Assignment 4

For this exercise, I decided to break the three sections up and carry out some preparatory work for each from some of the earlier exercises within this Part of the course and from the Unit as a whole, including the following:

  • Fabric and form;
  • Proportions;
  • Foreshortening;
  • Lighting;
  • Positive and negative space;
  • Mediums and surfaces;
  • Quick Sketches.

Upright Seated Model in Line:

Preparatory work

I began this section by taking a photograph of my model, who I had sat to the right of a lamp, which draped him in light on his left side and shadow to his right. Remembering that this piece was to be created in line, I focussed first on the fabric of his T-shirt, the proportions of his arms and the foreshortening of the fingers and lower arms. I then moved on to playing with the light and dark areas of the model and then the positive and negative spaces in the piece, which I also found helped with establishing the proportions correctly. I tried to consider which of the previous artists’ works that I have researched would suit this piece most and how I could incorporate the ideas found through replicating their work previously. I then had a little play in my sketchbook with several different surfaces and mediums, as well as creating several quick (and very rough!) sketches before settling on one final decision as to what would work best.

Final Piece

Seated Model in Line – Final Piece

I decided from my preparatory work that my strongest options for this specific piece, including the size, were to use acrylic markers due to their flexibility and malleability. I also decided against using any form of preparation to my chosen surface (A1 cartridge paper) to allow me to focus solely on the task at hand, having never done this before, so as not to distract me or clutter the piece and to potentially revisit and explore this area more in the fifth part of the course when I have more flexibility.

I was able to move expressively and still create a good line drawing. The piece does not look truly like my model, but I think I have been rather successful in showing the lighter and darker areas of the piece purely in line, as well as also being able to stay very expressive. I enjoyed this piece very much, however, do think there are areas I could have done better on, such as the eyes being too close together and the face too elongated. I am pleased with the outcome of the black and silver pens together and feel they help to create a sense of depth within the piece.

Upon reflection, I do think the model’s left hand could be somewhat more detailed, but I found this difficult when there wasn’t hardly any detail to be seen due to the glare from the lamp’s light. There is not much of a likeness to my model at all in this piece, however, this was not my main focus; my focus was on trying to achieve an accuracy in proportions within the body as a whole, as well as the creases and folds and areas of darkness and lightness within the piece as a whole, which I think I have somewhat been able to replicate. I thoroughly enjoy working in line, however, I do not think it the best option solely for me due to the cartoon-like appearance which I do not really seem able to shake so far.

Once again, I believe I was able to try and keep all of the expressive markings within the outline of the figure, however, I do feel I need to be willing to allow myself to leave some of these areas free of line to trick the viewer’s mind’s eye into seeing what isn’t actually there.

Reclining Model in Tone

Preparatory Work

I then moved on to my reclining model and, again, being limited for inspiration, had to capture my husband (once again!) unawares whilst lounging on one of our sofas. As can be seen from the photographs, the light source was artificial and from above the bottom end of the sofa. There was also some artificial light falling on his hands and face from his mobile phone which was in his hands. Again, I worked through some experiments with foreshortening, positive and negative space and the fabric and form seen, as well as the mediums and surfaces to potentially use for my final piece, as well as reconsidering the methods used by some of the artists I had previously researched.

Final Piece

Reclining Model in Tone – Final Piece

Overall, I am rather torn with this piece. On one hand, I had so much fun creating the depth and pressures with the charcoal, whereas, on the other hand, I could hear my tutor’s comments relating to ‘overworking’ and ‘less is more’ reverberating around my mind! Considering it is a leather sofa, I think it appears that my husband is draped in fabric and that I have created the same issues I created in my first assignment piece, where I have treated everything the same – the cushions behind his head are not really distinguishable from the sofa and so on. I do not think the perspective is very accurate either with the foreshortening of the sofa needing some work. However, on a plus note, I actually rather like the definition of light and dark within the piece, as well as the folds in my husband’s clothes and the accuracy of the proportions of his body. I think I must definitely try and come up with some way of restricting the pressure applied by my hand!

Self-Portrait in Line and Tone

Preparatory Work

Once again, I carried out the preliminary experimentation within my sketchbook, having reconsidered some

Final Piece

This was by far my favourite piece to have completed so far throughout the whole of this course. Knowing I would have to work over two hours and how fast I am able to create pieces, I decided I really needed to slow this piece down. I had already worked in both acrylic markers and charcoal for this assignment and because I was free to choose the size of this piece, I settled on A2 and black biro. Again, I decided to work from a photograph and grid system for the base layer and proportions, but then worked from a mirror for the tone and depth aspects. Later, I decided to add a slight touch of charcoal in places to create a slightly more believable depth and darkness to the tonal areas, due to this piece focussing on both line and tone.

Once again, I think the nose has been somewhat unsuccessful to my actual right side as I have overworked the shading in this area. I was unable to draw this back in any way without ruining the piece, so I left it and decided there was nothing more I could do for this section.

I had positioned myself by a window so that natural light would fall across my right-hand side and also chose to pull a shocked face to lead the viewer to question why I am looking in that direction, what has surprised me and what could be in the light etc.

As stated above, this is by far my favourite piece to have made as I think I have been able to listen to my tutor’s advice of not overworking the piece, keeping an ‘outline’, but being expressive within and using different pressures to create different tonal ranges. The hair took the longest time by far, however, I think I have managed to do it justice in the majority and have been able to indicate a change in direction of the hairs, showing a ‘wind-swept’ positioning.

Part 4: Project 6: The Head

Exercise 1: Facial Features

Considering these features include a lot of detail, I actually rather enjoyed certain areas of this exercise. I thoroughly enjoyed recreating the eyes, for example. My favourite by far is the charcoal study in the bottom left-hand corner. With this, I tried to focus more on the different patches of tone as opposed to concentrating on the line.

I think the charcoal works best for me for a lot of areas, including the nose, ear and hair. I like the results in the conte sticks, however, I found this medium much harder to manipulate.

The black biro pieces have been effective as I think the medium allows me to use line to show depth and definition, giving weight to the sketches purely by bending the lines to suit my purpose. I think this has been very apparent in the ear, mouth and nose sketches. I think the biro also allows me to indicate the individual hairs in the eye brows.

I decided to create the study of the shapes of the face in black biro too as I find this medium the best for finer lines but whilst still being able to be expressive with the line markings. The head looks rather bulbous and unrealistic, but I think the general shapes will really help me when trying to remember them in my studies.

Research Point: Depictions of the Face throughout History

Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.

Exercise 2: Your Own Head

Initial Studies of Own Features

Before I began making sketches of my face as a final piece for the exercise, I decided to recreate the previous exercise but this time looking at my own features before trying to create a piece as a whole. I decided to create quick studies of my eye, nose and lips as these are the key features which would be seen in my pieces. I also decided to create these studies in charcoal as I trusted myself much better with this media and knew the outcomes would probably be the best result of all media available to me as I could manipulate it at will; rubbing areas out simply or smudging to show slight shadows on the skin.

I was rather pleased with the outcomes of the studies and do think I was able to stay rather light-handed with the end results. I am most pleased with the study of the eye as I think I have managed to capture a rather true likeness and a good balance of contrast in the tonal range of the eyebrow, iris, pupil and then the lighter areas of skin and the nose. I think I may have been slightly too heavy-handed with the bridge of the nose and the tones of the lips, but I am generally pleased with the outcome.

