Assignment 3

Preparatory Work

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.

Quick Sketches

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.

Quick sketches of viewpoints

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.

Linear and Tonal 10cm x 10cm Boxes

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).

Separating grounds

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.

Perspective experiment

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.

Choosing a palette

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.

Quick sketch in charcoal

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.

Final 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.

Final piece – first stage

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.

Finished 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).

Research Point: Odilon Redon

Bertrand ‘Odilon’ Redon was born in 1840 in Bordeaux, France and died in 1916 in Paris.  ‘Odilon’ was given as a nickname to Bertrand by his mother, whose name was ‘Odile’. 

Fig. 1. Self-Portrait (1880)

Redon won several prizes throughout his lifetime, including a drawing prize at school and the Legion of Honour, awarded in 1903, but was a relatively unknown artist until 1879, gaining further exposure in 1884 when he was noted in a cult novel.

Redon was instructed by and studied under Jean-Leon Gerome (painting) and Rodolphe Bresdin (lithography and etching).  Redon enjoyed poetry and was a great fan of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, with their darkness and sinisterism.

In his earlier years – after being drafted into the army and the war ending in 1871- Redon focussed solely on working in charcoal and lithography, and focussing on the contrast and constant battle between light and dark.  He called these works his ‘noirs’ and continued to create this type of work until he was around 50 years old, creating no more noirs at all after 1900, when he had entered his 60s.

In the 19th century, the Symbolist movement came into full flow and this shows clearly in Redon’s work with his subtle emphasis on the spiritual image behind the physical image.  Whilst Redon was not a Christian, he was born during the time of the French Revolution when the Catholic Church was no longer seen as a legal obligation, allowing other religions such as the Protestant Church and Judaism to begin to thrive and allowed people with minds such as Redon’s, to explore more mythical and supernatural philosophies.  Redon created a great number of works focussing on Jesus Christ, both as a noir and in colour.

Two Trees, 1875

In 1875, when Redon was in his mid-30s, he created the piece Two Trees.  I believe the name for the piece is very fitting as it is literally what you see when first looking at the piece. 

Fig. 4. Two Trees(c.1875)

Upon first briefly seeing Two Trees, I was not very moved by the piece at all; I found it rather bland and would have simply carried on walking if I were on the apparent path in the picture, ignoring what appear to be ‘just another couple of trees’. 

The piece itself is rather timeless; it could have been drawn in a woodland somewhere 400 years ago, in Redon’s time or even yesterday.  A woodland’s age moves much slower than that of other areas of life (i.e. fashion or architecture) which would be more definitive clues as to the era depicted.

The more I looked at the piece, however, the more I seemed to become enlightened as to the mystery and sinister invitation behind the initial ‘normal’ façade.  I began to imagine where the ‘entrance’ between the two trees would take me if I were to be lured into it; would there be goblins and elves waiting for me?  Perhaps a monster or even a parallel universe?  It seemed to whisk me back to my childhood and fairy-tales of such creatures, I became suddenly enthralled by the piece and the magic which was hidden beneath the surface.  I imagined it as a world in which mere mortals (as I had been initially) would simply continue past the gap and not give it a second glance, but those with ‘the sight’ (as I now find myself to have) would be able to find the hidden entrance between the inconspicuous trees.  This excited me and made me feel almost magically powerful myself!  My inner-child was in her element! 

Moving on to the piece’s creation, I think Redon created the piece outside and that he actually was in front of these specific trees physically, however, I do think he played with the contrast between light and dark to emphasise the sense of supernatural and create a more sinister response.  I believe the piece was somewhat planned to have included the layer of paranormal to it and the result is perfect.

The piece was created with charcoal and paper.  Redon’s skill with the charcoal is fantastic to behold.  I really like how he has included what appears to be a little frottage in the piece (in the bark of the trees and the clear dots at the base of the straight tree).  Whether these were intentional or not, I am unsure, but I think they add another layer of texture to the piece.  Other techniques I can see in the piece are lines and marks going in several directions to show the way the form is moving, blending to create the smooth pathway and stippling (mostly within the leaning tree).

