Still life in tone using colour

For this exercise I have chosen to draw a few of my favourite items using A3 paper and Faber Castell pencils. I have done two pictures, one in colours that match the colours of the items and the other in purple, navy and turquoise. I took my time with the first picture trying to get in the detail as well, but I have coloured in quickly with the 3 pencils and have used the hatching technique to build up colour. I have used different paper and the surface of the wooden table I was leaning on to create different texture effects when colouring in over them.

I like how when using the 3 colours I have had to concentrate on the image more to pick out the tone, and using the tone to emphasise shaded areas has also helped to bring items out.



Positive and negative space in contemporary art

So basically the positive space is the main focus of a picture, while negative space refers to the background. I have googled positive and negative space in contemporary art, I came across some work by Tang Yau Hoong a visual artist, graphic designer and illustrator. I really liked his fascinating negative space ideas, especially the “In Nostalgic Mood” & “Dawn” (see below)

I love the idea of there’s almost a hidden image when using the positive and negative space concept, as if looking once would not be enough to see everything that is going on in the picture.

I have then come across the work of artist Nikolai Tolstyh (see below) on pinterest. He cuts out intricate animal silhouettes and uses natural landscapes for the positive area, then photographs them. The negative space of the white paper has become the important element creating the object when it is placed over the backdrop. Its a simple but really effective idea. I’m quite partial to the flamingo he has done!

Research – Still Life Genre

I started my research on Still Life at first by accident as I had taken a trip to The National Gallery the week before, during this trip I came across some paintings by the Dutch artist Jans Jansz Treck (see paintings below) I was drawn to the detail and the strange objects he used as part of his still life paintings.  I also looked online further at other Dutch artists paintings such as Willem Kalf, Jan Davidsz de Heem and Pieter Claesz. Still Life painting was a particularly popular subject type during the 16th and 17th century in the Netherlands with the term ‘Still Life’ deriving from the Dutch word ‘Stilleven’. It would seem the Dutch artists were big on symbolic meaning with their paintings reflecting on lifestyles and current issues of that time.

With the 19th century came impressionism and from this post impressionism with artists like Paul Cezanne & Van Gogh painting their still life’s exploring colour and personal feeling. The vivid colours and varied brushstrokes create texture on this still life by Van Gogh (See below)

Then came about Cubism, and studying on from Cézanne’s work artists developed a new way of painting by rejecting illusionistic systems of using perspective, foreshortening and modelling seen in the renaissance era and came up with art as an objective reality. They used multiple viewpoints and fragmented geometric shapes, colour and light source a more subjective element. Traditional brush and paints were being abandoned for salvaged materials like wallpaper, playing cards, sheet music, wood, metal and string and subject matter was influenced by the world of Cafe and music. Below is a still life painting of a Jug, candle and enamel pan by Pablo Picasso.

With contemporary still life art, I feel as if it’s not too much different from early still life’s in a way that subject matter is symbolic and represents current issues, I found an interesting article on the Guardian online of The 10 best contemporary ‘Still Life’s’ and even though materials have changed in regards with technology such as video and photographs I feel artists still want to convey a message through their still life artwork.
I liked this work (see below) by Ori Gersht, it is a photograph taken in 1/6,000 of a second to capture this flower arrangement still life exploding.

Movements in Painting by Patricia Fride-Carrassat & Isabelle Marcade


Assignment 1 – Reworked

After receiving feedback from Assignment 1 I decided to rework my final piece! I took on board my tutors comments and did my drawing vertical and on A2 paper. I  decided to draw a different reflection in the mirror, I went with the mirror reflecting on me and used pencils to colour just the reflection in. I still used the biro as I liked how it looked with all the different mark-making. I’m not too sure why I decided to colour in the centre and nothing else? perhaps I wanted to show the importance of not being materialistic and finding true worth in yourself?!


A Trip to the National Gallery in London

So I took a trip to the national gallery in London this week with a friend, there were a few exhibitions on and its a gallery I had been meaning to visit for a while! The exhibitions were the 14th century works of Giovanni da Rimini, Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic and the 17th century works of Rubens and Rembrandt. I must say I really enjoyed the Chris Ofili exhibition, he had some beautiful watercolour pieces inspired by mythology and the stories and colours of the Trinidadian landscape. There was a huge hand-woven dovecot tapestry based on his design, which was impressive.

