Sunday, 23 June 2013

Evercise: Using Markers and Dip Pens

As instructed, I worked out various compositions in my sketchbook using marker pens ad dip pens with coloured inks. The first attempt was using marker pens and showed two pears precariously balanced against each other. I quite like the tension in this composition brought about by the sensation that the pears are about to topple over. In fact, they did topple over in the middle of my drawing them which was 'inconvenient' (not my exact choice of words at the time of the event!).
Incidentally after I'd completed this drawing I realised that the composition has some similarity to the Ben Nicholson drawing of pears on a plate on page 62 of the course notes. I had read ahead in the course and must have absorbed this subconsciously as it was not a deliberate reference. 

The next composition was using dip pens and coloured inks. Although I enjoyed some of the marks I could make with the various nibs, I struggled with the limited range of colours I had. It might have been appropriate to mix the inks in a palette or container to obtain a wider range of colours. Instead I just tried to mix the colours on the paper with hatching and allowing colours to run together. This wasn't really successful and the green and lemon yellow look particularly jarring and unreal.

Next I tried another composition in marker pen on watercolour paper. I'd been looking at 16th and 17th Century Dutch still life and noticed the peeled lemon as a frequent feature (as a feat of painting and also with symbolic meaning for sobriety and also for life - beautiful to look at but bitter to taste) I liked that motif so decided to  include it here. I was also trying to make good use of the whole surface of the paper so several pieces of fruit plus some draped fabric were included here. 

When I'd finished I reviewed the instructions again. It said ' take care to avoid building up too many layers and using too many colours. I had built up too many layers, in particular on the red apple which had looked much better than this half way through the drawing I'd overworked it. Looking at the picture, Although I quite liked some of the marks especially on the lemon and the pear, I realised that it didn't really look like it had been done with marker pens. Because the watercolour paper can take a lot of punishment I'd built the colour up and up. It was too much.

I then went ahead and re-drew the arrangement more rapidly with fewer layers of colour and less textural detail in a more graphic style appropriate to the medium.

Despite this, there was still something wrong. I realised that my current obsession with filling the whole of the paper had resulted in and overcrowding and general invasiveness of the subject. On balance, I think the first drawing I did (balancing pears) in this exercise was better than the subsequent ones.

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