Proj 1, Ex. 3: Study of Several Trees

Whilst I was sitting in the woodland two things struck me – one was the range of greens in layers from the tree canopy down to the undergrowth and the second was the way the light was dappled.  I therefore decided to capture this in oil pastels on a textured paper.  I kept to a very loose style only picking out a couple of the tree trunks, avoiding adding any real detail of the individual plants and trees to order to concentrate on the effect of the light and colours.

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I am quite satisfied with the result and think I have captured what I set out to achieve.  It is a long way removed from my normal style of precise and detailed drawings but I am trying to try different methods and styles in order to explore my creativity more.

Following my last assignment my tutor suggested I try to use charcoal more and also to rub back with an eraser to create highlights.  I found this small patch of woodland where the tree trunks did not have any noticeable bark, were a silver-grey in colour, overall were quite bare (not the norm for this time of year) and quite strange shapes.  I used charcoal for this drawing, using the grain of the textured paper to create the ground and background foliage.  I rubbed in the charcoal for the tree trunks to create that smoother surface and then adding back in small patches of texture.  I used the point, edge and sides of the charcoal to create different marks.    I finally added the highlights to the sides of the trunks using a pencil eraser.

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I am happy with the resultant picture as I think it captures the overall feeling I had of this patch of woodland and I fairly successfully used a medium I would hesitate to use before undertaking this drawing.

Proj 1, Ex.2: An Individual Tree

At this time of year it was surprising difficult to select an individual tree, without the clutter of surrounding woodland or other features.  My first tree is in pencil, with charcoal pencil to add the darker elements.  I tried to capture the overall shape of the tree concentrating on the shape of the branches, rather than drawing the individual leaves.  I was aware of my tutor comments from my last assignment submission which indicated I needed to bring out the shape of the object more and have a greater variety in my shading to achieve this.

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Although the drawing does achieve this to a degree, I still feel it is slightly flat.

For my next drawing I looked back at my drawings from Unit 2 and felt that my more successful drawings had been when I was using pen and ink.  Whilst I used to think that using pen and ink would make me hesitant in my mark marking, afraid of making mistakes, the reverse is true.  I tend to just go for it, incorporating and using any mistakes in my mark making into the overall drawing.  I used a Rotring drawing pen for this drawing – a happy accident occurred whilst undertaking this drawing in that I changed the cartridge beofre going out and instead of a black cartridge I inserted a blue cartridge so as I drew,  the colour slowing began to change creating the various shades, giving form and a sense of depth to the tree.  I also added a wash to parts of the tree to blur the shape, adding further depth.

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This i a better image than the first drawing, however, I still need to work on my shading to give form and add a greater range of tones.

Exhibition: Degas to Picasso, Creating Modernism in France

I really enjoyed this exhibition as it had a high number of drawings and works on paper, many of which I had not seen before.  It also introduced a number of new artists to me.  The title of the exhibition is slightly misleading as it begins with a drawing by Jean-Honore Fragonard, so that it can put the rise of modernism into a historical context.

As normal with exhibitions, I choose four images to write about in my sketchbook pages.

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As I finished writing this page it stuck me that I should also pick images that were less successful for me and explain why.  You can often learn as much from these images as my favourites.  A learning point for the future.

Proj 1, Ex. 1: Sketching Individual Trees

In preparing for this exercise I decided to go out and do some sketches of trees in order to get into the mode of drawing trees.  My first sketch is of a small tree near to my home in pen and ink.  I then did a study of the leaves from this tree using the three watercolour pencils I had with me at the time.  Both are A3.

I then went further afield and found a couple of other trees to sketch.  The first is in pen and ink, the second uses Sepia and Brown pencil.  Both A3.

I now felt ready to tackle the exercise.  I knew of a church nearby that had a variety of trees in the graveyard and thought this would be a good place to sit quietly and sketch.  I did the pencil sketch of the main outline first, followed by a pen and ink (line/ink wash) drawing to show the main shapes of the foliage.  Both A3.

The shading on the pen and ink drawing did not turn out quite as I expected as the ink changed from black to blue part way through the drawing as I had changed the cartridge in my Art Pen just before coming out and had inserted a blue cartridge rather than black.  However, I quite like to more subtle blue colour.

The tree I had picked for the first two drawings was not suitable for the next part of the exercise as very little truck or branches could be seen.  I therefore drew a different tree using pen and pencil.  I drew the main truck and branches I could see in pen and indicated the shape of the foliage in pencil.  In the corner I added the detail for the foliage.  Again A3.

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This tree was at the edge of the graveyard and was leaning towards an open field and I think I have captured this in the shading for the foliage.

I enjoyed this exercise and it has boosted my confidence to sketch outdoors.  Whilst I have not captured a fully realist drawing of the trees, I think the drawings do convey the overall shape of the trees and their different densities.

Exhibition: Queer British Art 1861-1967

Queer British Art explores the connection between art and gender/sexual identity from 1861, when the death penalty for sodomy was abolished, to 1967, when sex between men was partially decriminalised.

The exhibition reflects both the changes which have occurred in attitudes to being queer (although with current events in America and Russia this is questionable) and the changes in art generally.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the small drawings of Duncan Grant and Keith Vaughan as these are so rarely displayed and have a great sense of movement and power expressed in just a few lines.

I picked out four paintings which I included in my sketch pages to record my thoughts about the exhibition.

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Venue:  Tate Britain

Date of Visit:  25 May 2017