Part 3: Project 3: Research Point: Traditional vs Contemporary Artists and the use of Viewpoints

John Atkinson-Grimshaw (1836 to 1893)

John Atkinson-Grimshaw was a self-taught English artist, who created pieces in the moonlight around the towns and docks of places such as Liverpool (as discussed below), Scarborough, Leeds and Glasgow, having a fondness for maritime subject matter.

Atkinson-Grimshaw had a very specific style which varied only ever so slightly throughout his lifetime and which he was always only ever trying to improve on.

These pieces really remind me of Nicholas Herbert’s works with their neutral, ‘unpretty’ colours used and their misty air really draws my attention. Again, there is a sense of foreboding within these pieces. I can imagine the boats gently rocking in the water and also unsavoury characters such as ‘Jack the Ripper’ stalking the streets, prowling for his next victim.

The fact the artist has used the same area with slightly different viewpoints is rather interesting to me. In each of the chosen pieces, Atikinson-Grimshaw shows us his scene from eye level right in the middle of the road. The people walking along the road and peering into the stores, as well as the carriages travelling down the road give the impression that the artist could possibly be a ghost, passed by invisibly unbeknownst to the public, quietly observing and recording events as they unfold.

Whilst all of these pieces were created around the Liverpool docks at around the same time of day, as well as each holding ‘Atkinson-Grimshaw’s ‘fingerprint’, they each hold their own stories and atmospheres. These pieces, I feel, could be mistaken for photographs owing to their attention to detail and realistic qualities. The buildings within the pieces are particularly helpful in my own studies with regard to their construction and how I can use them as guidelines for my own townscape exercises, removing the detail as they fade into the distance, as well as their reduction in size. I also really like the use of what appears to be moonlight in the sky and the lighting inside the shops. There is very clearly a vanishing point to the centre of two of the pieces where all seems to blur into grey but in very small amounts so as not to demand too much attention. This is also something I will consider in my own works. I really appreciate his traditional methods used and his way of creating pieces from an eye-level viewpoint, using mostly a one-point perspective, but also an atmospheric perspective as can be seen in the fading away of the buildings and other details in the background, almost fading into mist, which I find superb and definitely inspiring for my own pieces.

Georges Seurat (1859 to 1891)

Georges Seurat was a French post-impressionist artist whose main body of work was his paintings, but who also created pieces in conte crayon and who was the founder of Neo-impressionism, or ‘chromuluminarism’ as was the preferred term by Seurat.

The pieces chosen for my research needs show several houses portrayed in a dark, moody way which, again, appear to be seen from eye level from a one-point perspective for most parts, but also from a two-point perspective in others. There is a slight sense of atmospheric perspective in the pieces by the misty appearance seen also, but in a way almost opposite to that of Atkinson-Grimshaw who uses lighter colours, whereas Seurat appears to use darker colours to create the ‘mist’ effect.

Tacita Dean (1965 to Present)

Tacita Dean is a British artist who primarily works with film, however, she also enjoys exploring natural phenomena from the smallest of creations to works on a grand scale, such as the mountains shown below, created in chalk on a very large scale.

Dean uses (from what I can see) a mixture of horizon-level and worms’ eve view points in her work. I can see a majority of one-point perspective, but also some two-point perspective.

Whilst I really do appreciate Dean’s work, I do not find it appeals to me too much personally and question whether there is too much ‘excess space’ (for example the mass darker grey area to the right-hand side of the piece at Fig. 10. or the vast blackness at the bottom of Fig.7.) as noted by my tutor of my own work. This is something I believe I will consider further as to why this is not the case.

Dean’s ability to stay very delicate with her tonal changes is beautiful to behold, and the way the mountains contrast completely with the pure black background (Fig. 10.) works just as well. This really calls to mind my tutor’s comments regarding ‘patches of tone’ and I will bear these pieces in mind when carrying out this type of work.

Alternative Viewpoints

Birds’ Eye View

The birds’ eye view perspective is where an artist is positioned higher than eye level and so objects are seen as though from above. In this type of viewpoint, the bottom of the objects cannot usually be seen, the tops of items closer to the artist are larger, whereas the bottoms of the objects become smaller, with the vanishing point being much lower.

Fig. 11. Moline, R Birds Eye View (Unknown)

Worms’ Eye View

Opposite to the birds’ eye view is the worms’ eye view. In this perspective, the bottoms of images are much larger and the tops much smaller, with the vanishing point above the eye level. Again, in reverse to the previous perspective, the tops of objects cannot usually be seen.

Fig. 12. Lainé, M Worm’s Eye View (Unknown)

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Atkinson-Grimshaw, J (Unknown) Liverpool Docks Customs House and Salthouse Docks Liverpool [Painting] At: https://www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org/Liverpool-Docks-Customs-House-And-Salthouse-Docks-Liverpool.html (Accessed on: 20 June 2016)

Fig. 2. Atkinson-Grimshaw, J (Unknown) Salthouse Dock, Liverpool [Painting] At: https://www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org/Salthouse-Dock-Liverpool.html (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 3. Atkinson-Grimshaw, J (Unknown) Salthouse Docks, Liverpool [Painting] At: https://www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org/Salthouse-Docks-Liverpool.html (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 4. Seurat, G () Approach to the Bridge at Courbevoie [Conté crayon] At: https://www.themorgan.org/drawings/item/247442 (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 5. Seurat, G (c.1881-2) House at Dusk [Conté crayon] At: http://poulwebb.blogspot.com/2012/03/georges-seurat-part-1.html (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 6. Seurat, G (c.1881-2) Landscape with Houses [Conté crayon] At: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/337676 (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 7. Dean, T Fatigues, E [Chalk on blackboard] At: https://www.maxsteffen.com/blog/9gl3smgfzzewlr5g53bxzp2x8akabw (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 8. Dean, T (Unknown) Landscape [Chalk on blackboard] At: (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 9. Dean, T (2012) Fatigues, F [Chalk on blackboard] At: https://www.pinterest.es/pin/345721708887299973/ (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 10. Dean, T (2012) Fatigues [Chalk on blackboard] At: https://www.mariangoodman.com/artists/tacita-dean (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Fig. 11. Moline, R (Unknown) Birds Eye View [Acrylic] At: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/birds-eye-view-robin-moline.html (Accessed on: 28 June 2019)

