Monday, May 30, 2011

Drawing- Vanitas style

We have moved onto a new project in drawing - an A1 size (large sheet) drawing based upon a Vanitas painting (Dutch 17th century). We had to choose reference work from that time period and, using items that mean something to us, create a still life that is set up to match the painting. We worked in groups to gather our still life items, so two of us have joined forces to create this still life.

I was hoping to get the initial drawing started on the weekend but I had so much work to get done on other things I didn't get to it. But today, whilst it poured down outside, I finally sketched the pieces into place ready for charcoal and Conte crayons.

The light wasn't too good as I finished this off tonight so the pic is not the best, but you can get an idea of the placement of things.

I haven't worked on a piece as big as this before and now in the space of a week I'll be doing a painting and a drawing this size.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Painting - Mixed Media Portraits

I chickened out in the last post and decided not to post the portrait I initially painted in class on Friday. I am really unhappy with it - so much so I decided to have another go. Luckily, I took a photo to work from as my class mate is not at home with me this weekend *g*.

Here is the first portrait I did. I didn't draw in any shapes, just basic marks for top of head, chin, eyes and then started using watercolour. It is not a good painting at all. The face is twisted and the eyes to mouth are out of alignment. But I experimented and I feel more comfortable with watercolour after playing as I did with this portrait.

So here is my second attempt. I worked on it for about an hour and a half, about the same time as I worked on the other one in class. This time I drew in the face, and main features.

Now this is more like it! For an hour and a half's painting I am more than happy with this. I have had to relearn how to use watercolour and I am now feeling more confident with the way our teacher has taught us. I was initially taught to water down the colour a lot and then build up layers of colour to get what I wanted. What we have been shown now is to just go for it and water down the colour as we go if needed.

I am not saying that I love watercolour now, that I am converted, but I am much happier about using it after playing at home without the pressure of finishing within class time.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Watercolour and mixed media - landscape

We have moved onto mixed media in Painting class now. Using watercolour as a base we are then adding ink, pastel and charcoal, depending upon our personal choice.

To start we worked on a landscape. We could choose a new landscape or re-create the last watercolour landscape so we could see the difference between adding other media and just using watercolour - I chose that option.

Here is the original watercolour landscape...

And here is the mixed media version...

I used pastels only over the watercolour. I tried some ink but the picture really didn't suit ink. I'm still not drawn to watercolour as a painting medium, but for this course I will continue to give it a go. I can see things I like in each of the paintings. With more time I could iron out the things that need fixing.

This week, we started looking at portraits in watercolour and mixed media. We started with a small study of one of our classmates.

After the study we worked with watercolour to lay in an underpainting and then added ink, if we chose, and then pastel. The teacher said to just play with it and just experiment, so that is what I did. I wouldn't say it is a favourite or a good painting, but it is experimental! *g* I'm going to do some more work on the painting before I post it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ceramics - Ritual Vessel - WIP#7

Finally started carving into the pot on Wednesday. Wasn't able to get it all done, which was a pity - had to do some other assignment work on OH&S in class.

So far I have carved the outline of about half the flowers into relief but also need to carve out some of the petals and stamen of the flowers to give more definition. I think it is going to look quite good when finished. The way the bulbs are attached isn't quite what I had in mind when I envisaged them on the base of the pot - I went with the suggestion of the teacher. Hopefully they will work okay once fired.

Also need to think about what to do in the transition between designs. The one between the flowers and leaves is okay but I need to do something between the bulbs and the leaves.

So, fingers crossed, I'll get the final work done in class next week and then it can be fired!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Drawing - Interiors Triptych complete

Today was the last day to work on the interiors triptych in class time - and I finished. I only had a few minor corrections to make, which was great.

I have really enjoyed doing these drawings, even though they were so detailed. The middle of the three drawings was the first that I completed. It is mostly in graphite with a small amount of charcoal. It took a long time, much longer than I was happy with. For the next drawing I decided to do more charcoal - and I was so pleased with the outcome and the shorter length of time it took to complete the drawing. Instead of seven hours, it only took four! A big difference when you don't have a lot of time outside of class to complete work.

And so, because of the success of the second drawing, I decided to use mostly charcoal in the final one as well. I can see the difference between the first and the final drawing. I felt much more relaxed about using the charcoal and just went with where it took me, and whilst I love graphite, I think I am hooked on charcoal.

The other good thing about this triptych is that the building where I took the photos will be torn down in a few years to make way for new premises. These will be a reminder of the great times had in the old art and craft rooms.

Ceramics - Ritual Vessel - WIP#6

Started adding the design to the pot today.

