Final assignment Observation in Nature drawing from different angles, with different backgrounds and in different media

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

Thinking about the nature of the seed pods: Then looking at the possibility of incorporating a lace like effect with the honesty seed pods:IMG_9529

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



Final Assignment Observation in Nature – Line Drawings

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 graphite:IMG_9574

In pen and ink: Ash branch and seedsIMG_9560-001

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.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and artists of the art nouveau

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:

and by Patrick Gedde’s images in his magazine “The Evergreen”

Natura Naturans  Robert Burns 1891 from “The Evergreen” magazine  ref:

“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

IMG_9602Detail of a wall stencil from Hill House

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

David Hockney’s drawings

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:

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

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:

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:

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.

Final assignment Observation in Nature Tonal Studies

It was my intention from the start to try and depict the seed pods of honesty in a soft velvety and silky texture with harsher elements of leaves or twigs as background.

Looking at the work of Andra Ursuta ( images from the Vitamin D2 book New Perspectives in drawing)


Man from the Internet 34 2012 Ink on Paper Andra Ursuta

Image photographed from the book containing a collection collection of contemporary drawings: “Vitamin D2 New Perspectives in Drawing” Page 299  Published by Phaidon Press Ltd 2013, ISBN 978 0 7148 6528 7

I was taken, not by the subject matter (although death and decay could be applied to the plants I am involved in drawing, I am more interested in the ongoing rebirth in the elements of nature) but by the manner in which she has used ink and possibly a form of resist.

Image in development:



the depiction of negative space using ink, conte and wax crayon.

tonal study using wax resist and pencil:


Emulating Patrick Caulfield in the depiction of negative space between the seed pods:

© The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2002Patrick Caulfield  Coal Fire 1969  sourced on line Feb 2014 from :

Seed pods negative space:


Charcoal and biro:


Tonal drawings in graphite:



incorporating the background:

Drawing of one of the pieces of lace, in soft pencil, which I used as background :


Toanl study in “sepia” using brown conte:



of dried leaf:


seed pods leaf and lace background:


and tonal sketch in colour in felt tip ink crayon and pencil:


Final Assignment Observation in Nature Introducing colour

the dried leaf:

Looking at the beautiful drawings of tulips by Wardell Milan (photograph of Reference : book “Vitamin D2 new Perspectives in Drawing” 2013 pg 184-185 Published by Phaidon Press ISBN  978 0 7148 6528 7

IMG_9615These images according to the text reflect the fragile beauty of the tulip whose image was inspired by the Dutch dependence on the flower for trade which can itself be fragile.

I love the manner in which the colours  are irregular  patches against the harsher dark ink form of the flower head. I feel excited by the manner the colour drips  off the plant or forms irregular “splodges” which are only partially connected to the flower heads. This mode of representing the colour does give the image a crumbling frailty.


I used the images to build up a coloured drawing of the dried leaf using charcoal, ink, crayon, oil pastel and oil paint. The idea of fragility by showing some degree of “melting ” by incorporating parts of the image into the surrounding space fits with my concepts of frailty in life, of life past and of life to be.




IMG_9466My image is too solid, the splashes of oil colour spilling onto the background insufficiently brave but it proved difficult to overpaint and possibly spoil a reasonable drawing. The final colours are too strong -stopping at an earlier version may have been better.

Other coloured images:

The seed pod



using various media to frottage over the seed pods:


thinking about my aim to incorporate neolithic cave art images.(hands from peoples long gone):


And thinking again of Rennie Mackintosh: swirling lines,vertical image, colour pink (instilled by the initial thoughts of the sun on the seed pods as I wandered round the winter garden).


Textile design: Stylised Tulip    textile design -stylised tulip  pencil on brown tracing paper  by Charles Rennie Mackintosh  sourced on line Feb 2014 from:,+watercolours+and+designs

Incorporating black and white squares into a drawing of plants in the manner of Rennie Mackintosh produced quite a foreboding drawing in pink and black:


This has a sense of drama by virtue of the colours and the positions of the seed pods which have lost their identities. It was certainly far removed from the more gentle image I was trying to achieve and although I like it, it is too dark and mysterious.

I developed this idea further by working on the detailed study of the lace, drawn for the tonal drawings section of the assignment:

this produced a cacophony of line colour and textures with immense busy-ness

the build of images on the original drawing using wax resist, ink felt tip and crayon:




I was fascinated by two artist’s use of colour :

The first, Friedrich Kunaith , draws in fine coloured lines on black carbon paper producing ghostly images which emerge from the paper:

Images from the Vitamin D2 (New Perspectives in Drawing pg 162-163) ISBN978 0 7148 6528 7

“Oh Oh Lonesome me” Oil Pastel on carbon paper


Lovely fine and colourful marks break the black surface –no one line seems to be only one colour. A ghostly ship glides through a billowing sea. The Rhime of the Ancient Mariner comes to mind. The paper is carbon the colours fine oil pastel.

“Don’t Ever leave me” Oil Pastel on Carbon Paper  Friederich Kunath     sourced from the book “Vitamin D2 New Perspectives in Drawing” Pg 162  ISBN978 0 7148 6528 7


I like the contrast of colour against the black carbon paper, the fineness of the line, the hint of an image, the abstraction.

I drew the sprig of grass in this manner:


This lead into further coloured  drawings on black paper


abstracted, the image reminds me of the lady’s drawn by Toulouse Lautrec whose drawings I had studied in relation to figure drawing


The ash seeds incorporating colour:

IMG_9586I have a passion for colour particularly bright and varied colours and in this exerciser was impressewd by the contrasting colours on the black background as provoked by looking at Friedrich Kunaith’s images. The chalk drawing on black of the abstracted simple shapes of the seed pods is cdertianly one I like in its simplicity yet liveliness by virtue of its contrasting colours against the black:


I also like the contrasting wax crayon against the black pen in the leaf emulation of  Wardell Milan’s tulips


and from one of my earlier drawings -I love the multiple colours in pencil crayon in this image:


Final Assignment Observation in Nature Looking Closer

The tonal drawing used to enlarge with the area of enlargement demarcated in the upper left corner:IMG_9590

The enlarged coloured image:


Although this [roduced an abstraction of sorts the colours were too muted and the forms too organic :

A second tonal drawing


–whilst looking at this to enlarge an area it struck me that some of the forms were similar to those in Kandinsky’s work in which he drew semi-lunar shapes to represent boats: ( see the image in the left lower corner in this photograph of a Kandinsky picture)


Composition V1 1913 oil on canvas Kandinsky (Leningrad Hermitage at time book was produced)

Image photographed February 2014 from the book  “Kandinsky” by Hajo Duchting  Published by Benedikt Taschen 1993         ISBN 3-8228-0542-4

I used the image below to produce a coloured close image of part of the tonal drawing above

IMG_9621-001Kandinsky  Gorge Improvisation 1914 Oil on canvas (Munich Stadische Galerie im Lenbachhaus-at time book was produced)

Image photographed February 2014 from the book  “Kandinsky” by Hajo Duchting  Published by Benedikt Taschen 1993         ISBN 3-8228-0542-4

The image produced in oil pastels with Kandinsky in mind:

IMG_9509I found this very exciting both in forms textures and colours and the removal from the descriptive to the abstract. Abstraction is a passion .

Not only did the abstract image have the seed pods of honesty and the Ash but had images of seeds and leaves and the neolithic hand in the backgound and was a powerful coloured and textured image.