Project 3: Exercise 3: Material Differences

Following on from the 4 sketches of interiors I decided on this view for Exercise 3.

 

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Living room and mirror.  Water-soluble wax pastels on paper.  A2.

 

I am pleased overall that I achieved the effect I wanted.  I am still stuck on trying to get a representational drawing, but I am happy with that while I am learning to use new materials (water-soluble wax pastels).  These are really versatile.  They are like crayons but you can use them without water for a rougher effect, but then convert them to washes at any time if necessary.

I was nervous about doing a reflection in a mirror, but I think having the frame makes it more obvious.  I also made the reflection less definite and put a wash over it from the frame, which I think work quite well.  I added the pencil jar (it doesn’t usually sit there) so I could get the reflection in.  The reflection of the lamp is less obvious from this angle.

I haven’t got the relationship and shading right between the box and the small picture frame – they were a bit awkwardly positioned as I moved things together a bit to make the composition more interesting.  I have also overworked it here trying to change it. The natural light kept changing the day I did this.  I have learned that making a sketch with the tones noted exactly would have helped me get the shadows more consistent.

Getting the perspectives right was a challenge, the top of the mirror is a bit wonky, but I am happy otherwise.  I like the angles of the mirror and sideboard.  I wouldn’t have thought of doing this angle if I hadn’t done the exercises before-hand.

I also realise after writing up my notes on the previous Research point that I have included an artwork by another artist in my drawing.  It is a rather faint rendition in the mirror of a Terence Millington limited edition print of “Badia a Coltibuono”.  I have also included (self-referentially) one of my framed pencil drawings of the small pot that is in front of it.

Pareidolia and dreams and Alice

Pareidolia:  “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist”, according to the World English Dictionary. 

Further to my research on Pareidolia following my mixed media exploration, I came across these related references accidentally (honest).

The deliberate accident in art:  this Tate article outlines other artists that use “accidental” mark-making as inspiration, including (interestingly as I didn’t know he was a visual artist) Victor Hugo.

In a chapter on Dreams (Kovats, 2007: 201 et seq.) Charles Darwent discusses the difference between Rembrandt’s A Girl Sleeping (c. 1665) and Goya’s Mala Mujer (Wicked Woman) (1802) in terms of the artists’ aims and understanding of consciousness and dreams.

Darwent asserts that it was Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams that was the founding text of Surrealism as it established dreams as “cryptic messages of the id” that could be de-cyphered – rather than something fleeting that only an artist could capture.

Some interesting quotes (ibid: 202) include:

“All that we see or have seen is but a dream within a dream” Edgar Allen Poe, A Dream within a Dream.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” Pablo Picasso.

And from Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (ibid: 215):

“And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?”

“Where I am now, of course,” said Alice.

“Not you!” Tweedledum retorted contemptuously.  “You’d be nowhere.  Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!”

Project 3: Research point

Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format etc.  Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.

David Hockney’s take on perspective 

hockney-perspective
Fig. 1. Perspective Should Be Reversed 2014 by David Hockney. Photographic drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond 42. Photograph: Richard Schmidt. Guardian website.

Hockney is not particularly known for focusing on interiors, unless they include people.  But I wanted to include this work (Fig. 1.) because of his take on perspective.  Here Hockney, through his photographs/drawing, aims to achieve “many vanishing points” to achieve “an almost 3D effect”.  This builds on his interest in using photography and video to construct drawings and paintings.  But as Hockney points out in his own book on art history (Ref.   P 85), this is not new:  he points out that “Byzantine painters and medieval artists also had what we would now call reverse perspective.  A painting of an altar, table or throne will show both left and right sides.”

