Sunday, 28 November 2010

Project 4.3 - Reflections


What have I achieved?
I feel like this assignment has suffered from being stretched out too much. My workload varies immensely and the course has suffered as a result these last two months. I nearly forget what I thought when painting the apple, but I will try to sum up what I think about both projects now.
For some reason I absolutely loved drawing the apple with charcoal. Especially the first one makes me proud. I think I have managed to get more solidity into these drawings than I have managed in a long time in my sketchbook.
The apple painting was fun to do, and I do like it, although the red parts are not really convincing. The composition is not great the apple being placed dead-centre, but as I was asked to fill the canvas as much as possible with the fruit, I think it is fine for the exercise. The timing of it suited me very well too. Only took me an evening to do. I find it really nice to complete a painting in one go for the first time…
I don’t think it’s a better painting than the previous one, but I think it achieved the task that was set out.

Do you like your paintings and have they tackled the problems set in the projects?
I do actually the paintings of the jug and the apple. I think they fulfill the briefs and that I have learnt quite a lot from them.
I don’t care for the bonsai much, only odd bits, like the front bit of the table and the pot. I had difficulties with this one; both as I have written before the trouble with setting up the subject in a believable manner and with settling on how much detail to add to all the leaves and the surroundings. The bonsai has the strongest colours and the lack of detail behind it makes it stand out and give it solid form, which was the aim.
However, I think the leaves make the tree look oddly fake. I should have either done more detail or less. It looks like a “Summary” of what a bonsai tree might look like. Not sure if that makes sense. I debated whether I should go in and paint a lot more details to save it, but gave it up as a bad job. The exercise was not about photorealism, but to make the plant stand out and appear solid. I think I’ll leave it at that.

Do you feel they express something personal to you?
These paintings look utterly foreign to me. First of all I am not used to painting and second they do not depict anything I would normally choose to draw. So my response is: “Did I really do that?” when I look at them. The sensation is curious, but not bad. I expect it will change as I get more painting done.

I do feel at this stage I should be aiming at doing quick paintings but lots more of them, simply to get the practice in. Work permitting; I’d like to try some more “one-sitting” paintings in the evenings.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Painting a Plant - Project 4.3

Choosing the subject

I chose a little bonsai as my subject, and set about trying to find a good spot for it that showed a good deal of background too.
This wasn't easy at all. Usually my plants are arranged on window sills or other furniture close to the wall. I don't have them in the middle of the room where you can easily stand on one side and see a good part of the room on the other. So any arrangement I set up ended up feeling contrived.

The first colour study shows this. Slap dash and weird. I then left it for a bit, both to get some perspective and because work interfered, so the next two weeks I didn't work on this at all.

When I did return I decided to play around a bit more with some thumbnails until I was happy. The setup still felt contrived, but I was happier with the new point of view from a sitting position. I prefer to stand when I paint, but the angle just looked odd on paper.
In the second colour study I decided to focus not just on getting the right colours for later, but to use it to see if the balance of the colours were ok in the composition. Brightest colours to the front to pull the plant into definite focus. It showed me that the apple, though needed for the composition was too dominant. I would have to play it down in the finished painting.