Monday, 31 January 2011

P5.4 Studies for Two Viewpoints

First one turned out well, with the skew of the two views only showing subtly. I quite like the quirkiness.

Next one just didn't work. Because the bed was so close to my viewpoint, it's dimensions were just too different. I chose a middle point and it looks very odd.

P5.4 First sketch with 2 viewpoints.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Reflections on Obstacles

I’ve been thinking. At which point can you say – I am now an artist or an illustrator and start actually doing the work?

I have always been reluctant to cross that threshold; always feeling very strongly that I need to be better before I “put myself out there”.  I guess I thought the better I was the less likely I was to get hard critique. Or that there would come a point where I was so confident in my work that it didn’t matter what other people think.
I had some nasty experiences when I first declared openly that I wanted to make art my career. Some people get stubborn when that happens and get fired up by the thought “I’ll show them”. I just folded in on myself and believed every word when people said I was never going to be any good.
So I hid away my drawings and pursued other things, things I easily excelled at or rather subjects where it didn’t matter so much to me when I made mistakes. I picked myself up and got on and got better.

But all this while I’ve been looking longingly at the art side and practicing my drawing in private. As it turned out drawing is a really useful skill to have when designing games, so I started using it in my work and surprisingly got compliments for the sketches that I did. It was safe because drawing was something extra that I did, not my main career. People do not judge you as hard then. But I still did myself.

So for some years now I’ve been thinking that I should finally pluck up the courage and go for that dream. I want to be an illustrator. I’m practicing and practicing and finding courses to take and all the while still waiting for that feeling of readiness. It never shows.
Will it ever?
I’m so attracted to courses because not only do they give a safe framework to work within, a structure of deadlines and a set course to follow, but also because as long as I am on a course, I am a student, not a professional and not expected to deliver saleable pieces.

Even if I take a full fine art degree and get that piece of paper in my hand, I suspect I won’t feel ready. There’s nothing for it but to go out there and do it.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Project 5.3 What have you achieved?

One thing is clear; I still very much need to develop my tonal understanding. Looking at the drawing I could have pushed the tonal work much further and maybe then made my job with the painting somewhat easier.
I love my interior drawings - except the first window one, but as studies for paintings they need to consider tone much more. I didn't push it further, partly because that''s my habit - stop when the likeness is caught - and partly because I still find charcoal hard to handle. It smears all over the place and laying in big areas of tone usually just turns very messy. I will work on that and if I can't get it right, then I will resort to graphite.

The first painting came out very flat looking. I think the space can be understood but the tonal balance isn't there to enhance the three dimensions.
I fought to rectify this, trying to add a glaze to darken the areas that needed it, but failed miserably. It just occurs to me know that I could have done an oil-based glaze. That might have been easier. But at any rate I spent too much time on them. I need more practice in getting the tone right with first layer of paint.

Second painting has better depth, but is also very unfinished within the time given. I could spend more time on fixing all those details, but have decided to leave it for other things. I'm having trouble keeping up with the course as it is.
I don't think 8 hours a week is enough for me, but I don't have more time to give if I want to leave room for idle drawing, and I do.

I've decided to switch to oils now. I'm hoping they'll give me more opportunity to adjust and blend colours.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Project 5.3 - Looking Out

Not happy with this one either. Tried being more careful with the lines and I think I managed a bit better. Still not very precise though. I have now made myself a Mahl stick. Hopefully that will help in future.
Getting really frustrated with the acrylics now. Might well be my own lack of skill, but it's hard to accept that you can't blend anything on the canvas after 2 minutes and glazing is near impossible. Tried it on that last one and had to repair huge areas because of it.
I think it's time to switch to oil which I find quite exciting.
This one is not done either, but the light came out reasonably.Doors, garden walls, windows and plant pot need more attention to be believable, but once again I spent five hours to get to here, when the instructions said to leave it after four.
Falling behind my intended schedule...

Project 5.2 - Looking from one room to another.

As should be obvious, this was no where near finished, but I spent five hours instead of the four specified, and I guess enough is enough.
I'm disappointed both by my lack of precision - how does anyone paint straight lines standing up? and by the flatness of this image. Has something of a comic book over it. I guess if I had more time to spend on shadows and such it might be better. I'll leave it here though and get on with the next one.

Reflections on Interiors

I had a look around for interiors which really opened my eyes. There are lots of painters out there making wonderful interiors which shamed my initial reaction that this assignment was a bit dull and uninspiring.
Pete Van Dyck
Here's a window view by Peter Van Dyck. He really captures the winter light, and together with the view they make for a wonderfully bleak but serene look out. Hardly anything is seen of the interior of the room which means the viewer can fill out the space themselves. It could be me looking out.

Tom Heflin
Another wonderful example and much much warmer is this staircase by Tom Heflin. Not much of a view here, but an indication of light and warmth a few steps away. But we're not yearning towards it. The light under the door indicates that even down here there is light and the wood is pleasantly wamer. I can imagine we are in the kitchen.

I'd like to try something similar. Looking out into the garden in the winter morning light with tall and cold shadows, and a light warm room in the afternoon.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Another Tweener

Attempting to replicate the style of Michel Rauscher.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Thoughts on Charcoal

I’ve now done a few charcoal drawings after not having touched the stuff for 10 years and slowly I am getting over my resistance. I find it hard to control and struggle to get decent mid tones out of the willow charcoal. Must try the compressed version soon. Hoping it might be easier to manage.
At such times I like to look at a master to make me feel extra bad about my inabilities :oD
I have been following Nathan Fowke's blog with awe. It is truly amazing what he can get out of charcoal – and watercolour for that matter. You are a true inspiration, sir.
Nathan Fowke

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Project 5.1 Interior Charcoal Drawings

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

Making the ordinary look extraordinary. This is what Chardin did. A true master of the still life, even though it wasn’t a popular subject at the time. There is something reverent about these objects of his. Lovingly rendered and light and shadow, grounding all the objects.

His compositions work well and even though he often puts one object dead-center, it is carefully balanced by the other objects.
I think his paintings embody the meaning of still life. There is a tremendous silence about his painting, even though the objects are vibrant with life.