Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Contemporary artists and animals

drawing art animals My art draw animal chalk artist wildlife Charcoal my artwork deer shoutout guardian antlers shout out artist on tumblr buck trompe l
What I like about this:
the size,
the trompe loeil aspect combined with rough edges,
the birds in the sky an the antlers,
and the presence of the artist,
all of which take the image out of the purely representational,
and make you think.

These four drawings are taken from Vitamin D2 new perspectives in drawing Phaedon Press London NY 2013

Richard Lewer Principle said "It's a shame because we have so many kids who do the right thing and teh school really promotes respect for each other and respect for the environment." Charcoal on museum rag board
The drawing of the wallabees is very much about the movement and aliveness of them. The drawing as a whole more stylised than realistic, showing us flat shapes of the figures animals and trees, with the strong perspective of the background focussing the eye on the animals. There is a lot of tonal range, but the animals themselves are mainly in midtones, showing that they are in their natural state, contrasting with the darkness (metaphorical and literal around them.

Beyond-ism drawing for animation
2010 Sun Xun

While this panel looks very much in a traditional chinese style it is in fact one of many drawings for a coloured animation called Beyond-ism. His subject is 'life-cycles, food chains, teeming life, all overseen by the 'magician'.

The drawings are in ink, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, and the textures and patterns worked experimentally over and over.

Here the shapes of the animals are again styised, but in an altered classical chinese style, with the emphasis on shape and texture rather than their relationship to other figures or the background.

Again, the range of tones is broad overall, but narrower within each figure. The background is highly textured in some places but not in others, possibly to represent a map of the world.

1000 years of peace 2010 Dan Beudan
This graphite drawing conveys movement en masse. It has much more realistic animals, all drawing in proportion to each other, and all stampeding in the same direction. Again the tonal range is wide, the whitest being the stripes on the zebra, and the darkest the back of one of a sea mammal. The background is textured in, indicating some kind of man-made corridor. It doesn't look peaceful at all, more as if something has frightened the animals, making us think about the reasons for this contrast between the panic and the title.

Untitled (Ridables devouring gulls) 2009 Charles Avery 
Here is movement captured in what I presume is an imaginary scene. The 'ridables' look mean, and scrawny, and vicious  -a feeling emphasised by the grimy rubbish on the beach, the ruggedness of having the rocks strewn there, and the bleak emptiness behind. The bodies of two of the ridables are off balance in mid-movement. The gulls are cut off as they try to escape, and are again drawing moving away in panic, or screaming at the scavengers. The tonal range is narrower, which adds to the grimy appearance of the thing, but is wide enough that the pure white shell in the foreground can draw the eye and symbolise something better.

I have also found some sculpture and textile art animals which I want to add here.

Talia Greene Cross-Pollination exhibition - referring to influences from different cultures on each other, visualised in terms of insects.
What I like - the combination of organic and non-organic shapes in a regular pattern
that is undermined in a way that has meaning.
There is also a great texture contrast between the bees and hexagons fuzziness and the wire drawing shapes of the rest.
Ink, cement paint
What appeals is again the intriguing regular irregularity,
and the insect-like effect of the scratchy symbols on the back of my neck

The colours are very sunny
Lizards are intrinsically interesting creatures to look at, especially the way they move
Mosaic or blocks of colour are used here to give the impression of pattern and shading at the same time
while not having to be realistic.
Worth a try.
Cauda Equina by Keith W Bentley
from www.rust-neversleeps.blogspot.co.uk/
This one's not really about drawing, but makes me laugh.

What appeals - the huge size,
the way the coloured slats are placed so as to emphasise the movment of the animal
Rebecca Stevenson
from http://rebloggy.com/post/art-sculpture-animals-contemporary-art-flowers-kim-abstract-realism-contemporary/66832645838
What appeals - the combination of shapes
The seaweed/ fungus shapes being so bright and the sheep's head so realistic but the colour of wax
So skillful
Beautiful/ grotesque

Craig Waddell 2011
Beasty boy
oil on linen
from http://www.gallery9.com.au/craig-waddell-stockroom-rooster-series
Strong, loose, characterful
Above & below from

I couldn't call myself a textile person unless I included something from Alexander McQueen exhibition Savage Beauty...animal art clothes


What appeals? The use of fabric and paint to give the texture/shape/ emotional impact of animals and birds. 