Fig. 12. Laine, M (Unknown) Worm’s Eye View [Mixed media] At: graffmatt/19537-unique-contemporary-artwork-graffmatt-worm-s-eye-view.html (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Bibliography

John Atkinson Grimshaw. (Unknown) ‘Biography of John Atkinson Grimshaw’ [Online] At: https://www.johnatkinsongrimshaw.org/biography.html (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

Kochhar S, Culture Whisper. (2018) ‘Tacita Dean: Landscape, Royal Academy of Arts’ [Online] At: https://www.culturewhisper.com/r/visual_arts/tacita_dean_landscapes_tacita_dean_portraits_tacita_dean_still_life/10836 (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Poul Webb. (2012) ‘Georges Seurat – Part 1’ [Online] At: http://poulwebb.blogspot.com/2012/03/georges-seurat-part-1.html (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

Royal Academy. (Unknown) ‘Leading artist Tacita Dean exhibits pioneering and poetic work in our new galleries. ‘ [Online] At: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/tacita-dean-landscape (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

Tate. (Unknown) ‘Tacita Dean’ [Online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/tacita-dean-2675 (Accessed on: 20 June 2019)

The Morgan Library and Museum. (Unknown) ” [Online] At: https://www.themorgan.org/drawings/item/247442 (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

The National Gallery. (Unknown) ” [Online] At: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/georges-seurat (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Georges Seurat’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Seurat (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘John Atkinson Grimshaw’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Atkinson_Grimshaw (Accessed on: 24 June 2019)

Part 3: Project 3: Composition

Exercise 1: Developing Your Studies

Initial Ideas

For this exercise, I decided to choose the piece of the wall I had come across in my local park. Remembering my tutor’s comments regarding geometry, I decided to draw all of the lines of direction on my photograph so I could use this for measuring the angles later on. I also wanted to listen to her comments regarding excess space, so I decided to zoom in and cut out all of the excess in the piece.

Whilst I know this Part of the course is related to expanse, I wanted to play to my strengths still, but try to get that sense of depth regardless. I think my best option for that would be to really deepen the shadows on inside of the wall, specifically in the crease of the bend.

I created a viewfinder with a piece of paper and laid in several different ways on the photograph to help me find the best choice.

I then decided to use the photograph to create a grid to help me scale out the ‘bones’ of the image to give the piece the strongest foundation possible.

Preliminary sketch

I decided to head back to the physical wall and work from real life (again, remembering my tutor’s comments regarding photographs stifling me) as well as the photograph. I decided to use soft pastel to create the wall as I thought that the most suitable medium for the job. I added the path and then decided to have a little break, to be able to step back from the piece and see the piece clearer.

When I had stepped back, I could see that the wall was very dominant and I had darkened it quite drastically. I think I really just like the darker aspects in life and the sinister feeling it can add to even the most light and mundane objects.

I really do like the end result and how sinister the atmosphere of the wall is, and yet how vibrant the nature is around it. I really like the fact I darkened and deepened the tone of the piece, but also that the wall seems to hold a muted palette and removed excess information from it. I think I lost the perspective a little on the very top stone at the front of the wall, but otherwise I am rather pleased with depth within the piece.

Research Point: Artists who Work with Landscape and Different Viewpoints

Please click here to view the information gleaned in this Research Point.

Exercise 2: Foreground, Middle-Ground and Background

For this exercise, I decided to do as I did in the previous exercise; I used a viewfinder to find the best point of interest. I decided once again to zoom in somewhat and tried to remember some of the things learned in my composition research.

I chose the piece where I had drawn a tree in the forefront, a tree in the middle ground and several in the background as I thought this was absolutely perfect for this exercise. Again, I followed my tutor’s comments and zoomed in, removing the rest of the initial piece. Again, I drew a grid and worked from a photograph of my chosen viewpoint to assist me with getting the ‘bones’ of the image correct and building the best foundation possible before moving forward.

Preliminary sketch

I firstly decided to break the photograph I had taken of the chosen viewpoint into the three different sections so I could work out how to treat each section.

For the background, I experimented with an ink wash with soft pastel on the top, oil pastels and pencil crayons. I really liked the ink wash, but also the pencil crayons as these were very calm with a lack of vibrancy, which would be great for fading away in the background and not drawing too much attention.

For the middle-ground, I again experimented with soft pastel, oil pastels and coloured pencils. The pencil crayons worked nicely, however the darker areas just did not seem to come through well at all. Again, the oil pastel was very vibrant and a bit too strong for the middle ground.

For the foreground, I used oil pastels, soft pastels and pencil crayons again. This time, the oil pastels’ vibrancy was completely the best option.

I decided to begin adding detail to the piece by starting with an ink wash for the main areas of open space to create a background. I then moved to using soft pastels to create the little background there was (having cropped the piece somewhat, it left barely any of the sky). I chose this media as it allows for smoothness for the middle-ground, but also the little amount of texture needed for the trees to show the shadows on the tree. I then used oil pastels on the tree, shadow and little ground in the foreground. I chose this media because it is vibrant and creates texture purely by using it on its side.

