Drawing one – part one

I have just finished working though part one feeling, memory and imagination. The course has so far been interesting and inspiring – I now realise that the course has a lot to offer me – despite drawing for years I have never really taken a structured approach to drawing skills and certainly lacked  any of the basic skills such as using my chosen drawing medium to suggest tone. It was a challenge and some of the exercises I did worked fairly well others did not. However the course allowed me plenty of scope. I have revisited some of my art books such as ” Henry Moore’s sheep sketchbook ,etc I found some of the reading list useful particularly ‘Experimental drawing ‘ and ‘the artists handbook of materials and techniques  ‘ I have found myself reflecting more and looking more.

I feel excited by what the rest of the course has to offer. I found blogging a massive challenge and at times found myself going around in circles as I would add something and then later on be unable to retrieve it – I now save  everything in draft form as I go along.

I do feel that I have made progress and have managed to fill the criteria within the course structure.


Assignment one – a personal still life


The instructions for assignment one is to produce a personal still life choosing a few objects  that have some interest and say something about me as a person.

after much thought I choose the following objects

  • a small dark brown pottery hedgehog that I made when I was 11 it is the only piece of clay pottery that I have even made – I shaped with my hands and hand painted it so and it brings back very happy memories of the art room at school which was in a draughty wooden out building.
  • a glass vase containing faux flowering magnolia branches. I love nature and trees and always look out for when the magnolia blossoms in early spring as to me this signals the end of winter and of symbolises a time of  new growth in the garden.On the way to work I spotted the faux magnolia flower arrangement in the shop opposite  and brought it – so I now have spring in the house all year around
  • A  tatty small pink pig cloth toy. This toy used to belong to Star our family pug Jack Russell cross dog. Star became part of the family when she was just 10 weeks old. The pink pig was her favourite toy. Sadly star died suddenly aged just 16 months  and left an empty void – so this little  pig brings back many happy memories of an  adored little dog.
  • white linen tablecloth – I borrowed the white linen altar cloth from my church to represent my faith which is important to me.
  • A mirror – I chose the mirror to represent me – to reflect my personality
  • I placed the white cloth onto a table bunching it up to add texture and to hi light the shadows. I experimented with different compositions until I found one I liked. I sketched my objects with pencil in my sketchbook . But for the final drawing I. Used Pitt black pens – I used a number of techniques that I had leant including cross hatching, hatching, dots , scribbling and stippling to build up tone.
  •      At the end I felt fairly pleased with some of the elements of my drawing although I. Feel my drawing of the magnolia branches is a bit sketchy  but I decided to stop as I didn’t want to over work it. I found the exercise very interesting but a challenge as I have never really done many still life’s – and I found it quite difficult to find a composition that flows. I did initially start a conte drawing but had a change of heart and decided on the Pitt pens as I felt I really wanted to explore building up my picture slowly.

Exercise 4 – shadows and reflected light


Above – pencil drawing of two shiny objects

For this exercise I choose two metallic objects a metal bowl and a silver coloured candle holder. Using a conte stick I lightly sketched the two objects – I drew onto thick paper that had a raised texture. The object of the exercise is to build up tone using the side of the conte crayon and  then to use a putty rubber to lift out the lightest tone. I found this exercise a real challenge and really struggled with my drawing so much so that I felt it was completely over worked. After struggling I did a pencil sketch of two  other shiny objects also on textured  paper – I also drew in my sketchbook some glass animals using a Pitt pen and graphite stick. I still feel I struggled with this  exercise – so feel I will have to revisit it.


Metal bowl and silver coloured candle holder – conte crayon on A3 textured paper

ERIC RAVILIOUS : a life in pictures talk

Back in May I visited the Dulwich picture gallery in London. During my trip I saw an exhibition devoted to the watercolours of Eric RAVILIOUS.

On Friday 16th October at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich  the curator of the Dulwich show James Russell gave an illustrated talk on RAVILIOUS’ life.

