To learn a bit about placement in compositions this exercise asks us to see what happens to the space of two dimensional work when objects are placed within a frame.
The object was to note whether the space shifted by this location of squares in frames - would the space be balanced-static or would something more dynamic happen depending on where the objects were located? The first frame is the most static of the test pieces. With just a single object to be concerned about, there was just the tiniest bit of tension in the corner due to the asymmetry of its location in relation to the two walls of the frame. In the second frame I tried to make a curved line, a swinging motion with three squares which worked quite well. Of the rest the most dynamic frame is probably the one on the bottom left.
Here the two top squares to the right relate closely together, with some tension to their location. They sit in an uneasy balance with the third square to the left. The overall effect is asymmetry and a dialogue between each part. The frame to the right on the lower row needed something to make the square more lively than a single square could provide for. I thought I would practice what might happen when scale was changed and added two very small squares. They are a bit too small for the effect that I could have achieved if they had each been say, half the size of the larger object, which would have created a sort of balance by virtue of proportion.
The second test piece asked for two compositional exercises using lines. I don't mind the vertical-horizontal test piece (top), where I tried to break the stasis by crossing a vertical over the three horizontal lines, however the bottom composition, which uses diagonals that at times overlap is more interesting. It creates triangles and suggest at least a hint of a vanishing point to the left. There is something a bit interesting about location of cross-over points within the left-hand third, and there is something in there about scale in the shape that works better than what I suggested I was trying for in the last frame above.
In stage two the exercise consisted of making selections of images from my resources of possible design sources. I chose first a part from a photograph I had made of rusty iron objects in deep relief, and a photograph from a magazine of a leaf.
From these I tried to draw certain elements, using pen, coloured pencil, crayons.
I didn't find that very satisfying. I was trying too hard to make the selections look like the real thing, and there was too much going on in the leaf picture to allow for the individual element to relate well together. So I chose another photograph I had taken of a manhole cover from which I ended up working up a bit of a project from this detail.
This started to suggest something interesting where I could use the more painterly approach I seem to be building up experience in. The simplicity of the shapes allowed for much more experimentation of mark making. The two drawings that suggested this are the ones on the left.
I suppose the reason why this photograph worked well as a source is the relationship between straight and curved lines. I like the abstraction for the sake of this series of exercises.
So, I found the rusty metal relief a useful start to develop drawings through mark making. This exercise asked to explore the image through texture, colour and form. I used charcoal for the first, water soluble pencils and a pen drawing for the three pieces.
After a test drawing of the substance of the image detail the exercise then went on to explore aspects of the image in more detail. I think I got a bit lost here, and in fact exercise 2 and three merged into each other in a general flow of drawing.
I started with a pastel drawing emphasising colour.
Of course you can't avoid the shapes, but as they fairly simple they did not detract from the colour work. The metal was rusty, and due to the relief of the structure, the tonal value suggested light and dark browns and oranges. I discovered that for the sake of this design work practice I work quite quickly, and still quite loosely, so the flow of the work went seamlessly into exercise 3, where I used water soluble pencil, graphite, charcoal and ink.
Wet media ,ink and water soluble pencil (inktense pencil and blocks)
From the image design this exercise asked for a development of a collection of objects. Again I felt a bit at a loss - I worry about my drawing skills, and keep thinking I need to make things look right, but I had a go, making three sketches. The objects I chose were a small Polish wooden doll in mainly red, a blue ceramic yoghurt pot and a cone. I probably didn't spend enough time on the cone in any of the drawings. I did however discover that oil pastels can do great things, blending, smudging left-over bits and sgraffito).
First a sketch using water soluble pens and pencils
Second, a test of oil pastels - not a very confident drawing and none of the parts relate to each other very effectively.
Third, another oil pastel, using the material more thickly, and doing a fair bit of smudging.