Quick Biro Sketch of Own Head

Quick Biro Sketch of Own Head

For this exercise, I tried to barely look at the paper, but to stay focussed on my reflection in the mirror. Whilst I think there is no real resemblance to me, I am not too bothered about that really as I was more focussed on trying to draw what I saw as opposed to a true representation. I think overall I have elongated the face, the nose is too much of an oblong shape and the chin too small in comparison to the other features of the face. There was a bit of foreshortening through the mirror, with the top of my head being closer and the chin slightly further away, but I do not think I have conveyed this accurately enough.

Quick Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

Quick Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

Again, I looked through a mirror but changed the angle slightly so the foreshortening was more pronounced and clearer to see, as well as the medium used. I think this piece was much more successful than the biro and that I have been able to keep all of the features rather accurate this time, however, I think the mouth is slightly too ‘forward-facing’ to be fully accurate. The charcoal was great for creating a lot of hair very quickly and is most definitely my favourite medium for quicker studies.

Longer Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

LArger Sketch of Own Head in Charcoal

I then decided to slow things down and do a piece from a photograph of myself, using my grid system and using controlled pressures thoughout to try and achieve different tonal ranges.

I am extremely pleased with this piece and do not think I have overworked the piece at all – for a change! I think I have been rather successful in trying to make the nose believable, since this was the hardest part to do so in the features exercise. Whilst the other two sketches weren’t visually accurate, I think this piece is, although I do think there are some areas I could have improved; the nostrils appear somewhat crooked and the chin line should be more blended as opposed to so defined. I think I have managed to capture my eyes rather well. I think I could also have added a little more shadow to the neck to create depth as I think it looks somewhat flat.

Overall, this has by far been my favourite piece to create and as an end result, to date.

Research Point: Self-Portraits throughout History

Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.

Exercise 3: Portrait from Memory or the Imagination

For this exercise, I tried to work with four different media; biro, charcoal, conte stick and acrylic markers and to create sketches from my imagination.

I didn’t really enjoy this exercise as much as others as I don’t really enjoy the imagination aspect and much prefer working in a realistic manner and from an actual subject, whether it be physical or via photographs.

Looking at the sketches, whilst I did try to mix it up a little, I think I somehow managed to create four very similar images. I think I was able to get the features in proportion rather well and, whilst they do not look like anyone in particular, I think the separate features do work rather well together, but appear somewhat caricature-like in places.

The features I found the hardest to recreate realistically were the lips and the flesh of the cheeks, as I think is apparent in all of the sketches. The lips appear too bulbous and the flesh not defined enough or evenly stretched.

I think the fourth sketch is by far my favourite and appears the most realistic of all. I enjoyed working with two colours (black and silver) to create the piece and feel they work well to create a sense of depth by just using line. I think I will consider this method for my assignment piece where I am to create an image in line.

I created the biro sketch in the style of Chalhoub, whose work I have recently looked at. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the sketch and liked the fact I was using several different coloured pens to create the depth in the piece, but also how there wasn’t much need for specific emphasis to the features within the piece, however, I did decide to add much more detail than the other artist as it just felt right to me to do so for my own piece.

Tutor Artist Recommendations from Part 3

David Hockney: iPad Drawings of Trees

Relating to Honing in and Colour

Looking at these pieces, I can see what my tutor means regarding the difference in colours used and how they are built up in layers, one colour on top of the other. I did try to achieve this in my third assignment piece, as I layered the colouring for the bushes in the foreground, but I do not think I did enough of this in the background colours. Looking at Fig. 6., I can see how a block of green colouring has been used for the bush in in the background and then several different hues built up on top to create the depth of the bush, similar to the colourings of the pathway. I tried to use this method in my final piece for Part 3 but clearly I have a long way to go in understanding the hues I should be using. I wonder whether my tutor’s comments regarding my use of colours is due to them being more natural and not contemporary enough? Perhaps I should be using more vivid and intense colourings within my pieces?

Hockney’s pieces appear somewhat cartoon-like to me, but yet these are considered successful? I am determined to get my head around understanding my tutor’s comments and what makes the cartoon-like pieces Hockney has produced better than the cartoon-like pieces I have created. I wonder is it somewhat part of his artistic licence to be able to get away with such things? A right I have to earn along my journey, perhaps? It fascinates me how some pieces are considered masterpieces when such things as their perspectives or scalings are off, so I would really like to look into understanding this more throughout my journey. I also want to learn to fully understand and get beyond the issues I have with colour.

With regard to the honing in aspect of Hockney’s work, I can only really see that he has honed in in Fig. 4. whereas the rest appear to be on a much vaster scale, taking in the whole surrounding area. In Fig. 3., I can see that Hockney has created a piece of the vast landscape, however, he has cleverly divided the page into six equal parts (perhaps as looking through a window?) which could then have allowed him to focus on each section individually and the detail within it. I think this would be very helpful for me in my work actually as, instead of looking at the ‘bigger picture’, I could then concentrate on each individual section (once the overall general shapes were in place to ensure continuity throughout).

Charlotte Verity

Sensitive and Subtle use of Media and Limited Palette

I have previously looked at Charlotte Verity’s work, the results of which can be found by clicking here.

I decided to look again at Verity’s work and try to understand further why my tutor recommends this artist’s work to better my own. Looking at these pieces as a broad overview, I can see that each has one or two colours at most for its background and to lay the subject in its space. I really like the fact Verity uses lines in several of her pieces as the main subject within the piece. The lines are delicate and fragile in appearance, yet seem to own the foreground and draw the viewer in. I think I definitely have to consider these pieces when creating my own and try to simply wash away the detail of the background. I can see from these that I need to really lighten up with my touch also. I think the reason I am so heavy-handed is due to the fact that doing so eases my tremor and allows me more control over the straightness of the line. When I ease up off of the pressure, the line becomes somewhat wiggly and, I feel, appears weak and less finished. Perhaps I should try and use this to my advantage? I worry for Part 4 that I will make everyone I draw appear wrinkly as opposed to having nice smooth outlines! I think I will also take from this that perhaps I can use some colour, but purely in blocks and used sparingly.

Henry Moore: Sheep Drawings

Relating to Linear and Expressive Tree Drawings

Again, I have looked at Henry Moore’s work before, the findings of which can be found by clicking here.

Looking again at these pieces, I can see how Moore has used the black markings to create the negative space of the backdrop in certain parts of the pieces to create the illusion of the foreground and positive space of the sheep’s heads or bodies. Where the pieces have shadows and are at their darkest, the line has been applied thicker and broader strokes. Where the areas are at their lightest, the lines are very light and almost non-existent in certain places. The lines used are sometimes straight, cross-hatched and wiggly. I think this is something I need to consider in my own work and to acknowledge that I do not need to apply line in every single part of the piece to create depth, as well as showing direction and movement.

With regard to Fig. 17., I can see that Moore has used two very muted colours to place the sheep in the field, with only a touch of shading to indicate the distances. I really like the muted colours used in this piece and think I will try creating a few pieces in a similar way. Whilst I do not want to use too many colours, I do really like the block colourings several of these artists tend to use and think it high time I had a go myself.

Anselm Kiefer

Simplifying Vast Spaces

Having looked at Kiefer’s work, I find it slightly confusing as to how the pieces are deemed simplified, besides Fig. 19, Fig. 20 and Fig. 23. The pieces with the trees I can see is simplified in the sense that the trees are merely lines, beginning rather thickly and with greater detail in the foreground and becoming less defined and thinner when moving backwards into the piece. In most of these pieces, I can again see only two or three colours, except in Fig. 23. In this piece, there are a few more colours, but the piece has been simplified somewhat by the blocking of the colours of the clouds and the foreground. I really like the depth created in the clouds caused by the layering. I think this is something I will have to try within my pieces. I do think I have a long way to go with my use of inks, but can’t get the seed out of my mind that such things as inks and watercolours are more for painting than drawing. Perhaps these things will develop more in units more so focussed on painting?

