Part 3: Project 2: Landscape

Research Point:
Vija Celmins

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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Project 2: Exercise 1: Groups of Objects

Group of Objects

For this piece, I thought I would gather a few different objects from around the local art class I attend and sketch them whilst there.  I arranged some objects and, thinking the glass milk bottle would be the hardest piece to replicate due to its symmetry and difference in shade, tone and reflection, I made a sketch of it in my sketchbook to familiarise myself with the shape before continuing to the main piece.  I decided that, due to working on such a large scale, I would forgo the pencil and attempt the piece in willow charcoal instead.  I thought this would have a much bolder result on such a large-scale piece of paper than a pencil would and, since I was only concentrating on the outline, the pencil would be very fine and almost invisible if viewed from any amount of distance.  I was rather disappointed with the end result as I thought it had an almost cartoon-like appearance.  I was also disappointed that I had not managed to scale the objects properly in the beginning due to not measuring the objects out on the sheet first, but I thought it was quite good considering it was only a quick attempt and did not have much effort put into it really.

I then thought I would try a different group of objects due to the first not including anything loose and also wanting to try and draw the objects inside, as requested, which I had only then realised I had not done in the first piece.  I settled on my daughter’s bath toys and net bag.  I was rather dubious about the bag as I thought it much too delicate and intricate for my liking – I am not a fan of creating very fine, detailed work personally (and more so with my tremor sometimes deciding on the line’s direction and structure for me!) – and so expected to become frustrated by its delicateness.  I thought the pink jug would by far be the easiest object to recreate.  I began the piece by drawing two sketches in my sketchbook of the net bag and its enclosures to familiarise myself with the bag and the weight of the items inside it before continuing onto a larger scale. 

I created my larger piece in black biro on a sheet of A3 sketchpad paper.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the end result of this piece; I had somehow managed to integrate delicate lines for such things as the net bag and the outline of the objects which could not be seen by the naked eye, but also deep, dramatic lines for the shaded areas.  I did not want to concentrate too heavily on the shaded areas due to the piece being mostly focussed on just an outline, but couldn’t help myself in adding just a little (and rather loosely) in certain parts of the picture to help clarify the depth and weight of the objects and their locations within the piece.

Final sketch of second group of objects


I really enjoyed this exercise and have learned a lot from it.  Mostly I have learned that just because something looks as though it will be difficult to replicate, it is worth giving it a go as there may be different ways to recreate it without going very deeply into fine detail and precision. I think it is also important to try to visualise the items which are inside other items and understand their composure to appreciate how and why the final resting place comes to be. I think this will come in useful when drawing the figure; trying to imagine the placement of muscles and other tissue underneath the skin, why they are there, what purpose they serve and what impact they have on the image you see before you and also in architecture when considering the framework and foundation, and also who might inhabit each building, considering their individual stories. Finally, I think the structure of the objects and the spacing between items in the final piece is quite good compared to my earlier pieces. Perhaps this is because I am now beginning to see the importance of ‘reading between the lines’ so to speak. I will definitely be referring back to this piece in the future.