Feedback from Assignment 1

Tutor report

Overall Comments

You have submitted a good selection of work for the first part of the course, which evidences good progress and appropriate reflection documented in your Learning Log.

Throughout your exercises you have demonstrated an experimental approach to the work; often beginning with the structured process recommended in the course book before continuing in a direction which is more personal. For example, the use of thread in the temporary drawing or the collage material brought into your assignment work, which I will discuss later. This willingness to experiment and consider the relevance of the exercises to your own interests suggests you have great potential for developing your individual practice.  

The exercises with expressive marks do evidence the beginnings of experimenting with the variety of marks that can be made with a particular media. However, this could be developed to give you a greater vocabulary of marks to work with. For example, as well as experimenting with pressure and positioning of the medium, smudge with your fingertips; draw over the marks with an eraser or score the paper first to leave indentations that remain as you draw over the surface. The more variety or marks you can make the more lively and engaging your drawings will be. Julie Mehretu is a good artist to look at:

Untitled (brigade) 2005

You have identified in your Learning Log and I would agree that some focus on your use of tone would be beneficial. You have made good progress over the course; from the initial drawings that appeared to have little contrast in tone to the ‘bauble on plate’ drawing where you used a fuller range of tones including the addition of white to add highlights. It is worth noting that even if you can’t observe a full range of tones from white to black it is often necessary to use the full range in order to create the illusion of form. If you are working in graphite it is better to use a full range of grades to get the desired effect. For example, a sharpened HB can give crisp and accurate lines and indent the paper but is less effective for creating tone. Having a range of grades 2B, 5B, 9B etc. alongside this would allow you to create a variety of tones and marks. Don’t be tempted to use one grade for the whole drawing as this will really restrict the possibilities for developing the drawing.

It is good to see that you have attended life-drawing classes and continue to draw and experiment outside of the course requirements. The more you engage with drawing and reflecting on the resulting work the quicker you will make progress. 
I believe that you are intending to submit work for assessment in order to work towards a textiles degree. As you are probably aware assignment 1 is used as diagnostic and is not part of the assessment work. When you submit assignment 2, please let me know if you are definitely intending to put your work forward for assessment; I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment criteria.

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

It is good to see that you have revisited your assignment work and made several further drawings based on your reflections of the first. There is great improvement in both your technical ability and creativity in the series of drawings you subsequently created. 

You experimented with composition and this has led to a more ambitious composition that has challenged you. The development of this is evident in your supporting work. The horizontal format drawing is particularly successful as it draws the eye across the surface through the linking of the three objects. The tonal quality in this drawing is greatly improved and you have considered the background so that the drawing is balanced and convincing. 

A rapid way to experiment with composition is through the thumbnail sketch. For example, a series of 15-20 small boxes drawn on one page of your sketchbook, which you fill with every combination of your chosen objects you can think of. You can afford to be very quick and ‘loose’ with these thumbnail sketches; they do not need to be ‘perfect’. Below is a visual example of the use of thumbnail sketches to develop composition:

Texture through mark making is another area that you could develop through experimentation in your sketchbook. Observe the textures of objects around you and try replicating them in your sketchbook. You can develop this through both observation of textures and getting to know the media you are using and what it can do for you. It takes time to build this up but it is worthwhile as you are building on the vocabulary of marks available to you when drawing. It would be worthwhile experimenting with mixed media to develop textures etc. as a means to tie it to your textile practice.

