Assignment 3 final piece reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I have written a lot about my technical skills in my journal throughout this part of the course and the majority of the time discussed my disappointment with them. However, I finally felt that towards the end of this part I was successfully drawing technically and comparing what I was putting down on paper to what I was seeing in observation. During the latter exercises I was able to really get to grips with angles of buildings and this started to show more patience when I was drawing but also my improvement my technical skills. After being shown how to look for and record angles, I was then able to put them to paper successfully. In turn my visual awareness started to improve. I believe that this was mainly from attending the life drawing classes that helped me so much in seeing the comparison between one limb from another. I felt then I had developed transferable skills that I could use when drawing buildings, townscapes – observing the relationship between buildings from one another, the windows, the roofs etc. I honestly feel that my compositional skills are improving but I still have a long way to go in regards to a ‘traditional’ composition. However my work has been majorly influence by Julie Mehretu who’s work is based on layering and movement. This is something that I have focused on rather than a basic compositional approach. Despite the layering and movement in a piece I have still had to think about the position of each building, especially during the assignment piece as I have had to think about perspective and angles of buildings to demonstrate my understanding of composition.

Quality of outcome

As in assignment 2 I love developing my work and have started to get a feel for how the exercises work. I have been able to develop a theme throughout the exercises on this part of the course to then carry through with me for the assignment piece. My extensive artist research broadened my knowledge and content to develop my assignment piece effectively to reflect the preliminary work I had completed with the exercises. I felt that the overall quality of outcome was successful although I feel that I could have ‘polished’ the piece off with extra care taken over the marks made, though saying that I feel a lot of my work has been expressive and I wanted to convey a sense of movement, wether I could have done this in another way i’m not sure. The overall presentation I felt was carefully planned. I didn’t just want to draw on an A2 piece of paper I wanted to incorporate the surface with the idea of the piece, which I feel I creatively managed to do. In regards to my one point perspective (which was the initial idea for the piece) I think was absent and overlooked as I feel I was more focused on developing the layers and angles of the piece. I wanted the viewer to view the middle part of the drawing square on which would display depth in the piece with the angles moving into the centre point. This was lost, I feel, due to the amount of layers, but that doesn’t mean to say I don’t think the layers work – I’m quite pleased with the effect I was able to create.

Demonstration of creativity

I developed my creativity as far as time would allow me, unfortunately that wasn’t enough time. I am now planning to go for the November assessment and I am on a strict time scale. This slightly dampened the amount of imagination I could demonstrate however I feel that I have presented my creativity quite satisfyingly. I feel that at moments during the exercises I was losing a personal voice but I remember after my assignment 2 feedback that I was advised to use the exercises as a guidance (as I was struggling with the jump from exercise to excise with no link between to develop ideas). I think that I have been able to display a personal voice much more so during this assignment piece and develop my interests and successes. Selecting the exercises that I enjoyed and the ones I was successful with, combined with artist that I feel truly inspired me I was able to come to a conclusion about which aspects I wanted to include for my assignment piece. During the assignment I also decided to video elements of the piece to show how, as I was drawing, the movement I was creating and also to show the scale of the piece. I found that returning to my sketchbook during the assignment drawing helped me formulate my ideas and thoughts, when I was stuck. Also with the use of my journal and sketchbook I have been able to demonstrate the creative journey that I have taken through the exercises and assignment piece – showing each stage of my thoughts.

Context

I completed extensive reflective thinking throughout the exercises (more so in the latter ones) and during the assignment piece. This became an important process for me as I was able to see what was working and what needed further development. Using my journal enabled me to act on these thoughts and feelings about the piece, with times returning to my artist research and ideas of my own. I was able to select the research that interested me but also artists that would help me develop my own creative ideas to enable me to implement what I had planned to do. I completed considerable amount of artist research which ALL developed my ideas, whether it was ‘I don’t want that in my piece’ or ‘that is exactly how I would like for people to see my work’.

Overall I am really pleased with my piece but I unfortunately wish I had time as I feel that I could add more layers and explore further with transparency – maybe this is something I could work with for the next part of the course. I spent 9 hours on this assignment piece.
On one more further note – I think that my piece is missing colour. I have just gone through all my work to package up to send off and its missing parts of colour and almost, excitement! But I think my assignment piece brings that?!?!?! On reflection I think it would have been nice to add colour into the blocked out shapes.

Wednesday 24th May

25 drawings – blue prints to go along with the main drawing – the blue prints don’t seem to have a top or bottom to, they are simply marks and lines that have been layered so much they become an abstract scene of perspective.

