Assigntment One

I have worked on this final assignment for a couple of weeks. I planned ahead of weeks so I could complete it on time.  I chose my set up of things in combination of what I found interesting in the house and things I really like, such as plants, gardening, nature. I used a lamp because the light in the house is either too much some times or nothing at all. I used a black piece of cloth as a back to give it more shape.

The set up was tricky. I was hoping for something very interesting and this is what I came up in the end: The frame had some great source and reflected lights. The two small pots were very muted and the red one had more shine to it. The plant on the red pot had interesting light and shadows. Also the garden tool had interesting reflections of lights.

For the initial sketching, the hardest part I would say was getting the proportions right and trying to make it fit. I struggled with ellipses (still!) and when you look at the picture of the sketch the ellipses do seem off. But I think it was pretty accurate and knew I needed to wait for the rendering so they could take more form. I used willow charcoal and pencil (specially for the drapery which was tricky) for the initial sketch so the paper wouldn’t be damaged if I needed to erase. Other materials I used were: Charcoal pencils Hard, B2, B4, B6; Strathmore Charcoal Paper 500 Series 18×24; kneaded eraser; backboard and easel for support; Windsor & Newton fixative; black drapery and lamp for creating the scene; a great playlist to keep the flow going.

Overall, I think the result of this assignment is good. The set up worked well. I like the plants, the frame and the back of the drapery. I think the angles are interesting and they don’t seem “stiff.” I will say that the drapery seemed ambitious in the end. It took time and dedication to complete it. I am satisfied with the result. I am pleased with the tones of the pottery (both the red and the smallest ones). But my reflected lights could be more subtle. For example in the red pot and the frame (left side). I could see how this could easily be fixed by toning it down. I’m not completely happy with my ellipses.

I don’t think my work on the drapery is the best. It does seem stiff and the value in the drapery doesn’t seem to flow as naturally as it should look. The transition between light, midtone and shadow is to hard in some areas (center of the drapery). I think there is room for improvement.


Reflection On my Progress

I am satisfied with my profess so far. I will admit that I have been in doubt with some of the assignments and how to present them. But I have fail to consult my tutor. I should be in more contact with my tutor, and this is my goal for the next sections.

My technical and visual skills could be improved. I feel I have a good understanding of observing and basic concepts in composition, value system. But I would argue that more practice on a daily basis, practice from artists’ work as well as personal compositions on a larger scale would help me improve these skills. I don’t remember drawing that much last year in large assignments. Mostly were on my sketchbook and did not make it to larger pieces.

I think I could be more creative experimenting with materials on a larger scale. I concentrated too much on charcoal and paper because I took steps back to basic concepts and I just wanted to focus on it. Too obsessed maybe? I don’t know but at the time I thought it was what I needed to do. In comparison to my personal sketchbooks, my work throughout this section of the course wasn’t that creative (in terms of use of materials).

After I complete this post, I will go back and review my work even more. Thinking back on all I’ve written on my learning log… There is more that comes up to mind now that I could’ve expanded. And I’m eager to do so. Is that allowed? (To update my learning log with additional notes)…

I will need to plan better some of my exercises. I do have a lot of resources I use (like books, notes and links I’ve collected over the years) and going back to them is always helpful. I need to let loose, practice more and just get on with it.

***I updated this post on April 30th with further comments on my work and set a “featured image”

Warm-Up Exercise

I was really excited when I read about the warm-up exercise. It was confusing to think of a temporary drawing. I wanted to work on my backyard with the leafs but I wasn’t sure how I was going to work them out. So before overthinking it, I chose to work on Yupo paper. If you don’t know Yupo paper, is a great paper to experiment with mediums that you can actually change and manipulate after some time. (I highly recommend it if you want to experiment!!!).

The exercise mentioned creating unusual drawing activities. And Yupo is perfect for this. When I first purchased it, I was trying to do some art with alcohol inks and alcohol. But I didn’t have the right materials. Later on, I came across a tutor that mentioned I could simply use ammonia and ink. At first it was frustrating due to my lack of experience with the materials. Ammonia is not an easy material to handle, and you must be careful from inhaling. Yupo paper also has a very different result, and going back to the memory of my first attempt at painting with it (see pictures below) I thought: This is really terrible!

The materials I used for the warm-up exercise were white glue, ammonia, water, indian ink, brushes, old credit cards, spritzer, cotton swabs, dropper and Yupo paper size 9inx12in. A technical issue was that I hadn’t tried my spritzer in a while (it had ink) and when I was trying to record my process it didn’t work. So I had to improvise and simply drip the paint. I used other materials as well to spread the ink and ammonia. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what marks to make. I let go once I put the ink on paper. I wasn’t looking for any shape in particular, as much as I wanted to create a working flow, something I could manipulate. I loved the way the ink flowed and its vibrancy -I know it’s black but it had such shine. As it dried, I noticed that it was looking differently from what I had seen at first. I moved on to add other elements, and play with the shapes that have come out of the exercise.

The ink really gives endless possibilities to work with. I moved from one direction to other, from thin lines/spreads to thicker ones. The ammonia and water helped create more working time with the ink and achieve other effects. Yupo paper really helps when I rethink the shapes once they dried.

The first two images I dragged, scratched and made very random marks. At the end they both look like eyes or something like that.

For image 3, I used glue first and allowed it to dry. The mark with the glue was random as well. I moved the glue around as it came out of the jar. After, I added the ink and brushed it “off” and added ammonia to see the interaction with the ink. Image 4 made itself. Apart from the first shapes I did with water and a brush, the rest just came as I added the rest of the materials. I’m very happy with the result on this one. I wouldn’t change anything because I feel it is a “happy accident” of experimentation. Image 5 and 6 were similar. On image 5 I used more ink and ammonia, and once it dried I kept working on removing some ink to create more white “drips” always following the flow of the shape. Image 6 has more water and less work of removal or editing of ink. Image 7 I want to keep working on, eventually. It came darker than the rest and I’m not sure the ink I added, once it had dried, created any visual “pleasantness.” Was this the purpose of the exercise? I think not. However, because is Yupo paper and the exercise is a temporary drawing I’m happy that I’ll be able to edit it later.

With some pages I lost the intention when it dried (the ink) but the same versatility of the materials helped work on it. More than a warm-up, it really pumped me to keep going. I couldn’t just do one. I had to keep “finding.”

I really enjoyed this warm-up exercise. I discovered new materials and new possibilities, and it was a great start for Drawing Skills class.


***All images are scanned to provide more close-up detail. I share with the readers my first attempts to ever use Yupo paper (last two images). If you have any suggestions about using the materials, thank you in advance!***

Image copyright by Ana Barahona