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Hockney, D (1997) The Road Across the Wolds [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 2. Hockney, D (2006) Woldgate Woods, 21, 23 & 29 November 2006 [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Hockney, D (2006) A Closer Winter Tunnel, February – March, 2006 [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Hockney, D (2008) The Big Hawthorne [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 5. Hockney, D (2011) The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 6. Hockney, D (2011) The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 7. Verity, C (2014) Spent Stems [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 8. Verity, C (2015) Winter Ending [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 9. Verity, C (2016 to 2017) My Nest [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 10. Verity, C (2017) A May Day, Sienna [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 11. Verity, C January Colour (2018) [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 12. Verity, C Seed Time (2018) [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 13. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Walking [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-resting-p02567 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 14. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Resting [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-resting-p02567 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 15. Moore, H (1974) Sheep and Lamb [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-and-lamb-p02588 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 16. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Before Shearing [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-before-shearing-p02589 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 17. Moore, H (1974) Sheep in Field [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-in-field-p02590 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 18. Kiefer, A (1971) Mann im Wald [acrylic on cotton canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-mann-im-wald (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 19. Kiefer, A (1998) Lasst tausend Blumen blühen [emulsion, oil, acrylic, shellac, dried roses on canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-lasst-tausend-blumen-bluhen-2 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 20. Kiefer, A (2006) Für Paul Celan : Aschenblume [Oil, acyrlic, emulsion, shellac, and books on canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-fur-paul-celan-aschenblume (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 21. Kiefer, A (2010) Fitzcarraldo [oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, ash, thorn bushes, resin ferns, synthetic teeth, lead and rust on canvas in glass and steel frames] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-fitzcarraldo-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 22. Kiefer, A (2010) Winterwald [oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, ash, torn bushes, synthetic teeth and snakeskin on canvas in glass and steel frames] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-winterwald-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 23. Kiefer, A (2014) aller Tage Abend, aller Abende Tag (The Evening of All Days, the Day of All Evenings) [Watercolor on paper] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-aller-tage-abend-aller-abende-tag-the-evening-of-all-days-the-day-of-all-evenings-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Part 4: Project 3: Form

Exercise 1: Basic Shapes

For this exercise I created a couple of sketches of a seated model from different angles. I decided to use some acrylic paint pens as I remembered this tool being rather flexible and quick to draw with.

My model was seated towards one side of the chair with a slight twist in her torso and a slump to both of her arms.

I decided to begin by drawing the basic shapes I could see within the outline of my model’s silhouette and then drew the detail in rather quickly. I tried to consider the centre of gravity to the model, resting down the central part of her face, towards her left hip and down through the weight-bearing left hip and leg to the floor. For the second sketch, I tried to create the central line as indicated by the book; around the ear area, down the side of the torso and down the weight-bearing leg.

I found the body was largely made up of several ovals (the arms and legs), triangles (elbow joints) and squares (torso).

I noted that the torso was slightly twisted, leading the model’s left shoulder, breast and then the arm to be raised, but the latter of which she left slack. This also caused the model’s right arm to drop slightly and that the model allowed this arm to also hang loosely draped over the chair’s frame. On the right-hand side, the model’s midriff was much shorter than that on the left, leading to weight distribution being much more crushed and gathered on the right compared to the more stretched-out flesh on the left-hand side.

Overall, I think the general shapes are rather consistent with that of the real model and are recognisable as being a human form. I am slightly disappointed, however, with the accuracy of the chair’s legs, specifically in the second piece. I did not spend half as much time on these as I should have due to an oversight on my behalf of not reading the exercise details properly, hence I decided to then use these as preparatory sketches for a much larger study of the same model in the same position. I also think I have created the head of the second model slightly too small to be believable for the size of the remaining frame.

Exercise 2: Essential Elements

Due to time constraints and the lack of willing models, I decided to search the internet for images of models I could use to create quick sketches of.

I created my first sketch in pencil but just did not think pencil worked well enough; I really like the contrast charcoal creates with the white of the paper.

Regardless, I was rather pleased with the outcome of all six of the pieces; I think the measurements are largely accurate, however, I do think I have a tendency to either elongate or shorten certain parts of the body unnecessarily. Due to the time constraints of this exercise, I am not all that fussed about this misjudgment here, but will bear it in mind when I come to creating pieces with a longer time-frame. I also think my work is much stronger in the charcoal than the pencil as the latter appears too cartoon-like to me and too controlled. The markings are too ‘permanent’ compared to those of the charcoal which can be manipulated somewhat to correct certain mistakes etc.

Questions from Textbook

Were you able to maintain a focus on proportion at the same time as creating a sense of weight and three-dimensional form?

As stated above, I think I managed to keep the general shape and structure believable, but when you look closer, it becomes apparent that I have elongated and shrunk certain areas of the body; mostly the torso and legs. I think I found the weight-bearing aspect of this exercise easier than the following exercise where I was specifically meant to be looking out for it. I think perhaps this is because the majority of the models in these sketches are in more dynamic poses where the weight is very obviously distributed, whereas in the next exercise, the model is stood almost like a statue, so the weight distribution is rather evenly spread between both legs, which makes it much more difficult to see clearly. Once again, I think I have been rather heavy-handed in the sketches, but think this is just my way in quick sketches as I just strive to ‘get it out’, whereas I will take further consideration of this in my final pieces for this section due to the length of time available to me for me.

Which drawing gives the best sense of the pose and why?

I think my third sketch is by far the best of the six as I think it to be the most believable; there is shadowing, the measurements are rather accurate, the pose is dynamic and interesting. I am, however, disappointed with the hand area as I feel this really lets the sketch down. I also rather like sketch five and I believe this is because I have grounded the model, added shadow, movement to the hair with the tilt of the head and lack of features on display. I also think I could have filled the space better in the sketches as they do not fully fill the page, hence are much smaller than they could be, which would also allow me to be more expressive.

Was there any movement or gesture away from the model’s central axis? If so did you manage to identify this and put it into your drawing?

In pretty much all of the poses, there is a lot of movement away from the central axis, so I chose to bend the line with the figure, however, upon reflection, I think perhaps I should have also kept the vertical central axis in place so I could use it as a measurement guide and to ground my model to the spot he/she would have started from.

Exercise 3: Stance

I began this exercise by quickly walking around my model before beginning to be able to try to see the central axis line and weight distribution and bearing. I quickly found that my model changed her weight-bearing between studies, whilst the original pose did not change much at all. I found this exercise was rather eye-opening to the foreshortening which can occur when creating sketches of the same model from different angles.

Again, I was rather pleased with the general outcome of these sketches and the fact the scaling appears a little more accurate than previous sketches. I think, however, that certain areas are not as accurate as they could be, such as the model’s bottom. It was a little dark in the room and I could not really see the creases of her trousers clearly, so I had to do a little guess work here. I do think I may have struggled with the weight-bearing and portraying that as clearly and as accurately as I could have as I do not think it is clear in all of my sketches as to which foot and leg are actually bearing the weight of the rest of the body. I can also see from my sketches that I have changed the width of the model’s frame, legs and arms. This could indicate to the viewer that there were actually several different models, so I must look out for this and try to ensure continuity throughout any series of sketches of the same model, but also when drawing any model generally.

