Drawing One Part Three Landscape check and log page 83 and revisiting Odilon Redon

In what way did you select and simplify in your study?

Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amidst all the visual information available to you?

There were several problems with too much information in the trees, grasses. chimneys of town. These were tackled by hinting at the finer or smaller structures in areas of larger and differing tones, or in a Van Gogh fashion, drawing patterns as semblences of leaves, over and over, picking out  the dominant leaf, grass or flower shape. The town has proved difficult over and over again as the fascination with the chimneys and windows leads to my attempting to depict them in detail which loses the perspective as these structures are well in the distant midto background.

How did you create a sense of distance and form in your sketches?

Distance is achieved by lessening tone and colour  and less distinct form or texture. Form, particularly in the distance or if in a dense collection of trees is dependent on picking out occasional recognisable structures such as house gable ends and incorporating them -this helps the overall reading of the image.

How did you use light and shade? Was it succesful?

In the pencil drawings and particularly the “Styile to nthe field” the foreground incorporated the most striking difference between light and shade. In the felt tip versions I used the light of the paper in the foreground against the more dense use of the felt tip in the background as it is not easy to vary the strength of pressure and therefore tone with a felt tip pen. In the pen and ink drawing inspired by Van Gogh,the foreground contrasts between light and shade were achievd by the lightening of the ink with addition of water when drawing the background-Iwould however like to retry this image and attempt to achieve the appearance of distance without resorting to changing the ink tone.

What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

The stile to the field is the larger of the studies–I would like to have done this in several media as I think it would have worked well in ink and certainly provided a differing set of problems by changing the medium. Photography helped as the picture did not hold together due to the empty mid ground-perhaps a view from a greater distance would have put the stile into the midground and provided a better composition –so more preliminary drawings may have helped, but I would probably have tired of the subject and the shade!

Looking again at Odilon Redon and Victor Passmore

After the initial reaction of dislike of this artist and studying the work of contemporary drawing in the “Vitamin D” and “Drawing Now” books I decided to revisit Odilon Redon -does his art  permeate through much of today’s contemporary work? When I first joined the OCA the emphasis was on drawings by Passmore who was one of the leaders in abstract art in the 60s

Victor PasmorePorthmeor Beach, St Ives 1950

sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/pasmore-porthmeor-beach-st-ives-t00092

Artist Victor Pasmore (1908‑1998)
Title  Points of Contact No. 3
Date 1965   Medium  Lithograph on paper
Although as seen in this lithograph -not entirely so, but I wonder if they had much of the deeper feelings that are being portrayed through the contemporary ?postmodernist art of today.

Artwork details

Artist  Victor Pasmore (1908‑1998)
Title  Variation of Points of Contact No. 9   Date 1966
sourced on line (July 2013)

Artist  Victor Pasmore (1908‑1998)Title   Linear Development 2  From Points of Contact – Linear Developments Portfolio

sourced on line (July 2013) from http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/pasmore-linear-development-2-p04901

These drawings(lithographs )  seem to have a certain  purity which emanates from abstracting real life, and reflect some of the later drawings to be found in the two said books.

postmodernism is said to include: ” a rejection of grand narratives; a rejection of absolute and universal truth; non-existence of signified; disorientation; a use of parody; simulation without the original; late capitalism; and globalization.” (sourced on line from ref: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Postmodernism)

The Vitamin D book refers to postconceptual art -conceptual art being related to ideas and the means of the production of the work.

Odilon Redon was a French symbolist painter in the mid to late nineteenth century dying just before the first world war.Why were we particularly directed to this artist?

, ” in full solitude of the countryside ” that the charcoals will be born. The environment of this native medocian soil, full with obscure lights and nuances woke up these strange worlds and these phantasmagoric daydreams which will be present all its life in his work. The trees and the characters spout out the tender and wet mucilage formed by the ground that Huysmans will describe later with its poetic manner.”

sourced on line (July 2013) from ref :  http://www.odilonredon.net/biography.html

Odilon Redon, The Eye-Balloon , Charcoal, 1878.

sourced on line (July 2013) from :http://carnivalesalt.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/artist-of-week-odilon-redon.html  a blog whose ideals are : “This series will feature artists, both historical and contemporary, who have relevance to a neo-romantic lifestyle and related fashions”

Odilon Redon, The Spirit of the Forest (Specter from a Giant Tree, Charcoal, 1880.

Redon’s drawings  are dark in the use of charcoal and in their content. They are often drawn on a brown or pink brown coloured background which makes them a little less strident.

According to  Redon says:   ““My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.”
sourced from wikipedia (july 2013) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odilon_Redon#cite_note-Goldwater-5  ” who cite the book: Goldwater, Robert; Marco Treves, Marco (1945). Artists on Art. Pantheon. p. 360. ISBN 0-394-70900-4.
I have lost my thread… I thought abstract drawing had changed but it is I who have changed and become accepting of Passmore and Redon (although, I don’t like his drawings because of their worrying content) whilst the  artists in the Vitamin D and” Drawing Now” books are a new experience which, as they settle in my subconscious will turn into acceptance, recognition and so liking. Redon’s contents themselves would mean nothing to me if I had not some idea from my early upbringing of their twisted meanings….and the need to stay away from such things!

Drawing One Part One Research Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon

Born in 1840 in Bordeaux, France.

His art developed into drawing in charcoal and in lithography (noirs) and then pastels and oils

Title Portrait of Violette Heymann
Date 1910
Medium pastell

sourced on line (November 2013) from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Odilon_Redon_003.jpg

I feel this to be a beautiful drawing of this young lady in which the colourful background of flowers surrounds her- although directly in front of her it gives way to a plane grey blue (so as not to detract from her face and front). The picture is in chalk pastels and lines (possibly) of hatching (or ? due to the underlying paper) can be seen in the flowers around and behind her. \the facial colours are blended softly and the edge of the face blurs into the background so softening the edges. I like her posiiton at one side of the canvas and the side view of her face ( the picture reminds me of “Whistler’s mother“).

Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916)


Trees    Date:(c. 1865-68)

Medium:   Pencil on colored paper
Dimensions:   16 3/4 x 11 5/8″ (42.5 x 29.5 cm)
sourced on line (November 2013) from:http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=35854
This is a pencil sketch of a tree, the branches outlined and then shaded with cross hatching and with lines following the shapes of the trunk and branches. The leaves are little elipses dispersed through the branches. The pencil marks get lighter and thinner as the upper branches touch the sky. There is a concentration of light and shade in the middle of the tree on its upper trunk. There are hints of background trees depicted with light cross hatching or vertical lines which follow the trunks. It is overall very delicately drawn.
These two drawings are very sensitive and benign compared to many of Odilon Redon’s  other drawings: which are very dark both in form and use of  “colour”

Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916)


Dream Polyp

Date: 1891
Medium: Charcoal and chalk on colored paper
Dimensions:19 x 14″ (48.3 x 35.6 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Straus    sourced on line (November 2013) from: http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=35948
 I am not keen on many of Odilon Redon’s images which can be quite “weird” -perhaps developed when he exhibited with the Nabis–the above picture appears to be a surround of variable toned charcoal with darker areas of lined and hatched charcoal depicting parts of the face which is highlighted with chalk. The isolated head floats and is surrounded by what appears to be snake demarcated by lines and patches of white chalk. It is like his drawings above, very delicately and sensitively drawn but loses the appeal produced by the quality of drawing by its subject matter.