Part 2: Project 1: Exercise 2 – Compositional studies of natural objects

Brief

Select some more objects but, this time, concentrate on natural rather than manmade elements. Once again, explore different viewpoints by moving objects around in different arrangements and assessing which composition works in the most interesting way.

Use the information you’ve already collated in your sketchbook along with written notes from previous exercises to make an informed decision about the organisation of your drawing. This will help you to clear your mind and give a sense of order to
your work. 

Ensure that your light source casts adequate light and shade onto the objects. Draw the subject with your chosen medium and technique on your paper.

Part 2 Exercise 2 course note image
OCA student, Stephen Powell, Sketchbook studies

Review your work for the last two exercises and make notes on the following:

• Is it easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects? Try to explain your answer.
• How did you create a sense of solidity in your compositions?
• Did changing the arrangement of your composition make a difference to your approach and the way you created a sense of form?

Process

Part 2 Exercise 2 initial sketch 1
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – initial sketch 1

I selected a number of wild flowers and leafs from our neighbouring field and made some initial sketches on A4 paper using a 2H pencil and a selection of coloured pencils.

Part 2 Exercise 2 initial sketch 2
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – initial sketch 2

Three larger sketches exploring the twig and lichen, the wild daisy and the dock leaf.

Part 2 Exercise 2 initial sketch 3
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – initial sketch 3

Introducing some other colour.

Part 2 Exercise 2 - draft composition 1
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – draft composition 1

First attempt at a portrait style compositional study, bringing together the various components from my initial sketches. Still using 2H and coloured pencils on A4 paper.

Part 2 Exercise 2 - draft composition 2
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – draft composition 2

This time a landscape style study.

Finished drawing

Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 - finished drawing
Part 2 Project 1 Exercise 2 – finished drawing on A2 paper

I changed my viewing perspective and as I did not have that long to capture the still life due to the wild flowers and leafs soon beginning to wilt I used ink marker pens to wash in the colours, lights and shadows. I find using these kind of pens quite liberating as you can quite quickly capture the essence of form, using a finger or paper stub to blend colours. I left out some of the wild grass so as not to over complicate things as I thought my drafts seemed overly busy. I think the finished drawing is more simplistic in its design and flow with the main focal point being the larger white daisy on a rule of third point. I could have added much more detail, but I am trying to discipline myself to stay with the key elements of the composition and not get carried away with every last leaf vein and flower petal. It is interesting to note, but not unsurprising to find that the hardy tree lichen remained fresh long after everything else had curled and withered.

Critique

These two exercises have provided lots to think about both in terms of arrangement and execution. With the man-made objects I initially struggled to find subject matter that was more than just merely placing objects together, which is why I opted for the camera composition. I liked experimenting with the drawing surface in this exercise and found marking the shadows to be bolder and easier to define than with the arrangement of leaf and flowers (much more subtle and maybe even more natural looking). I think the three-dimensionality of the camera composition is also more evident and was certainly easier to portray than with the leaf and flowers arrangement. The solidity of the camera elements helped in this regard I feel as they are pretty substantial man-made objects. Nonetheless, I think that the naturalness and temporary nature of the leaf and flower arrangement does provide a pleasing flow across the page and the more subtler shadow effects help to give a sense of 3D to the shapes lying flat on the table. Having changed the arrangement of the leaf and flower composition from my initial drafts, I think that I have achieved a simpler and effective drawing.

Stuart Brownlee – OCA 512319
6 June 2015

Part 2: Project 1: Exercise 1 – Compositional sketches of man-made objects

Brief

Select or create a composition comprised of man-made objects. Choose objects that offer potential for creating meaning and make notes about your ideas in your learning log.

Using a pencil or pen, draw two or three thumbnail sketches in your sketchbook using different arrangements and different viewpoints. Always make quick thumbnail sketches of each composition before you move the objects in case you want to return to an earlier idea.

Use a light source to help create strong lights and darks on the surfaces of the objects and in between. Use a range of tonal values to indicate form. Make shadows an important and interesting part of the composition.