Returning to Hockney’s own drawing (Fig. 1.), it may be that you have to see this picture in the flesh to appreciate the reverse perspective, but from the image above I am not convinced that Hockney has succeeded.  Although the table at the front confounds traditional perspective rules, other objects (wall left-hand side; pictures right-hand wall) appear to adhere to a conventional vanishing point in the distance.  The figures behind are also smaller, again complying with conventional perspective to achieve an illusion of depth.    But to quote Hockney again “There’s no such thing as “right” perspective.” (P. 88)

Another artist interested in subverting traditional uses of perspective is Patrick Hughes, who through his “reversperspective” works – 3D images which aim to challenge the way we see things and what is “real”.  I read (Telegraph article) that Hughes has become an internet phenomenon and “gone viral”.  But I do get the feeling that once the novelty of his trick wears off you are left with the feeling “so what”?  But I have heard similar views on Magritte’s and other surrealist paintings. So perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.   It just doesn’t feel to me that Hughes’ work has undergone the same exploration of concepts, media, reality and perceptions that Hockney has spent his career investigating.

Although not focusing entirely on domestic interiors, Tracey Emin has made some interesting statements with works that include domestic objects.

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Fig. 2. My Bed, 1998, Mattress, linens, pillows, objects 79 x 211 x 234 cm. (Tate website)

In this installation (Fig. 2.) she bares all and gives us an intimate insight into a very personal part of her life.  No tidying up for the visitors here.  The fact that you can see this in the round allows the viewer to explore their own view and perspective on the scene.  Something that cubism tried to do in two dimensions – present a multi-faceted viewpoint.  Such “confessional art” has been said (Telegraph article) to be led by Louise Bourgeois, Emin’s so called “spiritual grandmother.”  As with Bourgeois, Emin shows she is not afraid to confess, and doesn’t care if she is judged. 

I next want to consider this drawing (Fig. 3.) by English artist Charles Hardaker (b. 1934).  The multiple viewpoints in his interiors are views through doors/openings to other vistas.

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Fig. 3. Open doors – Framed objects – Albers, 2004 (oil on canvas) Hardaker, Charles E. (b.1934)

The colour palette, tonal subtlety and everyday subject matter reminds me of Giorgio Morandi’s work. This deceptively simple painting presents many views, and views through openings into other rooms, cupboards, boxes, each differently lit. 

It is also interesting that Hardaker gives us an alternative view of another artist’s work, with a painting by Josef Albers depicted on the wall.  Kaupelis (Ref. P. 146) writes about incorporating art by another artist into a drawing as an aid to creativity, but warns, “It isn’t easy to incorporate this fragment of reality into a drawing without it sticking out like a sore thumb.”  Here, Hardaker achieves this seamlessly.  The painting by Albers is sympathetic in colour and tone with the overall work – the teasing hint of red adding interest rather than taking over.  Also the shape of Albers work echoes the many simply square and rectangular forms in the main painting. 

Another artist with an interest in domestic interiors, and who included images of paintings in them (often his own) is Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.  His brash, impersonal, graphic style said to be a reaction to Abstract Expressionism. (P. 845 World History of Art).

Interior with Waterlilies 1991 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Fig. 4.  Roy Lichtenstein Interior with Waterlilies (1991) Oil paint and acrylic paint on canvas. 3209 x 4553 x 65 mm. (Tate website)

Another artist with an interest in domestic interiors, and who included images of paintings in them (often his own) is Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.  His brash, impersonal, graphic style is said to be a reaction to Abstract Expressionism. (P. 845 World History of Art).

In this painting (Fig. 4.) the picture above the sideboard is from Lichtenstein’s Waterlilies series (1990s) 1990s, inspired by Monet and giving the work its title.  Although there is little tonality in this painting the strong lines give a clear sense of perspective.

Lichtenstein based his paintings on imagery from popular culture and the mass media. He sourced the images for this painting, as for others in his Interiors series, from advertisements found in the Yellow Pages.

 

 

Project 3: Exercise 2: Composition – an interior

I chose an area that I thought looked interesting from my previous quick  sketches around the house. I did a further 4 quick (well slightly longer, but not too much) sketches of this area from different angles.  Rather than thumbnails I decided to do 2 portrait on an A3 sheet of paper; and 2 landscape on a separate A3 sheet of paper. Before I did that I took several photos (I won’t post them here) from a range of angles to narrow the options down to 4.

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I must admit that this Exercise was much more useful than I thought it would be. It definitely gave me more ideas for how I might compose my drawing for Exercise 3, and I will probably draw an angle that I would never have thought of if I hadn’t done this first.

