Assignment Two

The Final Drawing
I reformed the flowers so they were lower and more “solid”. Ideally the glass might have been between the bottle and vase but properly the glass would be on the right.

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The plate of fruit is intentionally slightly off centre in the balance of the drawing and the objects in the drawing form a triangle with the knife pointing in to the subject plate. Possibly the flowers and the vase should not have been of the same height.

Tone and contrast I think are okay. I find it difficult to get solid, rich colours out of the pencils. The support and background may be a little light but there is enough in the picture without any further clutter.

Perspective I think is satisfactory. I worked from dark to light and overlapped objects.

Well, it was a good drawing until the shadows went in. I found it very difficult to get even tone shadows when laying the grey over previously laid colours. In the end I cut down on the tone of the shadows of the vase and bottle as they were dominating the drawing.

Assignment Two

Preparatory Work

Sketch 1

This was a larger sketch than I would normally undertake and it showed up a couple of problems.

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Not being sure where a sketch ends and a drawing begins plus the fact that my speed is not too good this sketch took a little over 2¼  hours and I made some errors, i.e. the position/shape of the plate. Also the vase held considerably more flowers, not sketched.

How long should a compositional sketch similar to this take a reasonably competent draughtsman?

The sketch doesn’t particularly show it but the flowers and the wine bottle diminished the subject, the plate of fruit, and gave the composition too much height.

Sketch 2

Sketch 1’s wine bottle has been replaced with a shorter/wider bottle, the flower and the vase reduced in height and a smaller wine glass substituted.

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The light source was brought forward so the vase of flowers could be closed in and not put the fruit in shadow.

The knife (to lead the eye into the subject of the composition as the flowers are a bit dominating) has been repositioned.

Assignment Two

Reflections on Submitted Work

It’s been a hard few months completing this second series of exercises. I am very much better at what I am doing but I perceive myself as being slow at drawing, maybe because I put in a lot of detail.

I can see from other students equivalent work that I have to gain a lot more expression and it would appear that in itself speeds up the process.

However I have learned a huge amount in the past six months and these things will happen in time. I am very pleased with my progress and the before/after comparison is rewarding and encouraging.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Materials

The move onto coloured media brought new tools into play and I have practiced them well and I think most of my work with these items reflects this.

Techniques

I still haven’t developed the technique that I would wish and I would like to see development in that respect.

I am concerned that I should learn how to reproduce form accurately first and I still struggle with that a little, particularly drawing objects with no means of reference, i.e. from mind.

Observational Skills

Still improving. Drawing has taught me to examine objects/scenes in finer detail and differentiate between colour/tones/reflections/shadows. A good life skill.

Visual Awareness (looking at life as a painting or drawing)

More often I look at an object/view and analyse how I would draw it. Problem solving.

Also I consider how other artists, from those I have studied on the course, would have reproduced it.

Design and Compositional Skills

I have read a lot about composition and I think I know what it takes to design and compose a good basic picture.

Quality of Outcome

Content

My work has improved since the first series of exercises.

I still make errors but they are diminishing in size and number and I can generally figure out how I could have done better.

Application of Knowledge

There has been more drawing application in Assignment Two thereby extending the use of the various media.

I have learned what these media are individually best at achieving which will give me the confidence to use them more freely.

Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner

The format in which I present my work, i.e. in a loose leaf binder, seems to me to be neat and logical and makes the exercises readily accessible.

Discernment (keen insight and judgement).

I am acquiring the knowledge of what it takes to effect good work but I am not at the stage where I can necessarily put this knowledge into practice. However it will happen.

Conceptualisation of Thoughts (Thinking with the concepts of pictures and ideas)

I still find drawing what is in my mind, if it is anything other than basic, quite difficult. Whilst I can generally come up with a finished representation it takes a lot of trialling and search lines to get there.

Communication of Ideas

I have little experience of drawing what I see in my mind for others to analyse. No doubt I will be able to do this in time.