I am concerned I do not have enough varied lines/mark making. I think if i just keep adding layers it will just be the same but more muddled which although I’m trying to create that sort of feeling in the piece I am not exploring the mark making and giving the viewer an differentiation between the individual drawings and then the piece as a whole – so after referring back to Julie Mehretu after being finished but not finished a light bulb was turned on and I had finally had my final idea

Wanting to explore/engage the opposite of what are building is – rigid – i wanted to smooth engage with the movement of marks and relate that to my city/townscape.

Exploring movement in the drawing would then cause a juxtaposition of a motionless building with movement in my line drawings

So my instruction to myself was GO BACK and…..

draw finer lines and explore fluidity in that way in-between the buildings of the city. as I had this thought I looked back at an image of Merhetu’s work and noticed that all her smaller mark making, the dots, the finer marks, the delicate circles were all integrated ‘between’ parts of buildings – well thats how I saw it – which gave me the idea that maybe by adding these smaller finer, more fluid marks capture the movement and the bustling of city whilst they are being contrasted to the rigidity of the architecture that is the city. the movement is captured in these smaller marks and lins.

I’ve also noticed that she really creates a sense of the depth – she also has a ‘back’ to her piece as if it was a 3d drawing, so maybe I can try and enhance my drawing the same way by connecting the finer lines and capturing the movement in my drawing!!!!!!!

So i returned to my drawing and then had another light bulb moment –

maybe the fluid marks and movement that i will be adding to the piece can relate to my idea of the juxtaposition between rural and urban, organic and manmade. the marks that I make will be that of organic matter but also simple marks that will grasp the feeling of movements in a busy city centre. movements of people, the wind, the cars, sounds everything that makes a city, a city. (i am thinking this will relate to the very first exercises i did, linked to emotion). This is a perfect link as I really wanted to use the juxtaposition between the two. So putting my drawing on hold, I will gather some visual information – photographs and sketches – to then use in my assignment piece. I may experiment with frottage and then i could sketch the smaller detail – as i was really enclosing on a particular part of a plant or flower and then use those patterns in my drawing.

Forttage and sketches in sketchbook

Assignment 3 – Planning & Development

So I decided to do a quick preliminary drawing of what I planned to do for my final piece. I managed to work out some ideas and problems to lead me to my final assignment piece. Whilst drawing the preliminary sketch (refer to loose drawing – labelled: preliminary drawing for assignment piece) I noticed that layering line drawings on top of each other meant that lines were crossing and started to make additional shapes that you would not have been created or noticed if I had not taken this approach. I decided to block a few of these shapes in using just a pencil. I felt this made a really interesting difference to the piece as your eye was drawn to it and it also highlighted the individual drawings and/or shapes more, as pencil is hard to see on charcoal, an effect I quite like as I don’t want the drawings to be too obvious. This then made me think of a link to an artist that I used to go to school with who now has a studio she paints from. Her work is usually based on blocking shapes out in the landscape.

Although I did not fully master it, I thoroughly enjoyed researching and trying to understand perspective, which is something I am desperately trying to incorporate and reflect in my assignment piece. I was also able to have fun with this piece after researching and understanding Mehertu’s work further. The key takeaways for me from looking into perspective that I have wanted to demonstrate in my piece were:

  • Varied scale
  • Layering of scaffolding on both the pencil and charcoal drawings
  • When drawing I am know giving more though to measured; shapes, lines, angles, repeated patters (e.g. windows) and scale.

Further ideas are as follows:

  • I could go out and do drawings of buildings on site and then go back to my desk to do larger scale versions. This could include adding tone to create depth and scaffolding may be used to piece the drawing together i.e. parts of the scaffolding leading onto parts of the drawing, creating perspective but also movement as your eye travels across the drawing.
  • Take time to think about the scale of each drawing then be able to fit together on to the larger drawing.
  • Simple line drawing which I can then add detail or tone too as I think adding tone into assignment piece was quite striking and I really liked the emphasis it gave to the concerns of the drawing.

Sunday 21st May

I went out at the weekend and took photos of more ‘exciting’ buildings in central London and now have a better selection to choose and draw from. Whilst taking the photos I was thinking of the different angles and scales that would subsequently be reflected in my drawing.

Whilst walking around the City and taking photos of/ documenting places and things to draw I was thinking about the background for my assignment piece. I had initially done clouds as the background of the preliminary sketch to incorporate movement into the piece but later thought that I had wanted to include trees as the background (after enjoying drawing trees with charcoal) to combine the urban and rural elements. However after walking around and properly observing the trees I feel like they need much more detail, given they are so delicate in their own right and would only get lost in the background. I feel that in a landscape the clouds completely transform a view/ a thought/ how a feeling of a place is and I think that this is more important in creating an essence for my art. Reaffirming my initial idea to use clouds as a background I questioned whether these should also be included in my line drawings. I feel like I should draw these ideas to get a true representation of what they may look like.