My challenge is now deciding which materials to use; how I make sure that the mirror looks like a mirror rather than a picture or a strange view of the room. It is a bevelled mirror so I would like to capture some of that distortion. Also having part of the image in the foreground reflected in the mirror helps. I may put something else taller in the foreground; and perhaps bring in part of the top edge of the mirror.

Project 3: Exercise 1: Quick sketches around the house

I used my A4 sketchbook for this exercise and a few different drawing media: pencil; pens and charcoal pencil. I liked using the pens best as they gave good clear lines and were less messy.

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The areas I found most difficult were the ones where I have lots of books. I am not sure how to handle the repetition and detail of subjects like these while still keeping the image interesting.

I also realised that my home is fairly uncluttered and that I had to work at angles in some rooms to get anything vaguely interesting. And there weren’t many soft edges or folds to add interest and texture. Kitchen and bathroom towels provided some opportunity for that. But lots of angles and perspectives to practise which is good.

The kitchen is one area where I do keep lots of bits and pieces.  All of the sketches I took there have potential for further work as still lifes.  Particularly interesting is where the shiny cupboards reflect objects on the shelves.  And the different levels of the shelves allow for observation of changes in perspective.  I may go back to the kitchen for Assignment 2.

However, for Exercises 2 and 3 the sketch that has caught my imagination most is the living room with mirror reflection.  I can see the potential for using the mirror image to add interest to the composition.  This will be challenging though as I am not too sure how to execute this.

I am also interested in exploring the potential of other views: through a door from another room; views out of windows in the background; views from outdoors to inside (but it’s a bit cold for that now).  But I have to press on now as I have set myself a deadline to meet

 

Project 2: Exercise 4: Monochrome

Single colour (purple watercolour ink); natural and man-made objects (grapes/cheese/glass/plate); contrasting (cheese/plate).  I wanted something fairly expressive and loose so I chose ink and a sharpened stick (I had used a stick to draw in Part 1) I practised in my A3 sketchbook (Fig. 1.)

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Fig. 1 (part)
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Fig. 1. (part)

I had trouble deciding on the background.  Again, lack of planning to be honest.  I didn’t want anything too details for the lower half as I wanted the drawing to stand out.  I wanted to do something dark for the top third but in the end decided on some marks with the stick.

 

cheese-final
Fig. 2.  Cheese and crackers.  Ink.  A3.

Reflection:  I masked off the glass and cheese when I did the background washes and marks, so they do appear to be going behind these objects.  Some of the marks are a bit blocky and blobby, but that is the nature of using a stick and ink – well in my hands anyway, and perhaps a bit dramatic for such a domestic scene. Also, perhaps this technique is better suited to a larger work?

The right hand side of the plate works better than the left – more use of line and tone (tone effect obtained from adding water to ink). The grapes I am happy with – not too much detail but enough to indicate shape and texture I feel (white paper left to indicate shine).  The knife is more delicately drawn – which could be said to add contrast – or not to fit.  I am not too sure.  The crackers too are understated, and the perspective on the right hand one is wrong. The cheese is not crumbly enough – I might have another go at that if I have time.  The composition is OK, but I did crop the paper on the left hand side as I had left too much blank space there (see sketchbook).

 

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Project 2: Exercise 3: Experiment with mixed media

I strayed somewhat beyond the subject of still life in exploring mixed media.  I must admit I enjoyed this enormously, with varying success.  I started off by preparing some backgrounds on different coloured paper.  As posted earlier, I randomly squirted blue, green and white watercolour blobs of paint on a glass surface (Fig. 1.), added a little water, then mixed lightly with a roller before rolling on to 4 A4 pieces of paper (Fig. 2.) – 3 straight, one at an angle.   I also pressed a sheet of paper directly on to the watercolour mix on the glass to give me a fifth surface to work on.  I then used a variety of media on the prepared papers.

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Fig. 1.
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Fig. 2.