Comparison to Redon’s Other Works

I decided to look into other pieces of Redon’s work and tried to choose pieces from different times in his life, but of a similar composition.  I decided on two pieces: Tree and Stars (date unknown, but obviously pre-1900), created in charcoal, and The Barque (1900), created in oil on a canvas.

Fig. 5. Tree and Stars (unknown)

Tree and Stars, at first glance, appears to be a piece showing a lone tree in an open space slightly more overgrown than that of Two Trees (perhaps a marshland?) with several bushes and floating orbs surrounding it during a late-evening or night-time.

Fig. 6. The Barque (c.1900)

The Barque, at first glance, appears to show a tree on the edge of the land, surrounded by a flowerbed, overlooking a body of water (perhaps a lake?) which then fades off into the skyline.  There is a boat in the foreground with two pale, barely visible passengers aboard during the daytime.

My initial observations of the three pieces and the reason I chose them were how they all contain at least one tree – either leaning to the right or stood tall and straight.  I noticed how the straight trees were both located to the right-hand side of the pieces and the lone leaning tree in Tree and Stars was also placed over to the right-hand side.  I tried to fathom some reasoning as to this – perhaps it was a hidden message from Redon?  Personally, I think it may be an indication of his hand dominance belonging to his left side potentially.  I say this as, if you were to actually be the two trees in the image, the tall, straight tree would be the left-hand side and the weaker, leaning tree would be the right-hand side.  I also noticed in Redon’s self-portrait that his left-hand side is proudly displayed in the light, whereas his right-hand side is hidden in the darkness – perhaps another indication as to his dominant side? This got me thinking as to what messages I would like to put across to my viewers – whether directly or indirectly – and what I would like people to know about me and my private life that I would not necessarily always say aloud.

All three images seem to have a clear three-way divide also; Two Trees and Tree and Stars both have a sparse background and foreground as well as a cluttered middle-ground, but The Barque seems to create this divide in its colouring – the background is mainly blue, the middle-ground rather white and the foreground very bright and colourful.  I wondered whether this was an attempt by Redon to include his love of Japanese art and their technique of splitting images three ways perhaps.

Similar to Two Trees, these two pieces seem rather unremarkable upon first viewing them, but hold more intrigue and mystery the more you observe them.  I noticed how Redon has used darkness and light within these pieces in slightly different ways; where Two Trees uses shadow to create the sinister image of an entrance between the trees, Tree and Stars and The Barque appear to focus more on the light to emphasise the magical qualities of the pieces – the ethereal people on the boat and the floating orbs. 

I decided to make a list of all similarities and dissimilarities I noticed between the three pieces and have shown these in the grids below:

Similarities and Dissimilarities

Two Trees Tree and Stars The Barque
Pre-1900   Pre-1900 1900
Two trees: leaning tree (left) and tall, straight tree (right)     One tree: leaning tree (right), no straight tree One tree: no leaning tree, tall, straight tree (right)
Focus drawn centrally to the trees and the dark space between them Focus drawn centrally / right-hand side to the leaning tree   Focus drawn to the right-hand side to the bright and colourful tree
Open expanse to the foreground and background, busy middle-ground   Open expanse to the foreground and background, busy middle-ground Open expanse to the background and slightly to the middle-ground
Daytime – to create a false sense of security and peace in the mystical setting?   Night-time – to create a false sense of eeriness when the stars actually appear so gentle and peaceful?   Sunset? Representing the approaching end of the ethereal couple’s time on this plane?  
Texture created by lines     Texture created by lines Texture created by colours
Bushes but no flowers     Bushes but no flowers Flowers and slight greenery
Two apparent directions: from the bottom left and top right, but no obvious source seen in the piece   One apparent direction, but no apparent source One apparent light source from a setting sun in the background
No supernatural beings or objects visible in the piece, only what is conjured in the mind’s eye   Ethereal floating ‘heads’ which must represent the stars?  One of which appears to be glowing, as informed by the lines moving outward from it in a circle around it.  I think this confirms the suspicion of it being a star.   Ethereal beings on the boat which are not immediately clearly visible when first viewing the piece but become clearer upon closer inspection.  The beings appear to be in conversation with each other and rather closely located given the apparent space in the boat.  One appears to be a male and the other a female, so I believe this represents a married couple perhaps making their way to the next life / plane?  
Monotone and subdued colouring focussing on the contrast between light and dark as opposed to colours.  The darkness between the two trees is, I feel, in competition with the two trees as to the main focal point of the piece. Monotone and subdued colouring throughout, offering little assistance in finding the viewpoint of the tree besides from its physical-being.  The stars, even though in contrast to the darkness, appear somewhat subdued and do not immediately jump out as a main focal point.  This also adds to their intrigue as, as with the Two Trees, humans would not immediately see the mystery of the stars.   Vibrant colours within the forefront with slightly mellower colours in the background.  The figures are very subdued and are clearly not meant to be the first focal point before the vibrant tree. This adds to their intrigue as, as with the Two Trees, humans would not immediately see the magic within the piece.  