Monday 22nd May

When it comes to layering more drawings maybe I could include Photoshop images layered on top of each other for the scaffolding going through the drawing using photo transfer paper. I have attempted to do this using tracing paper but it is too strong and not transparent enough for these purposes. Photo transfer paper would offer a softer and more delicate addition to the piece. Update Wednesday 24th May – uncertain as to whether this will be possible in practice.

Wednesday 17th May

 

I have completed a couple of Photoshop experiments (see sketchbook for images) but feel this defeats the idea of drawing. I am contemplating whether I should trace the images or use them an inspiration for free hand. I feel I am getting too bogged down with what to do so I am just going to draw!

I started a piece/ idea with piece of charcoal as my background and simply layering drawings. As I was doing the pencil drawings I felt I was over thinking what to do next so thought it was best carry on with the process I was applying and knew that ideas would develop as I progressed with the piece.

IMG_8899

I found this approach was highly effective and throughout today I have now finally decided what I am doing for the assignment piece. I am excited to get going with this work but understand that it will take a significant amount of time and planning.

Tuesday 16th May – Start of Assignment 3

I have now started my preliminary drawings and generating ideas for my assignment 3 piece. As part of the planning process I have undertaken some further reading of ‘Drawing Now; Eight Propositions’ by Laura Hoptman. I learnt more about Julie Mehertu’s work as well as a new group of artists ‘Los Carpinteros’ (The Carpenters), whose group members are Alexandre Arrecha, Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodriguez. I was really impressed with their drawings, which emphasises the mediums applied-arts aspect that they use more for its social symbolism rather than its uses.

In their sculptural practice Los Carpinteros would use traditional, carpentry tools. Their works on paper are mostly buildings. The group also mixes architectural structures with furniture. They produce both finished drawings for their own sake but also ‘to-scale’ working drawings for theoretically constructible monuments and public buildings. Although their works are related to sculpture they are not just developed for that purpose, although I do quite like the idea it is linked to sculpture. Their wall line drawings are often embellished with 3D details that depict buildings, as big as buildings which often create meaningful links – banks, lighthouses, sniper bunkers and prison, all of which I perceive to have a story behind them. Their work is quite conceptual in its meaning. One piece depicts a prison as an enormous bureau stacked with human souls, which can be related to the architecture drawings of  Etienne-Louis Boullee and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Believing that architecture could literally shape its users’ lines these men dreamed of buildings whose design would clearly announce their purpose. This is another abstract view on architecture that made me read twice and could be another tangent to explore. For example a Library could take the form of an open book, a brothel or a phallus.

Upon further research into Etienne’s work it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. However, the work is abstract and layered, which are techniques I am keen to explore and include in assignment 3. It appears very ‘shape’ based.

I decided I need to get a deeper understanding of Mehretu’s work. She overlays images on the computer and her sources range from both chronological and geographical, superimposing airport plans over Palladian facades, weather maps over stadium seating charts. Using architectural diagrams as a kind of code, Mehretu creates recognisable but unidentifiable cities. I like the fact she draws/ is inspired by cities and actually quite like the idea of drawing on various charts. I did buy some graph paper to explore drawing similar to Mehertu’s technique. Actually, reading this section of the book again seems to make her processes more understanding and I can relate it to my work more. Mehertu is fascinated by transparency and she uses it to depict simultaneity and motion. Motion and movement is something I am keen to explore but is obviously hard to convey when drawing buildings so shall seek to incorporate this in another way, perhaps using the sky. This will be a different approach taken to a number of the typical architectural I have seen which are heavily focussed on heavy/ purposeful structural lines and rigidity in the drawings. I feel I need to analyse her drawings further to get a deeper and better understanding of her processes. I will also be looking at using other inspiration to create block shapes, such as the work of Etienne-Louis Boullee and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux further, as well as Georgina Towler (someone I went to school with and emailed her questions about her work). Exploring Photoshop further like I did for foreground, mid-ground and background drawing is something I anticipate doing.

Saturday 13th May – Giacometti Exhibition

During the weekend I decided it was time to make an art friend. I posted a message on the OCA email/ forum a few weeks back to see if any students wanted to view the Giacometti Exhibition. After receiving a few responses I created a Facebook mail group so we could all connect more easily. After exchanging some messages, a day was arranged for an art student and I to meet up and attend the exhibition at Tate Modern together. Dominique was the lady that I met and we got on incredibly well – we seemed to have so much in common and talked about art all day. We also discovered that sadly both our Dad’s had passed away from the same illness at the same age. Since that day we have not stopped talking about our worries and concerns as well as bouncing ideas off one another. We have also been sharing personal experiences and it has been absolutely amazing to find such a lovely person that I am able to share my passion (art).