I can now understand why artists often cannot progress with, say, a painting and have to leave it until inspiration appears!

Demonstration of Creativity

Imagination/Experimentation/Invention

I have probably answered above. I have in my work produced textures and patterns that I think are original and I am experimenting with these as that is probably how style evolves.

Development of a Personal Voice

At the moment my “voice” is one of trying to reproduce the subject as accurately as possible in form and detail. I think it important for me to establish and consolidate this base. However I wouldn’t like to be stuck there.

I have been given good guidance for such by my tutor but so far there’s not much expressive development on my part.

However I do have a concern that some/much of the modern style of drawing is never going to be my own style, though that’s a matter of taste/preference.

Context

Reflection

Hard work. Stretching myself. Learning a new skill.

I am told practice makes perfect and I have often spent appreciable time working on practice paper before I have undertaken the exercise drawing.

As I become more confident hopefully this time will diminish and I can put pencil straight to exercise paper more readily.

Research

I enjoy the Research Points and I have learned the different styles of these artists which is important

I have acquired all the recommended course books and gradually I am working my way through them.

Critical Thinking (Reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do)

My learning log plus this text is an honest collation of my personal thoughts on my progress and designs.

My tutor’s guidance will hopefully steer me as to what I want to achieve as well as what is necessary for the course.

Whilst the Module Book is very good a considerable amount of research needs to be done by myself as a beginner in order to acquire the skills the course requires.

I have confidence in the course meaning that I am sure I will develop, complete the course, qualify and become a competent artist.

However starting the course at sixty seven without any ability or previous art training is probably a problem and makes for a slow start but I can see as my confidence grows that the ball will soon start to roll.

 

 

Project – Drawing Animals
40
Exercise – Fish on a Plate.
Unfortunately two of Tesco’s best mackerel had lost some of their silvery opalescence to greys and browns.

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The shapes and form of the fishes is reasonably accurate.

The sheen of the fish is difficult to capture though by layering white and light grey there is a satisfactory representation.

Check and Log
1.  What were the main challenges of drawing animals?
Animals are not only different shapes and sizes but they have different skin coverings, i.e. fur, feathers, scale etc. and therefore nearly every animal subject requires a different technique.

Furthermore animals do not generally pose for the duration of the drawing when asked. Accordingly one has to be rather quick or have a good memory. Probably immediately sketching out the simple lines of the limbs and head, i.e. a stick animal, is a good start.

Whilst some can be simplified by incorporating geometrical shapes many cannot but in general nature get’s it right insofar if the drawn shape of an animal looks good then it is correct.

2.  Which media did you enjoy most and which did you feel were best for the subject matter and why?
I favour graphite pencil which I am still mastering. However the question probably refers to coloured media.

I am enjoying coloured pencils. I am learning to blend etc. and I am quite pleased with the results. Different papers produce different effects and each has its appeal.

As | learn more I can see the possibilities ahead, probably more with coloured pencils as they are probably the most adaptable of the media.

Coloured pencils appeared to cope with all the exercises though sometimes it is difficult to get a rich depth of colour.

3. Where can you go to draw more animals? Think about the sorts of places that will give you opportunities for animal drawing. Have you tried drawing a moving animal yet?
If one wanted to draw a range of animal types then a zoo would probably be the best of venues. However if only one type of animal is in mind then an animal nursery, dog pond, cattery, stables or farm come to mind.

As you require the animal to be reasonably stationary and near to you a confined space would be a help or maybe a tether.

No, I have not tried drawing a moving animal yet.

Project – Drawing Animals
39
Research Point

Look at the skeletal structure of the cat, dog or horse. Research the anatomical drawings of George Stubbs (1724-1806) and consider how these inform Stubb’s finished pieces?

skeleton[1]

The Skeleton of a Horse

George Stubbs was born in Liverpool, the son of a prosperous tanner. As a lad he drew leftover animal bones and progressed to briefly being apprenticed to a painter. However he is generally recognised as being a self taught artist.

