Part Two: Project Four: Exercise Two: Composition – an Interior

For this piece, I decided to work solely in my sketchbook and use the exercise as the preliminary work to the next exercise / my assignment piece.

After the previous exercise, I had found a fair few areas of my home which were interesting but, wanting to incorporate both still life and the domestic interiors within my next piece, I decided to work on a section of my fireplace.  I chose this section to look at as it included an arrangement of candles, the metal fireplace, charcoal on the fireplace, a marble-effect surround, some of the black wood of my fish tank, the plaster on the walls, the laminate flooring and also my rug, so an abundance of textures, positive and negative spaces and contrasting colours (my whole house is black and white, so there is a real lack of any colour to be found!).

Angles, Viewpoints, Composition and Perspectives

Before I started properly, I decided to take some pictures from different angles, viewpoints and perspectives, as well as messing about with the composition. I did this by moving around, but I also took photographs to be able to look back on and for others to see what I was seeing too.

I began by doing four sketches from different angles on a page in my sketchbook.  I did two angles in portrait and two in landscape, trying to vary the angle by standing and sitting, being closer and viewing from a distance. 

Going back to the exercise where I worked solely in line, I stayed just with the Chinese brush pens and merely used a thicker nib to show the darkest areas of shade (excluding the actual black of the fish tank etc) for future reference.  I also took photographs of the area just in case I did not finish in time and the shading had changed any, but also for reference for my tutor etc. 

Next, I moved on to sketching in biro and mixing the composition up somewhat; I moved some of the candles into a different position and added a tealight holder.  Again, I created two sketches in portrait and two in landscape with both what I called ‘messy’ and ‘tidy’ compositions. For these sketches, I again stayed mostly in line, but indicated a little of the shadows’ directions and placements in some areas.

Choosing a View

I decided my favourite of the eight sketches I had done was the ‘tidy’ landscape composition created in biro.  I chose this as I felt it had the best level of intimacy – I confess, I did not actually understand this sentence in the course textbook until I came to this exercise but now I can see just how much better a landscape composition can be in certain situations; allowing a closer view of details within the piece, but also allowing for more of the surrounding areas to be included in the piece.


Going back to my research of composition, I especially liked how the lines in the composition of this sketch lead off the page and lead the eye in a ‘c’ shape from the marble / rug and around the candles and fireplace and back off the page. I also like how the vertical lines lead the eye upwards, as do the candles and spokes on the fireplace.

Going back to the Rule of Thirds within my research, I think I have done well in this sketch with placing the majority of detail within the upper horizontal section of the composition also.

I was very surprised to find that, whilst my home and furnishings are all mostly squared or have sharp, straight lines which are placed rather parallel to each other, depending on the position in which I was standing, there was a great element of foreshortening within my pieces, which I was not quite expecting! I tried to work with them as best I could and think I have done quite a good job, but do think this is something I will continue to practice and improve on, as well as scaling my objects, their depths and their placements better.

I am looking forward to the next exercise and feel much better prepared for it now than when I had previously glanced over it briefly. 

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