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.

2 thoughts on “Part 3: Project 3: Composition

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