Image one ” Life goes on”
“Life Goes On” the final picture:
could the technique be freer?
could the image be less obvious?
Having decided to concentrate on seed pods and the dry grasses of winter. I took photos (outside and in ) and drawings (inside) of a selection of these objects.
THE IMAGES THIS SECTION ARE QUICK SKETCH BOOK STUDIES TO LOOK AT DIFFERENT FORMS
I purposely concentrated on sketching one plant only, with no supporting background and used a magnifying glass at times in order to acquaint myself with the greater details.
My initial fascination was the pink and shiny surface of the honesty siliculae in the morning sunshine but this was not easy to capture, only reproduced transiently in the studio when the sun fell upon them -however the image was short lived and I still await its recapture in photo or drawing.
I have caught a glimpse in the evening light:
Sketch book drawings, in the garden,unfortunately, failing to capture the sun on the silvery white seed pods.
Whilst in the garden I sketched the undergrowth which formed a visually interesting and darker background to the seed pods:
Could I incorporatte lace to help produce this effect in the studio?
Sketch inside, aiming to capture the soft subtle colours using conte yellow and pencil pink on 3H pencil:
Looking closely at the seed pod I was struck by its velvety or silk like feel.
Looking at other winter garden plants and seed pods:
The lupin pod –covered in fine hair with a pleasing curved shape but dry and brown and reminding me of old age with white hair and wrinkles on the outside and soft but leathery compartments on the inside of the pod where the seeds were nurtured:
The external surface of the lupin pod:
The inside of the lupin pod:
These pods did not feel delicate enough to want to include in the final drawing.
I liked the feel and form of the dried and crumpled leaf:
And the beautiful delicat6e strands of dry grasses:
The seed pod of the ash:
I think the mythological relevance of the ash is interesting in my quest to incorporate hands similar to those in the neolithic caves and the connection between the seed pods with human life.
“In British folklore the ash was credited with a range of protective and healing properties, most frequently related to child health.” ref:http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/mythfolk/ash.html
This section involves the investigation of seed pods in variety of media and techniques and the comparison to lace which is investigated as a background.
The honesty seed pods drawn in different media: 8B graphite, pen and ink (stipples) and pencil with felt tip:
the pen and ink drawing in spots shows the greater clarity of detail
drawn with wax resist, frottage and ink (lower image).
Using wax and ink to produce a lace effect:
Looking closer at lace as a background effect and using frottage over lace and over the seed pods:
Using wax resist to try to emulate the lace effect of light on the undergrowth and playing with the idea of incorporating the hand images reminiscent of neolithic man’s cave drawings:
And then the dried leaves, their beautiful crisp colours:
A delicate image in wax crayon:
wax crayon and felt tip:
I started at this point to look at images by Georgia O’Keefe. She focused her work on small areas of flowers or plants to produce a simplified, almost abstract images.
Images photographed Feb 2014 from the book: ” O Keefe” Published 2006 by Grange Books ISBN:10: 1-84013-926-9
My Autumn Oil on Canvas 1929 (at time of book publication held in a private collection Gerald Peters Gallery Santa Fe)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit No IV oil on canvas 1930 (Original in National Gallery of Art Washington)
Single Lily with Red 1928 Oil on Wood (held in Whitney Museum of Art New York at time of book publication)
Inspired by Georgia O Keefe :Two images of the leaf above, in which I filled the paper with the image, concentrating on the abstraction of the colour and lines -the first in wax crayon, the larger (A3 sized) in bright felt tip.
I liked neither of these, they shout too much -too big for detail yet too small to be entirely abstractions. They are unlike O Keefe’s in that they are not smoothly drawn -she puts little texture in the images using relatively flat colours over large areas, often blending into darker or lighter tones.
