Thursday, 11 December 2014

Assignment One and Reflection

Assignment One: A Personal Still Life
Pencil on cartridge paper 

Why I picked the objects I picked:
Objects that interest me, and say something about me...

  • My favourite cap - practical, and warm and comfortable for wearing in the garden, or in town. 
  • An upholstery tool that I used only yesterday, which was made and used by my grandmother, who was born in the 19th century when they had to make their own tools.
  • A beautiful copper candlestick in the shape of a lotus flower, designed and made by one of my daughters at school.
  • One of a pair of ridiculous (and rather battered) troll foot slippers which my husband used to wear to tell our children 'scary' stories.
How this assignment went:
I have to say that I did not, at the beginning of this project, believe that I would be able to draw something like this already. 

The troll 'toenails' went much better than I expected, using the spots and lines shading together to make the shape of them. I was expecting the cap to be the easiest part, but in fact it is the object which worked least well of them all. I think this is at least in part because it is dark brown so it was difficult to get the contrast between that and the shadows correct. I don't think I managed that. 

The copper spikes look much more of a contrast with the background fur in real life, because of the copper colour, but I think that I managed to get the soft reflectiveness of them rather well (for a beginner anyway). I'm thinking now that perhaps I could have got a sharper line for them if I had used a harder pencil. 

While I was drawing the hairiness of the ankle of the slipper, I was kicking myself for choosing it, but in the end tried shading the negative spaces and that worked reasonably well to show the shagginess. 

Overall, I can see that the range of tones is limited by my decision to use only one pencil for the whole thing. I found it much more interesting and engaging doing this drawing than it was the previous one of a bauble on a plate, and I hope that the affectionate and amused feelings I have when I look at these things will have come across in the drawing.

Reflection on my progress: 
Demonstration of technical and visual skills: I have to say that I don't feel very skilled at drawing, but I have already experienced a great improvement in what I draw in the few exercises I have done so far, and keep finding that there are things there that I didn't see before, suggesting this improvement reflects something real. Examples are in my sketchbook work after exercise 1, where I drew a still life, and the longer I worked on it the more I saw (and the better the drawing got). I can also see a lot more expressiveness in my sketchbook, since I stopped trying to get all the details right and went for how it feels. I am going to have to get into the habit of this, as its a new way of doing things for me, but I think the life drawing is a good way to see that this change is coming. 

Quality of outcome: Not sure I can really judge this, other than that I am pleased at how most of my drawings have turned out during this project. In fact, I'm worried that you'll think I always draw as well as this and will think I'm going backwards in future projects! The ones that went not so well were often the ones I was less interested in, like the shading four tones exercises, and drawing the tones on a dinner plate.

Demonstration of creativity: I suspect that my choice of objects for the assignment still life would be called creative, and a little risky, as was my trying out drawing with charcoal on fabric. I think it's a bit early for me to have a personal voice in my drawing. However, it is already being used in my own personal creative process as I have been using what I have learned from the exercises to progress my own interest in my sketchbook. An example of this would be my series of drawings of bean pods exploring further the effective differences between using outlines vs. shadows vs. incomplete shapes, after I had found this out in exercise 2 and talked to my tutor.

Context: I did some research about Schiele as well as the assigned research, because my personal interest had been piqued, and I think that it helped me towards being a bit freer with my drawing. I guess I am generally quite articulate (she says inarticulately), and aware of what I'm doing, thinking and feeling, and I think this comes across in my learning log.

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