My initial drawing was of items from the garden, it was the time of year for preparing hanging baskets and tubs. I thought it best to collect what was to hand at random without trying to select something that might be reproduced well. I chose the items mainly by context, i.e. gardening objects, although the stone, piece of old brick and feather were there, so I picked them up.
Having collected the garden paraphernalia and some yellow petals I just heaped them up on to an old garden rug. I didn’t particularly enjoy this part of the exercise, but I liked the colours because they included earth tones which I don’t usually use. I stuck the feather inside the hose connector to stop it blowing away. I chose to paint in a fairly traditional but loose way in acrylics on acrylic paper.
The second part of the exercise was more interesting. I decided to use a painting depicting the sea with a child sitting on the beach as the background. I wanted more than anything to use the opportunity try out a different style of painting. I changed to pastel on black paper and decided to try to draw in a style I had seen in a magazine which I pasted in my sketch book earlier in the year. It effectively uses colour and black minimizing any detail but accurately assessing the contour of the shadows to form the object. I expect there is a term for this type of photo, but this is the effect I wanted to try to achieve, but using a variety of different colours.
I am not sure if I achieved the effect but was pleased with the outcome, and it made me more disciplined in the application of the pastel, choosing a different way of working. This time I arranged the items, and because of the size of the painting on which they were resting, I had to crop some of the objects and this in itself proved interesting. I laid some items down and some just sat on the painting. I think the outcome of the composition is a mix between surreal and incongruous. In some cases the objects appear to be sitting on top of the painting beneath, although I think some of the items appear to be actually incorporated in the background painting; for example the stone, flower pot, feather and hose connector, this I thought was interesting, also the yellow petals appear to form part of the sandy beach. Black or dark paper with pastel is always a satisfying way to work and in this particular instance because of the effect I was trying to achieve I think it worked well. The combination of colours using yellow and blue with orange and black gave the picture impact. Likewise the cropping which was determined by the size of the painting beneath was an added bonus, although I had to introduce a curve in the sky above the orange watering can because otherwise the eye would have been taken straight out of the picture.
So what I thought would be basically a still life turned out to be a worthwhile and productive exercise.
Check and Log
- Was it easier to paint an ordered or a disordered arrangement? Why did you find one easier than the other?
I found the ordered arrangement more interesting, not necessarily easier, and I think it was because it was a more creative approach to the exercise, by using the painting beneath.
- Did you successfully depict your objects sitting within their summer background?
I think I was successful depicting the object within and on the beach scene background which gave the piece an added interest. The viewer was left with the question, are they part of a scene or an abstracted design.