Exercise 4: Energy

I was rather nervous about this exercise as I was not sure whether I would be able to find someone again who was willing to assist. In the end, I settled on some images found on the internet and decided to drawn them.

My first sketch was my most successful I believe; the measurements were rather accurate, the weight distribution was rather convincing and the pose itself was rather dynamic and interesting. I do, however, think I could have created a little more accuracy with regard to the twist in the torso, the shape it took and the distribution of weight as a result. I also think I may have miscalculated the measurements of the model’s frame so will bear this in mind as I move forward.

Bibliography

Source images for ‘Exercise 2: Essential Elements’ sketches can be found by clicking here.

Source images for ‘Exercise 4: Energy’ sketches can be found by clicking here.

Research Point: 4.6.2.1 Self-Portraits throughout History

For this Research Point, I was tasked with finding self-portraits throughout history, including some more contemporary pieces, which I decided to try to find ones which closer resembled my own developing style.

Rembrandt (1606 to 1669)

Fig. 1. Rembrandt Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 (1669)

Rembrandt is one of the most well-known artists of history and one who created several self-portraits in quite a similar style throughout his lifetime. This piece has quite a moody atmosphere to it, which I was instantly drawn to. I don’t really like light and delicate pieces, but much prefer darker and moody, so this piece really draws me in. I can see that the light is focussed almost solely on the face, leaving the remainder of the piece in almost darkness. I think the piece is rather dated in the sense of the clothing worn by Rembrandt within as well as the darker muted palette often seen in historic paintings.

I think this piece is very subtle and creates a sense of humility of the artist. I see a modest gentleman in a very calm moment. By looking at the eyes and the position of the mouth, I am drawn to wondering whether Rembrandt was somewhat unhappy in this moment as he looks slightly subdued and down.

Whilst I do not see much of a connection to my own work, I do like the way Rembrandt has used one a small number of colours and the many hues within these colours, as well as his use of light and darkness to emphasise the areas of the piece he wants the viewer’s eyes to be drawn to. Whilst I know my tutor feels my work with colour needs much improvement, I do think pieces like this offer a great opportunity to dissect the piece and see the colours used and how they were used in such a clever way.

Sketchbook Dissection

Van Gogh (1853 to 1890)

Fig. 2. Van Gogh, V Self-Portrait (1889)

Considering my earlier comment regarding not enjoying lighter and happier pieces, I am actually rather drawn to this piece of van Gogh due to his story, the swirls used in his application but also due to his fantastic use of a limited palette. Considering the whole piece appears blue, van Gogh has very cleverly included a more orange colouring in a muted way to represent his auburn hair and beard. It seems somewhat strange to me just how these colours work so well together. I think it is perhaps because van Gogh has not only usd the orange shade, but also used touches of green and also the blue hues for the flesh and within the beard. Again, colour is not my strength, but this offers a fantastic opportunity to dissect the piece within my sketchbook to try and understand this colour concept better. I definitely have a long way with understanding the application of colour, but I find this piece a great reference point to come back to when coming back to colour in my future units.

Lieu (21st Century)

Fig. 3. Lieu, C Self-Portrait No. 32 (2012)

Moving forward in time, I came across this piece which I was instantly drawn to due to the almost solitary use of tonal patches to create the final piece. All sections appear to just be differing variations of pressure to create the different features. The lighting is clearly from the upper left-hand side of the page and highlights only certain areas, bringing the depth and shape to the piece.

I have found that during the creation of my pieces in earlier exercises, using tone as opposed to line has really worked in my favour and helps me create a more realistic piece, so this piece is a fantastic reference point for when I create my final piece within this Part of the course and is definitely something I would like to channel in my own work.

Sketchbook Dissection

I really like the techniques used in this piece, but definitely struggled with replicating the hands. I also rather enjoy the solid contrasts between sections of the piece and the heavy-handedness used by the artist. This very much resonates with my own techniques.

Auerbach (1931 to Present)

Fig. 4. Auerbach, F Self-Portrait II (2013)

Sketchbook Dissection

Whilst I am not extremely fond of this piece, I found it interesting due to the different pressures used to show different areas. I also really admire the fact that the lines do not appear to mean anything when viewed independently, however, they do come together as a whole to show the overall image of the artist. The lack of a solid outline and the presence of a very broken one resonates with me too and reminds me of my tremor. I wonder whether this artists has a similar issue and has reflected this in the piece?

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Rembrandt (1669) Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 [oil on canvas] At: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-self-portrait-at-the-age-of-63 (Accessed on 9 August 2019)

Fig. 2. Van Gogh, V (1889) Self-Portrait [oil on canvas] At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg (Accessed on 9 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Lieu, C Self-Portrait No.32 (2012) [etching ink and lithographic crayon on Dura-Lar] At: https://claralieu.tumblr.com/post/21251081537/self-portrait-no-32-etching-ink-and-lithographic (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Auerbach, F (2013) Self-Portrait II [unknown] At: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/frank-auerbach-speaking-and-painting-by-catherine-lampert-book-review-portrait-of-the-artist-as-no-10328712.html (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Bibliography

My Modern Met (2017) ‘Iconic Artists who have Immortalised Themselves through Famous Self-Portraits’ [online] At: https://mymodernmet.com/famous-self-portraits/ (Accessed on 12 August 2019)

Van Gogh Museum (Unknown) [Online] At: https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0022V1962 (Accessed on 12 August 2019)

Wikipedia (2019) ‘Self-Portrait’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-portrait (Accessed on 12 August 2019)

Part 4: Project 5: The Moving Figure

Every Friday evening, I attend a local Karate class. However, this week, I had given myself whiplash by taking my inhaler (seriously, I couldn’t even make that up!) and so was unable to participate. This was actually a blessing in disguise though, as I was able to take the opportunity to concentrate on the following two exercises. Whilst I only created the sketches briefly whilst at the classes, I then finished them off at home later that evening so that the details were still fresh in my mind.

Once I had completed the first exercise (whilst still at the class), however, I realised I was actually putting too much focus on the actual end result and how those depicted were clearly human and defined etc. I then decided to continue with the second exercise using more rapid mark making and forgetting about the inclusion of any detail. I also decided to make a couple of larger pieces using the same method for the first exercise to attempt to correct my error!

Exercise 1: Single Moving Figure

As stated above, I think I misconstrued the instructions in the Exercise (I do tend to find the wording used in the manual rather difficult to interpret sometimes and as though they can have several interpretations and finding the correct one is sometimes rather difficult, so I try to cover all my bases!) and so created very rapid sketches from an instant of looking at people in specific poses and then filling in the blanks with memory.

As appears to be my signature now, I know I have pressed fairly hard in all of the studies. My first interpretation of the Exercise was to show people in obvious movement, shifting their weight in a way which would not be practical to hold in the long-term and so would be believable as movement. I tried to emphasise the fact that the hair of those who had ponytails was swaying and moving in tune with the movements being made.

I enjoyed these studies and tried to hold on to specific images of interesting positions as opposed to simply walking around, for example. I think I have been successful in recreating such things as the proportions of the limbs and body parts, foreshortening, depth and tonal changes to direction of the material and flesh of the subject.

My favourite is by far Study 11 as I think I have portrayed the above traits the best here. In fact, the girl’s mother has actually asked me to recreate it for her as she liked it so much! Whilst I know I have been heavy-handed here again, I think I have been rather successful in the placement of imaginary (from my memory of the moment) shadows, placement of limbs etc so they are believable.

Larger Studies of Single Moving Figures

I decided to create my larger studies in ink due to its fluidity and focussed on two different poses those who were taking part in the class were carrying out.