Stubbs went on to study anatomy at York Hospital  where he assisted the hospital and the students by providing anatomical drawings and engravings and it is understood he also taught students there. Apparently Stubbs had a gory reputation for dissecting cadavers.

From then on Stubbs ‘s talents were well recognised and he undertook many commissions on painting for owners’ horses

Furthering his interest in anatomy he moved to a farmhouse in Horkstow, Lincolnshire where for eighteen months he dissected the anatomy of horses and in 1766 produced his first treatise – The Anatomy of a Horse.

His labours are best described in the following extract from A Memoir of George Stubbs by Ozias Humphry -

“The first subject which was procured was a horse which was bled to death by the jugular vein – after which the arteries and veins were injected – Then a bar of iron was suspended from the ceiling of the room, by a teagle of iron to which iron hooks were fixed – runder this bar a plank was swung at 16 inches wide for the horse feet to rest upon – and the horse was suspended to the bar of iron by the above mentioned hooks which was fastened into the opposite side of the horse that was intended to be designed, by passing the hooks through the ribs and fastening them under the back bone – and by these means the horse was fixed in the attitude which these prints represent and continued hanging in the posture six or seven weeks, or as long as they were fit for use.

His drawings of a skeleton were previously made – and then the operations upon this fixed subject were thus begun.

He first began by dissecting and designing the muscles of the abdomen – proceeding through five different layers of muscles till he came to the peritoneum and the pleura, through which appeared the lungs and the intestines – after which the bowels were taken out, and cast away.

Then he proceeded to dissect the head, by first stripping off the skin and after having cleared and prepared the muscles, et cetera, for the drawing, he made careful designs of them and wrote the explanation which usually employed him a whole day.

Then he took off another lay of muscles which he prepared, designed, and described, in the same manner as is represented in the book – and so he proceeded until he came to the skeleton  It must be noted that by means of the injection [of wax or tallow] the muscles, the blood vessels, and the nerves, retained their form to the last without undergoing any change of position.

In this manner he advanced his work by stripping off skin and clearing and preparing as much of the subject as he concluded would employ a whole day to prepare design and describe, as above related, till the whole subject was completed.”

Below are extracts from Anatomy of the Horse  -

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Finished study for ‘The First Anatomical Table of the Muscles of the Horse’, 1756-1758

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Finished study for ‘The Second Anatomical Table of the Muscles of the Horse’, 1756-1758

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Finished study for ‘The Third Anatomical Table of the Muscles of the Horse’, 1756-1758

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Finished study for ‘The Fourth Anatomical Table of the Muscles of the Horse’, 1756-1758

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Finished study for ‘The Fifth Anatomical Table of the Muscles of the Horse’, 1756-1758

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Stubbs was now a successful physiologist and painter but he followed but he furthered his research with dissection and anatomical drawings of other animals, even a tiger.

At the age of seventy he published he published a further work – A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Human Body with that of a Tiger and a Common Fowl.

So how did Stubbs apply his knowledge of the inside of say, a horse, to the painting of the live animal? How did he depict the outer layer of the horse, the skin, from what lay beneath?

Insofar that many other painters, particularly before Stubbs’ anatomical works, have satisfactorily painted the lumps and bumps of a horse without studying the internal, what made Stubbs great?
Well, he was probably the first painter that produces a “portrait” of the horse and notably to the satisfaction of the many wealthy owners of successful racehorses who were beating a path to his door. So he was the best of the day and his paintings were preserved.

If one looks at three of his most appreciated paintings, Whistlejacket, Tristram Shandy and Molly Longlegs, you do see rippling muscle, prominent bone and distended vein so Stubbs was a master of accuracy He used shadow and shine to display the relief of the body and he conveys the magnificence and personality of the beast.

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Furthermore Stubbs leaves a legacy of reference for forthcoming artists (and the veterinarians of the time), of a scientific work.

