Drawing Skills 1
Type of tutorial
Thank you for a well-organised postal submission, Kate. It makes things much easier for a tutor if coherently presented.
Overall there is good still life work and a very good body of work on interiors. The still life studies are competent, and some are very interesting, others seem a little tame and traditional. The potential to develop interiors further at a later stage of your studies looks interesting, but let’s see how this course develops for you first.
I think you may need to pay more attention to sketchbook practice. I send you a separate handout with guidance on sketchbooks.
Assignment 2 Assessment potential
I understand your aim is to go for the Painting or Drawing 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, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.
Project work/ Sketchbooks
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Sketchbook 1: this shows the quick sketches around the house. Good to see continuity of drawing in this section! There is mostly line drawing, allow yourself to work with tone also and with a wider range of drawing tools, including pen, ink. Do not limit your sketchbook to little taster sessions, but fill it wide and bold.
Personal sketchbook: nice to see you explore collage –this could also inform some of your course work? Some very sensitive and highly finished drawings of flowers and pomegranate –unfinished but good that way (why? – have a think and have a look at Horst Janssen’s work online). A sketchbook should not be a paste book alone, so you need to gather up courage to work boldly directly into the pages.
Project 1 Tone
Good competent and sensitive tonal work here, you should not forget using grayscale for drawing. The possibility for drama, chiaroscuro for example, are much greater with a limited palette, and a selective integration of colour into otherwise monochrome drawing can be a very interesting compositional device.
Just to illustrate this:
Rohr (2003) Amaryllis seed heads Graphite and watercolour
Project 2 Still life
Nice exploration of collage and found papers in the initial section – good to see you think out of the box, and to try things unfamiliar.
Above is an interesting complex arrangement of objects. Both this and the pears below strike me as more creative and inventive than your assignment piece.
The Monochrome study of pears on a plate seen from bird’s eye perspective must be the strongest still life you submitted. The aerial view is an unusual take on still life. The actual technical rendering of the pears is satisfying, and a good pretext to discover what monochrome drawing/ painting can do for you. The potential for pattern, abstraction is immense – as the pears fill the plate as if a rose window or tondo – always a good pretext for stylisation and a very difficult format compositionally!
Good results here! Substitute this for assignment?
Project 3 Interiors
Quick sketches show that you have taught yourself perspective for interiors already, ahead of the part 3 requirements. Great. The whole series of sketches is good to see, and leads on to more ambitious scale in the next part of this project.
Charcoal sketches: I agree that the landscape format with bowl of apples in foreground is particularly interesting and could lead to more, if you wanted to explore further tone, or colour.
The slanted lines make the composition unsettling; there are good areas of open spaces (table top, back of chair) contrasted with dense areas of line (untidy row of books, a cable hanging down) and small insertion of tone. This partial interpretation into tone could lead to Caulfield’s approach below?
Material Difference. Although there is something old fashioned about the subject and the way you render it, the overall quality of this drawing/ painting is strong in the way it conjures atmosphere. I don’t see a problem with the vibrant green at all –the vibrant green probably has a lot to do with this image being so successful as it takes it out of a nostalgic frame and introduces something unusual or unexpected.
There are mini still life sections in the painting, like the mug on the radiator (which curiously draws the eye), the bowls for the cat (?), and the strange box behind it (what is it?). All these objects help to redefine still life. In some ways the chair is a still life, motionless, it recalls a sitter who has left, and the movement it can generate if animated by a human presence. The pillowcase left behind by the previous inhabitant still bears the sitter’s impression. All this contributes to a sense of poetry and depth. There is a hidden narrative implied, and this reminds me of Gwen John’s beautiful A Corner of the Artist’s Room (1907-1909):
Gwen John A Corner in the Artist’s Room (1907-1909)
Other paintings by John also lead into the nether territory of still life intersecting with interior see https://www.wikiart.org/en/gwen-john/the-brown-tea-pot
Patrick Caulfield might be of interest – a real total other approach to muted John – graphic, flat, slick and colour used for composition rather than to denote observation or mood. Also taking care of your interest in collage…..
Genius of Geometry: Patrick Caulfield
Patrick Caulfield Still life Autumn Fashion (1978)
Lucian Freud Still Life with Aloe British, 1949–50 Oil on panel (21.6 x 29.8 cm)
This as a less drastic proposal, more traditional technically, yet unsettling in the semiotic arrangement of two objects. It has a surreal quality – and connects with Magritte who you have researched.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
You provide a convincing rationale for your choice of assignment, and I want to respect your desire for strong colour, but other works you submitted shows greater ambition and creativity in my view.
Self-critically you reflect on not having achieved the waxy texture of the glossy apples in the fruit bowls. This may have to do with choice of media? You could consider the use of watercolour pencils and partial washes softening the line aspect of colour pencil, and you may even want to experiment with glazing a drawing with a varnish suitable for supports like paper (ask in a specialist shop or see http://www.johnlovett.com/preservation.htm).
Technically I find little fault with your drawing of a bowl of fruit – the composition is confident; the ellipsis is drawn correctly, and colours are considered and harmoniously balanced. Perhaps this makes it a little too safe? A bowl of fruit can be a topic done too often, although some artists continue to manage to create surprising and exciting outcomes (see further reading section below).
So in terms of overall outcome and also in relation to creativity, I believe there is more scope with you here. The bowl of fruit you are capable of producing could be more inventive, different, more contemporary. What may that mean? What could give still life an edge, a new relevance? Perhaps this might be found in the type of objects?
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Good to see you attend exhibitions (Tom Cringle) locally.
You provide a good number of examples of unusual takes on still life and interior for your context research. Allow yourself also to study drawing alongside paintings.
Mark Karnes is a good find and relates well to your project 3.
Positive negative space research produced some unexpected and refreshing results – I was taken by Ryan Bubnis whose work I was not familiar with.
Lucien Freud: Still life http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/interjections_freud/
Sculptural and graphic qualities of drawing:
Claes Oldenburg: http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4397
Erasure technique and expression:
Leon Kossoff drawings http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/leon-kossoff-1436
Frank Auerbach drawings see Tate on charcoal ! http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/c/charcoal
Tone and mood:
Georges Seurat drawings http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2007/seurat/
Pointers for the next assignment
• Let me know if you want to progress with part 3 outdoor or part 4 next
• Don’t neglect monochromatic and pencil, charcoal and conté as drawing media, allow colour to be used knowingly, perhaps by imposing an embargo or limiting yourself to selective colour for a while
• Work towards a range of scales including matching drawing tools – so draw with pastel and charcoal on A2 and A1 or non standard formats; work with pencil and watercolour pens on smaller scales; work with your body on larger drawings. For sketchbook work consider drawing with alternate hands, and with both hands, equipped with several pencils or other drawing tools at the same time – this will loosen up gesture and allow expression
• Look at what you are drawing more than the paper
• Sketchbook practice could become a focus point for you – this works well with part 3 as the sketchbook becomes an outdoor/ fieldwork research tool
12th November 2016
Next assignment due
1st February 2017
You wanted extra time – is that sufficient? Or do you want to expand to mid March and then consider outdoor work for March/ April/May?
Depending on what best for you I can send you further guidance on drawing the human figure or drawing outdoors. I have handouts as additional guidance for both.