Following on from other research I have conducted on both artists these are some visual comparisons I completed in my sketchbook.
This was my first drawing for this exercise. The aim was of course to focus on the foreground, mid-ground and background and I wanted to use tone to show this. I felt that this piece didn’t quite capture the essence of the scene and I feel the drawings is quite ‘matter of fact’. I felt it was quite a blank, plain drawing so I decided to create a second drawing. This time I wanted to capture more detail in the piece and to somehow show a better quality of drawing. Again I still felt that I would focus on tone as the main factor that would separate the foreground, mid-ground and background.
This was the drawing I created. I was much happier with this piece however I still think there needs to be more detail. A use of more interesting lines could have been used and co-operated into this drawing. I also think that perhaps I should have been more experimental and gone for my second drawing using charcoal something slightly heavier and more expressive. I did attempt to work with mixed media and used fine liners to create heavier detail in the foreground parts of the drawing.
My thoughts whilst drawing:
- attempting a more detailed drawing however i feel that it is still expressive and clear mark making when using tone in my work. I believe there is still a strong sense of movement in my drawing technique.
- I could use frontage effects to create evidence of a more detailed drawing – something I had accidentally discovered when drawing on my drawing board for this piece
- should I put detail on the second layer?
- concentrated on tone and line – how can I get some detailed lines on the 2nd layer
- charcoal drawing would have been good to explore with.
I plan to be more ‘daring’ and investigative in my next drawings for perspective.
- wondering how to link artists…my idea to work on this exercise is similar to Peter Doig and create separate drawings and then put them together to be viewed as one.
- The movement/the energy in the piece is what I want to create. I’ve completed a drawing of Tower Bridge but I haven’t been making a suggestion or selection of marks. I find it tricky to ‘find my voice’ and also stick to the exercises. It’s restricting…
- Directional shading of lines/marks:
- can make an object flat and 2D
- concentrate on mark making
- foreground and background amalgamated
- not concentrating on the depth of the piece visually
- I would like to play around with depth and create layers in a 2D way
- or mix both flat 2D ideas of drawing with the idea of foreground and background
- need/want to create repetitive make snap make making
I was a bit fed up of being in the studio – even though I have loads to do I needed to get out. So I decided to take Virtues approach to drawing. I was quite moved by his processes so I decided to go out and sketch some landscapes. It was a beautiful day!!!!
I quite liked David Hockney’s quote from a Youtube video I watched this week – ‘You paint from memory, even when you’re painting live. There is no such thing as the objective. It is always seen with memory’.
Ok so at the moment I’m completing my drawing for exercise 1 – a big one to combine all aspects so far. I feel I am getting more experimental which is the type of artist I consider myself to be. I like to explore with media and elements and principles of art (line, tone, texture etc) rather than working to create a polished drawing. I have completed more and more research recently and I’m starting to pick up on many ideas from various artists about wondering what the point is in creating a drawing or painting that would look the same as if you took a photograph of the scene/person/thing. Drawing is about expression and feeling and processes of the artist and I really like this idea and feel that I really want to challenge this. There has also been a student forum discussion group about what materials we should be drawing with and whether a particular piece counts as a drawing. There was one particular student who had a very strong negative opinion about the more conceptual drawings, probably the ones that I have been making. He believes that because this is drawing 1 and we are learning the basics that we should stick to the basics before getting to involved in a more conceptual thought process. Why?! He believes that people who create drawings or painting like this cannot draw and cannot be counted as artists. Again, I challenge this. Why do we have to create a perfect picture that which a photograph can do, which has absolutely no expression or feeling in the piece.
I am reading an auto-biography about Man Ray at the moment and I liked a sentence that I had read which was: ‘ To me, any painting is a faithful record of an experience at the time it is made’.
He also mentions in relation to viewing a painting from a friend of his ‘They were not particularly thrilling or interesting to me, but must have been a satisfaction to himself, as paintings generally are for their authors’. – should it matter what other people think?! To a certain extent, yes. I feel it is important for students, tutors and critics to critique your work but this shouldn’t formulate how you decide to work and affect your practice. I have always felt strongly to stand by what I enjoy and to put many personal emotions into my work. I decide what I want to work with, wether it be colour or a theme and I go with it. I revel in the journey I take.
