What aspects of each drawing were successful and what did you have problems with?
I really liked my pastel tonal drawings and I am very glad that I stuck at it and repeated them. The first was very overworked in places, the second has maybe too much reliance on line (but has movement) but the third, whilst not perfect, has managed to capture in tones the essence of the flowers and the vase without the overworking seen in the first. I think it’s success was partly down to practice, but also using the coloured surface. The light tones of the flowers worked better with more contrast. It was easier to leave them alone once the initial blocks of colour were put in place!!
The most successful thing about my drawings in line I think are the fact that the different materials, bread, glass and metal come across. I was troubled by the overworking in many places of the line drawings, although my opinion of them has mellowed with time and I am more pleased with them than I was originally. I particularly like the bread and the textures that are represented. Perhaps it is easier to show a pale rough surface than reflecting hard shiny surfaces.
Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawing? What elements of the drawings and still life grouping helped to create that depth?
I think I managed to get a sense of depth in both exercises but I acknowledge room for improvement in both cases. In both exercises the composition helped create a sense of depth by having objects coming out at the viewer: the knife handle and the loose flowers. I deliberately put the jam jar lid behind the jar to increase this sense of depth. Angling the bread perpendicular to the axis of the jam jar also helps with this. In both cases I have put in a simple background which helps give depth. The shadows are very important. As I didn’t have anything behind the vase of flowers, the direction of the light source gave a sense of depth by casting the shadow behind onto the wall. In the pastel tonal picture I have got bolder, darker hues in the reflections nearer the front and a paler wall behind which adds to the sense of depth as paler forms tend to recede. This was harder to achieve with the line drawing although the direction of the shading helps form 3D shapes which adds to the idea of depth to the objects.
What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone?
I found material properties harder to depict when restricted to tone. i am not sure my flowers have a different feel to them than the vase or the table. In line however these surface qualities are achieved by different marks. This is in fact the opposite to what i expected and I think is evidence that I am progressing whilst doing this course. I definitely think differently about mark making compared to a few weeks ago. In both exercises it was easy to overwork the drawing, but I think that the freshness and sense of movement was harder to achieve with the tonal drawing. One of the tutor comment’s after my first assignment was to try to depict objects using marks over photos to distill the essence of what a picture is. I tried it with a photograph of the set up of toast and jam.
My scanner doesn’t like the paper so apologies for the zig zag pattern, but you can see that the essence of the still life composition can be achieved with relatively fewer lines than I used. I am not sure that a simplified tonal drawing would achieve quite the same results. You would certainly get values of the various masses, but possibly not the depth or the freshness of the image than you do with line. In my line drawings the difficulties arose in trying to darken and area to depict tonal variation by going over the same area, leading to overworking.
How did using colour affect your working method?
Using colour slowed my down quite a bit, mainly because I had to take time to unravel the mysteries of variations in tones and variations in hue. I find dark hues in light quite difficult to interpret! I think I enjoy working in colour more, certainly I would have said that at the beginning of the course. although given how much my thoughts have been changing recently I am not so sure about that anymore.