References

Text – Paul Bonaventura, John Lienhard, Wikipedia

Images – Royal Academy.

Project – Drawing Animals
38
Exercise – Grabbing the Chance

Unfortunately I didn’t have access to a live dog to sit for me.

I downloaded photographs of different poses of a yellow Labrador taking care to match the size of the dogs.

The media used used for the sketches were –
1.    Graphite pencil
2.    Pen and ink
3.    Fine fibre tip pen
4.    Ballpoint pen
5.    Coloured pencils
6.    Oil pastels
IMG_0093_edited-2 IMG_0092_edited-2 IMG_0091_edited-2 IMG_0090_edited-2 IMG_0089_edited-2 IMG_0087_edited-2 The final drawing is in graphite pencil.

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Project – Drawing Animals
37
Research Point – Leonardo Da Vinci/Albrecht Durer
Look at how Renaissance masters such as Leonardo and Durer depicted animals. Make notes and try and find some images to include in your learning log.
Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Vinci near Florence, Italy and lived from 1452 to 1519. He had an interest in animals in his youth and kept collections of insects and small animals. This interest developed into a need to research their form and anatomy.

It is considered that Leonardo did not dissect animals to the extent that he dissected human beings which is maybe evidenced by the facts that he was a vegetarian, unusual in those days, he had a respect and fondness for animals and there are few sketches of animal anatomy rendered by him and it is thought that any animal dissection Leonardo undertook was to make comparison with human anatomy.

Leonardo was interested in the movement of animals, ie. how they worked and in particular, flight, He drew animals in interesting positions and often depicting movement. His drawings often give the animal a personality.

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He probably drew more horses than other animals and the drawings are typical . Note the movement stages of the legs of the rearing horses and the vitality of the drawings.

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Dogs were another Leonardo favourite. In the drawings above (excluding the cat!) the dogs are realistic with the muscles well depicted and the fur well drawn.

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Birds were popular with Leonardo and particularly with reference to how they flew as this became a passion for Leonardo with his “invention” of flying machines. In these drawings the animals are drawn in fine detail bearing in mind that in Leonardo’s time drawing implements were mostly silverpoint or similar, or pen and ink so mistakes were not readily correctable.

ROC408310This drawing of cats in may different poses and often interacting with each other is remarkable for detail, particulalry, that Leonardo has given many of the ats an expression that fits the stance. The drawings are not just about anatomy as Leonardo had added shade and shadows with many different light sources.

JEP99710Observe the scaliness of the dragon and the mane of the lion in this mythical pen and ink drawing.

Albrecht Durer was born in Nuremburg, Germany and lived between 1471 and 1528. He showed a talent for drawing from an early age.

Like Leonardo, Durer produced many more drawings than paintings though on more varied themes including portraits and landscapes.

Primarily Durer was an engraver so his drawings often formed the preliminary work to a carving or etching. However in common with Leonardo he had an intellectual curiosity  and he wrote many manuscripts and books.

He was a master of detail and with regard to animals he was interested in portraying their form accurately and studied their anatomy though not as far as dissecting them.

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FTB165446Not quite as action laden as Leonardo’s horses but accurate in form and detail.

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Durer was an expert at portraying fur and feathers and in the cow picture he has given the animal depth by fine use of shading. Similar to Leonardo, Durer gives his animal personality.

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Durer drew the rhinoceros without ever seeing one and his drawing was based on someone else’s sketch so there is some artistic license. But even so there is great form and detail in the portrayal and the rhinoceros’s expression seems to be how Durer would have expected it to be when you have a body like that depicted.

Leonardo and Durer were the first to study the form of animals in detail and reproduce them realistically on paper. The fact that so many of their works survived is remarkable but more notable is the precision of their work particularly bearing in mind the limitations of their drawing instruments as the graphite pencil was not produced until after their llives.

References

Text – Wikipedia, British Museum

Images – Wikimedia, Wikipaintings