Day 16: Ink Splatters and Charcoal

Finally, today is the day I finished my big drawing! Four weeks in the making and here are the results:

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End Result

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Right hand side – Close up of skull

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Left hand side – Close up of sculptures

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All 5 finished pieces – Plan in upper left hand corner

It changed quite a bit today and to help us work out what was needed to do, we began by drawing our drawing as a sort of plan. This allowed us to clearly see what we had left to do and what needed to be altered. I began by adding a few more of the plaster structures into my drawing to fill out and unify the blank spaces. I feel even the simple addition of these extra structures helped bring the whole image together.

Next I outlined and accentuated some features using a dry carbon stick. By now I had moved beyond the stage of being in any way precious with the drawing and so was just interested in experimenting with new mediums. I have a sketching set with lots of different dry mediums so I wanted to try and test them all out. After adding the darker elements of the drawing I began smudging and blending it in so it didn’t appear as stark by adding water to the image.

Then I moved back to using white ink to add more plaster to the floor. I ended up doing a bit mad with it in the end and was splashing ink all over the painting by the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this element 😀 . I felt I was done after this but, at the same time, it still didn’t look finished. This is when I decided to leave the drawing and go for lunch – hoping to be able to think much clearer about it after having cleared my head with food.

When I came back I got straight back to work using the dry carbon stick and a dry sanguine oil stick to outline and emphasize some elements of the drawing. I then added some more water to blend and smooth out the sharp lines. I feel this really finished off the drawing and brought all the different elements together. I quite like the end result but it’s not my usual style at all. I have never before done anything like this or anything on this scale for that matter.

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Critiquing Rodin

The critical studies assignment for this week was to write a 100 word critique of one of the pieces we had discussed in the lesson that day. As I have said in an earlier post (Day 12: Illustrator and Controversy), the pieces we were shown were;

  • Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863) by Édouard Manet
  • A Pair of Shoes (1885) by Vincent Van Gogh
  • The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch
  • The Kiss (1887) by Auguste Rodin
  • Joy of Life (1905) by Henri Matisse
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso

I have chosen to write my critique on The Kiss (1887) by Auguste Rodin.

The Kiss 1901-4 by Auguste Rodin 1840-1917

The Kiss (1887) by Auguste Rodin

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Close up of ‘The Kiss’

I particularly like this piece by Rodin as it is very intimate and different from previous sculptors’ work. Most sculptures of the time were very open and concerned with physical perfection. This, however, is a very intimate piece which isn’t concerned with what the viewer sees and feels. To me this is a very emotional and passionate marble sculpture as the couple are seen to be too ‘caught up in the moment’ to be concerned or care about how they appear to the public. It is full of life and energy and is very visually pleasing to me even though that isn’t what it sets out to be.  fantastic example of an early expressionist sculptor’s work.

However, at the time this piece was seen as quite controversial due to the truly erotic nature of the piece. The fact that neither participant seems to care how they appear shows how passionate the piece really is. Their erotic feelings and urges have taken over and they are now only concerned with pleasing each other. The fact that the woman appears to be an equal participant in all this also created some controversy. Women were meant to be demure beings who were gently wooed and courted by men but this piece shows the woman as an equal player in this erotic scene.

Alright, I know that was more than 100 words but you get the message. Rodin’s piece is a fantastic example of an early expressionist sculpture which manages to retain it’s beauty even though it was met with controversy when it was first revealed.

Day 15: Ceramics and Mess

Today was a really fun day – we were in the ceramics room!

We began the day by making two pinch pots – basically make a nice round ball, stick your thumb in and pinch around the hole to stretch it into a little bowl shape. After making our two bowl shapes, we were told to stick them together to make a sort of egg shape and smooth them down. I found this bit quite relaxing and my OCD was happy to – making everything nice and smooth and perfect.

