For assignment one we were asked to find and draw a selection of objects in a still life arrangement. The objects were to be ones that aroused some kind of feeling inside us and we were asked to pin up some of our previous work on making expressive marks around us whilst we worked. I chose a selection of objects around the theme of ‘happiness’ as can be described here in my previous post. Before drawing the objects, I played around with some angles and arrangements to try and get a composition with some interesting tones, shadows, shapes and reflections. I used my smartphone camera to take some photos of the different arrangements and in the end worked from a combination of viewing the real objects in front of me and using the camera image too. I worked with a selection of charcoal sticks, charcoal pencil and a small amount of white classroom chalk.
Overall I am pleased with the final drawing. I feel like it has captured the right degree of happiness but with quite a dark gloomy atmosphere. I wanted to try and get this dichotomy of feelings to highlight that my happiness always comes with a hint of anxiety due to my bipolar disorder, this is something I picked up on in the exercise looking at emotion. I also like the story the picture tells, the fact that all these objects that say happiness to me are propped up and surrounded by psychiatric medication, medication that is usually hidden from view.
I learned a lot from the exercises leading up to this and the final drawing. Prior to this course I had never worked with charcoal before and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite drawing mediums. I like the fluidity and looseness it gives me, I always feel a little tight and unsteady using pencil. I have actually extended my range of charcoals now so that I have a mixture of pencils and loose sticks. I also learned a lot from my research into still life and how to set up compositions using the rule of thirds, creating interesting shapes and how to select objects, this was from reading books about Picasso that made me think about how we select what we draw and paint to more technical books about drawing itself. On a more technical note I have learned how to observe more carefully and from practising some of the techniques in the required reading book ‘Drawing…’ I have improved my drawing skills.
If I were to rework this assignment piece I would change the lighting setting slightly to give the crab more emphasis, when in light he creates some wonderful reflections which aren’t picked up in this drawing as he was too shaded. I would also experiment more with different media and try doing the same composition in paint or ink. Also, I would like to try this same set up in colour as I feel different colour hues would add to this drawing.
I feel like I have achieved so much already in this course. I started off quite a novice at drawing, with my experience limited to quick sketches for my paintings. I now appreciate drawing as an art form itself and have done some reading around this. I have experienced new media: charcoal, graphite sticks, pastels and have worked on a new large scale of A1. I have also done reading around historical artists and their drawings, subscribed to Art Monthly and watched TV documentaries on Artists and their art. I feel also with the help of the online guide that my reflective practice has improved.
In order to draw this still life I put into practice some of the drawing techniques from the books I read and considered the advice from the TV documentary. I have also used the course book and tried to show expression and create atmosphere in my drawings. I think I achieved this darker atmosphere that I was looking for in my drawing.
I plan on revisiting this theme of dark happiness but in a different medium, I want to recreate it but add some acrylic colour in there as as an experiment. It has also given me a list of things I want to work on as the course progresses: I still need to experiment with media more, I want to continue working on my 3D shapes and textures. I can do this by looking at more examples, perhaps by fellow students and by doing more research into drawing techniques.
Overall though this assignment has left me feeling excited for how my future studies will go. I already feel like I have improved but I know there is a long way to go. I know a lot more art theory than I did a few weeks ago and I am daily drawing now which is going to lead to even more technical improvements.
Self Assessment against learning outcomes:
On successful completion of the course, you’ll be able to:
• demonstrate drawing skills using a wide range of drawing media
I feel like I am improving in this area. I have used pencil, pen, paint, charcoal pencils, watercolour pencils, ink, charcoal sticks, chalk and soft pastels. I feel like I am now more comfortable in charcoal and this is currently my favoured drawing media but I feel like my pencil and pen shading needs a lot more work.
• use drawing, tone and colour to represent three dimensions
Again I feel like I am improving in this area, my 3D shapes have improved as seen in my final assignment piece and I am comfortable with charcoal tone but feel like my hatching needs a lot more work. Colour not yet covered in this course but I use colour a lot in my painting.
• explain the rudiments of linear perspective and other drawing systems
Not really covered yet in this course but I have experimented with perspective in my paintings and sketches.
• reflect perceptively upon your own learning experience.
I feel like this is a strength of mine due my experience in teaching others. I am getting good at looking at my work with critical eyes and making notes on what I need to improve on. Using the template in the higher education guide has been a huge help in this area.