When I started out, I decided I would do some experiments with colours by using different materials and techniques. Firstly, I decided to work with watercolours like this one on the left side.
To begin with, I drew a rough outline of a book, and with a tea-stained water, I thoroughly applied it to the drawing with a brush. Before drying, I lightly applied some red water-colour paint, followed by green and blue. In the process of doing so, I had placed the paper slightly angled which gives me a simple gradation of colours. The colours are wet with water and when put in such position, the colours slowly come down due to the gravity. Next, I applied the same colours on top of each other to give a strong finish.
Next, I worked with two water-colour paint; blue and purple as shown below. It was actually the cover of an old book. To start off, I applied a very light wash of the colour blue. Gradually, I added the colours on top of each other, and with the aid of the wet surface, started to blend both colours together to create a smooth composition. At the end, to emphasize the wrinkles and creases, I created lines from a blue pen and a pencil.
I also experimented with the oil pastels. Firstly, I just wanted to try how effective it is and how suitable it would be for my coursework I had in my mind. Hence, I took a bunch of colours like yellow, orange, pink, blue and purple. I started by using lighter colours from the top, and sort of gradually darkening it to the bottom. In this case, I began from the top of the page with yellow and slowly finished it off by blue. After using the oil pastel, I was impressed by the ease of the usage and the grained texture it gave.
Furthermore, I applied some spirit on parts of the page. The spirit dissolves the oil pastel and the grained texture turns smooth. On the other side is a layered piece made with oil pastel. It started out simple with making of an eye. To make it even more interesting, I added another eye over and over again all over the page creating layers and composition along the way.
This time around, I made use of acrylic paint. Before I began working with the paint, I had drawn a rough sketch of a crinkled bank note with a red pen. I applied a light wash of the red paint over the whole page, including the sketch. Around the corner, where the shadows or the shade of the note fell, I applied the diluted red paint yet again with the brush to create a stronger edge. Also in my opinion, the light surface against the darker shade of the red paint gives a better composition when compared with one plain coloured page.
Next, it was the same process as before with few changes. To begin with, the same bank note was used but it was roughly drawn with a 6B pencil instead of a pen. The other difference would be the colours. Here, I used two colours; red and blue. I began by applying a light red wash at the left whereas blue wash at the right side of the page. In the middle, with the help of the water, I blended the two colours creating smooth finish. I layered it again with the same colour again and again. Acrylic paint was used in this piece.
One of my painting is based on Cy Twombly’s QUATTRO STAGIONI: AUTUNNO. He represented the season autumn with his painting with the mixture of both bright and dark colours. I likewise made use of both contradicting colours to create a harmonized composition. However, the representation of my piece would be the changing of seasons.
I also learned and used many things from this Cy Twombly’s painting, and others as well. I studied layering of the paint, and I have applied this technique frequently as well. Other things include harmonizing a painting by balancing the colours on the canvas.
Robert Rauschenberg was often used as a reference when we started doing our work with collage. And in my opinion, it has affected everyone in one way or another. With trials and errors and some success, I learnt that sometimes simplicity is the best. Also, overthinking and overdoing anything would make a mess and lead to a bad piece. In many of my collages I mostly work with newspapers, and magazines. Although, I have also worked with other materials such as photographs and cardboards.
Evaluation of the Project
By: Romi Rai, Group B
At the very first session in September, we were asked what Art meant for us, and I said it was a path to achieve what I had lost.
I think we had had a humble start. The first few lessons were about drawing through observations. From the very beginning, we were given three topics to choose and that would be a theme we would be tackling in the future. They were, in no specific order: 1. Memories 2. Faded 3. Traces.
In the middle of the art room, on top of the joint tables, an array of different materials were scattered around. Some hung from the ceiling as well. We were asked to draw a part of a section in front of us with much details as we could under two minutes. We were putting down everything we observed rather in a fast pace. It was, in my opinion, nailing the basics.
As we went on, we chose an object from the table that appealed to us. We would then take it and sketch it accordingly to what we witnessed. There were various things, all different in nature, texture and sizes. To give an idea of it was like, the collection was made up of old lamps, broken violin, rusted gears, pinecones, old records, shells, empty glass bottles, broken pottery, dried pomegranate, and so on.
I think this was another step-up for all of us. Unlike before, where our focus was a part of a section of the table, with many objects lying on it, this time we would concentrate exclusively on only one article that we personally selected. This close observational drawing allowed us to dig deeper, and introduced the importance of the tones and shading. The tones helped to create a three-dimensional effect to give a realistic finish. I used pencils such as HB and 2B for sharp outlines and minor details to give a clean and clear line. On the other hand, I used less compressed leads such as 6B pencil that produces soft lines.
With much of our work being about observations and detailing, we tend to constrain to make everything in order that we might forget the freedom present in art. Hence, we also performed some light exercises; sketching without looking at your paper, drawing from your less-dominant hand or drawing with a fist. There was also a group activity where everybody in the class chooses an item and places in front of them. They are given two minutes to jot down whatever they can. Next we all rotate clockwise, and I would end up in my neighbour’s place. We’re given 30 seconds to fill in the gaps. The time is short and limited, and hence, we tend to focus on the most important details. What should I do to make it look more like the original object in such a short amount of time? When the time is up, we switch places to left again and this rotation goes on about quite some time. I, being a perfectionist, found these activities really useful. It helped me to relax. I learned that getting everything in proportion or having the correct tones in the right places wasn’t always right. Bold, swift marks or the splatters of colours were all expressive and perfect in their own right way. These activities indeed helped me to broaden my horizon in viewing art.