Overall, I really like the three pieces.  I am more drawn to Redon’s earlier work, with its darkness and moodiness as opposed to his later almost happier and eerily peaceful works, almost as though Redon had moved along a sort of spectrum throughout his life’s journey.  Whilst I do not know for sure when the Tree and Stars was created, I believe it must have been either around the time of the Two Trees or maybe not too long after it, as it still has the same eeriness, however, it seems less sinister in its outcome, leading me to believe, perhaps, that he created it toward the more peaceful part of his life, if continuing along the train of thought regarding a spectrum.  I think Redon’s work may indicate a potentially troubled childhood and fear of the world – he did, after all, endure a war – moving more towards a calmer sense of being towards the end of his life.  Whilst I do not think his appreciation for all things dark and mysterious ever left him, I think he may have found some inner peace towards the end and that perhaps the two people on the boat were meant to represent him and his wife and how they had come to terms with the mysteries of the world and would welcome the next adventure with open arms.

Moving Forward…

I definitely want to create some pieces with Redon’s work in mind – adding a touch of the sinister and darkness to my own work – and it is definitely something I want to experiment with further down the line in my journey.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Redon, O (1880) Self-Portrait [Oil on canvas] At: Wiki-Art (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Figure 2. Redon, O (1894-1895) Christ (also known as Head of Christ Wearing a Crown of Thorns) [Drawing – Charcoal]  At: The Athenaeum (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Figure 3. Redon, O (c.1910) The Crucifixion [Oil on card] At: Bridgeman Education (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Figure 4. Redon, O (c.1875) Two Trees [Charcoal on paper] At: Bridgeman Education (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Figure 5. Redon, O (unknown) Tree and Stars [Charcoal] At: Bridgeman Education (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Figure 6.  Redon, O (c.1900) The Barque [Oil on canvas] At: Bridgeman Education (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Citation

Wikipedia (unknown) ‘Odilon Redon’ In: Wikipedia.org [online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odilon_Redon (Accessed on 20 February 2019)

Odilon-Redon (unknown) ‘Biography of Odilon Redon’ In: Odilon-Redon.org [online] At: https://www.odilon-redon.org/biography.html (Accessed on 20 February 2019)

Encyclopaedia Britannica (22 July 2010) ‘Odilon Redon’ In: Britannica Library [online] In: https://library.eb.co.uk/levels/adult/article/Odilon-Redon/62986 (Accessed on 20 February 2019)

Project 1: Exercise 2: Experimenting with Texture

Texture

For this exercise, I began by looking around my home, workplace and pretty much every place I visited. I began the exercise by wiping some water across a page in my sketchbook in a swirling motion and dropped ink on top of it. I was surprised to see that the ink seemed to find the water and almost infect it – taking control of the water and merging together with it. Parts of this reminded me of the dense, heavy weight of petrol, whilst others (where the ink and water were quite light in their tone) reminded me of a soft and delicate velvet.

