Assemble a range of drawing media including coloured media such as oil pastels, watercolours, ink and coloured pencils. You might also incorporate small areas of collage (using found images, scraps of newspaper, etc.). You may need a heavier paper if you intend to use watered down PVA glue or flood large areas with wash.
Work on a large sheet of paper, A2 or A1 divided up into two or four boxes. alternatively work in your sketchbook. Glance through the studies you’ve made so far and notice which have been most successful in terms of pictorial effect. Work either from direct observation of your interior view or from one of your exercise studies. Try mixing media you are less familiar with and experiment with several studies of the subject, looking at it from different viewpoints.
This exercise is more about experimentation than accuracy, so let elements of abstraction or distortion enter to help you to express your subject. It may be interesting to have a title in mind such as ‘My clutter’, ‘Shoe cupboard’, ‘Cat’s corner’, ‘Tobacco plant in candlelight’ – offering the hint of a story.
Think about interesting formal compositions using negative spaces, interesting shapes, patterns and textures – for example, large leaves from a houseplant in silhouette, lines on a rug, some areas in deep shadow and others brightly lit. Artistic devices such as these help express mood and feeling.
Introduce colour. You could make a further tonal study in which you limit the palette to one or two colours to express atmosphere and tonal values.
These preparatory exercises should help you to focus and select both your subject and your handling of it so be experimental and work outside your comfort zone.
Using a prepared ground of ink marks on paper pressed into sand I picked out one of the guitar images from my quick sketches around the house to lay down a vibrant image of how I feel about the guitar – a love/hate relationship! I used gel pen and felt-tip pen and ‘strung’ the guitar with cut lengths of wine-bottle-cap metal twining and staples.
On a prepared canvas sheet with dark grey gesso, I tried out several media here to capture a different, quirky angle on the small bathroom chair from my previous sketches around the house. There is an abstract feel to the picture, with the upright chair given tone and the background chair depicted in pure pop-arty like colour. I used marker and felt-tip pens for the chairs and oil pastel for the background negative shapes.
Marker pens and ink on canvas sheet again refer back to the small chair and teddy bears of previous sketches. This time there is definitely a spacey feel to the composition, with the background chai appearing to capture/consume the teddy-chair drifting in space. I like the perspectives. This was the first time I had used Inktense blocks and a water brush pen – I’m hooked!
My take on a recent news story of ‘hunter kills nice lion’. Using one of my prepared papers pressed onto black ink splattered on sand the ‘splatter’ looked to me like gunshots on a target. I used the elephant statue from my living room sketches to occupy the space and drew the picture with Inktense block and water brush pen. To the bullet hole splats I added some red and silver gel pen marks to add drama to the scene.
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015