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