Below this experiment, I inverted the exercise, dropping ink onto the page and then using the drawing pen to create swirls with the ink. I then dropped some water onto the ink and was surprised to see the water was not so eager to merge with the ink. It appeared to have a will of its own. The ink slowly took hold of the water again, but there remained a large portion of the ink areas which stayed solely ink. These areas reminded me of a spider’s cobweb, whilst the mixed areas again reminded me of velvet.

When I had finished, I found the ink had run onto the table in several places, so I got a couple of wet-wipes and wiped the ink up. Bizarrely, I was much more impressed with the results on the wet-wipes than I was the ink in my sketchbook! This got me thinking as to just how differently media can result when on different surfaces. The end result reminded me of my chenille curtains or a marbled pillar somewhat and I just love how the ink has dispersed.

I then decided to focus on four different items which I felt represented very different textures and the potential to use very different media to represent them. I finally decided on the following textures and media:

  • Plastered artexed ceiling using oil pastel: I chose this item due to its apparently random design. I chose to use oil pastels because I thought that due to the ceiling’s texture appearing quite soft, somewhat powdery but also slightly oily. There was no very fine detail, which I also thought corresponded well with the oil pastels.
  • Chenille curtains: The texture of this, whilst appearing quite fluffy and glossy at first glance, was actually rather fine and sharp in the lines it held in its stitching. I really liked the shininess of the fabric and the way it reflected the light. I decided to use a calligraphy pen and ink to represent this texture as I thought I would be able to recreate the sharp, fine lines of the stitching, but also the glossiness of the fabric due to the glossiness of the ink.
  • Polyester school bag: I found this texture quite intriguing.  It was very fine in its detail and appeared almost bubble-like in its formation.  I decided I would use a HB pencil for this piece due to it being so delicate and feeling it would best represent the fine stitching.
  • Polypropylene door mat: I was drawn to this texture purely for its pattern of three lines horizontal, three lines vertical and so on.  I decided that this was very similar to the chenille curtains, but that I would use a black biro pen due to not requiring the glossy effect of the curtains.  This material was also rather rough and I enjoy working rather quickly and roughly with pen, so thought this a great media to work in.

When I actually began carrying out creating the pieces, I realised rather quickly that I had made the correct choices in some areas, but not in others.  I was really pleased with the outcome of the chenille; however, I was rather angry with the calligraphy pen.  When I started creating the lines, I found the ink didn’t really flow very well and that it appeared almost brown instead of the desired black.  In my frustration, I took the pen apart, squeezed the ink onto the page directly from the cartridge and moved in a crosshatch motion across the space.  I actually really liked the outcome and continued until I thought it was done.  I really enjoyed the horizontal and vertical line drawing in rapid succession for the mat too.  This is definitely something I would like to explore further down the line.  I expected to find the fine detail of the polyester bag rather infuriating to draw, but it was actually rather relaxing so, going back to my previous
exercise and the likeness to the ‘calm’ mood, the pencil suited the piece perfectly.

Finished Texture Piece
Finished Texture Pieces

Reflection

My immediate thoughts when reflecting on this exercise is that I think I could have chosen better media to work with.  The chenille, I think, would have looked much better in printing ink or even black oil pastel due to their density and shine, however, I do really like the outcome of this piece. I think it is because of the contrast between the light and the dark, the positive and the negative.  I think the artexed ceiling should have been replicated in chalk or soft pastels as I think they would have suited the texture better and could have created a more realistic feel.  Looking back, I almost feel as though I have repeated the expressive lines and marks task again as each piece seemed to invoke a different emotion in me; the chenille invoked frustration, anger, disappointment and then surprise when it actually seemed to work out somehow; the polyester bag filled me with a sense of calm, but also relief when I had finally finished the piece; the polypropylene door mat filled me with a sense of giddiness of working in such short, sharp bursts in a media I seemed to just connect with instantly; the artexed ceiling caused disappointment and sadness due to it just not turning out how I had imagined and hoped, but then also acceptance when I admitted to myself that it was an experiment and I would learn from it. 