Having tried these I got quite interested in the sgraffito effect of the blue pot. Here's a detail:
Although I am still not convinced I did what was expected from the exercise, I think useful things came from it, as I discovered this technique and I thought that while I was on PaintshopPro I might as well try out some effects from details of this picture, which led in a small way into stage 3.
Almost Stage 3
First a re-colouring of the above detail
I had been playing with a view finder to see where these most recent drawing might provide some interesting details, and I then used the selection and the image rotate functions and a reflect tool in the software to look at what might happen if details like this were transformed in this way:
For some reason, and purely accidentally, this picture reminds me a bit of Cathy de Monchaux's sculptural leather work from the 1990s. You can find an example of this here.
By only using very simple manipulation techniques for a larger area selected from the drawings these pictures still retain the hand-drawn quality of the original sketches. I sometimes fear that computer generated design might loose the sensitivities of the drawn image, but these still contain some of that, and the next step might be to see what would happen if they were repeated, or their scale changed in some way.
So, here's one I changed using a vertical perspective tool (I am just playing with the software here, I am untrained in it, and have yet to look through a book on this). But this particular example works well, it almost looks like some sort of art nouveau pattern detail:
More on stage 3 - and moving on to stage 4
Selecting from your drawings
I am not sure I fully understood whether this was purely a selection exercise only or whether it was also related to drawing form those selections, and if that was the case how this differed from Stage 4 - which I almost 'jumped' to when I had gone through some of my drawings to look for selections.
In initial observation - A couple of other drawings of a stoneware jug had been pretty awful, but I noticed through the view finder that the point where the handle met the body of the jug in the pencil sketch would make interesting compositions. This was the point of the jug I had been most interested in, so I feel it was lucky that this point was the strongest detail. Here they are selected from a photograph of the drawing. First turned on its side:
This second image is also a rotated detail which has made an eye-like design.
My drawings are mainly included in A3 sketchbooks. There are also drawings on A3 paper, but many of these have been specific studies which stand alone, and I did not want to necessarily use them in the selection process. They were already based on selections (see above).
So instead I went through my sketchbooks and made a few selections. The selections are based on design elements such as colour (using a detail from the snowy ploughed fields):
The detail blown up and using water colour. I quite liked the calligraphic effect of the paint applied with a loose swing of the brush, and the wet on wet made the background open to more applied layers of colour. The interest is created by the colour complements, blue and brown and the contrasting open areas with the busy painterly areas. Just as an experiment I used the kaleidoscope tool in the software to see what might happen. I reduced the complexity of the kaleidoscope because there are quite complex elements within the picture already. It has come out quite well, it suggests a design for a floor rug somehow:
An interlude: some smudges of the water colour worked into an open flower design
What had originally been pink 'flower' roundels, were selected to become a couple of half circle-ovals and a triangular shape:
This is re-drawn in oil pastel with the colour proportions reversed, and for a smaller scale drawing in pen (0.5). The larger of the two drawings has some interest, again the complementary colours work well, and there is something dynamic about the pointed triangle against the softer curves of the rounded shapes:
The smaller of the two was less interesting, I am drawn to larger dimensions, and find the smaller drawings a bit fiddly. I need to learn to enjoy the small-scale more, but there is something about what is appropriate for that size for it to work properly.
Here the detail was re-drawn using first watercolours and oil pastel, and then mostly oil pastel:
For a single trial I took a detail from my 'summer' watercolour:
This I worked up in colder blues and greens, with the gold continuing to create the shiny contrast to the matt colour, I used wax resist as the foundation and made the design more open:
A selection from the 'water' watercolour:
I played with the hue-brightness adjustment tool in the software:
Also used the kaleidoscope tool for this in the original colour scheme, which suggests some sort of repeat, and it has retained the watery effect:
I also re-worked the detail in watercolour and pastel in large formats, but did not re-create, just looked at the shapes and made the material do its own thing, in one I let the wet paint flow around by holding the drawing vertically to let it run.