After making our little eggs we were told to create little abstract forms out of them using anything we wanted. The first piece I made I kept fairly simple and just used a piece of wood to make an indentation which spiralled up the length of the egg shape. I then used a marble to gently create another indentation at the top of the object. I was quite happy with this because of its simplicity, smooth curves and elegance. I hadn’t even noticed that I’d accidentally made a Glade plug in air freshener type shape until Gwen pointed it out 🙂

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First Attempt – Glade Air Freshener

My next object was a bit smaller and slightly more intricate in the fact that I made more indentations and curves in it. I think this one reminds me a bit of some sort of shell. This time I used a round tube to create gentler grooves in the side of the object and I again used the marble. I began with one circular indentation but didn’t think this was enough so I stretched the shape a bit to create a bigger and more rounded dent and then used the marble again to create a smaller dip.

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Second Piece – More Shell-like

My third object was around the same size again and, in my opinion, looks a bit like an ancient fossil. I think it is the patterned circles that give it this feel – like the indentations an ancient sea creature’s shell makes in rocks and fossils. I like this one as it deviates completely from the usual egg shape. I think this one took me the longest as it was difficult to get the shape exactly as I wanted it and get the point just right. Since the marble was being used by someone else, I decided to use this thing (I have no idea what it was) which had a nicely textured end. The indentations it left were really quite interesting to me so I made another on the other side – a bit like a mirror image.

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Third object – Fossil-ish

After lunch, we then began to make some paper clay which is a mixture of clay, water and some soft paper (in our case, toilet paper). This was a very messy process and required one person to get their hands in the bowl and squeeze the clay, water and paper mixture together to try and bond them all together whilst the other ripped up the paper and added it into the mix. Guess which job I got 😀 . The texture we were aiming for was that of thick custard and, although it took some time, we got there eventually. After creating this slop we were told to blow up a balloon, get some string and dip it in the mix before then wrapping the string around the balloon. Paper clay is much stronger than usual clay so we were able to create much more delicate items. I may have taken the word delicate a bit too far though as mine looks very fragile. I have no idea how it will turn out yet so I will have to keep you posted on that front…

Day 14: Editing and Insanity

Today I continued with my video project which we were set last week. I began to piece together the photos and videos I had collected of the Cubs and began editing them into a more polished and fine tuned video. I still haven’t finished the full 90 seconds though so I will need to continue with it next Wednesday during my independent study day. I have completed a minute’s worth of footage so I don’t have much left to do. Once I have finished I will upload the video onto this site as well as onto youtube.

After college it was time for me to try and handle the Cubs again. This week we were doing an inside session where we played North, East, South, West and with the parachute with them. This allowed me to take more photos of the Cubs for my video so there will be more variety. I have also come to the conclusion that the new Cubs, as well as the older ones, are actually insane. It’s so much fun leading the sessions with them but I do think that they are all wonderfully insane. That’s kids for you 😀

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Pack Pack Pack

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North, East, South, West

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Parachute Games

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Cat and Mouse

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This is them being ‘Normal’

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A ‘Normal’ Leader

Day 13: Text and More Text

Today I was back in front of a computer trying to finish off my typography portrait. It took me all morning to finish the piece which is much less than I was expecting it to take. Here is the result of the project I started yesterday during our mac room session:

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Final typography version

As you can see, I did a lot more today. Whilst some people decided to type gibberish to achieve their pieces, I decided to type the actual word over and over again, e.g. hair-hair-… I feel that the end result is very effective and I really like how it looks as a whole. I feel this technique is really quite effective at creating a finished piece. I think that the shading on the hair was a particular success.

With this final piece I then began to experiment with different mediums and colour in my sketchbook. I made a multicoloured pen, oil pastel and ‘faux punk’ version.

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Multicoloured pen version with shading

This is the pen version which I kinda like because of all the layers from the different colours but I also think I went too far by shading the face as well. Ah well . . .

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Demonic oil pastel version

This is the oil pastel version which makes me look like I’m a satanic demon or something straight out of Supernatural. But again, I quite like how I’ve done the hair in this version.

