After much deliberation here is my final selection of 12 drawings that I am submitting for assessment. I present them in order they were done on the course with a couple of sentences for each explaining the reasons behind my choices.
Rational behind my selection
Throughout this course I have completed drawings that, amongst many others, I considered to be technically competent. However to discern my final selection of drawings I looked for atmosphere, tension, drama, a sense of life and a sense of experimentation within my work rather than just the skill of representing an object or scene. The biggest criticism, from my (second) tutor has been that I try too hard to make art. I completely agree with this and have discovered that my best works are usually ones I haven’t had fixed ideas about before I started; experimentation is definitely my friend! I did a couple of trawls through my coursework, firstly picking out the more competent drawings. I then used the above criteria to further reduce that section. Once I was down to around 16 drawings eliminating the final few was one of the hardest things I have had to do on this course. Many of my drawings have some of my required qualities but not all and it is often hard to compare two that I consider good for different reasons. However I finally managed to discern my final 12 by considering what this body of work says about me as an artist. I rejected work that may be technically competent but didn’t have, in my opinion, something of the essence of ‘Anna’ in them. This could be a risky approach but I can identify with my final selection as a whole. The drawings all hold something of me: perhaps the beginning of a personal voice.
No.1 ‘Market Hall, Chipping Campden’
Conte crayon on cartridge paper.
I chose this piece because although it is of a static building the drawing has a sense of life to it. The mark making, textures and choice of palette covey atmosphere and a real sense of place: you can feel the stonework. The viewer is also drawn through the arches to the far side of the street. Having said that this final body of work holds something of what I am about in them, this is in fact the least personal of my drawings. In a way it is a shame to lead with it, but I have opted to display them in course order, so first it must be.
No. 2 ‘Roof Tops I’
Graphite and coloured charcoal with water on lining wallpaper.
No.3 ‘Roof Tops II’
Graphite and coloured charcoal with water on lining wallpaper.
No. 4 ‘Roof Tops III’
Graphite with water on lining wallpaper.
Drawing no’s 2, 3 and 4 should be viewed as a series and my comments here extend to all three drawings.
I have chosen these three as I think they are some of the best work I have ever done. They have all the qualities I was looking for. Atmosphere is provided by the palette, the composition and the quick nature of the marks. The water adds tension (the random drips) and texture to the pieces. My biggest problem with this whole series of architectural drawings was selecting which one to leave out. In the end I decided to send Roof Tops IV as a supporting work only. I like the drama and lighting of the buildings of this piece but the tree is less dramatic and there is an awkward space in the top left corner. Although it is darker, Roof Tops III is a more rounded work as a whole and offers the viewer the journey down the hill and around the bend in the road. The exaggerated length of the chimney pots adds to the sense of drama to the scene. I am also sending two studies and my final assignment piece as supporting work. None of them have the atmosphere that my submitted pieces do but they do show the progression (in the case of the studies) that led me to produce the Roof Tops series.
Supporting work for No’s 2, 3, and 4
No. 5 ‘Crouching Nude-continuous line’
Marker pen on cartridge paper
There is beauty in the simple, continuous line of this drawing. The drawing is unfussy, with minimal attention to detail. In fact detail is not needed: the pose has gravitas and the body balanced. The drawing is about the poise of the body rather than the muscular details. The thinness of the supporting arm provides tension as does the depiction of the splayed fingers contacting the ground. I am sending 2 drawings to support this drawing as it came about from a long series of quick studies experimenting with different materials. Both are simple studies made in the same quick way. The ink one and feather quill study is of the same pose, and whilst I really like it (it too is balanced and has gravitas – and I would go as far to say I prefer the angle of the head) the balance between positive and negative space is not as good as the continuous line pose. This isn’t a problem with the ink wash study, and I love the simplicity of the pose with the gradations of tone an ink wash can give. However this drawing lacks the gravitas of the other two. As a viewer you do not get a sense of the weight of the body coming down though the page.
Supporting work for No. 5
No. 6 ‘Out of the Bath’
Marker pen on cartridge paper
At first this may seem an odd choice for a ‘best’ drawing. However I have included in my selection because it offers something that many other drawings don’t and that is the engagement of the drawing as part of the viewer’s self. The drawing has to be viewed this way up (the way it was drawn) for the viewer to get the sense that they could be looking at their own feet. This drawing was part of a series I did of my legs as I got out of the bath. I am sending one other (Bath 2) as supporting work. Out of the Bath is a better drawing in the series (and was in fact the final drawing of three stages of getting out of the bath) The slant of the floorboards adds to the sense of perspective and grounds the feet. The right foot is not parallel to these floorboard lines which gives the viewer a slight vertiginous feeling, suggesting the height of the body towering over the feet. It is an intimate drawing with a sense of immediacy about it. Bath 2 doesn’t have the floorboard lines and as such the legs ‘float’ in space a little. There is little detail in these drawings, but detail is not needed to convey the feeling of looking down at ones legs and feet as you exit the bath – which of course is exactly how they were drawn.