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I decided to let the backgrounds dictate the subject matter.  Resulting in: a still life drawn from life; a still life copying a Chinese flower drawing; 2 imaginary landscapes; and a rather odd exercise in Pareidolia.

citrus
Fig. 3. Citrus.  A4.  Watercolour; green, yellow and orange highlighter pens; various colours Sharpie pens; white chalk; white uni-ball pen.

Fig 3.  The zingy background colours indicated citrus to me, so I simply composed half an orange and a grapefruit into a still life.  I like the angles at diagonal, which contrast the round shapes of the subjects.  The chalk adds an interesting texture to the pithy areas of the fruit.  I struggled most with the shadows.  They look too solid, I added some extra marks to break them up a bit but I am still not sure they work – the rest of the drawing is so fresh – they stick out a bit.  I do have trouble with adding tone when I use a textured background – it needs to keep the spontaneity of the random marks.  Need to figure that one out.

 

chinese-brush
Fig. 4. Chinese blossom.  A4. Chinese brush; black ink; acrylic; white ink.

Fig. 4.  I guess it was the red paper but this background seemed to call for something Chinese.  So I got my little-used Chinese brushes out and started an imaginary drawing of blossom.  Using lighter and flicked marks with the tip  of the brush for the twigs, and the body of the brush pressed to the paper for the leaves.  I needed something more opaque than ink for the flowers so that they could stand out from the background, so I used acrylic, with neat white ink on top.

 

forest
Fig. 5.  Forest.  Watercolour; green and grey gel pen; iridescent medium; silver foil; white ink pen.

Fig. 5.  This background in portrait reminded me of an enchanted fairy-tale forest.  I wanted to get the effect of foreground and a village through the tress in the distance.  The white pen tree marks are a bit overdone and I could have spent a lot longer on this getting depth, but the wavy lines help to indicate the mood of the piece I think.

 

piper
Fig. 6.  Another moonscape.  Watercolour; black laundry marker; watercolour crayon; glue; white gouache.

Fig. 6.  The sombre background on black paper led me to think of some of John Piper’s images of war damaged buildings.  I started putting a foil moon in again, but it was too bright.  When I took it off the glue remained and left a pleasing texture which I then added a light gouache wash to indicate the moon.  I used some mono-printing with the white gouache.  The black marker was a bit thick for a drawing of this size so some of the marks are very un-subtle.  I think this is the least successful of my experiments.  In trying to be ‘loose’ I was just slapdash.  It may also have been something to do with the size of the paper (too small).  I may go back to this piece though and try some collage and further layers, more work on foreground.  It has a certain atmosphere which I like.

 

dream
Fig. 7.  Dreaming.  Watercolour; gel pens; watercolour ink; ballpoint pen.

Fig. 7.  I was staring at my last piece of paper wondering what to draw on it.  I put it aside for several days as I wasn’t inspired.  Then I went past it one day and saw a cartoon dog.  So I drew the dog.  Then a butterfly.  Then a face.  A leaf. Things kept popping out at me:  one upside-down.  Some of the scribbles look like maps; there’s some iconography going on (garden of Eden?).  Overall, it looks dreamlike to me.  My sister said it reminded her of Alice in Wonderland (probably the rabbit). I vaguely recalled that there was a term for seeing things in random shapes, so I did some Googling.

Pareidolia:  “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist”, according to the World English Dictionary. 

Leonardo da Vinci wrote of pareidolia as a device for painters, writing, “if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms.” (Da Vinci, Leonardo (1923). John, R; Don Read, J, eds. “Note-Books Arranged And Rendered Into English”. Empire State Book Co.)

[added 14/1/2017]

Further to my research on Pareidolia following my mixed media exploration, I came across these related references accidentally (honest).

The deliberate accident in art:  this Tate article outlines other artists that use “accidental” mark-making as inspiration, including (interestingly as I didn’t know he was a visual artist) Victor Hugo.

In a chapter on Dreams (Kovats, 2007: 201 et seq.) Charles Darwent discusses the difference between Rembrandt’s A Girl Sleeping (c. 1665) and Goya’s Mala Mujer (Wicked Woman) (1802) in terms of the artists’ aims and understanding of consciousness and dreams.