Make notes in your learning log about the drawing technique you’ve used and why you used it. Note down anything else you feel is important or useful and which might help you reproduce the images on a larger scale.

Prt 2 Exc 1 course notesOCA student, Ayla Morten


Process

Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 1
Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 1

I chose a wooden carving of an otter that I had made some years ago and made some different angle sketches, along with bottle.

Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 2
Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 2

Tried to bring this together in a composition. I quite liked seeing the wooden base through the glass of the bottle, but in the end I discarded this idea as it just didn’t seem to hang together for me – what do an otter and a bottle have in common – other than the fact that both were man-made, one by me and the other found.

Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 3
Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 3

Picking up on one of my other interests – photography – I thought to try out some initial ideas with some of my own kit. Pencil on paper.

Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 4
Part 2 Exercise 1 initial idea 4

Looking to advance this idea I included some other bits and pieces – a wide angle and telescopic lenses and caps – better I thought.

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch draft
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch draft

Pencil outline showing table top, background screen, clamp and tub of ink markers beyond the screen on A2 220gm heavy weight paper.

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch draft cropped
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch draft cropped

I was conscious of my tutor’s comments on my first assignment regarding not closing in the composition, so I decided to crop the drawing.

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch outline ground draft
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch outline ground draft

Thinking some more about my tutor’s comments I chose to try and eliminate any signs of a fixed foreground/background by pasting on cut-out images around the central focus of the drawing, trying to give a kind of flatness to the surface across the paper doing away with the background/foreground split and hopefully allowing the viewer’s eye to wander around the main drawing without getting stuck. Paper given a white gesso wash, then initial idea sketches printed out on inkjet and cut up/stuck onto sketch. Lightly washed with yellow/orange/brown water colour and left to partially dry before deciding on the next steps.

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch outline ground distressed
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch outline ground distressed

Once partially dry I decided that I didn’t like the effect of the cut-out camera sketches as I felt that they would distract from the focus of the drawing. I therefore took the radical step if stripping off the cut-outs and gave the whole background a covering of yellow ochre soft pastel and brushed off excess. Left to dry completely under heavy layer of card and ‘big heavy books’ – aiming for a distressed look to the sheet of paper with some ghostly remains of camera sketch shapes where some of the inkjet colours have left their mark. I think this will work as my ground for the drawing, once completely dry.

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch final draft
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch final draft

Faber Castell Polychromos pastel pencils. This is a reasonable first final draft. However, the tones seem washed out and the lights and darks not distinct enough to my eye, so I plan to attempt to pull it all together a bit better, without over-working the drawing. And – I missed out a shadow!

Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch nearly there
Part 2 Exercise 1 main sketch nearly there …

Soft pastel and B4 graphite pencil to pick out highlights and shadows – just needs tweaking, I think.

Part 2 Exercise 1 - rule of thirds
Part 2 Exercise 1 – rule of thirds

This is the same image with an overlay of the ‘rule of thirds’ The design and analysis software is PhiMatrix available from www.phimatrix.com. My main focal point was the lens of the wide angle in the lower left of the composition – I didn’t quite manage the centre of the lens.

Part 2 Exercise 1 - finished drawing
Part 2 Exercise 1 – finished drawing

Some more white and grey soft pastel applied as well as B6 graphite and polychromos pencil to help pick out the contrasts. I think I made better use of the negative space around the objects in this composition and there are no real edges as such to stop the eye moving around the picture.

Critique

This has been a bit of a journey, from initial ideas that I discarded because of a disconnect in my mind – just objects placed on a table, so what? – through a series of sketches to arrive at a composition that pleased me, meant something to me and, I feel, was executed with thought and reflection – if not quite enough drawing skill. The ‘distressing’ process of the ground was, well quite distressing! I thought I was going to loose the paper to wet scrapes of detritus. To recover, I probably over-worked parts of this drawing and equally probably could have done more to enhance it – but it is what it is.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
3 July 2015