Frottage

I soon realised frottage is something I did quite a lot as a child and have done with my own children without realising there was even a name for it!  I quickly learned it was an artist called Max Ernst who actually developed the technique in 1925 (though, personally, I think the concept itself must have been around for a very long time without actually being classed as a method of art or documented etc) and, having done some brief research into who Max Ernst was and what he did, I instantly wanted to have a play at creating a piece of my own quickly in Ernst’s style (I waited, however, until I had an idea as to which surfaces would provide the best results).  I was surprised how someone could create work so fantastic and so detailed from a concept so simple and how relatively recently in the history of the world it was that someone discovered and claimed it! 

To begin the actual exercise, I wanted to try some experiments with several different textured surfaces in charcoal pencil.  I wanted to work in the same media to see just how differently one media could transfer and create different markings, depth and tone.

Frottage experiments page 1

I decided to work with a paving stone, the outer casing of my cat’s litter box, a wooden door, a tyre, a piece of scrap wood my husband uses for cutting and drilling on, the concrete flooring of our garage, a metal sheet base of our trailer and a leaf I found whilst walking along.  I expected some items to have more of an impact than others (notably the concrete floor, the paving stone, the wooden door, the scrap wood, the litter box casing and the metal sheet). 

Frottage experiments page 2

Whilst working on the individual pieces, it became rather apparent that my initial predictions were rather hit and miss.  Some were accurate (the scrap wood, litter tray and metal sheet were what I would call a success), whilst others were rather disappointing (the paving, concrete flooring and wooden door opened my eyes – or rather fingers – to the fact that sometimes, just because a surface looks as though it has a lot of texture, does not mean it will transfer well in this method).  I was also pleasantly surprised by the leaf, as I did not expect the result of this one to be anywhere near as good or as detailed as it was.  It is my favourite by far and definitely something I would like to redo again.

Since I no longer had the leaf and the weather outside meant I wouldn’t be able to find any I could use soon enough, I chose to draw a leaf as though lying on the floor and then added a sky in the background.  I decided to use the metal sheet for the leaf, the litter box for the ground and the concrete floor for the sky due to it having an appearance of clouds when used in pencil.  I chose to use oil pastels as I thought it quite a contrast to the pencil and would provide a very different result.  I decided to use a different colour for each section just to make clear the different parts and separate types of surfaces.  The end result was quite juvenile in appearance and something I would actually be ashamed to say I did, so I was rather disappointed, but the process itself was rather fun and definitely a good experiment to try. 

Oil pastel frottage
Oil pastel frottage in style of Max Ernst

Finally, I decided to make a rubbing of my ceiling again, but this time in white oil pastel.  I actually draw into the negative space (the parts which had remained brown) with a black oil pastel.  I quite like this result too and think it looks a bit more ‘mature’.  It reminds me of a maze with no exits and plenty of dead-ends, so this piece intrigues me more than the actual picture.  Also, I think if I am struggling to work out how best to draw a surface’s textures, I will use this method and either incorporate it into my work or use the result as a guide when actually drawing the texture myself.

I would definitely like to revisit this method further down the line, especially with leaves and other natural surfaces, however, I would like to attempt it with something like charcoal or conté sticks, as I think these are still close enough to a pencil’s firmness, but have a much darker and bolder end result. 

Sources

MoMA (unknown) ‘Max Ernst’ [online] At: https://www.moma.org/artists/1752 (Accessed on 15 February 2019)

Moderna Museet (unknown) ‘Collage, Frottage, Grattage…’ [online] At: https://www.modernamuseet.se/stockholm/en/exhibitions/max-ernst/collage-frottage-grattage/ (Accessed on 15 February 2019)

Encyclopaedia Britannica (unknown) ‘Max Ernst’ [online] At: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Max-Ernst (Accessed on 15 February 2019)