I decided to begin this assignment by working my way back from the start of this Part of the course and to include as many techniques from the exercises within it.
My first task was to choose a viewpoint which included a bit of all, or as many as possible, of this Part. I had been looking around for a while but then decided on the view from my in-laws’ home, which overlooks a lot of trees and other greenery, sky and clouds which lead to an atmospheric / aerial perspective in the distance, houses which show the other different perspectives, and a statue (a birds’ feeding post) in their garden.
Photographs of Chosen Scenery
Looking around, there was a lot of scenery, atmospheric perspective and beautiful rolling clouds. It was an overcast day and there was a dampness in the air, yet there was not much wind.
Whilst I could choose from any of these viewpoints as they were all beautiful to behold. I decided to create a quick sketch of some of the more interesting and diverse scenes to assist me in deciding, as I felt I could only see things properly through actually drawing the scene to understand it better and in more detail.
I began by carrying out some quick sketches in willow charcoal of the area by turning and zooming in on sections I felt were interesting and which held several different angles, sharper areas and softer curves.
10cm x 10cm Square Sketches
From the sketches above, I then decided to create six 10cm x 10cm squares; one zoomed-in box for each quick sketch and each in line and tone, as with the earlier exercise in this manner.
I really enjoyed doing this exercise again as I genuinely really enjoy zooming in on certain areas and I am rather pleased my tutor suggested it. My favourite was by far the bottom right tonal piece as I really like the angles and sharp contrasts within it as well as the softness of the greenery.
Selecting a Viewpoint
I decided that my favourite viewpoint which held a bit of all the previous exercises was the view with the birds’ feeder in the foreground, houses in the middle ground and sky / clouds in the background. Whilst I actually thought the last 10cm x 10cm square was really interesting, I decided to look at the full viewpoint again for my final piece.
Quick Studies of Clouds
Next, I decided to revisit the clouds experiments to assist me with developing my final piece. The coloured pencils I felt were rather unsuitable as I could not manipulate them in the way I wanted. I really liked the soft pastels and how subtle the colouring could be within it. I liked the willow charcoal as I was able to manipulate this rather well, however, it was a little heavy in the delivery compared to the soft pastels. The oil pastels was the most disappointing, however, I think that may purely be down to my approach and heavy-handedness.
Foreground, Middle-Ground and Background
Next, I decided to break down the three grounds within my chosen viewpoint as I had done in an earlier exercise as I really found that that helped me to distinguish between the three rather well. This time, however, I decided to use some oil pastels to quickly jot down the colours I could see (and which I had the closest representative to).
I noticed that the background was very washed out with barely any intensity or detail at all. There were only small areas where the sky broke through the clouds. It was a very overcast day, which I thought perfect for assisting in creating an atmospheric perspective within the piece.
The middle and foregrounds confused me slightly, however. From my earlier practice, I had found that the more distant the object, the lighter it would appear. These two grounds appeared to be in reverse. The greenery of the middle-ground was rather dark, yet dull, whereas the greenery in the foreground was rather light and rich in colour. Besides this, it was apparent that there was much less detail to the middle-ground than the foreground. I decided that when it came to my final piece, I would lighten the middle-ground to assist in following the method I had previously used, leading to the light background.
I decided that the houses which I had put in the middle-ground section would help create that sense of distance and I had read in my research of grounds that including an object such as a building within your piece in the middle-ground will assist in the divisions. I chose to leave the house closest to the bird feeder out of the piece as I think I would have made it harder to distinguish between the grounds and make that area generally too cumbersome.
Perspectives in Chosen View
Having chosen my viewpoint, I the used a page in my sketchbook to look at the perspectives of the objects in my piece. I found that there the roof of one of the houses and the electricity unit were both seen in one-point perspective and that the second roof and the bird feeder were both two-point perspective. Due to not having enough room to find the actual vanishing points for these objects, I decided to measure the widest area and then the narrowest area of the angles as it was not always clearly distinguishable that the lines were narrowing just by looking with the naked eye. For instance, the base of the bird feeder looks as though it is completely parallel upon first viewing, but if you look closer and actually measure the distance between the lines, it becomes clear that they definitely narrow over towards the left-hand side of the page, so the vanishing point would clearly be over in that direction as opposed to over in the right-hand direction. However, other areas, such as the top right of the bird feeder’s roof seemed to run almost parallel. This would really assist me when plotting out these details for my final piece as I think it really does help me to see the facts of the objects in a much clearer way as opposed to what I think I see.
