Consolidating a folio of drawings and a written reflection on Part 1

I chose nine drawings to send to my tutor for ongoing feedback. Five of them were from the work I did in Project 2, drawings of the blankets from the archive. I chose a mixture, ink, drypoint, collage and watercolour/pen ones:

I found drawing the blankets from the archive quite a challenge. Trying to record the textures, patterns on a cloth was hard and required a few different approaches. I learnt that I needed to be a lot more focussed and selective when drawing, as it’s almost impossible to process and respond to all the information I am taking in at once, I found it better to make decisions about my drawing. So some I focussed purely on the marks and patterns I could see. Others I found rearranging the fabric and not having it laid out straight was more interesting compositionally. Translating these marks into collage also required me to think differently. How to portray such fine textures and details? I had never thought of using collage in this way. I’ve only ever thought of in terms of shape and form. I have also turned to colour more, and investigated printmaking a bit.

I selected four from Project 3 looking at my flower studies.

Although I enjoyed collecting and arranging my own sources to record from. I don’t think I pushed myself as much in Project 3: Picking and Portraying. I had lots of initial ideas of really playing around with print, pushing the ideas of composition as suggested in the file, but due to being ‘on/off’ with my study time at present I found it hard to keep up the momentum. I think I played it safe/easy in terms of materials.

I really enjoyed looking at Blackadder and Askey in particular – but wondering how I could bring in some other elements. From the research points, I noticed how often I was drawn to and picked out the elements of composition as well as when artists made a bold visual response.

 

Research Point 3: David Hockney

David Hockney oeuvre is broad and wide ranging; through the subjects and themes he investigates and his varied use of media and style.

What I found particularly interesting was how different his black and white charcoal drawings of trees look compared to the rest of his vibrant colour work. I think this is because I have also known him to engage with colour so much, whether in his paintings, drawings, stage design or photographs. The charcoal drawings show more textures. I really like the “Guest House Wall” which showed a wide range of tones and mark making, and exploring how many different marks and effects one can create with charcoal.

His computer drawings, “Autumn Leaves, 2008” could almost lend themselves to a design for a textile pattern.

His other drawings and paintings, using crayon, watercolour and oil paint are bold, bright – many seem almost stylised, but depth is created, not only through perspective and composition, but his search to make different marks. Lines, squiggles, dots…

He inspires and reminds me to not be limited by media or one type of line. He pushes the boundaries and is fresh about it.

 

Research Point 2: notes & reflections on artists who use floral and leaf motifs

I chose a mixture of artists that I already knew from the list (and liked), and some that I had never heard of before to look into and inspire my work.

Elizabeth Blackadder – I absolutely fell in love with her work. Her awareness of composition is strong. She manages to create a sense of peace, respect and intrigue. She plays with the spaces in between with confidence. Her love for flora and fauna and the natural world is obvious. I watched an interesting video about her and the way she creates a world, and engages with her environment. The use of floral elements in her work help to create something dynamic, since they are always growing, changing and moving. They interrelate with space very well, especially leaves and stems and therefore ‘bring together’ many of her compositions.

Tord Boontje – I knew from the lightshade ‘Garland’ design that made him famous. I didn’t realise how broad his work was, and I appreciate the variety.  His textile designs are dynamic and have a sense of movement. He shows innovation and seems to be apply techniques that we wouldn’t readily think to use –  “Little Flowers Falling” for instance his stencil/cut out work for textile, creating pattern and a flow.

Jane Askey -I found had similarities with Elizabeth Blackadder’s work. However she uses bolder, stronger colour ways. Although initially her work seems to try and capture the beauty of the flowers and items that she chooses to paint, there is a sense on closer reflection that she chooses the objects, textiles and flowers with meaning. They seem to be placed with care and thought.

Her statements on her own website remark on her interest in evoking and working with memories. That she uses still life as a means of exploring many themes and capturing in essence her travels and encounters.

Matisse – Seems to be work magic, he is versatile, and his work is rich with colour, themes, layers, textile, pattern and composition, his work is prolific and there are too many examples to talk and cite here. He applies the flora/leaf theme in a number of ways: as backgrounds in portrait, figure work, interior scenes and as more formal still life studies. I find some of his composition techniques share some similarities with Askey and Blackadder. The way  he ‘flattens’ some of his paintings, by exploring the background and foregrounds, the positive and negative spaces with equal thought and attention.

Interior with Phonograph – Henri Matisse, 1924 / Spanish Still Life are two paintings I looked at a little more closely when reading and researching his work.

Marni – On a completely different tangent, Marni’s printed designs on their clothes are bold, adventurous and very playful with scale. This inspires me to have fun with paper sizes and really working more and more in extremes.

Project 3: Picking and Portraying

Drawing, what is it?

I always think of it in it’s widest sense as recording something visually. Thinking something through visually. A visual way of describing what one sees, what one is engaging with. So one can choose any tool to record this, if it is creating a visual note of it. Drawing therefore does not need to be only about line and pencil. It is to capture the qualities of what is being observed. It is there to make a visual record of all the elements. Tone, contrast, texture, space, form, relationship between objects, movement, shape, mood. Drawing allows us to fully understand something, visually.

There are many tools for the job. The past two projects I have used pen and indian ink and brush with joy, so I think I will push this further in the next project. Although part of me judges this as not being experimental enough? The mixture of using ink and water inspires me to use some watercolour too, so that I get begin to look at colour too.

I would like to work in different scales and formats. Putting together pieces of paper as I go.I also made a beginning in investigating collage, and I would like to continue to see how I can make use of this.  I’d like to go even further and possible use more printing techniques. I’d like to do some screen printing, but it depends if I can gather the materials and resources in time…