finally I worked my way to the roots of the tree through the tree trunk.

With the sun being behind the tree I had to try and depict the sun shining through the tree branches and leaves in some way. I tried doing this by drawing the leaves more lightly on the right hand side. I was going to drag my putty rubber lightly over the top from the center of the leaves outwards in a star shape but then forgot and sprayed the drawing with hair lacquer too early.

Most of the leaves that are in the drawing are not on the tree itself but rather on the trees around it with the host tree being practically bare but I wanted to use the branches of the Banyan tree to frame the life of the other trees above and behind it. The reason why I did not do a full background to the drawing was that it would not have done the tree justice plus I wanted to make it look like the life within the branches was spilling over through the roots of the fig hanging off the branches.

Sketching an Individual Tree

Sketching an Individual Tree 4th Drawing

For this exercise I headed out to Suan Rot Fai Park again, railway park, where I did most of my work for Landscape Drawing. There was a eucalyptus tree there that really interested me due to it’s amazing rainbow colours. However, on the way there the traffic was so bad due to yellow shirt roadblocks in that area that we jumped out of the tuk tuk and decided to walk the rest of the way which was about a kilometre. To get to Suan Rot Fai we had to walk through another park, Chatuchak park which is just past the famous JJ weekend market and that was when the magic happened.

There were hundreds of people in the park and most of those were yellow shirt protesters who were using Chatuchak park as a campsite and using the public toilets there as temporary showers. Anyway to get to Suan Rot Fai I had to walk around the whole inside of the park and in doing so I came across a section of the park called, trees in literature (translated from Thai), which was basically a collection of trees from fairy tale movies.

Sketching an Individual Tree 1st Drawing
Sketching an Individual Tree 1st Drawing

The first tree that took my eye looked like two alien hands coming together and I just had to put pencil to paper. I split my sketchbook page in half and did two preliminary drawings at that size one of the trunk and one of the roots.

Sketching an Individual Tree 2nd Drawing routes
Sketching an Individual Tree 2nd Drawing roots

Both drawings were in 6B but with the paper being almost toothless looked just the same as 3B or 4B, I thought it was the Mars Lumograph pencils that left less lead on the paper until the next exercise.

Sketching an Individual Tree 3rd Drawing
Sketching an Individual Tree 3rd Drawing

The next drawing was on a full page of the whole tree, or most of the tree including roots, bark and foliage and like the brief said I built up on the two previous preliminary sketches and the tree was really starting to come alive, reminding me of a bio art tattoo especially the roots and where the twin trunks meet. I didn’t think I could improve on it but my next drawing proved me wrong.

Sketching an Individual Tree 4th Drawing
Sketching an Individual Tree 4th Drawing

There were details the tree was missing, things that we see all the time in tree but never give a thought to, stretch marks! I only started to notice them on the last drawing  so I managed to depict these stretch mark lines pointing a putty rubber and dragging it across the widest part of the trunk and branches.

I have been drawing trees throughout this module or at least leaves and branches of them and there has been so much green that I haven’t enjoyed drawing them at all until now and I was really looking forward to the next having already chosen my next subject.