I am rather happy with the end result of this piece as I think I have somewhat managed to create depth and the three grounds within the piece. Whilst I know this exercise was meant to be created in pencils and with a ruler, I chose to use these mediums purely because they felt right, as well as a grid which would assist me to see the effects of the grounds better.

Final piece

Questions from Course Textbook for Exercise 1 and Exercise 2

How did you simplify and select?

For the first exercise, I looked back at my previous exercises and chose the wall as the most interesting to recreate. I then used a viewfinder to crop the piece to a suitable size, remembering my tutor’s comments regarding semi-abstraction and zooming in on certain areas of interest.

For the second piece, I tried to do the same thing again, zooming in on an area I had created a quick sketch of which I thought held the most interesting detail for me to recreate.

Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information available to you?

I think I did manage to do this for both pieces. Using the grids really did help as I was looking at the shapes within each individual square as opposed to the image as a whole, allowing my brain to disengage from ‘seeing’ a tree, rather seeing just lines and shapes within each square.

How did you create a sense of distance and form?

Again, I think the grids assisted here as I was able to draw the wall and the trees where they genuinely sat in the photograph I used for the building blocks of the piece before returning to the scene and completing the detail. I deepened the darkest areas of both pieces and kept the lighter areas as light as possible.

Were you able to use light and shade successfully?

I think I was rather successful in portraying the differences in the tonal areas, as I tried to see them purely as dark and light shapes as opposed to what I thought I should see. Whilst I didn’t replicate the objects completely as seen, I tried to replicate their shapes and shadows as best I could, ensuring the darkest parts were as dark as possible and the lightest parts untouched or highlighted.

What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

Looking back, the only other issues I think I could have corrected were the choice of media (as directed in the manual) and also the blending of the shadow in the oil pastel in the foreground of the piece. I think perhaps I could also have used a little collage to create even more texture within the tree for the second piece and for the front of the wall in the first, creating a 3D effect to the pieces, assisting in deepening the effect of depth.

Part 3: Project 2.3: Research Point: Historic & Contemporary Artists Working with Landscape in Series

Many artists throughout history have been drawn to certain landscapes and have created several works in the same location. Below is a brief selection of a few of these artists and my comments regarding their work.

Herbert, Nicholas (1955 to Present)

Nicholas Herbert is an English artist who creates artwork of landscapes using a wide range of media, including such things as acrylics, soft pastels, pencils and chalk; all of which are rather reserved in their colour intensity and provide a rather muted result. Herbert admits he likes the fact his pieces aren’t too ‘pretty’ and even embraces when the pages scuff from his energies in creating certain parts of the piece, allowing them to form part of the texture he creates.

In these pieces, Herbert has created a group of landscape paintings representing the Chiltern Hills, a place Herbert knows very well and which holds a significant pull over him. Looking at the pieces, the colours and hues used are rather traditional in appearance but, otherwise, the pieces are timeless; one could not place the location at any specific date in history. All three pieces, whilst differing slightly, all hold the artist’s ‘fingerprint’ and are easily recognisable as Herbert’s.

I really enjoy Herbert’s works and the moody, almost depressive atmospheres held within each piece. I also like how they are not instantly recognisable as landscapes, but more blurs of colour. This creates for me the sense of a cold, autumnal / winter scene. I imagine darkness within the piece, such as darker clothing as is worn in the winter months, as opposed to bright, summery clothing which would look rather out of place in this setting. I really enjoy how expressive Herbert is and can really see a lot of my own style within his pieces. He is definitely an artist I will continue to bear in mind as I progress through the course as I really do appreciate the energy within his work, yet the calm he manages to portray within them as well.

Doig, Peter (1959 to Present)

Peter Doig is a Scottish artist who works in traditional ways in a Post-Impressionist style. Having lived in Trinidad for some years and at different stages of his life, Doig always felt a very strong connection with the place and so created several works recreating the beauty, tranquility and nature of the surrounding environment, but also the dangers the wild can hold.

It is clear from these works that Doig really enjoys the sense of fear and foreboding which can surround areas where nature and man-made material intermingle. These pieces show a real-life abandoned building development which has been overtaken by nature due to the lack of human interaction.

These pieces take me to a post-apocalyptic world where nature has won the battle over man-made structure and architecture. The buildings hold echos of life and happiness which is emphasised by the lack of figures within the pieces. Doig has worked both the background and foreground to be equally intense and both vie for your attention, again, showing the battle between man-made and natural dominance.

I really appreciate this type of work and can see how creating the balance between a battle for attention and the lack of success in this is very much a fine line. At present, I think I will try to continue separating the grounds to assist in my development, but this method is something I would like to revisit potentially further down the line of my studies.

Naismith, Scott (1978 to Present)

Scott Naismith is a Scottish painter who focuses on his local landscapes but, unlike the other two artists considered, he is focussed on portraying the happiness and positivity found within them, as opposed to ‘doom and gloom’ or disturbing beauty. There is a strong focus on the effects of clouds, lighting and the colours felt emotionally as opposed to physically. To achieve these works, Naismith will look for inspiration by flying a drone over the Scottish Landscape.

Considering my appreciation for other artists researched for this area, I was rather surprised to find that these works, with their intensely happy and bright colours, really do catch my eye. I am really drawn in by the colours used and how well they work together to represent the landscapes portrayed.

Naismith’s works, whilst not wholly realistic in colouring, are instantly recognisable as landscapes and are stunning to behold.

Whilst the other artists use deeper, darker colours to create drama within their pieces, Naismith’s use of the lighter, brighter colours creates a similar sense of intensity, which I think is why they appeal to me so. I have come to the realisation from looking at these works that perhaps it is not the ‘darkness’ of pieces I am drawn to, but more the intensity of the pieces.