Darwent asserts that it was Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams that was the founding text of Surrealism as it established dreams as “cryptic messages of the id” that could be de-cyphered – rather than something fleeting that only an artist could capture.

Some interesting quotes (ibid: 202) include:

“All that we see or have seen is but a dream within a dream” Edgar Allen Poe, A Dream within a Dream.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” Pablo Picasso.

And from Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (ibid: 215):

“And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?”

“Where I am now, of course,” said Alice.

“Not you!” Tweedledum retorted contemptuously.  “You’d be nowhere.  Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!”

Reflection:  Overall I found this exercise very stimulating.  Matching the background (colour/texture/size) to the mood or intent of the drawing is important.  But it needs to be thought through.  It was easier to match the drawing to the background when I was free-wheeling; but it needs more considered when its the other way round (as I did for Project 2:  Exercise 1:  Cactus).  Using the different media produced interesting effects, but I still think I am playing safe – I am particularly nervous of collage and want to experiment more with that.  I also know that I need to work on larger paper size. These were on A4. I need to aim for A3 at least. The glue effect to add texture was interesting; so was using iridescent medium.  Adding a sense of tone/depth to a busy background I find a challenge. Still, lots to reflect on and learn from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project 1: Exercise 1: Detail and tone

 

shells
Figure 1.  Sea shells.  Coloured pencil.  A3. 

 

Fig 1.  Shells:  three types of pencil:  Derwent coloursoft; Stabilo aquacolor; Stabilo Greencolours (hard).  A3 hot pressed paper.  Managed to get some lovely shells from my sister to draw from life.  Not sure I did the complex patterns and shading full justice but I am pleased with the results, which I think show a variety of marks and use of tone.  I tried to get the shading subtle, but managed to get some water on the shadow of the right-hand shell so its a bit muddy.  I think the background adds to the interest.  I aimed for graduation (to indicate distance) using ruled lines in watercolour pencil only, and then used some water to provide a wave-like effect.  I wanted it subtle not to detract from the main images.

sketchbook-shell
Fig 2. Sketchbook shell

Fig. 2.  Before I had the shells I practised from a photo in my A3 sketchbook.  I used a blending solution in practice but I found that it tended to leave the marks too dull, so I didn’t use that technique for the final drawing.  I did like the burnishing with another pencil effect though to give a shiny surface effect, so will use that again, and I did use it a little in the final drawing.

 

Project 2: Exercise 2: Still life in tone using colour

Exercise 2:  Still life using tone.  I did this before Exercise 1 as I thought it would be more straightforward.  It wasn’t.  I understand the concept of tone, and that it is different from colour, but I found drawing with tone only, and using a different colour for each tone, very difficult.  I had previously (Morley Drawing classes) tried life drawing with tone only (but one colour) and found this very messy and unsatisfactory (my line drawing of a life model was much better in my opinion).  It is easy to lose the sense of what you are drawing if there are no lines, particularly if the tone is subtle.  I know we were urged to keep the image “spontaneous and energetic” and not to be worried if it became “messy” and not to “fiddle or overwork the image”, but I wasn’t pleased with the first result.  So I did a second drawing. 

Drawing 1.

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Lamp number one.  40.5 x 30 cm.  Soft pastel on watercolour paper.

 

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Lamp number one.  Black and white. 

Drawing 1: Blue (dark-tone); Green (mid-tone); Pink (light-tone).  I did just try to use the colours as tones but felt that I had to try and “rescue” some of the image to make sense of it by using lines.  These are too heavy-handed and obvious.  I took a black and white photo of the final image (which helps show up the tones) and there is some depth to the piece, but I notice that there is no light (pink) reflected on the front of the box (centre) – that’s because this bit was in shade but in the drawing it looks as if the box is behind the lamp (it wasn’t).  Some of the other objects give a sense of depth, but I think it’s mostly that they were actually physically in front of each other obscuring parts of the objects behind, rather than implying depth by tone. 