Choice of Palette
Next, I played with the different colours I could see within the three grounds and different objects of the piece. I merged the next colour with the previous one and so on. I then worked over the top of the shades with other colours in the same category to see how they would interact with each other.
Once I had done this, I decided to work into each with the lid of my pen to blend the colourings, add a lightness to them and also to add a little texture.
I really enjoyed this exercise as I found a few colour combinations I had not considered previously. I also really liked the scratchings as I think these will be really useful for the greenery and also the wood of the bird feeder to create some texture within the piece.
Quick Sketch of Whole Composition
I then decided to create a line study of the whole piece quickly in charcoal in my sketchbook. I tried to look up during the creation of the sketch to see what I was drawing as opposed to what I thought I was seeing.
On reflection, I think I have actually done rather well with this sketch as the depth in the bird feeder is good as a result of the tonal differences created with the charcoal. I stayed with the natural darker middle-ground, but I think I was correct earlier when I decided that the darker middle-ground would not be the best way to complete my piece.
I then created a piece purely using the side of my oil pastels to create broad strokes of the general colours within the chosen piece. This time, I swapped the middle-ground and foreground tonal ranges so that the foreground was darker and the middle-ground lighter to blend easier with the blue and white of the background.
It was only when I had finished that I realised the outline of the A4 piece of paper on the page behind had come through. I actually really like it. I think it frames it rather nicely and adds a sense of intrigue to the sketch. Whilst it was an accident, I think it would have the viewer question why it was there, why it is not central etc and would draw them in to the piece.
I felt finally ready to begin my final piece and decided I would use oil pastels to help me do so as I had really enjoyed working with it in the preliminary stage.
I began by taking the photograph of my chosen viewpoint and drawing a grid over it. I decided to do this as I wanted to be as accurate as possible with my perspectives, measurements and structures of the skeleton of the piece. I had found this really useful in my earlier exercises and wanted to use this method within my final piece.
I decided to use a piece of pastel paper which had a good texture to it and which I knew would work well with the oil pastels in creating even more texture within the piece. I drew the objects into place and roughly drew the divides between the three grounds.
Luckily, due to having a wet and miserable summer, the day I returned to complete my final piece, the weather was exactly almost identical to the day I had originally taken my photograph and had created the preliminary sketches.
I then put in the base colours on the three grounds in an almost solid colour so I could build over it. I then began working in the detail of the roofs and building the greenery up, which I decided to stay rather expressive with as opposed to adding much in the way of actual detail.
I got to a certain stage and took a step back from the work to look at it and see if I needed to make any changes. I realised that the rooftops appeared to just be floating in mid-green sea, so I decided to bring the tones used in the greenery of the foreground up to the roofs, thus separating the roofs specifically into the middle-ground.
For the sky, I considered my earlier experiment with the oil pastel to recreate the clouds and thought them too much, so tried to recreate the effect of the soft pastels with only the slightest touches of blue, grey and silver to add density to the clouds, which I believe has been rather successful.
I kept on building up several layers of colours and scratchings (changing the movement and flow to suit the object) to create depth and definition in the foreground until I finally decided I had gone as far as I could without overworking the piece.
Overall, I am actually rather pleased with this final piece and think it rather successful. I have managed to include a lot of the exercises and projects worked with in this Part of the course and believe I have learned an extraordinary amount in such a short space of time.
I think the piece is believable and the grounds distinguishable. I am happy with the atmosphere I was able to create in the background with the rolling clouds and the subtle density and thinning to the blue sky behind. I think my greenery could perhaps have been a bit more distinguished, but I thoroughly enjoyed being really expressive within these parts of the piece and feel I allowed this to come through, yet be restrained when needed (such as the roofs and the electricity unit).