I’ve chosen to do a still life of a favourite ceramic sculpture that has been in my lounge for 22 years since my 30th birthday. The sculpture is made of terracotta and glazed with matte underglazes which have been roughly painted on. It’s a comical piece with good organic structure and colour. The ceramicist was inspired by birds, rocks and gems which can be seen within the sculpture. I chose to use acrylics to try to replicate the matte colours and chose a light grey background for the turquoise blue green tones to stand out. I worked quite freely to keep a joyful vibe to compliment the humour of the sculpture. Using Wedgwood and white for the back ground and a pallet of Phthalo turquoise, prussian blue, alizarin crimson, emerald green, burnt umber, cadmium yellow and white. I mixed these colours to achieve the tones of the sculpture and layered the terracotta tones in first then the blues on top. The finer detail I used burnt umber and prussian blue and a fine brush, dry on dry for the fine lines.
Below are a sequence of pictures of sketchbook and the painting in progress.
Choosing the composition I decided on a portrait format to position the sculpture enabling me to create the paint textures of the sculpture.
Feedback from Assignment One and Reflection
I felt inspired and excited following my google hang-out tutorial with many thoughts to help me progress in this journey. I’ve found that sometimes I’m working through the exercises robotically rather than pulling them into what I want to do and achieve. I think it’s because they are actual exercises with an objective to do to work through the course. I was remembering how I felt with part five of the ‘Drawing Skills’ course where the brief is pretty much a free rein to create and work through the final assignment and I felt I was more fluid in achieving what I wanted to achieve. So after my conversation with Ilsa discussing How I felt, she explained to pull the course into my work, to take techniques I learn along the way and how I can use it to develop the way I wish to work.
I asked Ilsa about the meaning of contextual research following my Drawing Skills Assessment saying: “Your contextual awareness is underpinned by consistent but at times limited research. Try to synthesis more how your contextual research supports your practical outcomes as this will help drive a more personal and independent voice.” I needed clarity on what this actually meant and now I have a better understanding that its about what I’ve been influenced by through my research and how I can pull this into my own work. So I will bear this in mind now and ask myself why I like certain works or ideas, and to question more about the context of the piece as well to gain a deeper understanding.
Ilsa suggested to keep other sketch books to be able to capture snippets of thoughts and inspirations. I do keep sketchbooks, but I find my ‘working life’ can sometimes get in the way and sometimes the stresses of every day life can get in the way of how I feel creatively! I find that sometimes I have good creative thoughts when I’m falling to sleep at night or waking in the morning before ‘outside’ influences have tainted them, so I find it’s good to keep my smaller sketchbook by the bed 🙂 I will also reflect more on what I have learnt while working through the exercises. I think also If there is a particular technique I have learnt then I will bring into my work as I develop.
“You have created an image with a lot of character and presence. Although very simple, you have considered each area thoughtfully, and the decisions you have made hang together coherently. There is a lovely balance between the more washy background and the more solid object. To take things further you need to reflect on the piece – which aspects are you pleased about? What do you want to achieve with your work?”
I’m pleased with the overall detail of the object in particular the detail and texture. I wanted to capture the comedy of the piece and I’m glad that has come through. I made the background more of a wash so the object would stand out.
Ilsa suggested that I arrange my learning log into individual sections; Assignments, coursework etc., but I’ve tried to do so and I’m not very experienced with websites and feel I’d be spending too long and perhaps doubling up on my ‘screen time’ which I’d rather spend more time on the practical work. My log runs in order scrolling down as though its a story of my journey through the course. I will try to do a section for the Assignments.
For this assignment I chose to focus on an area of my bedroom and the objects within that space which I find relaxing. The inspiration came from the exercise ‘Quick sketches around the home’ but also from the still life exercises. I chose to paint these objects as they bring me joy each morning I wake up and it’s part of my room which is calming. I wanted to keep the tones and hues mellow and found it great to use the techniques I’d learnt in the graduated tone exercises as this really helped to create depth to my composition and the shadows. I decided to use acrylic paint for this assignment, as even though I wanted to paint in oil for this assignment I feel I haven’t spent enough time working with oil be confident enough. Perhaps by the next assignment I’ll feel more happy to.
I started by sketching the composition from sitting on my bed and I tried to include part of the landing through my open bedroom door. I didn’t include too much of this view as I didn’t want to take away emphasis from the still life it self. I placed the perfume bottle and the buddha head apart to create some space in the painting. I wanted to convey a calm relaxing mood and I think having space between the object would help to create this.
My view point is slightly looking down on the chest of drawers and the light source is coming in from the left creating some shadows on the right of the objects. I started off with using mid tones to plan and paint the areas of the painting and then parts of the still life. I then built up in layers other tones for detail and then line work in darker detail and highlights. I found with the shadows I had to lighten these as when I started to work on the buddha head a bit more I realised that these greys were darker then the shadows. I realised this was all part of the learnings from the graduated grey tones and how they differed when placed next to each other. I painted with the paint thicker than I would usually do to make it feel flatter in texture. I really enjoyed painting the bottle especially and feel fairly pleased with the outcome.
Feedback from Assignment 2 and Reflection
My tutorial with Ilsa was via video call on google hangout and was quite inspiring and thought provoking.