The next stage for my drawing however is to layer and experiment with cellophane. I had another idea to stitch the drawings onto fabric and then draw on the fabric in the gaps between the paper.
I had two separate drawings I planned to put together but I decided it needed a third. I tried a slightly different approach when drawing this and tried to remember the voice of many drawing tutors and not to rub out my mistakes. This will add to the effect of the marks I want to make. (something that I have read about during my research and other drawing exercises). I am embracing this notion. In turn I think this will create and enhance the essence of movement that I have decided to explore with.
I can re-work the images and drawings again and again which will add to the different layers I want to create in my work. I also don’t know whether to add blocks of colour into this. Although I feel that my work is very much linked to the personal emotion and the time of which it is created. I.e. It’s winter at the moment and it’s cold and dark which I feel reflects my work – again this relates to a recent artist I have researched. Terry Winter’s work is influenced by the location of his studio and makes it apparent in his work. By living in a city (which I now do) you are constantly surrounded by dull buildings and architecture which visually create strong, rigid, geometric lines. There is pollution in the city and the overall historic thoughts and feelings of city life is rushed and unpleasant, again I could link this to another artist; George Seurat. However this can also be juxtaposed with the power of nature and the idea of nature taking over – IDEA – draw/photograph pieces around the city where this is actually happening – the work of Peter Doig has inspired this idea!!!! I wanted to combine both organic marks and lines with rigid structures of city architecture. Winter also works on the idea of connecting organic and conceptual space. I’m starting to work up a theme with my research and my own interests but concerned I won’t be able to take it though with me for the next exercises but we’ll see.
I believe that there is a stronger feeling of vulnerability living in a city than there is in the country. Living in the country may feel more ‘liberating’ and less ‘demanding’ than the fast paced life of the city. I think my work reflects this since moving here. However by writing and reflecting on my ideas and processes, it has allowed me to notice the reason I have been using black and white a lot recently. Maybe I can use this opportunity to spark hints of colour throughout the city and throughout my work.
- I could create blocks of colour that are unrelated and un-connected to buildings
- they have been put in random places (the objects in my drawings) – freehand/childlike/comical drawing – something my tutor picked up on from my previous assignment was that she felt some of the drawings were quite humorous.
Something else I notice and love since moving to London is the mix of the old and the new buildings. I would like my drawings to contain both and perhaps I might go into the historical meanings more. Layer the drawings with not necessarily more drawings but marks and aspects taken from other drawings and, or photographs. I did this for the final layer and took aspects from organic objects, plants and flowers, to create a more fragile effect for the final layer of my drawing.
I would like to take this strong development piece through with me to the next exercises. I’m really starting to get involved with my work and enjoying it a lot more. Various things I would like to focus on are:
Idea’s of organic mixed with architecture
Below are some artists I would like to explore further after briefly being exposed to their work when researching others. Their visual influences and ideas will formulate a wider range of development strategies for me to experiment and explore.
Nicholas Herbert is a mixed media artist and designer. Herbert’s most recent work has been inspired by the Chiltern Hills in High Wycombe and he has named these works ’Silent Spaces’. The series of drawings are small intimate mixed media landscapes that are primarily on paper and are informed by his personal experience of the chalk uplands of the Chiltern Hills. He combines his interest for natural landscape, visual mark making and history. (Herbert, N, 2016)
Herbert says; ‘I use my physical and emotional experiences of this area to capture these works’. He attempts to capture ephemeral qualities of light. He aims to express his own mediative thoughts, personal memories and this subconscious responses that he produces from being in the landscape. There are important concepts related to these works such as; decay, renaissance, permanence versus impermanence, the mythic, the residual and the ancient. Herbert mentions that creating his landscapes are intuitive and carry a visual engagement. He uses processes of mark-making, textural surface layering and monochromes to interpret and reveal the simplicity of nature.
