There was a suggestion, emerging from my Assignment Three tutorial, that one way to deal with my diversion from the main direction in Section Three would be to reflect on how what I actually did might relate to the course and assignment objectives.
In spending time producing my drawings of the old exercise book, I missed out some of the exercises and projects relating to ‘Sketchbook Walk & 360 degree’; ‘Perspective’; ‘Composition’ (foreground, mid-ground, background); and ‘Townscapes’. My Photography degree took me into some of this, naturally, such as perspective and composition; and I did explore perspective (albeit interiors) in Section Two. But I haven’t been out and about sketching the landscape. The Assignment Three brief asks that we demonstrate an understanding of aerial or linear perspective – a view with demonstrable depth – through an outdoor scene. I clearly didn’t satisfy that – though my assignment has been accepted. I do definitely think that there was some direct development from the tree drawings. The exploration of detailed drawing of shapes/tones informed the way I handled my book drawings – subtlety of tones in the surface of the pages and the representation of small marks on those pages, for example.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the issue of perspective in the book drawings has been in the back of my mind throughout – albeit not fully resolved. It impacts on the way one handles the edges and corners of the book – subtle and slight, but there is impact. These two drawings (below) from the series illustrate the point. Looking at the left edge and corners, there is no suggestion of perspectival depth in the first, whereas there is in the second. The first is, largely, drawn from a photograph, which has been taken with a focal length of 50mm i.e. at some distance (can’t recall) from the book surface and a degree of ‘zoom’ into the image via the camera lens – which tends to flatten the perspective. The second is drawn, largely, from ‘life’ – close up observation – in which one gets more of a sense that the back of the book (if it is in view) is further away from the viewer than the open pages. There is no right and wrong answer to this issue, of course, but my observation of the issue moved on as this little series of drawings developed. I moved away from drawing only from photographs (partly because of these sorts of concern) towards using a combination of sources of information to construct my own representation of what I see.
Considering what I have done in Section Three in relation to the overall course objectives. I have certainly developed my drawing skills. Concentrated, maybe, into the development of tonal representation with graphite, so not demonstrating a wide range of materials, but I am much more confident in the use of a pencil. Without getting ahead of myself, it’s worth mentioning that I attended my first life drawing class last week (to be blogged later) and, whilst I am in no way a natural and there’s a long way to go before I claim any expertise in the figurative, the pencil skills that I have developed through the tree drawings and the book drawings stood me in good stead. I do also feel confident that my journey ‘off-piste’ shows visual/artistic awareness and selective observation (another course objective). One of the positive pieces of tutorial feedback was that I have succeeded, in the book drawings, in identifying what parts of the detail are important. (And I think that also came through in the first life class.) And, finally, I am, hopefully, showing some self-reflective and critical skills within this and previous posts. An “area for development” in the tutorial feedback was linking my work to other relevant art practices. Certainly, I did not pick up on quite a number of the research points in that last section of the module, though I did link the work to a number of contemporary drawing works that I had seen or found through research – but maybe I need a little more of that.
So, in summary, there is much that I have not done in Section Three and in relation to Assignment Three – but there is much that I have; which is as we would expect in the circumstances. I will be paying at least some attention to the content of Section Four and continuing to reflect when I do and when I don’t. And I may yet dip back into some landscape drawing, who knows. I chose the photograph at the top of this piece, somewhat randomly, because it is a snow-scene. It occurs to me, though, that it is interesting in compositional and perspectival terms – simplicity of the former and quirkiness of the latter (where tones, lines and shadow combine to ‘suggest’ distance, but within a very simple and limited composition). It might, at some stage, be interesting to draw the scene – perhaps using mixed media – pastels for the background and ink, maybe, for those strong lines. Something to look forward to !