The first stance I focussed on was what is known as the ‘horse’ stance, where the student will sit down as though straddling a horse, to then use their arms for punches or blocks. I created the study mid-movement, where the student was just about to reverse their stance to face the opposite way in the same position.

The second stance was of a student in Kamae, thrusting with one hand and ready to punch with the other. Again, I created this study as the student was about to carry out their punch.

I was rather surprised by the outcome of the studies and how I think I was rather successful in creating the movement of the moment. The ink was very flexible and seems to hold energetic qualities without requiring much effort of the user.

I prefer the second study due to the increased amount of activity within the piece and the fact I feel I have shown movement with lighter marks and an indication in their positions as to where the movements will / have happen(ed). I also believe this piece holds more information and definition as to the fact it is a human’s figure and the stance in question.

I think I got a little carried away on the first study and trying to show an indication of the face as I feel the two horizontal lines and the curvature of the body almost make me imagine Golem as opposed to a karate student! The student was actually facing away and the horizontal lines were to represent one eye and an ear.

Overall, I think my initial reservations of creating something in this manner were rather unjustified and unfounded as I think this was actually one of my favourite studies so far!

Exercise 2: Groups of Figures

By the time I had reached this exercise, I had realised my error and had not created any group images in a similar manner to those of the first exercise. I was still at my karate class, so I took advantage of the remaining time to continue these studies.

I was actually secretly relieved by my realisation; the idea of drawing more than one person in a crowd-like situation seemed daunting to me. I do not enjoy finer details and imagine a crowd of several people to draw to include a similar level of detail and involvement as drawing something such as a skyscraper with hundreds of windows.

Sketchbook Studies in Charcoal

I began this exercise in the same way as my larger studies from my earlier exercise, using purely line. I then continued to include more and more detail (to a certain degree!). I also decided to mark a couple of pages with a layer of diluted ink to add a sense of a background.

I think as I moved through this section of the exercise, I found more and more enjoyment in it and realised it wasn’t as daunting as I had first thought! My fourth study in this media is by far my favourite due to the background colouration, the accuracy of the measurements, the definition in the seated gentleman in the foreground, the ease the viewer has in understanding the story being told and the depth of the piece.

Sketchbook Studies in Ink

I then decided to do several studies in different coloured diluted inks. I began with just one colour and then changed this to another colour to see how different the results could be. When I used the red, due to it having been diluted, I was rather disappointed with the result and the faintness of the study. I decided to go over the faint red with a blue, but I was then surprised to find that I really enjoyed the result! The colours worked so nicely together and so I decided to create the next one in a similar way, except by using blue and then grey over the top to add a little shadow to the piece.

Whilst I know my tutor does not think my colour work much good, this was something I was really impressed by the result and could see how the colours overlapping created a more interesting dynamic to the piece. I also think they added a little more insight into the movement and energy being used.

Sketchbook Studies in Oil Pastels

Next, I chose to use another of my favourite media for two further studies, oil pastel. I decided to create the first study in black only and then to follow on from my previous ink studies, using two colours for the second study.

I was very pleased with the first study as I think the outcome is very realistic, as is the depth of the piece, much more so than any of the previous pieces. I am aware of the heaviness of the pressure used in certain parts of the study, however, I do think this only helps to increase the depth of the piece.

As for the second piece, I do not think the outcome half as good as that of the ink in the same manner. The image looks cartoon-like and poor in comparison. Whilst I think the placement and measurements of the students helps with the illusion of depth, I do not think the grounds are very well portrayed or separated.

Sketchbook Studies in Acrylic Pens

Finally, I decided to create two studies using the same new-found enjoyment of two colours to assist and to find out whether these would also work well in acrylic pens due to their versatility similar to that of the ink.

I began firstly with gold and then brown over the top but, again, do not think the outcome interesting or believable enough. The depth is poor, similar to that of the coloured oil pastel study.

However, I actually really like the study created in black and silver as I feel the depth and information is actually much more believable and the colours work much better together.

I think I have taken from this that I seem able to work colours together when they are used in inks, but not so much in other media, where blacks, greys and silvers are my strengths.

Inverted Sketch of a Group of Figures

After the success I found in creating the inverted piece for the foreshortening research, I decided this would be a fantastic opportunity to use this method again as I could focus on just the main outline of the people with only the slightest of hints as to the detail within. As with the previous effort, I completed this in white chalk and willow charcoal as I really liked the results of the other piece.

Inverted sketch of a Sensei and her students

I was rather pleased with the result again, however, I think I the white areas are too white in places. I think I have managed to execute the little boy turning to look back at the Sensei rather well and that the weight and measurements throughout are well controlled. I think, perhaps, that I should have included a break-off line somewhere to ground the figures somewhat. However, I think I have been quite successful in creating a sense of depth with the placements and measurements of the figures.

Part 4: Project 4: Structure

Exercise 1: The Structure of the Human Body

For this exercise, I decided to work firstly in black drawing pens, but they soon ran out of ink (I have more on order though! Phew!), so I then switched to black biro. Looking at the exercise again, I think I was meant to look at the muscles and such, however, I decided there would be far too much detail for me and chose to work on the different positions created from the view of the surface.

There are a few studies which work much better than others; for instance, I think the hands, arms legs and torsos work best overall, whereas there are a few which have gone slightly awry, including the top right foot, bottom right neck and central skull.

For the skull, I think I may have kept changing my angle unknowingly and, once I finally sat back to actually look at what I had put on the paper, I was then able to see where I had gone wrong, i.e. the left side of my skull being too stretched and the nose twisted slightly. I struggled with the teeth in the skull, however, I improvised by only creating the shadows in the ‘gum’ area and the natural gaps between the teeth. I thought the skull would be the easiest to recreate due to the big empty spaces and basic shapes, however, I actually think it was the hardest due to the lack of ‘instructions’ provided and indications as to where this and that should be in relation to other sections.

I think the issues with the feet and other such failed attempts was due to the fact they were created on a small scale, whereas when they were created on a larger scale, they appear more realistic. I definitely agree with my tutor’s comments (and hear them again and again) that to be expressive my style definitely suits a larger scale.

Research Point: Historic and Contemporary Artists use of the Body’s Underlying Structure

The results of this Research Point can be found by clicking here.

Exercise 2: Three Figure Drawings

For this exercise, I attended a local life drawing class. The model asked if there were any preferences as to positions, so I advised about my course and the requirements of the exercise. The model attempted to assist me as best she could, however, there were also other regularly-attending members who had worked in similar ways recently, so the model tried to compromise somewhat.

I tried to carry out quick observations of each pose in my sketchbook before moving on to a larger study with more time. For the quick studies in my sketchbook, I chose to work very fast to get as much information down on the page as possible, but to also try and see interesting areas which stood out with foreshortening aspects or deep contrasts in tones etc.

Standing Quick Close-up Studies

For the first study in this pose, I was aiming for the sketch to be more like that of the second study, however, I found I had drawn the main focus (the breast and chair contrasts) too small and continued to fill the page with the rest of the detail. I recreated this again, but zoomed in much more this time (second study). I then tried to zoom in on the foreshortening of the bent leg and foot, as well as the contrast in tonal values in the third and fourth sketches.

I definitely struggle with recreating a foot which appears to bend back and touch the leg when facing away from me. This is something I think I should really try and work on and to figure out why it is that they do not look realistic – perhaps it is where I have laid my shadowing?

I think the depth, sense of direction and flow of the flesh is well recreated in the drawing pen pieces, however, again, I have pressed too hard. I think these would perhaps be better in biro and in very concentrated areas with varying pressures.