RAVILIOUS died in war action in 1942 aged just 39. Although he had a short career he produced around 300 paintings in just 8 years

what I found interesting about this talk in relation to my studies , is that it seemed to fit in with my learning process as I have just finished  researching Odilion Redon and his use of tone. RAVILIOUS was also a very profilic print maker who also like Redon started his career by working almost exclusively in black and white. It was not until RAVILIOUS became interested in the work of English water colourists such as Turner, and Samuel Palmer that he introduced colour into his work . Also relevant to my studies ( using techniques such as hatching, and dots to suggest form and tone into my drawings)  RAVILIOUS used his paint brush as a drawing medium – he essentially draws over his watercolour washes using the paint to cross hatch , scribbling and stippling with his brush suggesting and hi lighting tone and form. I really found the talk interesting and hope it will help me as I advance on my course

. Research project – explore the work of Odilion Redon and his use of tone

imageimageimageOdilion Redon 1840-1916 was born in Bordeaux France. He is usually referred to as belonging to the symbolism art movement. Before looking at his work as part of this research project I was only familiar with Redon’s very colourful and vibrant paintings mainly of decorative subjects such as flowers or scences from classical mythology. During my research I. Discovered that he was also a very profilic print maker producing a large volumn of prints, drawings and charcoal pictures.

Redon until around 1890 produced most of his work in black and white which he called his ‘noirs’

it was the noirs that I looked at for this research project. I began with the charcoal example ‘two trees’ c1875. The drawing shows two hollow tree trunks. Redon uses different techniques to suggest the organic living form of the trees. The charcoal is built up in layers suggesting light and tone. The blocks of dark tone draw the eye to the sinister dark space between the trees. Redon uses a stippling effect to suggest shapes and form and to suggest the texture of the tree bark. The drawing appears solid with a strong Sense of movement. But for me the negative dark space between the tree draws my eye into what is expressed but unseen. The whole drawing has a sense of depth and atmosphere. I then looked at other drawings – ‘ the fairy ( profile of light ) 1882 is very ethereal and delicate the charcoal is used sparingly  on the fairy’s face giving her a mysterious quality. The background is much darker in tone so the only light source is on the face and profile. With just tone Redon cleverly suffices the fairy with atmosphere. Redon produced other drawings of trees including a drawing in pencil on coloured paper – he use the pencil to gradually build up the tone using small and sparse pencil marks. Redon was clearly able to use tone skilfully in different mediums,

looking closely at Redon’s ‘noirs’ I was able to conclude how the use of tone can create atmosphere using different drawing techniques. Essentially tone provides a light source. Tone adds dimension , it defines shapes and shadows. Tone can add solidity and structure changing and enhancing the look of a drawing. Tone can also be used to add movement. Odilion Redon certainly knew how to use tone effectively and skilfully.


‘two trees’   Http://wiki paintings.org

‘drawing of a tree’.  www.moma.org

,’the fairy’ ( profile in light )   http://www.fitzwilliam.cam.ac.uk/

Tate online

musee d’ orsay

BOOK  – ‘symbolism art’ by Edward Lucie-Smith 1995 edition Thames and Hudson

Basic shapes and fundamental form – exercise 3



Using different drawing materials  – biro, graphite pencil, ink and a pitt drawing pen liner.I did four drawings using lines to suggest tone and and shadow. To suggest tone I did hatching, cross hatching and stippling dots and a series of thick lines I really enjoyed exploring tones though the use of lines as I have never really done this before so it was a learning experience. I found all the three projects really helpful and the tips at working out the light source were helpful.

Basic shapes and fundamental form – exercise 2



Using A2 paper and black conte crayon I experimented with different marks using the side of the crayon. I slowly built up the various tones using a putty rubber to remove the lighter areas as I worked. I choose two white items to draw. I really enjoyed working with conte and found it very versatile although I feel my drawing should have filled the page more.