My use of line on this piece was also a bit random.  The flowing marks front left hand side are OK and I think convey a sense of changing tone.   I also like the Hockney-like i-Pad drawing marks coming from the lamp, but they stop short too quickly rather than fading gradually as the tone changes, so I have artificially extended them and added more radiating lines to make the piece more interesting.

Drawing 2.

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Lamp number two.  37 x 27 cm.  Pastel, pastel pencil on watercolour paper. 
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Lamp number two black and white. 

Drawing 2.  In an attempt to get something anywhere near the polished tone drawing by Michael Coombes used to illustrate this Exercise (i.e. not at all “slightly messy”), I decided to draw a pencil outline for my next tone drawing to give myself a better guide as to where the tones should go.  It’s definitely less messy.  It is representatively a more accurate piece (I know that wasn’t necessarily the aim but it makes me feel better); it’s possibly over-worked trying to blend the colours at the tone changes.  The black and white photo shows a good range of tone though. 

I was also helped by discovering a free video on the use of pastels on the Virtual Instructor website, which explains the techniques of blending, scumbling and feathering with pastels.  I tried a combination of these techniques on the second piece to finish it, which made it more successful and interesting.   I wish I had looked at this before I started. 

Reflection:  Exercise 2:   I like the energy of the first (pink) piece even if the objects are out of place, but I think the balance of tones are better on the second (orange) work and that this also shows a better range of mark-making.   I am keen to find out more about how to use pastels as I enjoyed using them.  The pictures went a little darker when I fixed them, so I should take account of this next time, particularly if it is a delicate piece.

Overall reflection Exercises 1 and 2:  I am much more comfortable using line, or line and tone, than just plunging in and using tone.  I felt that the drawing that I prepared more for, because I was excited and engaged with the subject matter (the cacti), was much more successful and has led me to think about developing these ideas further.  The lamp studies were done just to get them done and I wasn’t really engaged.  I did move things around and took some photos and used a view finder, so did put some thought into composition, but I didn’t practise any marks, and I only looked up pastel techniques when I was half-way through the second drawing because I knew it wasn’t going well.  Watching the video re-energised me and gave me some fresh ideas, so in the end I actually enjoyed finishing these off and they aren’t as bad as they might have been.

 

Project 2: Exercise 1: Still life using line

Exercise 1:  Still life using line.  I found this very interesting as I was engaged with the subject matter and experimented quite a bit in my sketchbook before-hand – both marks, composition and ideas for further works.  The background (Death Valley) map I found stimulating to work on as it brought back memories of a wonderful holiday.  I thought through how this would work with the overall image.  I originally cut the photocopy of the map, but then I decide to tear some of it to provide more texture and interest. Also, I have always been fascinated with cactus.  I have had these for years and love the way that, although they are all cactus, they come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes – and not all have spines. 

 

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Cactus. 29 x 41.5 cm.  Pentel black brush pen, Uni-ball white pigment ink pen, white watercolour ink on collage (photocopy) map.

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I am satisfied with the end result.  I feel that it demonstrates an interesting approach to materials, a range of mark-making, an attention to negative spaces, and a competent composition.  The small pot is always falling over as it is top-heavy and needs re-potting so I made use of this in the composition.  I have left some parts of the drawing very simple (the line of the pot back left) as I didn’t want to overcomplicate the marks on the detailed background. 

I also chose three cactus that had different surface textures which I aimed to convey, through marks, and in places a light ink wash. Although this is essentially a line drawing I did pay attention to tone in places, but mostly relied on the background to provide tone and texture, even if in some places this wasn’t strictly accurate.  So, I can see that the cactus pot at the back left hand-side does seem to float a bit but I think there is enough there so that you can see it is behind the small pot.  I thought about using some small points of colour but didn’t as I felt the image had enough interest without.  Not using colour helped me to concentrate on using the lines and background to make this interesting.     

I wasn’t too sure about leaving the large text in on the top right had side.  I put a grey wash over part of it where it impinge on the top of the cactus, but left the rest.  It probably does catch the eye a bit too much, but it might draw the viewer in a bit more to look at the background overall.  Also, it could look like a label in the pot.