His colour palette is organic and neutral and mainly uses graphite, pencil, acrylic, gouache, chalk and crayon. Herbert finds that when applying the materials to the surface of the paper it becomes ‘scuffed’ which adds to the texture of the drawing and the feeling of the ‘ungracious’ and the ‘worn’. He adds ‘there is a casual rawness that the paper has to survive the creative process’. He mentions that sometimes the paper doesn’t survive, and if it does then, like the landscape, it carries its own physical history. He hopes that the landscapes invite contemplation and deeper engagement. (Herbert, N, 2016)
I really like the ideas and concepts of his processes. The marks and ‘wear and tear’ on the paper are just as important than the drawing itself creating a juxtaposition between the paper surviving and the landscape surviving. I feel that exploring various medias with the surface, invites the viewer to come into contact with the piece and the physical reality of making the art is combined with the landscape as you see it.
Doig has a very figurative and conceptual essence to his painting. He combines both traditional methods and his own style in layering his landscapes, with which he creates ‘a world of tropic calm and underlying danger’.
Doig created paintings based on Le Corbusier’s post war derelict apartments. The new apartments in 1961, were considered the ideal living environment. Doig entered the derelict building and recorded the building that was surrounded by woods. The architecture of the buildings were lost and was intertwined with branches from the trees. His paintings reflected this exact scene and conceptually created the struggle for power over the foreground and background. His work reflects the fight between the natural elements, that are always growing larger, and the manmade creations that disintegrate over time. His work, ‘Concrete Cabin’ merges both nature and the building giving a sense of the inevitable power of nature.
^^^^^^ – I quite like this idea of manmade objects being overpowered by nature.
I believe it reflects the manmade world that we live in modern society and that nature will always come out on top and be able to adapt where as humans are very much stuck in the lives they have been given. I think I have gotten a stronger mindset of the importance of nature over time and since being in London and adapting to the fast pace of life. I have been watching a series called ‘Thailand’ and the way of life there is so different but man have been been able to live in harmony with their surroundings, nature and animals to benefit each species. I love this and I think it is sad how we are beginning to loose sight of what the world really is and eventually we, as humans, will destroy ourselves and our world.
Doig seems to tamper with the ideas of foreground and background playing with angles and creating large pieces of work. The clarity of his work creates this uneasy view of the foreground, creating a two dimensional piece that becomes a ‘sea of sickly colour’ to the viewer. (1994 Ski Jacket)
Doig also plays with perspective and the perception of how an image should be viewed. ‘Black Curtain’ shows alternative photographic methods, such as shooting a film through a telescope or taking numerous stills. The colours of ‘Black Curtain’ and the abstraction keep the viewer just out of reach of this island. (The culture trip, 2016)
His exploration between photography and film make me enquire whether this is something I would like to use as a preparatory stage for my drawings. To be able to notice other parts of a scene or drawing. I like that these two artists are exploring through ranges of media and layering but also creating work to make an illusion for the viewer. The process seems just as important as the final product… if not more.
I would like to experiment with photo joiners and working with various thickness of paper and testing the limits of media within the drawing process, picture making. Working at various scales is also important in grasping the viewers attention – something that I learnt when briefly researching Fiona Rae.
Presence – something that Hockney strives to capture. (Searle, A, 2012)
Virtue only works in Black and white and his choice of media’s are, white acrylic paint, black ink and shellac on canvas.
Landscape number 624 relates very much to the idea of a sketchbook walk.
This painting is influenced by various drawings that he had made on walks from every Thursday on the southern outskirts of town in exeter. The painting reflects his memory of the walks. The image is hard to read with the depth of monochrome colour and the denseness of foliage contrasting in reflections of the canal. Virtue’s choice to work only in black and white stops him from replicating past paintings and making links to his influences of Constable and others. He wants to make art that is relevant to the contemporary audience. By refusing to work in colour and combining a number of sketches to make one larger painting and working from memory, he never recreates direct transcripts of his subject. (Taylor, R, 2003)
This is a bit like what I have done for my sketchbook walk. I have used photographs and one continuous line to mark my walk, but I have also added to the drawing from memory. This adds a little more imaginative picture making into the drawing, of which I can also play around with scale and collage.
His works connect to a painting journey of pure mark making back to the figurative, rather than the traditional path from representation to abstraction. He shows a strong link between his emotions and his practice – quote: ‘an armature for the whole psychological area in me’. (Taylor, R, 2003)
^^^^^^^^^ Exhibition works of ‘The Sea’
I wanted to find out more about John Virtue’s ideas and process as an artist. I found a video on youtube about him discussing his series of works on ‘The Sea’.