I also think the wax crayon is much more capable of producing softer end results for me, but I also really enjoy the oil pastel as it allowed me to show such things as the slight cellulite in the leg, however, I definitely press too hard when creating the outline. This is something I need to work on also – that fine line between outline and cartoon.

Seated Quick Close-up Studies

For these studies, the model had moved to a seated position on a stool so, again, I tried to focus on foreshortening and tonal aspects. I did not find this pose as interesting as the rest, potentially due to the lack of twists in the body creating interesting areas?

Again, the wax crayon was the more delicate of the media used, though I do really like the contrast created by the oil pastel.

The model moved slightly throughout this pose, so some perspectives are slightly skewed – something I need to bear in mind when drawing from life.

I also think the study of the face was rather unsuccessful at showing the tilt in the model’s head. I think I needed to increase the size of the size of the chin and reduce the size of the forehead perhaps?

Overall, I think it becomes apparent that when I have to work quickly, I focus more on getting the information down than ensuring it is in the most accurate position etc.

Lounging Quick Close-up Studies

The model then moved to a lounging position and I really enjoyed this one. There were several areas of interest to me and in which I was able to show the twists and turns of the flesh over the bones below.

Again, the model moved slightly in this pose, however, I think I was slightly better at correcting my studies to suit.

The third study is by far my favourite due to the contrasts between the flesh and shadows. I think I have managed to accurately measure the feet and have placed them in a believable position.

Longer Studies

Looking back at all of the studies created, both large and small, for this exercise, I think I have a long way to go to being able to create life in the face and to prevent it from looking too flat. With more time, I think I could have concentrated on the tonal contrasts to build the detail of the face up.

Looking at these studies and larger pieces, I can see that I still apply a lot of pressure when working rather quickly. I wonder whether this is something I can actually learn to control or whether this is just who I am? I actually really enjoy putting emotion into my work and the deep pressure and darker marks created have a certain ‘release’ effect on me. However, I am determined to show my tutor that I CAN reel myself in (even if I feel uncomfortable doing so) and have every intention of creating final pieces for this Part of the course which are of a much finer quality, taking time to stop and reflect several times and remembering my tutor’s comment of “less is more”!

Research Point: 4.2.1: Foreshortening and the Human Form

For this piece of research, I tried to begin by seeing foreshortening in the world around me; my husband relaxing on the opposite settee (creating an illusion that his furthest arm was much smaller than his closest), my daughter resting her feet on me and her head further away (creating the illusion that her feet were a lot bigger in scale than her head).

I then turned to the internet to try and find some images of historic pieces of art where the artist has been rather successful in creating the illusion of depth with foreshortening within their pieces.

Fig. 1. Mantegna, A The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c.1490)

The first piece I came across was the above piece by Italian Renaissance artist, Andrea Mantegna. I was instantly drawn to this piece due to the quality of the illusion created. Whilst I know it has been created on technically just a flat, even surface, I feel as though I am looking through a square window, into the room and directly onto the subject, Christ. The artist has been very successful in taking the vertical figure and making it appear almost horizontal. I am a little confused by the fact the feet do not appear massively bigger in scale than the head, yet it is clear that the feet are in the foreground and the head in the background of the piece. Perhaps it is the shortening of the limbs and torso? Or perhaps the delicate shading and tonal changes? Perhaps it is a combination of both? Whilst I do not think I will ever have the skill to be able to compete with this level of skill, I think I can definitely learn a lot from it regarding being subtle with my mark making and exaggeration of limbs and features. Whilst I think I would still enjoy creating a little too much over-exaggeration, I will definitely try to do more in moderation.

Fig. 2. Caravaggio, M Supper at the Emmaus (1610)

Next I came across the above piece by the Baroque artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. At first glance, this piece also makes me feel as though I am looking through a window and eavesdropping on this deeply-heated conversation. The artist has somehow made the depth of the piece so realistic, with the arms looking as though they are literally coming through the flat surface in a 3D method.

I then tried to find some contemporary pieces but, taking into account my tutor’s comments regarding personalising, I decided to find works I felt I could recreate somewhat. In Fig. 3., the piece has a strong outline (though not with a solid line), yet is rather expressive inside. I decided to dissect the piece in my sketchbook, cutting the parts of the body into easier shapes to assist in measuring the differences in scale due to the foreshortening aspects.

I really like how the artist has used the direction of the line to show the contours of the surface, such as the depth and shape of the breasts and the flesh of the leg. I decided to recreate this in oil pastel on a black piece of paper.I tried to recreate similar colours seen in the original, using line and expressive marks to show the contours and highlights of the flesh.

This piece focuses on a completely different part of a female than other pieces seen in this Research Point; the bottom. The artist has laid the model in a somewhat diamond shape on the chosen surface. The bottom has been magnified greatly compared to both the head and feet of the model due to the foreshortening of the chosen angle. The shadow above the bottom and towards the feet help only to emphasise the highlighted mass of the buttocks and upper thighs. I tried to recreate the piece using charcoal to try and garner a better understanding of the artist’s intentions. I really enjoyed recreating this piece, with its diamond shape and strong tonal contrasts. I think I have left the buttocks much darker than the original. Overall, however, I think I will consider this construction technique when I create my own pieces and also how this artist has created the piece focussing on tone as opposed to details.

This piece is somewhat similar to the piece created by Mikawoz in respect of the composition used. I like the use of a different colour than just black to create this piece, and also how there is an outline and rather controlled markings inside those lines, but then some rather expressive marks around the outside of the piece. Again, this piece has been constructed focussing more on tone than detail. There are hints at detail, but no complete sections.

This piece is by far my favourite piece. I really enjoy how large the foot and toes are compared to the head and hand. I like that the indication of a hand is there but is not detailed. The smaller foot also has some detail, but is nowhere near as much as the larger foot. I think, if I were to try and recreate this properly and for it to work efficiently, I would be best suited to using a large surface, such as A1, so that whilst the smaller details of the piece would be small, they would still be much larger than if I were to create them on A3, for example.

I chose to recreate this piece on a black surface with chalk to lift the highlights from the shadows and then used some willow chalk to put some of the darker areas back in. Whilst I had difficulty with the face and then decided to work the features back out, I am actually rather pleased with the outcome, even if somewhat different to the original. I actually really liked the process used to create this piece and think I will use it again in the future.

Mirrored Self-Portrait

Self-portrait through a mirror

As instructed in the textbook, I sat myself in front of my wardrobe mirror and drew what I could see of myself. I was sat on the floor with my knees bent in front of me. I wore a black vest top and a black pair of leggings.

I think overall I have managed to scale the different parts of my body rather accurately as I tried to bear in mind that those things whcih were closest to the mirror would be larger, whilst those which were further away would be smaller, such as my facial features and elbows.

