Learning Log

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”

Notes: On Light & Tone

Overall, in the beginning I had difficulty distinguishing between light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light because I was more concern with the proportion and the shape of the objects. Somehow I always am. I would say to myself: How am I going to draw that?! The use of basic concepts helped to keep in mind the five value system. And taking a few step backs to analyze the set better and try to find the forms of light as well as shadow, helped in understanding where the light comes from. In some objects, it was more obvious (the sphere), and in others not so much (the frame in the set of my assignment).

From what I learned, tone is everything specially when using chiaroscuro techniques. The tone is what helps gives the object its volume and make it more real and three-dimensional. For example, if the sphere did not have the light and dark tones, it would be a circle. But the use of tones it what makes it stand out and have a form. I think that once you understand the use of tone, you can move on to creating more complex forms and providing that same form, value and volume they possess.

My study of basic shapes individually and in composition (done previously) helped a lot in understanding how the light is reflected upon each object. As we know, all objects are in the form of a basic shape, so when the time comes to observe more complex objects there is a better understanding. Looking at other artists’ work also helps. Studying their work can be very helpful and there are a lot of sources to use. I’m very happy I revived basic concepts and feel I have a fresh start in completing the exercises.

Exercise 2: Experimenting with Texture

I guess the hardest part was trying to reproduce the texture. I think I limited myself to pencil, pen and ink -for the most part. Now I’m thinking I could’ve explore more with other materials like salt+watercolor, but I’m feeling “rushed” because I am feeling like I’ve fallen behind on my assignments and exercises, and also because I felt some frustration with the textures (specially the wall 1 texture and the tree trunk). So I tried to work as fast as possible so as not to overthink it. It seems this is an issue for me -overthinking the process- and I do feel that when I don’t do it, the results are better…more natural.

So, overall: 1. The modeling paste I used for Wall1 texture didn’t create the effect that I wanted. I think I need to experiment with the material more and the acrylic dried too fast. 2. Wall2 texture was great and interesting in the frontage but turned out weird on my experimenting. It seems broken. 3. The frottage of the tree trunk didn’t come out as “its true form/shape/texture.” 4. Frottage with pencil is way better than color pencil. I tried frottage with a fruit peel and it didn’t work. I will definitely get to try more with experimenting in my sketchbook.

***The sketchbook I am using is Strathmore Mixed Media 7.75in.x9.75in. (19.7×24.8cm); 90 lb. (190 g/m2)

Desk & Journal by Ana Barahona

My Learning Log

As part of my Fine Arts studies, I am required to keep a Learning Log. I must say, at first I was excited, then confused, excited again, scared and excited all over again. Scared because sharing my log will be like sharing personal thoughts and feelings, something I am not very keen of doing. But I take it as a challenge because I believe in personal development and growth. “Deeper self-awareness leads to self-acceptance.” And even though I may struggle with some personal thoughts and feelings, artistically I think it’s important to understand where these come from. Why am I doing this? What do I see through these colors and shapes? What do I want to say? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. But that is the beauty of this learning log and the reason why I’m excited to begin.

I’ve been slow in my start, going through all the materials and trying to set a schedule for my studies that works best for me and that will help me achieve my goal. At the same time, I don’t want to over think it. I just want to do it. As I search for balance between my day-to-day tasks and my art (my studies), I can’t help but feel overwhelmed about the process. Will I let myself down? And what would you say my dear inner critic? I know I will meet you down this learning log. But I will fight hard not to let you keep me down, because in the words of the great wise man “Life is too short not to create something with every breath we draw.” (Maynard James Keenan)


Image copyright by Ana Barahona – Desk & Journal