Assignment three: View from a window or open door

View from upstairs hall - Quink ink and brusho inks

Petes’s Place from our Place – Ink

Outline brief

  • Include natural objects such as trees, plants, pot plants, fields or garden plants.
  • Demonstrate understanding of aerial or linear perspective.
  • Look for a view that offers an opportunity to draw straight-lined objects as well as items drawn from nature, buildings, walls, fences, gates, etc.

This assignment had many challenges including making a decision on a view that would satisfy the criteria above and be the source of an assignment-worthy picture, getting the composition and framing right and choosing an appropriate medium. I did far more work than I originally anticipated in all these areas but I am pleased that I did as I can see an evolutionary trail that has helped me to make progress towards the kind of pictures I would like to create. I’m not there yet, but  a step closer.

I’ve been view watching all over the place for a month or so but in the end I settled for home.  Although the views from our house are not spectacular,  they gave me opportunities to watch the light and shadow, and go back to observe as much and as often as I needed.

My  drawing  is of the view from an upstairs window looking across our front garden to the house opposite. I used black Quink ink applied with a bamboo pen, Brusho inks and very dilute bleach solution.

What works

Having done a lot of preliminary work I am reasonably happy with the choice of view, composition and medium, together with the limited colour palette. Using a light bleach/water wash over the picture has given it a slightly ethereal look which was my aim as I did not want a neat and tidy pencil drawing. I’m not against neat and tidy but I did not think that the view/building was exciting enough for this approach (or  perhaps my skill level high enough). I felt I needed to add some expression and atmosphere and I think I’ve achieved this to a reasonable extent.

In terms of aerial / linear perspective – my drawing is partially successful in this respect. It is certainly not flat looking but it could be improved, of course.

What doesn’t work / could be improved?

Some of the dark foreground plants could reach higher into the band of lighter green.

The gate lost some detail in the working process and I didn’t feel confident about putting it back without messing up.

I would have liked one tree to stretch across both the open area and the glass of the window to join the two parts of the picture together.  I tried to make the inbetween skeleton tree do this but it lost detail in the process.

While I am happy for the window glass to be slightly opaque, I would have liked a little more detail / light and shade. This got lost through a slightly too heavy hand with the bleach in places.

Perhaps the foreground detail of the plants could have been sharper, but these were immediately below the window and not the immediate focus for the eye.

The linear perspective of the window is only  approximately correct.

The roof on the building apex isn’t quite correctly aligned.

The method was a bit hit or miss with a high degree of unpredictably (which I like). Inks bleed  (especially when worked wet) which can result in happy accidents or unfortunate disasters, and the addition of the diluted bleach added another element of uncertainty. I would have liked to have a few more attempts at this picture as I was beginning to understand how to control the process but deadlines loom…

I’m not sure what my tutor or assessor will think about the use of bleach. It creates an effect that is similar to several years worth of sun bleaching in a few seconds and was really interesting to experiment with. It is not an environmentally friendly substance to use, of course, but then again nor are the acids used in etching so I guess I can get away with it in that respect.

I know my final drawing has plenty of scope for improvement but I am feeling a sense of achievement because of the progress from from my initial drawing with coloured pencils to the final piece.

First take - A4 coloured pencils

First take – A4 coloured pencils

Step 3:

Final picture

Also see: Assignment three – research and prep

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