Life Drawing Class: Week 11

Drawings of movement, conte crayon, pencil, pen and charcoal. 3-20 minute poses, A2 & A1 single sheets.

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Exhibition: Hockney

I visited this exhibition on 27 May 2017 at Tate Britain.  It was a large retrospective of Hockney’s work, over 12 rooms.  The first room displayed a number of images of different periods to give an overview, the remaining rooms were arranged in chronological order.

I picked three images to write about in my sketchbook, all from his work in the USA during the 1960s.  After viewing the exhibition it is this American work of the 1960’s and early 1970s which I found the strongest and appealing; I think it is the flat colours, strong composition and almost graphic nature of the images.

Hockney varied his style and techniques over the years and this exhibition showed those changes.


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.


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.


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.


Venue:  Tate Britain

Date of Visit:  25 May 2017

Assignment 2: Reflection Against Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills
Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

During this unit I have again experimented with a range of materials and techniques. I mainly drew in black and white prior to commencing this course and so during this unit have tried to use colour in a variety of different mediums (where appropriate). I have used collage in an exercise and a mixed medium approach in my second assignment,

I have started to sketch more and have found that rather than using small pages I am better at using A3 paper. This stops in being so tight in my drawings and I am slowly getting over that fear of sketching in public. I continue to use loose sheets for sketching which I attach to an A3 Drawing Board. I have started Life Drawing Classes and this is developing my observational skills and visual awareness.

Quality of Outcome
Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment

I am very satisfied with second assignment outcome. I have pushed myself to make a mixed media drawing, in a larger format I would normally attempt. I like the composition of the image, the colour range and the different mark making in the drawing, from the smooth of the steel frame to the freer, more gestural marks in the vegetation.

Demonstration of Creativity
Imagination, experimentation, invention, personal voice

Throughout this unit and in my assignment submission I have struggled with the still-life genre. I have therefore tried to think beyond the usual coffee-pot type images and engage with a subject matter/idea which interests me, as well as fitting the criteria for the unit. In this way I think I may start to develop my personal voice more. However, in many ways I wonder if I have over-thought the unit and should have just done the exercises using the normal suspects as my subject matter?

In this unit I have also tried to concentrate more on the final image which portrays my idea rather than it be more about the process of making the drawing. This was a deliberate move on my part as I am trying to discover which camp (if any or both) the making of my art and my interest lies. Perhaps it is too early to look at either?

Reflection, research

I have visited exhibitions, Study Days and undertaken a number of areas of research and then experimented with what I have discovered. I need to develop my academic writing more and to write more on what I am discovering. I still struggle with the on-line blog and am keeping exhibition and some other research notes in hard copy with a brief summary entry on my on-line learning log. I am hoping this will develop into more of a visual diary, learning log and sketchbook combined so that it is easier to look at some form of cross-fertilisation of ideas. As this is my first Level 1 course I think it is the ideal time to find the right format for me.