Going forward, I think I will try to bear Naismith’s work in mind and attempt to invoke his level of intensity where that of the others is less suitable due to the demands of the subject matter in question.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Herbert, N Landscape L1033, View Northwards from Rising Ground, The Chiltern Hills (2017) [Mixed media: graphite, soluble crayon, acrylic, conte crayon and pastel on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/portfolio/2017-33.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 2. Herbert, N (2017) Landscape L1019, Field Sloping Down to a Line of Trees, The Chiltern Hills [Mixed media: graphite, colour pencil, soluble crayon, acrylic, conte crayon and pastel on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/portfolio/2017-23.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 3. Herbert, N Landscape L890, Near Bison Hill, The Chiltern Hills (2015) [Mixed media on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/about.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 4. Doig, P Concrete Cabin II (1992) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 5. Doig, P Concrete Cabin (c. 1991-2) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 6. Doig, P Cabin Essence (c. 1993-4) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 7. Doig, P Boiler House (1994) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 8. Naismith, S (2013) Harris Light [Oil on canvas] At: https://mymodernmet.com/scott-naismith-landscape-paintings/ (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 9. Naismith, S (Unknown) [Unknown] At: https://mymodernmet.com/scott-naismith-landscape-paintings/ (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 10. Naismith, S (Unknown) Uist Light II [Unknown] At: https://www.icanvas.com/canvas-print/uist-light-ii-snh53#1PC6-26×26 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Bibliography

Freeland, L of The Culture Trip (2017) ‘Peter Doig: Revolutionising Landscape Painting’ [Online] At: https://theculturetrip.com/caribbean/trinidad-tobago/articles/peter-doig-revolutionising-landscape-painting/ (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Nicholas Herbert (Unknown) ‘Nicholas Herbert – Mixed Media Landscapes’ [Online] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/about.html (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Scott Naismith (Unknown) ” [Online] At: https://scottnaismith.com/abou/ (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Tate (Unknown) ‘Room 3’ [Online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Tutor Artist Recommendations from Part Two

In the feedback from my tutor from Part Two, I decided to look into the artists she suggested and my findings are as follows:

Juan Gris (1887 to 1927)

Juan Gris’s actual full name is José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pére. He was a Spanish painter who specialised in Cubism.

Combining Drawing and Subtle Mixed Media

Whilst Gris was influenced by such artists as Picasso and Braque, he distinguished himself by providing his pieces with crisp and precise details, where as the others were much more expressive within their work, not so much relying on a ‘realistic’ appearance.

My tutor advised me to look into Gris’s combining of drawing and mixed media and I can see why from the pieces chosen. Whilst I do struggle somewhat to understand the concept of Cubism correctly (something which I hope to work on in the future), I can appreciate its beauty and do think Gris’s work my favourite by far of the three Cubists mentioned. I really like his crisp lines, shadows, muted colours – even the orange of Fig. 3. is rather soothing as it is balanced out by the checkered squares and the general lightness of the lightness to the bottom of the piece.

I can see that compared to Picasso and Braque, Gris’s work has a much more delicate and controlled touch. I like how his work also appears rather cartoon-like with its black outlines as this is quite contradictory to normal as they still look rather realistic. I think this is perhaps because detail contained within the lines is very delicate and controlled, combining realistic with cartoon-like. This is definitely something I think I need to consider when creating my own pieces. I think I will experiment with a few pieces of mixed media to create a similar piece as a reference point for the future.

Georgio Morandi (1890 to 1964)

Whilst I have already done some research into the artist, Georgio Morandi and focussing on his still life work, I decided to look at his landscape pieces when considering my tutor’s suggestions.

Economical use of Space and Subdued Colours

Looking at the pieces shown below, I can really see what my tutor has tried to express to me regarding how few colours the artist uses in these pieces. All are kept practically to three or four colours at most, with only minimal and subtle changes to the shades to create depth and texture within the objects in the pieces.

The clouds are not pure white, merely a lighter shade of the blue which is used. The leaves only two or three different shades once again. In Fig. 6., there is purely just green which has been used in differing layers (again, as suggested I attempt by my tutor and reminding me somewhat of my potatoes in a bowl piece where I applied the same technique).

Whilst the pieces seem almost childish on first appearance to me, when I look at them closely, I can see the very delicate detail within – almost minute and indistinguishable. It is really impressive! I really like the detail in the tree in Fig. 4. and think I will bear this piece in mind when progressing within my course.

Avigdor Arikha (1929 to 2010)

Arikha was a Jewish painter, printmaker, art historian and draughtsman, who was born in Romania. Having endured and survived the horrors which occurred in a war-time concentration camp during his youth, he became quite the master of several different styles and in using different media.

Arikha moves through different methods during his lifetime, including abstract work, representation, figurative black and white drawings and included a wide range of subject matter.

Omitting Detail and Giving Attention to Tone and Objects

I really do like the first two pieces (Fig. 7. and Fig. 8.) as they are purely black and white. The first piece (Fig. 7.) is extremely expressive and I absolutely love it! I can feel the intensity felt by the artist at the time of creation and his eagerness to complete the piece.

The second piece (Fig. 8.) is much more controlled, however, there are still many parts which hold expressive mark-making. I really like how he has created a sense of foreground (the tree’s trunk and foliage), background (the whiteness representing the sky) and middle-ground (the lighter tones and spacing of detail to create more foliage) within just this black and white piece!