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Faux punk collage version

This is a collage and pen (and a lot of glue) version of my typography portrait. I have worked on top of the image to create a more textured feel. I think the end result is quite effective and I particularly like the colour scheme – black, white and pink. This overall effect reminds me a bit of a punk album cover like something from The Clash. I think the addition of the safety pins really completes the piece and the mock punk effect.

Day 12: Illustrator and Controversy

Tuesday we were back in the mac room but this time we were getting to grips with the program Illustrator. I think I prefer this piece of software over Photoshop. I feel it’s much easier to use and you can do more with it. Anyway, after being introduced to the basics we were then told to create a typography portrait of ourselves. I found this quite relaxing as it was a nice repetitive thing to do. Some might call it boring but I enjoyed the calm nature of it. I began on my right (as you look at it) eye but wasn’t able to do much for that day – eye, nose and half the mouth.

After our session with Natalie, it was time for our critical studies lesson. We began by looking and commenting on everyone’s pieces they did for homework last week – Geometry with Dame Hepworth. Next we began to look at pieces of art that are considered very important now but were fairly controversial at the time they were made. The pieces we looked at were:

  • Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863) by Édouard Manet
  • A Pair of Shoes (1885) by Vincent Van Gogh
  • The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch
  • The Kiss (1887) by Auguste Rodin
  • Joy of Life (1905) by Henri Matisse
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso

I was quite surprised to learn that some of these pieces were actually controversial at some point, particularly something like Van Gogh’s A Pair of Shoes which, to modern audiences, appear to be just a pair of tatty shoes. Paintings of the time were typically of biblical of mythological subjects and were for the rich to enjoy. For Van Gogh to draw attention and paint the working classes would have been totally new and unusual for the time. I quite like the raw nature of this painting as it manages to successfully capture the mood and atmosphere of the labourers situation and this allows us to empathize with the subject. Having seen this piece and others like The Potato Eaters (1885) in person at the Van Gogh Museum makes them all the more poignant to me. Seeing an image of them and seeing them in person are two completely different things – you can appreciate the piece much more if you see it right in front of you.

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A Pair of Shoes (1885) – Vincent Van Gogh

We were told to sketch the pieces we were shown which I then worked upon when I got home. I think my favourite was my version of The Scream. I used chalk pastels which I hadn’t really used before but I like the results of my work.

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The Scream (1893) – Edvard Munch – Done in chalk pastels.

Day 11: Monochrome and Plaster Sculptues

Week 3 of college and we’re back in the main studio working on our large drawings of the skulls and podiums again. However, by now the space has changed a lot since we first started them. On Friday the other group began making large plaster models which meant that now the space was littered with their models and plaster splatters all over the floor. This made for a much more interesting space but I found this slightly difficult to create as I was still trying to make the two images into one.

We used more mediums in our drawings including black and white ink and black and white acrylic paint. This allowed us to create different tones and ‘textures’ (I know textures isn’t the right word but it’s the best I can think of. I might actually remember the word in a bit.) in our images. I enjoyed using the acrylic paint as it allowed me to cover up the layers beneath that I didn’t want to show through any more.

I was able to make the image into a fairly unified whole last week but with the addition of the sculptures to one half and not the other, the piece no longer worked. I’m not quite sure how to resolve this so I will try to think about it over the weekend and come back to it with new ideas on Monday.