Giacometti inspired us both and it was a great exhibition.

n05939_10

Drawing now – between the lines of contemporary art

I read this book (a while ago now, but only coming round to putting it on my blog) and made extensive notes on the topic that is discussed, something that I am so keen to understand, to be able to move forward in the art world.

I recently bought some of the ‘essential reading’ books for drawing 1, as when I started the course I was unsure if I really needed them all. I was so glad I bought them, especially ‘Drawing Now’. I made notes as I was reading the book and it has really got me thinking about what drawing is and actually (I never thought I would say this) but excited about drawing!!!!!

 Drawing Now

Preface – I got the feeling that the book would be about the processes and the understanding of various ways of drawing through movement and physical action. I feel that a lot other students on the course have amazing drawing skills to show and to be honest I find a lot of their blogs intimidating but is any of it going out of their comfort zone? Is it challenging the notion of drawing? Are they questioning what drawing is or are they simply ticking the boxes? (something I was advised not to try and do). Should we be challenging the notion of what drawing is? To be experimental? To be physical in the act of drawing? To go beyond what the course material is asking you to do.

 Introduction:

What familiar possibilities of drawing can be extended and challenged to encompass abstract and conceptual practices. ‘It quickly became clear what our (the authors of the book) main concern was. The subjective nature of drawing over objective, observed study’. This is something that I feel I fall into. To be able to challenge and explore the concept of marks, line, texture and tone rather than ‘labelling’ it as a drawing – which to me is a very scary word.

However ‘drawing now’ goes onto to repeatedly state that ‘it does not advocate any particular position on what drawing should or should not be but rather asks questions that might suggest further direction and investigation’.

The introduction in ‘drawing now’ asks ‘what do we mean by conceptual? Are conceptual drawings theoretical, abstract, intangible or ambiguous?’

It presents drawings/thoughts that go beyond the notion of what is deemed as ‘figurative’.

Instead of translating the visual appearance of something ‘drawing now’ emphasises the performative and the speculative (does this mean/relate the actual movement of making a mark/drawing).

Art can be seen as either a means to participate in an art crisis – (what else can a visual piece offer) or as a means to escape aesthetic boundaries. ‘Drawing is a primal means of symbolic communication’ – we have always used drawing to explain and further our understanding of art as a language. An ongoing debate in drawing is that of the nature of drawing – it’s systems and methods.

Dumb line – Petherbridge

Drawing is a ‘primary means of symbolic communication’. It sits between the metaphysical and physical and/or relates to thought and perception. However since drawing refers to both the objective and subjective it can be confusing.

This book (drawing now) treats the subjective nature of drawing as primary and relates it to the objective nature rather than inserting the subjective. Is it impossible to not ask the question what is a drawing when talking about either the subjective or objective.

The properties in making a mark can change with its making which are central to an argument for subjective and conceptual drawing.

Jacques Derrida’s contradictory metaphor of blindness disturbs the assumption that drawing must provide evidence of observation. This idea is something that is at the centre of Derrida’s discussion which addresses the abstract dimensions of drawing and also ‘the way in which we, as drawers, engage with the world’.

Can you actually draw without memory? Without reflective process? Without some of your own interpretation? Consider the act of drawing itself. Contradicting between the will to imitate.

Derrida focuses on the contradiction between seeing and sight. If we deny sight as a means of reference we can only access understanding  when making the mark. This is the hypothesis of sight – something that the book refers to later on.

Playing with appearance

John Berger distinguishes between 3 types of drawing:

  1. Observation
  2. Communicating ideas
  3. Memory

‘each drawing speaks in a different tense’ which requires a ‘different capacity for imagination’.

The idea that he refers to ‘tenses’ when talking of drawing, he implies that drawing is a verb (the act of doing something). In addressing the action of drawing he demonstrates that ideas and memory are impossible to not have without at least having the memory of observation.

Going into the tenses – he mentions about:

  • the present tense – drawing from observation
  • past and memory – reference
  • future/ what is absent – projection

Drawing plays with appearance – controlling/ being controlled/ seeing/ thinking/ remembering/ imagining as the image emerges.

It continuously shifts itself in the course of its making. E.g. a child who draws a table with 4 legs splayed out shows their understanding of a table needing 4 legs for it to function which is more important than its appearance.