Returning to a more delicate approach with the air of lace ,delicacy and frailty: sketches of the honesty seeds and the twig with dried leaves
An interesting drawing using coloured pencils of the honesty seeds intertwined with twigs: the contrast between the darker pencil background and the plants makes this image glow similarly to the seed pods when I first spotted them in the garden and makes the image quite peaceful. It feels closer to the way I wanted the final image to develop and is reminiscent of a style that was provoked by my previous studies of Michael Landy’s plant drawings:
and an even more “exciting ” drawing in coloured pencils using multiple colours
note from advise at beginning of assignment:
USE CLOSE OBSERVATION / REFLECT ON WHAT ATTRACTS YOU/EXPLORE CHARACTERISTICS AND STRUCTURES OF NATURAL FORMS////USE TECHNIQUES TO EXPRESS WHAT YOU SEE//experiment with a variety of media//
Be objective and highly critical
How can I achieve an image which reflects the colourful, the mystical and the flow of life but retains a frailty?
I have drawn and collaged quite a few images through this, the final part of the drawing course.
My aim was to produce an image which had some of the mystique of the sun on the dried and empty frail seed pods of the Honesty plant, to link that to human life –the life lost but on going –and I have discovered that the Ash in Norse mythology was the tree from which man sprang , spanning the universe and delving deep to the past and lower worlds (ref: http://www.druidry.org/library/trees/tree-lore-ash). Looking at the soft and intricate structure of the Honesty seed pods I wanted to use lace as a background to emulate leaves by its multiple shapes.
I have looked at several artists and these have both developed and changed my initial ideas
Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret MacDonald , Herbert MacNair the three members of the Glasgow sect who developed the classical art nouveau images of flowing lines and stylised flowers and plants and of Alphonse Mucha who also used flowing lines in the depiction of images as simple as dishes and cutlery. I have tried some images with flowing lines and some that contrast the woven pattern of lace against the natural forms of seed pods to emulate the images of Rennie Mackintosh but I find his images too stylised and lacking in colour, however the patterns of the lace black and white produces an interesting background.
I looked at the work of Henrik Simonsen whose light plants against the dark background in a ” photographic negative” manner an idea I rejected as being too hard “flashy” and harsh
The delicate pencil crayon drawings which emulate some of Michael Landy’s
In this image I like the blending of different colours, it has a clear, clean and peaceful feeling, but is not sufficiently active and lively.
Nanako Kawaguchi took me back to the love of Japenese origin artists, In her drawings I loved the colour and unusual forms. These images are reminiscent of the Art Nouveau flowing lines and plant life which I like but I chose not to reflect through in my work as they are a little too “girly”
Looking at the image by Astrid Bowlby in the Drawing Now book in which she has made a table of safety pins look as though it stretches to eternity I have attempted to produce perspective with the seed pods -the final image did not succeed but I liked its clarity. However it is not close too the image I would like to finally produce:
Goergia O Keefe lead me into looking at leaves from a closer quarter but I did not seriously follow this up as the overall image is too solid, lacking the busy-ness that I am hoping to produce:
Andra Ursuta’s influence produced an interesting tonal image in ink and crayon which I worked on later in further images:
I will certainly try to produce some of this displacement of colour from the main image to the background.
And although I liked the ghostly image of the galleon by Friedrich Kunaith I felt it was too delicate and “simple”for the final image I was trying to conjure although I felt the use of colour on black was exciting:
The closer I came to abstraction the more I was excited by the images:
Jiri Kolar German artist in collage and paper -I thought may lead me into a lace like pattern but his work is more solid than the open effect I was looking for.
on the basis of these drawings: I conclude that I like the colourful images inspired by Kandinsky and Wardell Milan and the detailed ink additions of Wardell Milan and Andra Ursuta. I am also very fond of the delicate pencil crayon drawings but feel that in order to produce a strong image I will use oil pastel or chalk pastel with charcoal or graphite. Plus placing the image on a black background produces a lighting effect on the colour of the image which I find very attractive
My final image was on black and consisted of colourful and flowing lines with incorporation of lace like patterns in the background:I think the image depicts the frailty, has the flow and activity of life, it incorporates the Neolithic hand images in the form of leaves in the background, it is abstracted, busy and colourful and the glow of the honesty seed which first attracted me is enhanced by the black background. The initial final image on white paper has a greater solidity which although pleasing, lacks the ghostly glimmer of the image on the black surface. The ghostliness helps with the aim of depicting the seedpods and the hands of life past and the manner in which the image lives and moves up the paper helps with the idea of life on going.