Supporting work for No. 6
No. 7 ‘Wendy’
Graphite on cartridge paper
I have chosen this drawing as it is beautiful in its simplicity. The marks convey the central meaning of the pose without fussy detail. The quirkiness of the line (caused by being drawn by my non-dominant hand) adds intimacy to the drawing and the sitters personality seems to leap of the page because of it. The lines of the curtain behind the chair add tension to that intimacy, possibly because their straightness contrasts the curvy lines elsewhere. Without the curtain, the sense of place would be lost too. I was influenced by a drawing I have recently seen by Frank Auerbach when was completing this section of the course and this drawing came out of sketchbook work around Auerbach’s ideas.
No. 8 ‘Reclining Nude’
Ink on cartridge paper
Drawing No. 8 (along with No. 9) came out of a series of experimental studies using line and tone to depict the human form. As well as my sketchbook material I have sent 3 drawings as supporting work for this piece. The first is a large charcoal drawing of a seated model. This drawing relied very much on the addition and removal of charcoal and it gave me the idea to try the same with ink for the No. 8. Whilst I think the charcoal is a successful drawing it lacks the drama of the submitted piece. This drawing has much atmosphere, provided by the blurred outlines of the model. Detail is minimal, compared to the charcoal allowing the heaviness of the pose to come across. The medium lends itself to this feeling of heaviness: the dripping nature of the ink seems to make the body melt into the floor. The foreshortened pose provides much tension and drama to the drawing. This combined sense of atmosphere, tension and drama are missing from many of the other drawings in this series of the same pose including the final assignment drawing for part of the course: the reclining figure in coloured charcoal. This drawing is successful in terms of proportion, pose and technique but it lacks the life of the ink wash study (No. 8) which is much more dynamic. The ink wash and resist study of the same pose is also dynamic but it lacks that feeling of heaviness to the body that I feel makes No. 8 so successful as a drawing.
Supporting work for No. 8
No. 9 ‘Owen’
Conte crayon on paper
I have chosen this drawing because of the sense of command that the portrait brings. There is a real presence to the drawing. The elevated position of the model means the viewer engages with him with a slight sense of awe. The portrait itself isn’t constrained by the boundaries of the coloured rectangle which brings the whole drawing to life. It is as if the model is about to step forward out of the page. My approach to this portrait was experimental and was done as a direct result from research into line and tone (see research book part 4).
Note: Drawings No.10, No.11 and No.12 were all produced as studies and investigations for my personal project into understanding the depiction of human movement in drawing. I am sending my final piece for this as supporting work only as all three investigations produced better work than the final piece.
No.10 ‘Light Series’
Drawing with light captured on photographic paper (digitally enhanced)
This series of photographs is the result of ‘drawing’ with light and capturing the images with long-exposure photography. I have digitally enhanced each image to increase the contrast between the light drawing and the background. Individually these are very simple, temporary drawings. However captured and presented as a series they give a wonderful sense of human movement. The simple figures are graceful yet they convey the energy of a dance. the word ‘Joy’ springs to mind whenever I see them. The viewer may consider each pose as part of a sequence of movement as the brain fills in the spaces between each pose. They have a vibrancy that the final piece ‘The Jump’ (see below) doesn’t have. The retention of the light on the right hand side gives each figure a real physical presence resulting in a ephemeral temporary drawing captured in a real place.
No 11. ‘Untitled’
Natural stone and clear gesso on cartridge paper
This study conveys human movement with no real detail at all, just a few lines. The human form is only just discernible, but there is enough information, the crock of an elbow of an arm thrown back, the roundness of the hip and thigh, to make the pose and the movement believable. The body is thrown into a curve which provides tension. The use of colour adds to the sense of movement. It blurs the edges of the form. I have been criticised (quite rightly) for adding detail for details sake. This is certainly not the case here and I think it is a very successful drawing as a result.
No. 12 ‘Bolero II
Derwent Graphfik line painter with water on graph paper
This is a risky choice for selection as one of my ‘best’ drawings. The piece has been created as a response to watching human movement. However, although it is an experimental piece it holds many of the qualities I am looking for. There is tension and drama in the lines. The two colours ‘dance’ together across the page, interacting with one another providing atmosphere to the piece. Of the several drawings of this type that I did, this one stands out because of that tension between the two dancers (colours). I am sending in ‘Bolero I’ as a piece of supporting work. Compositionally I actually prefer ‘Bolero I’. It sits nicely on the page and has this wonderfully clear middle section around which the drama of the dance flows. However, ‘Bolero I’ was also a response to watching two dancers and there is no indication of this in the drawing. ‘Bolero II’ on the other hand captures that interaction and hence is my chosen submitted drawing. The reaction of the pigment with the water is very important in providing atmosphere. This fluid tension and atmosphere contrasts with the rigid background of the graph-paper grid patterns. This juxtaposition of control against freedom reflects the highly choreographed nature of the seemingly effortless ballet.
Supporting work for No.10, No. 11 and No.12