The video was a discussion in the gallery which contained Virtues new work, with Art historian Andrew Graham Dixon.
Virtue was ‘lost’ as a young man and mentions that his own mother didn’t know who he was. He became a post-man which allowed him to have all afternoon to draw and focus on his art. Virtue said that he doesn’t see himself as linking to any tradition, and feels that it is something to work against. He would use his post round as a point of inspiration and opportunity to sketch. After finishing work he would go out and make more sketches which formed inspiration for his paintings.
Virtue emphasises the importance of simply walking. The key thing for him was to walk. He mentions that to make those walks are to make the work. Some people say ‘well it doesn’t look like the sea, or Nelson’s Column and thats because its my Nelson Column.’ His drawings/paintings are his personal interpretation of the landscape and he does not care if the viewer cant; see what he can see. He goes on to explain there is no such thing as a fixed view of a landscape. When he created pictures using the mosaic/cubist style he would question, what is the world? How do I see the world? His mosaics suggested that he saw it in 72 different views/images.
Walk and draw, walk and draw, as you walk you draw. This could be portrayed as his philosophy in his work. He explains whether its a linear walk on the sea, a circular walk around the city, drawing is a fantastic live way to deal with a specific time. Virtue would work over his mosaics. Dixon makes a comment on the similarities in Virtue’s work and Jackson Pollock’s work. Pollock talks about the fluidity and rhythm of his expression in his work. Pollock is nature. Dixon believes this is echoed in Virtues work.
Virtue considers the universe as energy, as motion, as something we can’t fix or contain or even photograph.
Virtue believes that colour is more in its absence than it is in its presence and his works are about trying to capture engr. rather than creating an appearance. He tries to capture movement rather than detail and these are the reasons he chooses to work in black and white only.
Dixon says ‘ I think essentialising colour in art is quite rare. Tuner’s late works use colour to capture the essence of light rather than focusing on colour itself.’
Virtues response is this ‘Turner’s work of the sea, is a complete abstraction from reality.’
Both talk about the sea being a powerful, metaphorical being that creates an essence of the ‘end’ and that it is able to put reality into perspective. Dixon asks whether Virtue feels he has been pulled towards the sea as a subject as he’s got older. He talks about the sea as a metaphor being everything and being nothing. Dixon relates to the paintings in how he feels that its on the edge, that something is about to absorb you. Virtue acknowledges his paintings as ‘ones position against the forces’. He talks about the paintings as a mirror. Dixon re-engages Pollock’s ideas of ‘I am nature’. Virtue agrees that this thought process is inevitable. That once you are fully engaged into a painting you are going to create a personal response.
The interview goes onto to discuss the change from his multiple, mosaic works to his now single images and whether virtue is still trying to convey the idea of a section of images, a process or a movement. Virtue excitedly reacts to his. ‘Why would I make an 8 and half mile walk for one picture that any artist could paint a realistic painting’. Throughout his life’s work this is how he has always made drawings and paintings, its a procedure he goes through to create his work. He goes onto say that he is influenced by everything and tries to always be influence by everything. He makes an important remark about his paintings. He never wants them to be seen as telling a story. He believes that visual things should be visual, an interesting thought as although he creates visual and magnificent paintings he is not concerned with it being a realistic painting. He considers himself as a maker of images, which relates to my interest in picture making. He exclaims that each walk and each drawing are a visual diary of his existence. Are his pictures linked to mortality? Is the sea the end? (Towner Art Gallery, 2017)
I seem to have created, sub-conciously, a re-occuring theme in my work that focuses on tone, using charcoal and black and white but also using marks to create a picture. After researching Jon Virtue, Peter Doig and Nicholas Herbert and developing my own visual and creative interests in quite keen to combine the urban with the rural, focusing on my own developmental passions, i.e. mark making, ink, biro and more. After my drawing of the garage and the light on top I was keen to explore this idea and took some photographs in central London at night. I also like the idea of combing my ‘drawing a day’ project using continuous line and contour drawing. I would also like to keep a prominent visual on varied scale, something I focused on in assignment 2.