Whilst I am not overly fond of Fig. 9., I really like Arikha’s use of strong angles and minimal colouring. Again, Arikha has been able to create a sense of the three grounds. The background holds a blue sky which, with no clouds and against the almost desert-coloured foreground, really shows the heat the artist must have been surrounded with and adds a sense of atmosphere to the piece. Again, similar to Morandi’s piece (Fig. 4.), the piece does look somewhat childish in how minimal its detail is upon first appearance, but then when you look closer, there are a multitude of colours, hues and shades to be found, ranging from grey, pink, blue, brown and so on. All of these colours are very, very subtle and do not try to dominate the piece. Again, I think this is something I need to try and master. Sometimes less really is more!

Charlotte Verity (1954 to Present)

Charlotte Verity is a German observational painter whose passion is recreating the beauty found within her garden at her home in London. Her works are created as soon as she finds her muse, either in situ or in her studio. Whilst she works ‘from the moment’, she takes time and delicacy over her pieces and the details within.

Sensitive and Subtle use of Media and Limited Palette

From the pieces below, I can see how delicately Verity’s work is. She has a very gentle hand and uses the layers of colour very delicately. There is a strong use of positive and negative space to assist in creating depth, for instance, in Fig. 10., the bend in the wall behind the plant is very apparent and the inverting of the colours of the leaves assists with this depth creation.

I really enjoy how, considering she uses a limited palette, Verity’s pieces hold so many different shades of the same colour and also seem to hold different hues in parts, but extremely subtly.

I think going forward I will bear these pieces in mind and try to recreate them when delicacy is needed, as opposed to always using a heavy hand. I think I have felt for a while that the deeper and more intense the colour, the better result, whereas these pieces completely contradict this theory. This is definitely something I want to bear in mind when completing my assignment piece.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Gris, J (1913) Glasses. Newspaper and Bottle of Wine [Mixed media] At: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=7787# (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 2. Gris, J (1914) Glasses and Newspaper [Collage] At: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=7791# (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 3. Gris, J Fruit Dish with Bottle (c.1914) [Mixed Media] At: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=7793 (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 4. Morandi, G (1927) Paesaggio [Painting] At: http://www.italianways.com/giorgio-morandi-the-landscape-painter-with-a-telescope/ (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 5. Morandi, G (1943) Landscape [Painting] At: http://www.italianways.com/giorgio-morandi-the-landscape-painter-with-a-telescope/ (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 6. Morandi, G (1957) Landscape [Painting] At: http://www.italianways.com/giorgio-morandi-the-landscape-painter-with-a-telescope/ (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 7. Arikha, A (Unknown) Landscape [Charcoal] At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/avigdor-arikha/landscape-k5Eun2aZP4s-Ej8Y-KHFVA2 (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 8. Arikha, A (1975) [Lithograph] At: https://il.bidspirit.com/ui/lotPage/source/catalog/auction/2871/lot/68623/Avigdor-Arikha-1929-2010-Tree-in?lang=en (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 9. Arikha, A (1976) Jerusalem Landscape [Watercolour on paper] At: https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-us/auction-catalogues/tiroche-auction-house/catalogue-id-srtir10004/lot-2a5f38c3-df88-440c-ab3a-a4b100eb464c (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 10. Verity, C (2015) Birch Leaves [Watercolour] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 8 July 2019)

Fig. 11. Verity, C (c. 2016 – 2017) Rosehips [Watercolour] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 8 July 2019)

Fig. 12. Verity, C (2017) Vine and Window [Watercolour] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 8 July 2019)

Bibliography

Art Practical. (2006) ‘Giorgio Morandi’ [Online] At: https://www.artpractical.com/review/giorgio_morandi/ (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Blain Southern. (Unknown) ‘Avigdor Arikha’ [Online] At: https://www.blainsouthern.com/artists/avigdor-arikha (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Charlotte Verity. (Unknown) ‘Biography’ [Online] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/biography (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Galleries Now. (2019) ‘Charlotte Verity: The Seasons Ebb’ [Online] At: https://www.galleriesnow.net/shows/charlotte-verity-the-seasons-ebb/ (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Guggenheim. (Unknown) ‘Juan Gris’ [Online] At: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/juan-gris (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

The Art Story Foundation. (Unknown) ‘Juan Gris: Spanish Painter, Illustrator and Sculptor'[Online] At: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-gris-juan.htm (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

The Wall Street Journal. (2015) ”Giorgio Morandi’ Review: Still Lifes that Find the Sublime’ [Online] At: https://www.wsj.com/articles/giorgio-morandi-review-still-lifes-that-find-the-sublime-1447107116 (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Avigdor Arikha’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avigdor_Arikha (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Giorgio Morandi’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgio_Morandi (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Juan Gris’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Gris (Accessed on 5 July 2019)

Part 3: Project 2: Landscape

Research Point:
Vija Celmins

Please click here to view the information gleaned in this Research Point.

Exercise 1: Cloud Formations and Tone

Exercise 1: Cloud Formations and Tone

For this exercise, I chose to sit out one day and, true to typical British weather, felt I had the luck of several different ‘skies’ all in one day.

Morning

The day began rather sunny, but with a bit of cloud in places. I decided to recreate the bright blue of the sky behind the clouds using a blue ink wash in my sketchbook. I then used some white, light grey and dark grey pastels to recreate some of the clouds I could see, trying to capture the movement of the clouds across the page. I tried to capture how light and fluffy the top of the clouds were, as well as how heavy and dense the bottom of the clouds were. I did try to make the top of the clouds much, much lighter, but there was only so much the pastel would lift. I thought about using something such as correction fluid or acrylic paint, however, I thought the use of them would make the lightness of the cloud much too heavy.

