We were bidden to collect a couple of things with which we are able to connect emotionally, then arrange them to create interesting forms and lines and draw them bearing in mind using our experiments in gesture / texture.
I picked a couple of objects one by one: first a log – as a gesture of protest against all these small things – besides wood and timber means a lot to me: working wood is a way to connect to myself and at the same time to many people which mean a lot to me. The log is a object waiting be worked on.
Next a piece (of wood) I made some time ago representing sand ripples on a beach which makes me think of happy times as a child abandoning myself amongst the rocks and things at the shore.
The third item I chose was a money-plant in a flowerpot, as I thought I needed something round (and big). The irony being that I do not particularly like that kind of plant – rather on the contrary.
I picked a fourth object as I felt I had to complement these three items to form a coherent whole – the set up seemed to be still too empty. I experimented with a variety of objects, e.g. a chainsaw (even accompanied by an axe): the result struck me as too “woody”, more suited as an illustration for a manual for woodcutters. Next thought was to complement the “big” round object (the money-plant) with a smallish, roundish thing: either a small, semi-abstract sculpture I have, or a segment of an iron-wood tree. I finally picked a plaster cast of the face of a young woman: the face despite its closed eyes seemed to me to give an immediate interest to the drawing.
The task now was to find a good composition of the chosen elements. I started with the idea of an opposition with between my two roundish things and to use the other objects to provide interesting, guiding lines. The two opponents were to be drawn in contrasting styles, the face rather delicate and fine to convey the feeling of perhaps calm melancholy, and the plant in contrast more violent, perhaps even aggressive. I hoped to get thereby ample opportunity to use tone in modeling my three-dimensional object and to employ a variety of tools and media.
Initial sketches confirmed my suspicion of the role of the face, in that it provides a powerful attractor of attention, with the eyes setting up an important line or direction even though they are closed. The fact that the eyes of the face are closed added for even to its interest. However the initial set up seemed to me too boring, somewhat too symmetric perhaps.
So I changed the setup again and made another initial sketch.
My reaction was as follows:
- the top left seemed to me too empty, leading to an unbalanced composition
- I felt unsure of the success of combining ink/brush with charcoal: the two elements seemed to fall apart.
- the use of dots to indicate shading e.g. on the nose of the face looked ugly
- the shadows looked unconvincing
What I liked was the drawing of the face using a small, inked, bristle brush and also the modeling of form of the panel on the right side.
I decided to add in background material, being aware of the danger of loosing good negative space when adding to much. I drew some of things I could see with charcoal lines and smudged them with my palm to reduce their visual presence.
A last comment: the working habit on this drawing differed from my normally “fast” sketches in that I worked on it over a couple of days. Each intermission served a kind of reflective period during which I tried to adjust perceived “mistakes”.
Short Reflection on Assessment Criteria
Technical and visual skills
On the technical side I believe my strong points to be in the line drawing and, perhaps, in a relative freedom in my mark making using various media. I am less sure in modelling of form using tone values. The composition only “kind” of works, the block in the middle is maybe more a visual “stumbling block” than a compositionally indispensable object.
Quality of outcome
The quality of outcome is maybe reasonable, but can surely be improved. I thought about the content and tried to develop it using a sketchbook, modifying and clarifying my initial idea up to a certain point. I am not quite sure how far to carry this process before embarking on the final piece of work. It seems to me not necessarily a good thing to overdevelop.
Demonstration of creativity
While I employed some experimental ideas in the drawing, the aspect of experimentation could be developed further. I certainly seems easier to me to experiment in the sketchbook … that is in work not meant from the start for public viewing. Thus I am also not so sure about my personal voice: at the moment perhaps seen most in the line parts. But hopefully can be extended through more and free application of a greater variety of techniques.
I tried to reflect my progress constantly through my learning blog, which I keep both in writing into a physical notepad and in this online blog. At the moment I stick to English, which is my second language. Writing in my second language (apart from my linguistic mistakes) has the curious effect of creating a greater distance to the things I describe and I am thinking of using both languages, German and English, for personal reflections (the German parts would then be translated afterwards).