Interesting to see how he sketches and then how the sketches inform the painting. The drawings are simple and organic, there is nothing ‘fussy’ about them. (Lesson 03 – John Virtue, 2014)
Nicholas Herbert. (2016) Chiltern Hills. At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/about.html (Accessed on 9 January 2017)
The culture Trip. (2016) Peter Doig: Revolutionising Landscape Painting. At: https://theculturetrip.com/caribbean/trinidad-tobago/articles/peter-doig-revolutionising-landscape-painting/ (Accessed on 10 January 2017)
Searle, A. The Guardian. (2012) David Hockney landscapes: The wold is not enough. At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/jan/16/david-hockney-landscapes (Accessed on 9 January 2017)
Taylor, R. Tate. (2003) John Virtue Landscape No 624. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/virtue-landscape-no-624-t07915 (Accessed 9 January 2017)
Towner art gallery. (2017) John Virtue: The sea. At: http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/john-virtue-north-sea-paintings-and-monotypes/ (Accessed on 11 January 2017)
Lesson 03 – John Virtue (2014) [Youtube]. WLC Art History. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbVLLnPX0Cg (Accessed on 11 January 2017)
I’m finding it hard to understand Winter’s concepts as an artist and there isn’t much information online about his practice. I will be looking for further information using other sources. However I would quite like to analyse some of his images of which I could explore at face value rather than trying to understand too deep into his conceptual meanings behind the image. Winter merges non-narrative organic abstraction and mathematics to form compositions that relate to space, architecture, life and identity. He juxtaposes geometric painting with more organic shapes. Although he has not completely abandoned the real world of objects he has turned his interest to spaces that are investigated by the likes of mathematicians, physicians and technical processes from digital technology. His interest in exploring space has led to installations with his painting and prints. He also explores colour and shape.
He composes his paintings with layers of images on top of each other. It is interesting to read that he uses grids and/or graphs (I suppose which link to mathematicians and physicians). This also links with other artist research that I have completed such as, Julie Mehretu. I have already been experimenting with drawing on graph paper from inspiration from Mehretu, so this could be something I explore further. It would add to more marks being made. It would also play with the idea of whether space is really space?! Something that I focused on for assignment 2, negative and positive space which works well with my varying scale. I would like to keep space and scale in the forefront of my thoughts and ideas whilst drawing and researching. With Winters range of marks, linking to the fact he has mathematics and physicist inspired marks which are then compared to more organic lines. I would like to explore the variety of marks to make in my drawings, exploring the comparisons between the architecture of the city and organic marks from plants.
He explains in his interview the area in which his studio is can be quite influential in his making process. He explains that moving to his new studio in a rural area has developed his ideas for his new work, where he can hear insects and watches the change in weather compared to the noise of the city.
The interviewer asks about a development from organic space to conceptual space, ‘or organic science to inorganic science as sources of metaphor’. (Artnet, 2017) Although Winter explains that this isn’t really the approach he has taken. His interest, he says, is in architecture, how form reflects ideas about life. This can be organic or not. He mentions about tension between a recognisable organic image and organising principle.
He also mentions about there being a development of ‘sciences of new spatial landscapes that are open to an investigation through painting’. (Princenthal, N. 2009)
He mentions the idea of the knot theory in his work. The google definition for the knot theory is ‘In topology, knot theory is the study of mathematical knots. While inspired by knots which appear in daily life in shoelaces and rope, a mathematician’s knot differs in that the ends are joined together so that it cannot be undone’.
He ultimately wants to create an image, a painting, a drawing that doesn’t focus on one idea and makes it difficult for the viewer to locate one meaning to the image.
How the paintings are made is important to him rather than the final image. He wanted to connect process and picture-making. This is something that I feel I can really relate to in my own practice and would like to understand further. I am still not fully understanding of his methods and processes. I think it would help to annotate some drawings and paintings of his work.
go and see Winters work at the Tate Britain – by appointment only
Fiona Rae’s work is full of restless energy, humour and complexity, which challenges and expands the modern conventions of painting. During the 1990’s Rae moved through the conventions of abstraction and modernism through the lens of movie and televisual culture. She quickly grasped changes in contemporary visual culture and pushed her painting practice into the present.