Afternoon

Later in the day, the sky clouded over and the clouds which were much lighter and sparser had become much heavier and closer together, overlapping each other in places. I tried, again, to lift the area where the sun was, increase the depth and layers between the clouds using pastels. Again, the pastel would not lift enough for the ‘sun’ section. I think, perhaps, I would be better to leave this section of the page white without applying the blue ink wash all over and building from there.

Evening

For this piece, I tried to use the pastels to recreate the colours in the clouds where were utterly beautiful, since the weather had, once again, taken a turn! The sky had cleared and the clouds were spread out like lines across the sky. I used a blue ink wash again and then applied a red and yellow wash beneath. I then used coloured pastels to recreate the colours I saw. I was a bit disappointed with the outcome as I think it is a great representation of a sky, but I don’t think the clouds are distinguishable really.

Dusk

Again, the sky was rather clear and the sunset was beautiful.

Calm clouds

Finally, i decided to take a piece of A3 cartridge paper and used some blue / white mixed ink to create the sky in the background. I then used soft pastel to create the clouds, which were constantly moving, and tried to show this movement within the piece. I also tried to create a bit of weight to the bottom of the clouds with a touch of grey. Remembering what my tutor said about less being more, I only added a slight amount of the grey, so it was almost invisible. I admit, I did find it a struggle to remain so light-handed as I do enjoy my darker colours!

Exercise 2: Sketchbook Walk

Due to this being a quick study exercise, I decided the best medium would be willow charcoal. I went for a walk during a warm summery day at around midday and came across these four scenes which interested me for different reasons, but mostly for the potential for depth, perspective and patches of tone, again, trying to work on my tutor’s feedback.

I was actually rather pleased with myself consider how fast I had worked to create these studies and feel I have been successful in creating depth rather well within the sketch of the single tree with trees in the background as the shadows and different strengths of tone really does work to create the impression of depth.

However, I do not think the study of a single tree with leaves and shadow was quite as successful as I think the shadow appears too similar in tone to the actual leaves of the tree.

I am rather pleased with the perspective of the first study of the trees with the pathway and do think it is somewhat believable.

Whilst, I’m not majorly impressed with the close-up of the tree trunk, I am happy with the texture I think I have got across within it.

Observations to Note from Course Textbook

I carried out this exercise on a summery day at around midday. The weather was warm and there was not much of a breeze. There were not many clouds and those which were visible were light and fluffy. The light fell to the right, left and in front of the trees, depending on my chosen viewpoint when selecting what I thought were rather interesting views. I chose the views I did as I felt they all offered something different; a full tree with foliage, trees leading down a path, a single tree’s trunk to show texture and also another single tree with smaller ones in the background with fantastic tonal changes.

Exercise 3: 360° Studies

For this exercise, I decided to work in biro due to its flexibility, expressive nature and my natural preference for this medium. I spent 15 minutes on each section and tried to work as quickly as possible, getting as much detail in as possible.

I found this exercise really good for practising my perspective skills (again, as recommended by my tutor) and thoroughly enjoyed some, if not all parts of the process.

My favourite is by far the curved wall piece as I just think I have managed to get a fair bit of depth and tone in this quick study as opposed to the other pieces. I also really like how the pieces appear to be just messy squiggly lines until you start to see them properly and they form an actual image.

Research Point: Artists Working in Series

Please click here to view the information gleaned in this Research Point.

Research Point: Part 3: Project 2.1: Artists from Different Eras Using Landscape as Their Main Subject

History of Landscape in Art

Before the 17th century, landscapes were used simply to fill the backgrounds of paintings depicting historical settings, religious or mythological (notably Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman) stories, such as is seen in Fig.1.  It was only in the 17th century that this was realised as a category all of its own and was given the fourth spot out of the five stages of genre hierarchy.  Claude Lorrain’s work (Fig. 2.) was very classical, as discussed below.

In the 18th century, landscape as a genre increased in popularity and was used to create the then-preferred classical style of pieces, carrying on the use for historical, religious and mythological purposes.

The 19th century saw an increase once again in this genre, but a change in preference as artists were now choosing to create pieces in a more naturalistic way, seeing nature as a direct manifestation of God and trying to put that across in their pieces due to man’s distancing from nature due to the development of cities and towns and the reduction of rural living.  Later, artists stretched the boundaries of the genre and began depicting the beauty that industrialism (as seen in Fig.3) and urbanism held. 

Modern art was revolutionary in this century thanks to the French impressionists and the traditional hierarchy was broken down, paving the way for artists to have more freedom to as they pleased.

The 20th century saw works from such artists as Richard Long who ‘broke the mould’ and began creating art directly in landscapes.

Comparison of Artists

I decided to compare five different artists and my results are as below:

Traditional Artists

Fig. 1. Dürer, A (1494) View of Trento Fig. 2. Lorrain, C (1682) Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia
Albrecht Durer was a German painter, printmaker and theorist born in 1471.  He was one of the first European landscape artists and favoured watercolours.  He was a very important part of the northern renaissance.  Dürer died in 1528. Claude Lorrain (real name Claude Gellee) was a French painter, printmaker and theorist during the Baroque era who was most active in Italy as opposed to his native land.  He was born around the turn of 1600AD and died in 1682.
The View of Trento is a painting depicting a river bending and flowing around a village, which is set in a valley with mountains in the background.  The overall atmosphere within this piece is of a serene, peaceful place. This work depicts several archers who appear to be hunting a deer.  The two are separated by a river.  There are ancient intact pillars in the piece, setting it in a specific time in history.  There are several trees bending inwards almost as though trying to touch the clouds to the right and framing the piece.
This piece was created in the 15th century which saw the early Renaissance take shape. The 17th century saw the rise of the Baroque ere and also the Dutch Golden Age.  Italian artists ventured into new places in respect of paintings. 
This piece shows architecture in the form of a city or village on the edge of a rural piece of land, trees, mountains, a mode of transport (boat), clouds, water in the form of a river and indistinguishable figures in different parts of the piece.  This piece is set from a distance as a tourist would look at the scene through binoculars. Again, we see architecture within a rural setting, a sky with clouds, water in what appears to be in the form of a lake.  However, there are no modes of transport to this piece. There are several figures who can be distinguished, as well as including an animal in the form of a deer.  Again, this piece is set as though looking through binoculars and watching the scene unfold before you.
The movement in this piece comes from the water seemingly flowing off the page.  The mountains appear to lead the viewer’s eye downwards towards the centre of the piece, whereas the buildings lead the eye around the bend of the river.  The boat appears to be moving, as do some of the figures on the paths. The movement in this piece can be found in the deer turning to look at the hunters, the hunters and their hounds and the wind blowing the trees inwards towards the clouds which are moving off the page.  The water in this piece appears to be still, so as not to distract the viewer from the main points of focus, but to help emphasis the space between them.
The main points of interest in this piece are the purples used for the trees and the brightness of the natural elements of the piece, whilst the figures and anything man-made are all dull and subdued, inviting the viewer to appreciate the landscape more than the man-made objects. Here the sky is made of several beautifully mixed colours, as is the water.  The deer is also rather highlighted, probably because it is the main focus of the piece, as noted in the title.
I think I can take from this piece the change in shape and size of the buildings to improve my skills in the use of perspective.  I also like the movement of the water, so I think I will try and recreate these parts of the piece quickly in my sketchbook and take this information forward in my course. I really like the clouds and the colours in the sky in this piece, so I think I will try and recreate this in my sketchbook also since I will be working on clouds further on in this Part of the course.

Contemporary Artists

Fig. 3. Lowry, L S (1955) Industrial Landscape Fig. 4. Shaw, G (2013) The Wrong Place Fig. 5. Woodfine, S (2005) Newfoundland
Lawrence Stephen Lowry was born in 1887 in Salford – my home city!  Lowry painted industrial districts within Salford, Pendlebury and surrounding areas.  He is famous for not only his industrial landscapes, but also for the figures he depicted within his pieces due to their ‘matchstick’ appearance.  Lowry died in 1976. George Shaw was born in 1966 in Britain and is famous for his use of contemporary suburbs, graffiti, litter and architecture. Sarah Woodfine is a British artist, born in 1968.  She is known for her post-war and contemporary work, creating imaginary worlds in drawings, sculpture, landscape, architecture and optical illusions.
This piece is a landscape view of an imagined industrial city.  Factories and their smoking chimneys, a train on its line puffing out smoke, houses and people going about their daily business are all visible within the piece. This piece is the view of a woods with trees on either side, drawing the viewers’ eyes down the path in the middle of the piece and off into the distance. This is a piece depicting a tepee during the night, with a boat pulled up to the shore.  The pieces of this artwork appear to be within a perspex box and placed one in front of the other to create depth within the piece.
The 20th century saw artists begin experimenting with reality in a new way to that of the artists pre-17th century; whilst before it was merely for historical, religious or mythological in terms of Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman stories, now artists were beginning to depict images from their own imaginations and their own interpretations of the landscape before them. The 21st century has seen the removal of all limitations on artists, with them being able to express themselves in any way, shape or form they choose.  Due to the constant invention of things, ideas already out in the world and the easy access to this, artists are now easily able to build on the techniques of the traditional artists, those of contemporary artists and even create their own techniques and methods of creating masterpieces within this genre.
This piece also shows architecture in the form of an industrial city.  Whilst there are figures in this piece, they are indiscernible and are almost ant-like in their appearance, making one think of how ants go about their work with no bigger knowledge of the wider world, their sole purpose in life to work.  There is no greenery within this piece.  The colours in this piece are very subdued, portraying the drabness of an industry, however, it does still hold some beauty regardless of the lack of a rural presence.  The piece is seen from a bird’s eye view, almost as though one was a bird or a higher being. This piece uses a very limited palette with rather ominous trees.  The colours are deep and bold.  There is no method of transport within this piece, with no buildings or sky to be seen.  The viewpoint of this piece is to make you feel you are walking down the path in front of you.  The scene looks as though no other human has been through here. In this piece it feels as though we are studying the inhabitant of its sole piece of architecture, the tepee, through a cage or enclosure, just as one would observe a pet mouse.  Whilst no greenery can be seen fully, there are hints of partial flowers shown purely by a few simple shapes in white, contrasting against the black hill surrounding them.  The time of day is very confusing; the black and the shadows of the ground makes you imagine the piece is set at night-time, as does the tepee and lack of figures, as though the inhabitants are asleep inside, whereas the white of the sky implies the piece represents the day time, with the circle implying it is a moon, but could also be a sun.
The forefront houses are rather bright in colour, even though the piece as a whole is rather subdued.  As the landscape recedes, the brightness of the colour does also, however, the chimneys and bridges remain somewhat brighter than the rest. In this piece, the background seems to be brighter and the forefront darker.  I can only presume this is because beyond the trees we can see, the forest is dispersing and more light is able to seep through.  The fallen leaves on the ground are also rather bright and the green of the leaves is rather bold and striking in places adding a sense of warmth and almost the feel of moisture, as though it is a rainforest. The sky and ground are in strong contrast with each other due to their block colours, whereas the tepee and boat seem to have depth with their tonal values and white outlines. 
Again, the use of perspective in this piece is fantastic, so I will definitely be recreating the houses in the centre of the piece receding into the middle of the piece. In this piece, I see what my tutor has said about creating layers to create depth within the piece, so I think I will try and recreate this using layers of ink within my sketchbook. Whilst I appreciate the contrast in this piece and its depth, for some reason I just cannot connect with it.  It just does not really draw me in as much as George Shaw’s piece, for example.  Whilst I really enjoy black and white pieces, I just cannot connect here.  I think I will recreate this piece by making layers with pieces of card in my sketchbook.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Dürer, A (1494) View of Trento [Watercolour and Gouache] At: http://www.durerart.com/Watercolors/View-Trento.html (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