I think I have been rather successful in recreating the shadows and other tonal patches within the piece as well as the general measurements of the body and limbs, whilst considering the foreshortening aspects as well. I do, however, think I have created the head a little too small and the resemblance to me is not very strong, though this was not my prime focus within this piece. I also think the purple adds a little something different to the piece and makes it a little more interesting than just the black and white. I think this may hopefully assist me in working on the hues of the colours if just using them in a limited palette method.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Mantegna, A (c. 1490) [tempera on canvas] At: http://www.essentialvermeer.com/glossary/glossary_d_i.html#foreshortening (Accessed on 13 August 2019)

Fig. 2. Caravaggio, M (1610) ‘The Supper at Emmaus’ [oil on canvas] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supper_at_Emmaus_(Caravaggio,_London)#/media/File:1602-3_Caravaggio,Supper_at_Emmaus_National_Gallery,_London.jpg (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Hatt, F (2010) ‘Dynamo’ [crayons] At: https://fredhatt.com/blog/2010/09/26/end-on-extreme-foreshortening/ (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Mikawoz, S. (2013) ‘61745766923’ [unknown] At: https://felixinclusis.tumblr.com/post/61745766923/wasbella102-by-s%C5%82awomir-mikawoz (Accessed on 20 August 2019)

Fig. 5. George Dawney. (2016) ‘George Dawney’ [conte] At: https://georgedawnay.tumblr.com/post/143542835392/recliner-sanguine-tumblr-conté-strathmore (Accessed on 20 August 2019)

Fig. 6. Hankin, J (2017) ‘Foreshortened’ [Photoshop] At: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/oKDXL (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Bibliography

Essential Vermeer (Unknown) ‘The Essential Vermeer Glossary of Art-Related Terms: D-I’ [online] At: http://www.essentialvermeer.com/glossary/glossary_d_i.html#foreshortening (Accessed on 13 August 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Supper at Emmaus’ (Caravaggio, London) [online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supper_at_Emmaus_(Caravaggio,_London) (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fred Hatt (2010) ‘End-On: Extreme Foreshortening’ [crayons] At: Fredhatt.com/blog/2010/09/26/end-on-extreme-foreshortening/ (Accessed on 13 August 2019)

Research Point: Historic and Contemporary Artists’ use of the Body’s Underlying Structure

When I first looked at this Research Point, I was rather hesitant to look into it as I thought that, whilst I really enjoy drawing the exterior of the figure, the underlying structure did not really appeal to me too much. However, I decided I had to look deeper than I would have by choice and was surprised to come across a few pieces which actually caught my intrigue.

Firstly, I knew from general knowledge garnered over the years that a keen lover of the human figure was da Vinci, with his Vitruvian Man so I decided to look into whether he had studied the underlying structures (as I was not aware of this side of his workings) and was rather surprised to find the below image.

Fig. 1. da Vinci, L Pen-and-Ink Studies of Human Fetus (1510)

Whilst the fetus appears to be intact and covered with skin, it is clearly shown as though from within a woman’s womb. This fascinated me as clearly da Vinci really was interested in all parts of the human body and I think these notes and sketches and the delicate techniques used to create the baby shows his admiration for the whole process of our coming into being and his respect for nature’s powers and beauty. Da Vinci has used hatching and the shadowed areas to show the depth of the sketch’s details and also and the roundness of the fetus’s enclosure. The only detail in the sketch is created purely by shadowed areas. I think this could be really useful for me to recreate in areas I struggle with, toes and fingers for example.

Fig. 2. del Barbiere, D Two Flayed Men and their Skeletons (c. 1540 to 1545)

I came across the above image and found it rather interesting. The piece shows two men whose muscles are all exposed, standing next to what appears to be their own skeletons. Whilst there is a lot of detail in this piece, I really like how the artist has, just like da Vinci, used shadow to show the parts and finder details of the men instead of having drawn each part individually. I like how the artist has used more of a solid coloured approach in the piece, using the side of the pencil as opposed to the point. The artist has also used a broad tonal range throughout which, again, I can bear in mind for my own pieces.

Fig. 3. Rubens, P Anatomical Studies: A Left Forearm in Two Positions and a Right Forearm (c. 1600 to 1605)

I find the piece above slightly disturbing for some reason; I think perhaps it is because it appears unnatural and malformed. The index fingers also appear to be placed in unnatural positions; I think these are natural positions, but without the overlay of skin, they appear somewhat disjointed. However, I really like how the artist has used very light and precise cross-hatching and other techniques throughout to bring depth to the piece. The darkest areas of the piece have also not been created in too heavy a hand and do not appear to be as dark as they possibly could. This is something I definitely struggle with as I really enjoy creating the darkest parts, however, it is something I need to work on controlling to better myself.

Fig. 4. Dine, J The Side View (1986)

When I came across the above image, I was instantly drawn in and mesmerised by it. I just love how dark the darkest areas are, how the whole top right-hand corner is very shadowed and the lower left corner rather light. The markings used to create the shadowing to the depth of the skull are very expressive. Before I started this research, I was not very keen on the skull as a subject, however, since seeing this piece, I have become fascinated with it and consider it is something I think I will really enjoy working with. I think the reason I am drawn to it is because there are hardly any fine details besides the teeth, but there are several angles and deep hollows in such places as the eye and nose cavities. There are also areas where shadows do not really hit, such as the bulk of the bulbous part area and the fore-front contours of the teeth. I can really see myself creating something very similar to this and use the skull as a focal point within my work.

Fig. 5. MalteGruhl 196978999515 (unknown)

Again, when I came across this piece, I was instantly drawn to it but for slightly different reasons. Whilst the artist has also used the skull, this time the marks have been made using more of a brush stroke technique and the paint applied rather liberally. It appears almost as though the skull has been covered with material and the lower part removed. I really like the block colours and contrast between the darker and lighter areas. The top of the skull does not quite look right to me. The outline looks rather wrong and cartoon-like. I think the piece would have been much better without the addition of the outline. However, it does work to create a sense that the outline is somehow above the rest of the piece, for example as though it has been drawn on a sheet of tracing paper and placed on top of the original.

I like this method and think I will give it a try as it will come in rather handy when I have to create pieces which have blocks of tonal values.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. da Vinci, L (1510) Pen-and-Ink Studies of Human Fetus [Pen and ink] At: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Leonardo-da-Vinci/media/1/336408/15647 (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

Fig. 2. del Barbiere, D (c. 1540 to 1545) Two Flayed Men and their Skeletons [engraving] At: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/49.95.181/ (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Rubens, P (c. 1600 to 1605) Anatomical Studies: A Left Forearm in Two Positions and a Right Forearm [pen and brown ink] At: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1996.75/ (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Dine, J (1986) The Side View [etching, soft-ground etching and drypoint on paper] At: https://i12bent.tumblr.com/post/705695652/jim-dine-the-side-view-1986-etching (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 5. MalteGruhl (Unknown) 196978999515 [painting] At: https://www.designspiration.net/save/196978999515/ (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Bibliography

Arcy Art. (Unknown) ‘Structure – Arcy Art Original Oil Paintings Art Dictionary’ [online] At: https://www.arcyart.com/ad-structure.htm (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

Britannica. (Unknown) ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Italian Artist, Engineer and Scientist’ [online] At: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Leonardo-da-Vinci/Anatomical-studies-and-drawings (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

The Metropolitan Museum. (2002) ‘Anatomy in the Renaissance’ [online] At: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/anat/hd_anat.htm (Accessed on 15 August 2019)

Part 4: Project 2: Proportion

Exercise 1: Quick Studies

Two-Minute Studies

For the first part of this exercise, I decided to work in charcoal again due to its flexibility, ability to move quickly and my growing confidence in the medium overall.

I began the exercise by asking a friend to pose for two minutes (measured by the stopwatch on my mobile phone), before changing positions for another two minutes.

During this process, I tried to think how short a time I actually had and how much information I wished to include. I decided omitting any details was my best way of getting as full a picture as possible within the time-frame. I also decided that including the chair the model was leaning on was important to help ground her and explain how she was capable of being in the position she was in at that time.