In 2000 Rae’s paintings began to associate a world linked to the computer screen – post-photoshop. Fonts, symbols, signs, typography appeared with graphic shapes acknowledging a new amalgamation of painterly languages.
In 2004 her glossary of work broadened which included small figures or cartoons whose status was left ‘intriguingly ambiguous’.
Abstract painting serves a metaphysical dimension which provides an empathetic point of identification for the viewer to evoke a more personal response.
She doesn’t mind how people look at her paintings and what they get from it. She says that she is happy if people even look at her paintings and if they have a response from it then thats great. I quite like this idea and the freedom for the viewer to connect with the painting of how they see fit. She loves painting and exploring the media continuously.
Video interview with artist Fiona Rae and Dan Perfect who share a studio building.
The thing that keeps Fiona Rae returning to the medium of painting is not creating a finished product but the act of painting itself. She enjoys the unpredictability of the exercise but also feels that it is a safe medium that nothing can go drastically wrong. By Rae painting, she is creating her response the world and the need to make a mark. She wants to challenge the tradition of painting. although she loves painting she believes her role is to extend, expand and challenge the notion of painting. She explains that in the mix of expressive mark making she might place something humorous or ludicrous to see what happens. It seems to me that she takes a light hearted approach to painting and she doesn’t get too protective over experimentation that might ‘breakdown’ the painting. She takes things from the outside world and finds a place for them in her painting. Her aims are to make something poetic but include stuff we see in our everyday world.
Dan explains ‘my sense of what it is to be a person in the world connects to the mark I am making.’ He mentions that all his drawings are improvised. He never knows where he is going with a drawing and he just ‘follows the line’. However his paintings are ‘extremely planned’ and can take up to months to complete whereas a drawing can take a less than a day. He likes that he is able to be 2 types of artists.
For both Rae and Perfect the scale of their paintings are important. They are as tall as a human figure and this is easily linked to the idea that you feel you can walk into the paintings, be part of their nature.
Fiona Rae statement from her Facebook page: ’Fiona Rae has developed a complex, powerful and highly individual body of work. Employing a battery of painterly marks, graphic signs and symbols, her paintings explore the profusion of our visual and material culture and take us on an exhilarating ride through the possibilities of paint. In recent work the mood is ambiguous – flowers, hearts and cartoon characters might imply a sweet, almost cloying world, yet Rae’s dark and brooding palette, combined with virtuoso washes and veils of paint, evoke dissolution and decay. The paintings seem to suggest the seductions, contradictions and disappointments of contemporary life and culture.’
The above extract has not been edited as it is the artist statement of her work.
David Salle works with collage and figurative picture making to create his large pieces of work. He works to overlap his imagery from various sources such as magazines, interior décor, and art history. The artist explains that he tries to get the fluidity and surprise of image connection in painting. He is an American painter, printmaker and photographer and combines all of these skills to create pieces of work.
He was invested in photography and objects. He would create collages, experiment with charcoal and use images of nudes and erotic poses to create drawings on canvas. He was also greatly influenced by film and would take stills to use in his drawings and paintings.
After looking at these artists and being inspired by others I have come across I would quite like to explore with collage and drawing. I completed some drawings from assignment 2 working with collage and layering media.
Artnet. (2017) Terry Winters. At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/terry-winters/ (Accessed on 9 January 2017)
Princenthal, N. Art in America. (2009) Interview: Terry Winters. At: http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/magazine/interview-terry-winters/ (Accessed on 9 January 2017)
Royal Academy. (2017) Fiona Rae. At: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/artist/fiona-rae-ra (Accessed 10 January 2017)
In the studio: Fiona Rae (2008) [Video clip, online] Tate. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/studio-fiona-rae (Accessed on 10 January 2017)
Painter, Painter: Dan Perfect, Fiona Rae (2014) [Video interview clip, online] Vimeo. At: https://vimeo.com/92024167 (Accessed on 9 January)
Rae, F. (2011) Fiona Rae – Artist. At: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fiona.Rae.artist/about/ (Accessed on 11 January 2017)
Guggenheim. (2017) David Salle. At: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/david-salle (Accessed on 10 January 2017)
Artnet. (2017) David Salle. At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/david-salle/ (accessed on 10 January 2017)