Newman – discusses drawing as a ‘theatre of gesture’. He promotes a focus on drawing as a process. ‘Drawing now’ abandons the idea of appearance and instead presents the experience of something. We focus on drawing the invisible, the ‘unseen’.

The thought of drawing

Petherbridge questions – in what sense can drawing be conceptual? – he mentions ‘reduction’ drawing. Reduction occurs during the analytical process of looking that takes place in objective drawing when objects are reduced to non-existent lines.

Sol Lewitt says that the process of conception and the process of visualisation are of equal importance. Lewis makes the distinction that the idea (the components) implicate the concept (the general direction).

Conceptual thinking in drawing promotes an inability to define.

The book goes onto discuss concept in art and that it must be discussed verbally to go on and find out a meaning or definition of a piece, and for it to form into a recognisable thing. When looking at a drawing, indicating the inference by all things not said but expressed in other ways.  References may have ‘senses’ indicated by the way they are expressed through drawing.

George Miller – in making sense of an image we construct various ideas to make sense of the possible meanings.

The process of representation by concept and imagination are discussed by Immanuel Kent. He distinguishes between understanding and imagining what is demonstrable and what is not. He clarifies between 2 ideas of conceptual drawing: 1. rational ideas and 2. aesthetic ideas.

Rational ideas – elements that form an understanding of something objective so that the concept is graspable.

Aesthetic ideas – representation of the imagination without it being definitive of anything. It is subjective. An aesthetic idea is more visceral (relating to a deep inward feeling rather than intellect) than visual.

John Willats – distinguishes between elements in a drawing e.g. lines within a drawing and the marks made – the way in which they are drawn, their capacity to be expressive, their ‘sound’. Physical engagement with the drawing process moves away from depiction to something that is too complex to understand.

Hypothesis of sight (reflection?)

Without representation, which requires definition of some sort, experience remains continuous – I like the idea of an un-finished article?!

Derrida’s act of drawing utilises physical operations as analogies (comparison between things): the movement of the hand, touching the paper and drawing the line. Play on associations of the uses between the hand to work in harmony with the eye.

Juliet McDonald – visually illustrates the use of the hand in the process of drawing.

The book keeps talking about memory quite a lot and i’m not sure if I am able to quite grasp the idea of it – at the moment at which the pencil makes contact with the paper we cannot see what is going to emerge and yet that pencil anticipates what is to come.

Brien demonstrates a complete self-absorption, that the process of drawing is an extreme immersion in reaction and anticipation. Her description of her works confirms that the performative process of drawing is liminal, moving between conscious decision and unconscious compulsion. Brien spends as much time removing lines as she does replacing them. She also suggests that the ‘removal marks’ add another kind of mark in the making of her drawings. The physical act of drawing touches on the difference between what is seen and what is conceived. Before Brien starts a drawing she has an idea of what she wants but she avoids being too restrictive and as she draws she adapts to what is working and what is not. Her ‘ideas’ are movements and qualities not definitive things. She is driven by what happens on paper and feels that at times she is not the one in control. This links the idea of drawing blind and the mechanics of thinking.

Performative drawing – changing in its own terms, as it performs itself.

Drawings collated in this book focus on what is happening, what is being felt and what is being thought. Drawing here is an active and imaginative performance, a place of demonstrative production.

Drawing is first performative and second a product to demonstrate a visual appearance. The collections of drawings in the book emphasise what drawing is (its physical nature) and the way it conceives ideas (thinks).

Kant attempts to differentiate 2 processes of drawing: 1. demonstrate the drawer’s immersion in the activity of drawing and in turn, typically performative 2. demonstrates a rational application of the imaginary

Drawing hypothesis: it demonstrates oppositional conditions and proposes concepts that are neither proved or disproved, true to false.

(Hypothesis drawings definition contradictory).

Figurative – drawing here recollects the experience of sensations other than vision – Emin/Schneider

Appears to tell a story, that is clearly not of this world – Woodfine

Plays cognitive games – Cambre

When delineating space in recognisble form using simple, unpretentious, gestural line. Dumb line – playful and humourous – Shrigley/Evans/Jeff Gabel

When the line becomes obsessive, it challenges the premise of drawings flatness as illusion of space and is made real – Mckenzie/Locke/Bowlby

The book explains drawing as a representation of experience rather than appearance and in this sense disregards perception.

Artist’s from the book that I find interesting:

  • Julie Brixey-Williams (performed drawings)
  • Mary Clare Foa
  • Hewitt & Jordan
  • Benoit Jacques
  • James Madden
  • Jordan Mckenzie
  • Ming-hui Chen
  • Anne-Marie Schneider
  • Barthelemy Toguo