As things progressed, we stepped into a new world of collage. Collage in simple words would mean an artwork made from assemblage of different forms and creating a whole new art. At first, we researched on artists such as Robert Rauschenberg as a reference. I, as well, went through many of his works before I primarily began to investigate his work in the Lotus Series where he expressed his experience of travel to China.
In this section, I learned about the beauty of the simplicity. His work on the Lotus Series is hardly crowded. All of the series has about 3-5 photographs on each of them. However, they are well-composed and in my opinion, it is unified by its composition. And what I’ve come to know is, the composition of a piece can either make it or break it. As also reflected in the Lotus Series, Rauschenberg’s series of collages was brought together by sepia and monochrome composition. My favourite would be Lotus Bed ||, where the coloured photographs of different places and the symbolic lotus is brought together by the green colour.
As I realised how important a composition could be, I began to research more on other artists such as Cy Twombly and Anselm Keifer. I looked at their paintings; Quattro Stagioni: Autonno and Seraphim respectively. Autonno, at one glance, would look cheerful because of blotches of bright colours such as red, pink and yellow compared to a darker composition consisting of black, brown and grey in Seraphim. Despite some differences, both these paintings have one thing common for sure. And that is the texture they created through layering. It could be the marks faded slightly or the colour becoming more prominent by the added layering. Either way, the finished product is bound to look more authentic.
By then we were introduced to the format of the examination, and what was necessary to do. Nevertheless, before I made any final decisions, I experimented with different materials to help me understand what I would want to use. I worked with acrylic paints, oil pastels, watercolours, chalk, and charcoal to name a few. In the meantime, I had to search for an artist where I can relate my piece to, and could be inspired from. I found Silvio Pelissero. Born in 1991, she is an Italian painter and best known by the name agnes-cecile. Pelissero usually paints portraits for her pieces, and it is generally painted from a photograph which she chooses. She works with water-based colours like watercolours, acrylic paint and ink. She also paints with varnish for her drip-paintings. In my opinion, her paintings has a scent of delicateness and is always bursting with colours. It is hence very much appealed to an audience.
To begin my project, I first began to experiment with water-based colours, such as acrylic and watercolours. Techniques such as gradation, wet-into-wet, dry brush were used so I could understand the uses of colours even more deeply. In the beginning, I was more focused on colours; blending of colours, layering them lightly on top of each other to create different results. Gradually, I added some old newspapers and painted over to create texture and three-dimensional effect from its creases it achieved from the water. I also work my way with dense colours like oil paint to produce expressive marks when I placed the paint with tools such as spatula.
Later on, I became increasingly interested in drip paintings. I took an A1 paper and started to paint. For the colour, I used a white paint. However, it was too thick so I had to add water and mix it until I get a smooth batter like consistency. At times, I also added colours such as black and blue to produce a different shade of colour. I used simple tools like knife and fork or sometimes a stick to make the markings. I was very delighted as the marks it left after it dried had a smooth texture and it had pooped out from the paper creating three-dimensional effect. The marks were clearly expressive and showed the flow of energy I had used to make it. As time went by, I began to add charcoal and colours like ink to it to make it more personal and more animated. . Overall, I was very excited and intrigued by this new form of artwork.
Meantime, I was also progressing with my water-based paintings. I definitely had failures, and it was mainly because I wanted to add everything. Unlike to what I had imagined, the paintings became overcrowded and at the end, it just fell flat. I also learned with experience to think twice before adding strong dark colours like black because it would later prove to be difficult to erase or improvise it.
In my final piece, just like Silvio Pelissero, I painted a portrait from a photograph. She frequently uses female models. I, on the other hand, used a photograph I took couple of years ago. It was a photograph of my brother. It was personal and it would fit into my theme; Memories. I started out by taking an A1 paper where its border were already marked with the drip of a pale blue paint. I had painted it beforehand and hence, it was already dried when I started to sketch some rough outlines of the face and his facial features. After the sketching was finished, I began to paint features like eyes with lighter colours like washed up blue. I usually begin to paint from lighter colours to minimize the errors. Later on, I would add colours on top or blend it with different colours like yellow or red to give an abstract look.
To summarize, overall I think my piece was satisfactory. The portrait was reasonably realistic looking with a feel of abstract into it in the form of the colours. It was exactly what I was looking for. The composition of the painting was unified by colours such as blue, green and yellow. I had undoubtedly performed better than my previous pieces, though I believe I still have more room to improve my skills in water-colours and acrylic paint. I would like areas such as eyes and nose to give out more details with delicateness.
There were also some parts of the painting that I was personally dissatisfied. The border of the paper marked with the turquoise paint was overlapped with the colours such as blue, green, and orange. In my opinion, it would be a great piece of work if it was on its own. Although, as a part of the painting, it drags the piece down. It looks very overcrowded at one certain area. Fortunately, because of the composition, as I mentioned earlier, the painting manages to lift itself up and work its way through. Once again the importance of a composition is shown.
In the end, going through different experiments and referring to many artists as inspiration, I have got a full grasp of what I want to do. There will be two pieces I’ll be making. One, a drip painting with bright bursting colours. The other one would be a humble water-colour painting. The water-colour painting unlike my last piece which was bright and bold, I’ll be working to lighten some of the colours and give it a fading effect. I would also keep in mind to avoid overdoing. These are some of the things I’ll be consistently working on to improve and move forward.
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