I also had a look at some still life’s just to get some ideas and inspiration for part 2 of my course. I liked the still life’s by Jan Jansz, the reflection work is great and the items chosen are interesting perhaps symbolic also, which could be an idea I could work with? I also looked at the material in his paintings, how he captures the folds and shadow.

I then took a look at some impressionism works, I really loved the beautiful vibrant colours and mark making of Van Gogh and his ‘Two Crabs’ a painting id never actually seen of his before! I liked this one so much I decided on getting a postcard souvenir, a ritual I have started to do whenever I visit a gallery!

I also enjoyed the following paintings by Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet.

I looked more into colour and mark making in the following works of Odilon Redon and Georges Seurat. I really love the pastel colours of Redon’s and the small dot marks of Seurat’s beach scene works really well.

Hopefully I can take on board the bold use of colour, mark-making and interesting still life’s I have seen! Favourite artwork from this trip had to be the ‘Two Crabs’!

Assignment 1


For this assignment I have chosen to draw a mirror and some items of makeup in biro. I guess I chose these objects because its part of a daily routine of putting on a face. I wouldn’t say its an interest but more of a habitual thing that I do? I like how the mirror has items in its reflection, showing my brushes in a pot, plates and a money pot house. It perhaps shows another side to me that others don’t really know? That im homely, like cooking and have an interest in art.
I’m not entirely happy with how the mirror has turned out and this is a risk you take when drawing in pen as you can’t erase it, you sort of have to go with the mistakes and work with them. I do also like how the pen looks on the white paper which is why I decided to not use the brown paper.
I think I have started to take more care to capture reflections of light to give my objects a more rounded and real look. I still want to work on my tone use, especially when using one colour.

demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques,observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills
I think I have tried to take on board techniques given in this course, for example the hatching technique and squinting at objects to capture tone which was quite useful. The items I have chosen are varied in shape and so create an interesting set up. My materials are perhaps a little basic though and I realise there is quite a lot of empty space on the paper so not the best composition?

Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualism of thought and communication of ideas I’m quite happy with the outcome of my work considering I was using pen and couldn’t go back and change things but I guess im not entirely satisfied and feel there is always room for improvement. I think my presentation and knowledge is starting to get there? Im pleased to have set up my blog in WordPress. I think I have managed to convey what my picture means and the concept behind the items I have chosen.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of personal voice I think my ideas are starting to get there but i need to work more on experimentation of materials. I also don’t know whether I do have a personal voice? Hoping this will develop the more I go through the course?

Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning logs and at 2nd and 3rd level, critical reviews and essays) My learning logs have explained what I have done for the exercise and then questioned whether I have done it well or not? I think the log will provide me with some good ideas and information I can go back to. I have done some research work with Odilon Redon which I actually really enjoyed doing but I havent put into practise the Harvard system of referencing just yet. I think im still learning how to self analyze and how to communicate myself through artwork and my blog.

Assignment 1 Feedback

Reflection on feedback
I was really excited and interested to receive my feedback from my tutor and I feel as if the comments made were really fair and gave me some great pointers for the next part of my course and for the adjustment of the assignment piece I have just done.
I was happy to read that my reflective writing is doing well as I didn’t think I was particularly good at this? I am also looking forward to researching the artists my tutor has chosen for me! I hope to try to use my sketchbooks a lot more as suggested and to try to use them as a visual diary for any ideas that spring to mind! I must also get into the habit of practising in them as commented before I do a final piece as this will help with any composition trials I have, but this is down to an impatient habit of mine of wanting to just get stuck in to a project!

Exercise 4 Shadows and reflected light


I have used a teapot and a cocktail shaker drawing on A2 paper and using charcoal sticks and a putty rubber. I found this task quite hard especially when adding detail with the charcoal stick. I have used the charcoal on its side to get mid tones and then more bolder line marks for the darker tones, then removing areas with the putty rubber to create reflected light. I think the charcoal worked well to create the shiny appearance of the stainless steel cocktail shaker but it was harder to get the ceramic teapot right.