I began each sketch by drawing a simple line through the middle of what would become the body, extending it down, up and across for the arms and legs, depending on their positions. I then moved on to drawing basic shapes for the different parts of the body , after which I worked on building the actual shape of the outline I could see, having decided to learn from my error with the towel in the first exercise. I also – whilst admittedly only very quickly – tried to bear in mind the model’s bone structure and muscle movements to help me measure things out as accurately as I could in the short time available.

I thoroughly enjoyed this process – possibly more than anything I have done so far in this course! I was able to be extremely cathartic and focussed whilst having almost no interest in the finer details seen at all. I think this will be extremely useful in the future for eliminating unnecessary detail, since detail really is not one of my strongest points, nor is it as enjoyable.

Whilst I think my first study is definitely the more ‘pretty’ and finished of the five due to the structure and – whilst still expressive – more controlled and tamed lines, I think it is clear to see from the progression of the sketches that I became looser and less controlled with each exercise, trying to include as much information as possible.

My least favourite sketch to create was the fourth as I found this pose rather difficult to measure as accurately as the rest, not to mention the model’s raised leg tiring as the time progressed and lowering closer to the ground, which then changed the model’s whole pose; the twist in the torso and the change in direction of the head. Whilst this is my least favourite and the one I would deem the weakest, I was somewhat pleased with the result due to it including some movement and my ability to keep working through that. I think this will come in handy when I reach the crowd and energy / movement exercises.

Ten-Minute Studies

For the first of my ten-minute sketches, I stayed with charcoal again to avoid the change in medium throwing me off slightly and allowing my focus to rest on how I would approach this task.

For this exercise, I admit I used a photograph from a book I have bought which is full of poses for artists as I did not have the opportunity to draw someone from real life at the time and did not want to waste too much of my allotted time for this Part of the course on the exercises since they are meant to be stepping stones to the final piece. I know my tutor has said that working from photographs has stifled me in the past, but I thought this would be ok for some of the longer studies to avoid too much time passing.

I began by drawing the line with its branches for the torso and limbs, then drew an oval for the head. From there, I drew the rest of the shapes in the body and then the outline as seen. At this point, I had reached a point where I had finished on the two-minute studies and I admit, I was a little dumbfounded as to where to go from here. I decided my next step was to include the darkness of the hair and the areas of tone I could see. I decided ten minutes was not long enough to remove the outline of the figure by blending it in, so left this be. From there, I began to focus on the facial features, which I had not been able to do before, besides an indication of the direction the face was facing. I was still working rather quickly on the details of the face, but wanted to get the direction in which the model’s eyes were looking. Finally, I added a darker layer to the model’s hair to try and consider my tutor’s comments regarding layering to create depth. It was at this time that my timer went off and I had to down my charcoal.

First 10-minute sketch

When I initially looked at the first ten-minute sketch, I was rather disappointed with the rather juvenile looking outcome; the outline was too bold – too much of a heavy hand! – the right arm’s weight was not even to that of the left (as was the weight of the left leg compared to that of the right), the head was rather too large for the rest of the body and the facial features too forced. Finally, I had spent too much time focussing on the finer details (for a change!) and had run out of time with the lower half of the model not looking half as complete as the top.

All this disappointment aside, I was able to see some successes within the sketch; the model’s gaze appears rather convincing to me and suits the direction and flow of the model’s general pose, the hair does hold some depth and shows a slight curl (though I think this could have been emphasised more). I think the seated position on the stool is rather believable too and the areas of tonal value work well in showing such things as the armpit and depth of the forearms.

Bearing in mind my over-interested approach to the details of the previous sketch, I decided to now swap to oil pastel since this was also a medium which is flexible and also one I am rather comfortable with. However, instead of using black for this sketch, I decided to use a brown oil pastel. My reasoning for doing so was because I had thought long and hard about my tutor’s comments in relation to my lack of skill with colour, yet improvements in monotone and decided to try and work on improving my use of colour without *actually* working using colour.

I decided to catch my husband unawares in a natural pose (he was fine when I told him about it afterwards! haha!) whilst sitting on the settee on his phone whilst, again, timing myself on my phone.

Again, I began with a very, very light layer of the oil pastel to create the basic shapes seen and slowly built upon this in the same ways I had for the previous exercises. Once again, I found I had reached the same level as the two-minute studies rather quickly but, having learned from the previous sketch, decided to work more on the blocks of tone instead of the finer details. I also included some of the settee where he was sitting to help ground him and create a bit of the backstory. I kept layering the oil pastel and even indicated the facial features with just the patches of tone until the timer went off and it was time for me to stop.

Second 10 minute sketch

I am rather pleased with this end result as I, firstly, I was actually able to bring it to a stage I felt it was quite ‘finished’ looking and, secondly, I think I have managed to measure the proportions rather well considering there was only a limited amount of measuring due to time constraints. I am really happy with the contrasts in the tonal areas and how by purely using patches of tone, I was able to create a sense of the direction in which the eyes were looking (at the phone). It just so happened that the lighting fell from our floor lamp to his right, so there was quite a few areas of really light areas and also very dark patches of shadow.

Doing this has really helped me understand the comments my tutor has made regarding eliminating unnecessary information by giving me the opportunity to work fast to fit in what I could in a short amount of time. Whilst I think the two-minute studies will be good to help choose interesting viewpoints and compositions, I think this method will be helpful to assist in working out the main areas of lighter and darker patches of tone within my chosen viewpoint.

Exercise 2: A Longer Study

Again, I had to rely on a photograph in the book I had bought to assist me with this exercise; I did not have time to get to a life class at the time (though I intend to do so when I am further into this Part of the course and have a little more understanding and I did not want to waste any of the invaluable time without practising more first) and also it has become really apparent to me just how little spare time I actually have to be able to fit such long studies in and how few people are willing to assist by modelling for you (even fully dressed!).

I set my timer again, but for one hour this time. Due to the fact I had an hour for this exercise, I decided to use pencil to draw out the central line of the model, the head, torso and limbs before committing myself with my pen. I also decided to use a black pen for this piece as I really enjoy working on a finer scale with this medium and feel as though I have the best control over it as opposed to the flexible fluidity of the charcoal and oil pastel.

Initial quick sketch of basic shapes

Once I had the initial shapes in place, I began to draw the outline in with my pen. I then built up the darkest areas; the section where the buttocks meet the legs, the hair and the shadow around the model.

From there, I then focussed myself on adding in the lighter areas of shadow and creating the definition of the muscles and bones underneath the model’s skin. I stayed rather expressive with regard to the model’s hair, however, I tried to be much lighter for the shadows on the model.

Finished piece

To look at, I am rather pleased with the piece as a whole; I think my measurements are rather even generally and equal on both sides and I think the shadows on the body as a whole are rather convincing and believable.

I am, however, slightly disappointed with the outlining shadows as I think the model does appear to be floating in midair. I think, had I had more time, I would have introduced more of a background (whilst the model was actually standing against a wall, I think I could have made it appear as though she were on a bed or even emphasised the wall in some way – perhaps by an indication of some brickwork? There is also too much empty, excess space within the piece but, having used my full hour, I decided to ignore my gut instinct to carry on and learn from my mistakes for my future pieces.

Finally, I really struggled with the hands and feet and creating them on such a small scale and decided to crop these off in the end. I find I can draw the basic shapes of them as a whole, but on a really small scale, I just cannot seem to get them right – perhaps it is because I am too heavy-handed (no pun intended!) or because I focus on the outline when I should be focussing on the tonal areas instead and allowing the digits to form naturally. I decided I needed to carry out some further practice with these things in a range of different sizes and poses.

Research Point: Foreshortening and the Human Form

Please click here to see the findings of my research.