Fig. 2. Lorrain, C (1682) Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia [oil on canvas] At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ascanius_Shooting_the_Stag_of_Sylvia_1682_Claude_Lorrain.jpg (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

Fig. 3. Lowry, L S (1955) Industrial Landscape [Oil paint on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/lowry-industrial-landscape-t00111 (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

Fig. 4. Shaw, G (2013) The Wrong Place I [watercolour on paper] At: https://maruanimercier.com/artists/george-shaw (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

Fig. 5. Woodfine, S (2005) Newfoundland [pencil on paper in perspex box] At: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/n/newfoundland-by-sarah-woodfine/ (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

Bibliography

Albrect-Durer. (Unknown) ‘Albrecht Durer’ [online] At: https://www.albrecht-durer.org/ (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

ArtNet. (Unknown) ‘George Shaw’ [online] At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/george-shaw-2/ (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

ClaudeLorrain. (Unknown) ‘Claude Lorrain’ [online] At: http://www.claudelorrain.org/ (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

MutualArt. (Unknown) ‘Sarah Woodfine Biography’ [online] At: https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Sarah-Woodfine/CFFD0DFD0E8B3E81/Biography (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Tate. (Unknown) ‘L. S. Lowry’ [online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/l-s-lowry-1533 (Accessed on 21 May 2019)

University Arts London. (Unknown) ‘Sarah Woodfine’ [online] At: https://www.arts.ac.uk/colleges/wimbledon-college-of-arts/people/sarah-woodfine (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Victoria and Albert Museum. (Unknown) ”Newfoundland’ by Sarah Woodfine, 2005′ [online] At: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/n/newfoundland-by-sarah-woodfine/ (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Research Point: Project 2.2: Vija Celmins

Artist’s Background

Vija Celmins is a Latvian-American artist, born in 1944 and based in New York City.

Celmin’s main love is the use of pencils for drawing wonders found in nature, such as webs, starry skies, the ocean, rocks and clouds, however, she does create work in other ways using other methods.

Celmin’s work has been shown in over 40 exhibits since 1965 and she is rather well renowned in the art world.

Most of Celmin’s pieces are monochromatic as she works almost exclusively in grey. She takes several years to complete her pieces as she is practically obsessive with the accuracy of details within. Whilst she does not see her work as ‘copying’ which she feels implies something ‘fast’, she sees it that she is ‘redescribing’ what she sees and, whilst immaculate to the viewer, she feels there are inaccuracies within each piece which separates it from the original.

Vija Celmin believes her work shows her attention span and thoroughness in remembering minute details. Regardless of the amount of effort and work she puts in, Celmins does not care so much for people stopping and considering her work, providing her with the glory of appreciation, but instead likes the potential that people may walk past obliviously. If they do consider what they saw in her work later, that is good enough for her. Celmins appears to enjoy the solitude of the process of creating her work as opposed to the glory of public appreciation and the spotlight being aimed in her direction. This rather reminds me of Redon’s Two Trees and how someone may simply walk past without seeing the ‘hidden entrance’.

Personally, I find Celmins’ work fascinating, solitary, surreal and sinister. I also find the fact we have been asked to consider this artist’s work somewhat peculiar. My tutor commented regarding my excess space within my piece, which I agreed with, however, this artist’s whole piece appears to be excessive space? There appears to be no one main focal point within her pieces. Whilst I appreciate Celmins’ semi-abstraction within her work and the lack of actual objects, I find the effort, time and energy used within the pieces far too tiresome for my own work. I can appreciate the peaceful state one would enter when creating something such as those shown in this research and perhaps it is something I should try to consider when creating my own pieces; humility and patience. I consider this research very educational in regard to the tonal ranges involved. This is something I can try to learn from in my future works.

I also really like how Celmins pictures her work’s subject matter to be in a remote place only she is aware exists at that specific moment as this is something I would really value in my work myself. I can also fully appreciate her need for solitude and a peaceful working environment, as this is how I feel when working also.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Celmins, V (1975) Sky [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/celmins-sky-p78334 (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Fig. 2. Celmins, V (1969) Untitled (Big Sea #1) [Graphite on acrylic ground on paper] At: (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Fig. 3. Celmins, V (1968) Clouds [Graphite on paper] At: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/01/23/nature-redescribed-the-work-of-vija-celmins/ (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Bibliography

Centre for Religious Humanism. (Unknown) ‘Active Sight: Vija Celmins and Jackson Pollock from Pictorialism to Perception’ [Online] At: https://imagejournal.org/article/active-sight/ (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Tate. (Unknown) ‘Vija Celmins’ [Online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/vija-celmins-2731 (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Tate. (Unknown) ‘Vija Celmins, Sky, 1975’ [Online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/celmins-sky-p78334 (Accessed 22 May 2019)

The Paris Review. (23 January 2019) ‘Nature Redescribed: The Work of Vija Celmins’ [Online] At: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/01/23/nature-redescribed-the-work-of-vija-celmins/ (Accessed on 22 May 2019)

Vija Celmins / Desert, Sea and Stars (2011) [user-generated content online] Created by: Institut für Kunstdokumentation. At: https://vimeo.com/22299024 (Accessed on 11 June 2019)