In your final drawing you have been inventive with your use of collage, which adds contrast and interest. It is good to see the development of your work to this point where you have simplified the information to focus on the various forms of the objects. The use of the yellow paper to highlight the original colour of the chair and add tonal range is very effective. It may be the digital photograph, however, it is difficult to see any detail of the chair legs. It would be worthwhile drawing into the chair further to bring in some further highlights, perhaps using white or grey within the objects on the chair to bring back some of the form.  
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity 

It is clear that you are experimenting with composition and drawing outside of the projects within the course. It would be good to see you sketchbooks at some point in the course to see what you are capturing and experimenting with.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays 

You use your blog effectively as a means to capture your thoughts and developing work. You have reflected on relevant artists referred to in the course and sought out other appropriate artists. To develop your critical thinking, reflect on the work of others and then relate to your own work. For example, ask yourself what is successful/challenging about a particular artwork and then use this to reflect on a piece of your own work; or use it as a focus when starting a new piece.
Suggested reading/viewing 

TRACEY drawing and visualisation research is a really good resource for drawing and is accessible online at: 
The Drawing Research Network is also accessible from that link and details drawing events, exhibitions etc. that are currently taking place.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize Catalogue Archive is a really good resource for contemporary drawing too: 

Pointers for the next assignment

Action points:
  • Build up your vocabulary of marks through further experimentation with media
  • Use a full range of tone within your drawings from white to black to help render form
  • Use thumbnail sketches as a means to rapidly explore composition
  • Pay attention to texture and experiment with recreating your observations in your sketchbook
  • Work back into your assignment drawing to bring in further highlights and tonal range
  • Use your reflections on the work of others to critique your own work

Tutor name
Deborah Harty
Next assignment due

Monday, 2 March 2015

Project 4: Still life

Exercise 1: Still life using line

I used sketches and photos to help me think about how to make the connections and differences between the objects apparent, and how they relate to the background. I wanted to try a different way from clumping them all together. I tried sketching from different viewpoints.

Sketches for composition
I chose these veg because they are the remains of making a meal, and there's something about the cores that are thrown away that are meaningful to me. Maybe it's just me but there's a gesture to the obscene too. Personal and private insides on show.

The angle of the innards being similar for each seems important to the composition as it draws attention to this aspect of the veg, and links them all into one image. The differences are in the different textures, which I will be drawing with line, and in the colours, which I am not going to use for this drawing. 

I wasn't sure about the position of the set up in relation to the light source, so I tried a few different arrangements which I photographed.

The light from the right gave the most definition without obscuring the different textures.

The light in one room (right) was  much warmer and stronger than the light in the other, as it was natural light.

From above looked boring and took away the emphasis on the parallel lines within the vegetables, so I went for a flatter perspective.

I thought about using a chinese brush,
but decided that I wanted to use a thinner line to make the most of the differences in texture, so I used a black 'technical' pen on white A3 paper.

Ratatouille still life - line

In retrospect - could have used brown paper or newspaper for this one - looks a bit bare. Otherwise focussed in more and let the veg take up more of the paper. I think the different textures drawn with line this way worked pretty well. Not sure the veg all pointing the same way works to make it interesting enough. I think I'll have a play in my sketchbook to see if I can capture the private core aspect better - perhaps using other materials.

Exercise 2: Still life in tone using colour
First attempt - white paper and 'natural' colours
Comments on these drawings are in the review section below

Second try at using tone and colour
White paper and three colours only

Pale pink paper and restricted range of colours

Reviewing these exercises:
What aspects of each drawing were successful, and which did you have problems with?
The detail and shading of the objects was good in the line drawing. The overall impression not so good. I left too much of the background and didn't put in the shadows falling on the board. Using the white paper for the lightest tones worked well for that one, but again, I didn't give any thought to the tone of the background.

First tone drawing  - The chunkier parts of the vegetables worked best, perhaps because the tones changed with simpler shapes and were therefore easier to judge. The details weren't working, perhaps because I used line more than tone to outline them in this one. The drawing doesn't hang together very well as a single image and this has something to do with the choice of colours, especially the black I think, and because I didn't cover the whole of the white paper with pastel colour, so it looked scrappy.

Second tone drawing This was better as a whole as I had learned from the first one to use the same colours throughout, regardless of the actual colours of the objects. I also learned to cover the white paper. The objects' detail worked better, as I was learning to use tone to show detail eg in the pepper seeds. It was difficult to get any more detail, or sharpness of edge, than there is in this one without using line.