I am very pleased and like the final image and its depiction, not only of the seed pods that I had been studying but also the further meanings I wish to incorporate into the image.
In different media without taking the pen or pencil from the paper:
In pencil: the hydrangea
In pen and ink : honesty seeds in the undergrowth
In felt tip with added line in ink:
In pencil with the background of lace involved in the drawing in continuous line:
I also looked at the image in the book “drawing now Between the Lines of Contemporary Art” edited by Downs, Marshall, Sawdon, Selby and Tormey Published by I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd for TRACEY ISBN 978 1 84511 533 3 by Astrid Bowlby in which she draws a table full of safety pins and bits at such an angle that they appear to recede into the distance
Photograph of :”On some far : Detail” Ink on cut paper pg 6.
From this I took my eye level down to approximate to the table on which the seed pods had been placed and tried to give them some perspective:
Although it produces quite an intereesting image it has not captured the feeling of perspective found in the Astrid Bowlby’s image, partly by virtue of the nature of the subject (as the seed pods could be any size and so a recession in size is less noticed) and partly because of the loss of reference of other receding objects. I used colour to try to differentiate between those in the foreground and those further back.
Mackintosh Images and most of life history derived from the book : “The Life, Times and Work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh” by K.E. Sullivan published by Brockhampton Press 1997 ISBN 1 86019 798 1
Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868. He had a love of nature and became an architect as well as attending art school.
Early Flower study in pencil and watercolour obtained by photographing the image from “The Life Times and Work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh” by K.E. Sullivan published by Brockhampton Press 1997 ISBN 1 86019 798 1
After visiting Italy in 1891 mackintosh returned to Scotland vowing to give his country “its own architectural language”. His style was assisted by the art of Japan. With three other artists, Herbert MacNair and two sisters Frances and Margaret MacDonald a style was developed which was based on their interests in poetry, the celtic world , symbolism and mysticism. With MacNair he started to work with animal and vegetable forms and strong colours.
Images by Margaret MacDonald:
November 5th 1894
Herbert Mac Nair:
Fountain Pencil and Watercolour on paper
Frances Mac Doanald
Golden Heart by Frances MacDonald MacNair
All these images by the three other artists in MacKintoshes group show the characteristic lines, tall “vertically stretched” images and swirls found in Mackintoshes work. The swirls represented plants or hair. In the image by Margaret MacDonald, the characteristic roses found in Mackintoshes images appear.
These four artists were influenced by Audrey Beardsley’s Yellow book images :
Design for title page 111 The Yellow Book ref: http://www.wormfood.com/savoy/yellow_book/275.html
and by Patrick Gedde’s images in his magazine “The Evergreen”
Natura Naturans Robert Burns 1891 from “The Evergreen” magazine ref: http://www.patrickgeddestrust.co.uk/celticcompositionrobertburns.htm
“Mackintosh focused on images of roots, stems, branches and flowers with vertical lines and swooping elegant lines”. The four were involved in poster design. Mackintosh also designed furniture and incorporated his details on glass. He often used the stylized rose motif in his images and developed a balance between geometric shapes and the curves of nature:
One of the commonest features of Mackintosh’s designs is the contrast between black and white squares and coloured floral designs:
Floral and chequered fabric design image obtained by photographing image from book “The Life Times and Work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh” by K.E. Sullivan published by Brockhampton Press 1997 ISBN 1 86019 798 1
Image obtained by photographing the image from “The Life Times and Work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh” by K.E. Sullivan published by Brockhampton Press 1997 ISBN 1 86019 798 1
copying this image:
and adding my own twist to the honesty seeds and grasses:
In a similar vein ans around the same era Alphonse Mucha was using the long tresses and curves of natural plants to produce images often used in posters:
Alphonse Mucha 1860-1939
A Moravian (Austro-Hungary) painter of the late 19th century Art Nouveau movement famous for his ideallized paintings of women with flowing hair and clothing, often for posters.