As there has to be a ritual involved in the design of the vessel, I have used the annual ritual of planting spring bulbs. The design round the base of the pot is of bulbs ready to plant, the next layer is a stylised leaf design and the third layer is flowers in bloom. I have to start carving out the negative spaces between the flowers next week and also add some design elements in between each of the leaves. I wish I had more time to spend on this instead of just 3 hours a week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Art Gallery Visit - 12 May 2011

We went to the Art Gallery of NSW on Thursday to see the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes, along with a couple of other exhibitions.

I caught an earlier train and wandered through the city from Wynyard, up to the State Library and across the Domain to the gallery taking photographs on my SLR for my photography on Illusions of Space. It was a really enjoyable walk and I'll have to plan to do that every time we head to the city for an excursion.

I enjoyed seeing the Archibald, the first time I have viewed this and some of the Wynne prize, but the Sulman was a big disappointment.

We also viewed the Photography & Place exhibition, which was really interesting and had some beautiful photographs by some very talented people, and the Eikoh Hosoe 'Theatre of Memory' exhibition, which was wonderful. I especially loved the 'Embrace' series of photographs that was included and would love to see more of these. I was disappointed that Eikoh Hosoe gave a talk only two days before - I would have loved to hear him speak about his work.

Here are a couple of pics I took around the gallery...

Ink Self Portraits - revisited

For one of our projects last term we were to complete eight A4 size self portraits in ink. The work will have to be handed in at the end of this semester. At the time, I only completed six and knew that I would have to get to work outside of class time to do the last two. Today, I finally completed them.

It was really interesting to revisit these now after several weeks of tuition. I felt much more confident about doing these and I feel that the style of these two is quite different from the six I completed earlier. This was a positive experience for me and I wouldn't mind doing some more.

Watercolour - landscape

We completed this watercolour without using a pencil drawing first. The aim was to see how we felt about painting with this medium in this way. I'm still not enjoying the watercolour but I am happy to give it a go. We move onto mixed media with watercolour next week, so that will make it more interesting to me, especially as we will be using pastels.

Drawing - Interiors #2 and #3

The first two of the three interiors drawings are complete. This is the second one...

...and I have started the third...

This is starting to look really good and I have only really used the compressed charcoal so far (with a few touches of willow charcoal). I will work on this again tomorrow as we are supposed to have these done by Wednesday if possible.

We move on to a new project then, A1 size, using Dutch 17th century still life, or vanitas, as our reference. Not sure how I feel about this style, as most of the paintings include a skull! Very symbolic I gather, so it will be interesting, if not something I would hang on my wall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ceramics - Ritual Vessel - WIP#5

After a busy class today I am ready to start putting design onto the pot. I spent quite a bit of time making six tiles, carving them and painting them with glazes to use as test tiles. And then I was able to move on with completing the handles.

The Chinese ritual vessel I am basing this pot on had handles that were made into dragons, their mouth clasping the neck of the pot, their tails draped down onto the curve of the pot. Dragons don't fit in with my overall design so I had to come up with something that worked. After quite a bit of playing the tulips are what I came up with and they have worked, which made me very happy.

I will have to have a bit of a play with textures and lines to finish them off but they are exactly what I envisioned.

Hopefully I will complete most of the design work on the pot next week. I am really enjoying ceramics. I can't wait to move back into more self-directed design rather than within such strict guidelines, but I am more than happy to be learning the techniques to make that possible.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Painting class - watercolour still life

Today we continued to work on watercolour, this time a planned still life. By planned I mean that we drew up the still life then painted over that.

As this was just a study to see what can be done with watercolour, I didn't paint in a background at my teacher's suggestion. But now I think it needs it as the glass at the rear seems to disappear into the white of the paper. I may revisit this and wash a faint background in.

Next week, we are going to paint without a plan to see what we can do with watercolour in a different way.

Still can't wait to get back to acrylics!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ceramics - Ritual Vessel - WIP#4

Four weeks in and I have added the handles - yay!

Now it is time to add design... the handles are going to turn into flowers and I will bee adding pattern and design in layers up the vase. Here's hoping it works out!

We'll be glazing with one colour - and I may choose bronze - or two colours, but we are limited by the scope of the project. Still trying to find out exactly what we are allowed to do. I have made a couple of small molds which I am getting fired and will hopefully use to add some design to the body of the vase, and I have to make some tiles to text glazes on over the weekend. (First time I have had to bring some clay home).

Monday, May 02, 2011

Drawing - Interiors #1 - WIP#3

With K. at school I was able to devote some time to drawing in the hope that I will get this first of three drawings complete before drawing class on Wednesday.

This is about 7 hours of work now - I am obviously a slow drawer, or else this is too detailed!

There is still a lot of work to do, especially with the patchwork pieces in the foreground. And probably need to darken some of the darks a bit more - I'm still a bit tentative when working dark.

And there are still two more of these!!!!