Last one drawing. This one was done using coloured paper, as in the example in the course instructions, and colours in a narrower range of tones - just to see what happened. I also focussed in more to get less background and more veg. This combination left the veg apparently floating in nothingness! Again, difficulty with the background. I also found the shadows more difficult to differentiate from the objects when there was less tone difference. The pale greeen for the lightest tones worked better, though, I think. And by this time I was getting more of a grip on how to use tones for the onion pattern.

Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What aspect of drawings and still life groupings helped to create that sense?

There was some sense of depth in the drawings, which seemed to come from a combination of tone/shadow and perspective. Overall, though they are all a bit flat, which I think is due to the arrangement of the objects mostly separated from each other. And all three of the tone drawings were drawn from higher up than intended, which contributed to this too.

What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone?

Using line only allows tone to be incorporated by making the lines closer together, except where there is shadow (unless you use crosshatching for that). I expect that colour is more difficult to incorporate and use in line drawings.

Using tone only means that detail has to be suggested rather than drawn in. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and for me anyway can make the image more expressive.

How did using colour affect your working method?

Using colours to convey tone - the way I did it depended on the relatie intensity of the colours. I was trying to use the method in the instructions, but once I had done darkest, middle, lightest, I found myself wanting to go back over the dardest again so as to increase the contrast and balance the image out a bit. Using them this way meant that the actual colour became less relevant than the relative tone. I only understood this really when I had finished the last drawing and found that the difference in tone between the middle and light ones (tan and pale green) was not great enough, especially on the coloured paper.

I found that trying to use the 'real' colours of the vegetables didn't convey anything of the atmosphere or feeling. Using only three colours as in this exercise, gave me the opportunity to see the effect of different colours and ranges of colour on the final image.

Exercise 3: Experiment with mixed media

Preparatory sketches for this exercise, trying out different arrangements, and different combinations of media.
I particularly wanted to get the reflections and the strong colours.
I tried out a few different objects in front of the two pans, because some of them didn't reflect well, some weren't a strong enough colour, and others detracted from the strong shapes and reflections.
I eventually decided on half a squash.
For the paper I wanted to get the directional stripes of the wood on the table, but something to make it more homely than clinical, so I used a collage.

Still life - marker pens, conte crayon, wax crayon, coloured pencil, magazine collage

Exercise 4: Monochrome

Sketches for monochrome exercise, trying out different angles on it, and line vs. tone
The big difficulty was getting enough contrast to show the shapes and reflections in the same colour range.
The other difficulty was drawing the shapes accurately!
After these sketches, I decided that picking objects because they were the same colour was a mistake, and found some more interesting musical instruments to draw, with contrasting shapes and reflectivity. I kept the cloth underneath.
I also thought it would be good to practice using pastels again because I hadn't quite got how to do it in the earlier exercise, and to use a black backbround so that the contrasts were greater.

Monochrome musical instruments
Pastel and pencil on black paper
Looking at this drawing critically: I think I have captured the reflections on the recorder in a way which allows you to see the shape of it. I am also pleased with the shape of the wooden clapper at top left, which was tricky because of all the angles. The gourd rattle wasn't so successful. I think because the colour of the circles doesn't adequately show the changes in light across it, and because I haven't drawn them all as they actually look, but in the target shape I know them to be in my head. The background cloth is not really drawn in properly at the bottom left - more scribbled, and this detracts from the look of the whole thing. It looks better on the right where I was more careful to make it look as it did in real life. Finally, I'm not sure this is really monochrome - I tried using different shades of brown through mustard up to a peachy beige, but in this photo it looks like pink, yellow and white on the black background. It might have been better on a brown paper instead of black. Using a black background was interesting because it did what I hoped it would and increased the level of contrast in the whole thing, making it more dramatic. I had to change the way I thought about what I was putting onto the paper, though, and initially put the middle colour on first (instead of the darkest) to get my bearings. Later on in the process I used a pencil to remove some of it to make lines (eg for the edges of teh clappers, and the fine detail on the recorder). I like the way the pastel makes the objects look very physical.