Alphonse Mucha study of dishware and cutlery 1902 in gouache
The use of black and white gouache and pencil on coloured paper. Swirling patterns and arrangements with paper showing through to indicate the reflective surfaces of the objects
Hockney’s drawings are frequently of human beings, however as I am concentrating on plants and seed pods -I have looked for examples of plant life drawings by Hockney.
Fruhe Zeichnung, 1959 charcoal on paper, 22×14 1/2 in. (translation: morning drawing)
Image sourced on line January 2014 ref: http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_drawings_50_08.php
This sketch could easily be a seed pod similar to the honesty seeds I have been drawing. It is done in charcoal, The round area (? the seed pod ) dominates the page in light block shade and is overdrawn with determined strong lines and circles which are within the “circle” and by a harsh almost horizontal line (is this an horizon?) and harshly drawn diagonal lines below the horizontal. Perhaps it is a rising sun in view of the title -but it could easily be a seed pod in the grass.
I copied this image and then drew the honesty seeds in a similar manner:
Copy of Hockney sketch entitled Fruhe Zeichnung:
An image in Hockney style of the honesty seeds:
Pershing Square Study 1 Pencil
This image contrasts what appear to be cress seedlings against against an angular background, a box through which the stems escape. The stems seem to originate in a bed of pebbles but these have no depth and are shaded ovals with borders. In the background the words “Pacific Mutual Life ” seem to refer to insurance. The image makes no sense to me, although googling Pershing square it starts to make more sense -the square in Los Angeles has palm trees, pools and angular buildings some of which dedicated to finances. He has used only pencil in varying pressures and intensity and has produced a feeling of constriction by the enclosing of the plants by the angular lines.
My hand 1981 ink
sourced on line January 2014: ref http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_drawings_80_04.php
I enclose this as a reminder of minimal light line to represent the artist’s hand, reaching out across the page.
3 Trees With Rock, 1991 gouache, felt marker, uni-ball pen on foam core sourced on line January 2014 from: ref: http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_drawings_90_02.php
This image drawn in felt tip with gouache and pen. Three trees with lined trunks and foliage with three different forms of marks (swirls, dots, leaf like marks, stand in a line, their bases at the bottom of the paper and their positions slightly unevenly spaced between each other and from the edge of the paper. Behind and at the edges of the paper are the rocks, swirls, dashes and lines of light on dark browns and black/greys. In the background is a red area of swirling lines bounded above by the representation of a fence in line. The brown “blob ” of the sun surrounded by two blue marks of colour sits in the upper left corner. The image has a fun appearance and gives a feel of warmth,dryness (perhaps due to the colour) of tropicality.
Untitled 111, 2009 charcoal on paper
sourced on line Jan 2014 from ref: http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_drawings_00_25.php
This image has such perspective leading into the forest by the bend of the harsher lines which run from mid and left foreground to the left of the image and link to softer lines running in the opposite direction. A tree trunk sits at the golden section on the left and rises up and out of the image helping to give vertical power to the forest. This tree is drawn in soft block shade with additional lines of the bark in fine harsher lines and twigs crossing its trunk and its base in darker line. The background to whee our eye is lead,is drawn in varying pressure charcoal as trees fade into the mist and their canopies get lower than those at the front. The forest floor is dotted with small marks adding interest and contrast to the almost vertical lines of the trees. These dots also extend into the upper canopy taking the contrasting dots upwards adding interest for the eye and breaking the harsher though softly drawn lines by the soft “dots” of the remaining leaves.