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Results at the end of the day

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New Sculptures

Geometry with Dame Hepworth

This is my second critical studies assignment and is meant to help us assess the aesthetics of something. We are to write 100 words of an appreciation of any artists work.
Following last Friday’s session with Miranda (Day 5: Paper and Metal), I decided to base my critical studies assignment on one of Dame Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures. I chose Squares with Two Circles as I felt it was the most striking, interesting and aesthetically pleasing piece to me.
This is a very simple and minimalist piece which consists of a smaller rectangle acting as a base and two larger squares on top with a circular hole cut out of each square. It is a cast bronze piece so consists of a lot of green and brown tones with the top square being lighter than the rest. This is a slightly asymmetrical design which is very appealing to the eye.
The piece as a whole reminds me of simple and minimalist architecture with very clean and simple lines. It also has a very modern feel to it because of this even though it was created in 1963. It was an early abstract piece so would have been seen as a very different and contemporary piece for the time and still carries this feel today.
Dame Hepworth wanted her work to interact with the landscape and its surroundings which I feel it does very well. The circular holes are what she termed

“… the viewers sense of participation in the form… “

I feel the sculpture fits in well with the landscape – it is not too imposing and artificial but neither does it blend into the background. I feel that Hepworth’s sculpture has succeeded in its purpose and creates a very visually pleasing abstract piece of art.

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Squares with Two Circles – Dame Barbara Hepworth

Day 10: Life Drawing and Sheep

Friday was certainly a different but very interesting day at the office. We began the day LIFE DRAWING! I had never before done anything like this so it was definitely a new experience.

We were initially told to do some quick one minute sketches as well as a few 2 minute sketches, two 90 second images done using ink and a stick and one 4 minute drawing.

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1 minute pencil sketch

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90 second stick and ink sketch

After completing these 9 ‘warm up’ drawings, we then had about an hour and a half to complete one larger image.

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Completed long pose sketch

I really like how I drew Jan (the model)’s face in this sketch but I also quite like some of the 1 minute drawings I did.

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Close up of Jan’s face

After lunch we were given photocopies of some of our drawings and told to work on top of them. I began by simply outlining and shading some select areas with 4 different coloured pens. I really like how this initial image turned out so I had another copy made to preserve this version whilst still being able to work on top of it.

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Initial pen sketch

I think I actually prefer the second version as the numerous layers of different colours really adds depth and dimension to the overall image. I ended up using 8 different pen colours to create this final image.

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Final pen version

The colours create a surreal but very interesting and abstract image. Even Mari (my sister) said that she liked it!

After college, my friend Luke and I decided to go to the reservoir near Llangefni to sketch for a bit. I enjoyed the walk but I couldn’t really decide what to sketch as I don’t really like doing landscapes. I began to wonder around looking for inspiration and found it in the field behind me which was full of sheep. I’ve never sketched any sheep before beyond the cloud-like cartoon version so this was also a new experience for me. Some sketches were much more successful than others but, on the whole, it’s not a bad page in my sketchbook.

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Baa – A Study of Sheep

Day 9: Cubs and Videos

Today began by watching the film ‘Separado’ by Gruff Rhys to get a general idea of the project we would be doing for the next 2 weeks:

Tell a 90 second story about yourself on Premiere. To include stills, moving images and text.

At first I had no idea what I would base my little film on so I began thinking about things that were important to me. It just so happens that I was actually wearing my Cubs uniform that day – I am an assistant leader at my local Cubs pack and would be going straight there from college so I wouldn’t have had time to change. Anyway, this inspired me to base my film on my time volunteering in Cubs as it has been an important part of my life since I was 13.

For the rest of the morning and beginning of the afternoon I began to storyboard my ideas and plan out how I wanted my video to go. I was able to work out how long each clip would need to be and the general order of the video. For the rest of the afternoon I did a large A1 painting of the Cub salute which I may feature in my main video. The main reason I did this was actually to help me experiment with colours.

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Dib Dib Dib

I kept within the same colour family to make a more complimentary and visually pleasing image. I quite like the end result as it is completely different to my usual style.

That evening I began to piece together some of the things I needed for my film. I took some photos of the Cubs and a few videos as well. I still haven’t got all the clips and photos that I need so I will continue next Thursday as well. I did, however, get the permission of the parents to include their child in the film so at least I achieved one thing.

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Pack! Pack! Pack!

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French Cricket

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Wink Murder

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Looks like a cult but it’s still Wink Murder