Monday, 16 July 2012

The Blog is now up to date again...

The Blog is now up to date again...

I have just spent a whole 2 days updating the artstudentuk blog; I’m now up to date. I have two projects to finish which are the Ducks Still Life and the Manchester Townscape. I also want to practice with the oil paints and get use to painting with them; I’m not sure which I’m going to do first but as long as I do something and do some art. The College course is now over, I can both go back next term and do some extra credits on a lower level. Or I can do a 2 year course but it isn’t just painting and drawing it includes all sorts of things which I don’t want to waste my time with like ceramics. The other option well there isn’t really one I don’t want to try and get on a MA course as I don’t feel I know enough I need to practice and stop spending all my time with folders, research and general time wasting. So I don’t know what I’m going to do but I need to make my mind up within the next couple of weeks…

Project 8: Still Life with Background: Final Design

The Finished Piece (well very nearly)

This is image is the stage I was at when I handed the project into be marked. I would say final it’s about 93% finished but I’ve run out of time all I would need is an extra couple of days but the college will finish tomorrow and this needs to be in to be marked. Below is the Evaluation:


The Still Life Project isn’t completely finished I would say it is 95% finished at the moment and it requires another weekend to get to a standard that I’m happy with.

I choose to do a still Life as I thought it would be the easiest brief to do as I’m a few weeks behind due to the death of my mother. Out of the preliminary designs I would have said that the final piece I choose to develop wasn’t the best one that that fitted the brief. However it was the one I wanted to do it so I followed my feelings and choose the image that appealed to me.

I believe I have followed the brief to the best of my apart from the background but this is a bath and nothing would have really fitted in there. I could argue that the Toy Ducks were the still life and all the surrounding items, bath mat, bath, plug and chain and the plug hole were actually the background.

I did try a couple of things one was a towel hung over the side of the bath and the other was the end of a shower curtain Rail but I felt that both of them didn’t do the image and justice. The worst thing about the project was nearly damaging the project right at the end after doing all that hard work on it, if this would have happened I wouldn’t have been able to hand in a finished piece as I wouldn’t have had the time to produce another piece.
The finished picture that I have taken a photograph off I hasn’t been done to the best of my ability. I forgot to take the photograph of the picture and frame without the glass to stop any reflections, I also couldn’t take it in Daylight as its dark outside and it has to be marked in the morning. As soon as the painting is finished and I I’m happy with it I will retake the photograph and put it in the display folder.

If I had the chance to do the Image again I would like to do the piece in Oil Paints but due to the time I had I wouldn’t have been able to make the painting in Oil Paints and have it dry in time for the hand in date. I also need time to experiment with producing the water and bubble bath at the bottom of the bath. In the preliminary painting I have included these items and I find them very interesting, without them in doesn’t feel the same and I do think I need to add these elements to the painting. I feel if I had another weekend on the project I could iron all the bits out I’ve not got around to finish yet and I could make this a good portfolio piece. I have learnt a lot with this project with experimenting with a subject I wouldn’t consider to do. I have produced a decent or on the way to be decent painting, hopefully I will get a chance to complete the picture this weekend. 

Overall I’m very happy I have chosen this brief to do as my project, I’m sure I will be delighted with the outcome when I get around to actually completing the picture. I believe I have fulfilled every part of the brief to my best ability so far.  I’m sure if I had the option to choose from a selection of briefs that I would possibly not choose a Still Life project again.


Project 8: Still Life with Background: Final Design

Using Lemon Yellow and Orange I painted in the Ducks, again I watered the acrylic paint down and painted in the ducks to kill the white of the canvas, I wasn’t too careful in painting them as there wasn’t any need to be. The paint dried within seconds due to the amount of water added.

The paint dried within seconds due to the amount of water added. The ducks eyes were added and a green beak was painted on the mother duck mixing the colours I already had on my palette. The orange of the duck also felt too red so I added a yellow glaze made from Cadmium Yellow and added this on top of the red/orange duck once it was dry.

The bath matt had bumps on to stop a person from slipping; the ones on the original matt didn’t look too clever so I tried something different. The bath was also given another coat of paint, I went over the ducks on purpose as I wanted them overlapping. However I also went over the plug chain and I didn’t even realise until later.

All the metal areas I filled in with grey paint also the plug was painted the same colour, after refining the plug hole it started to look okay.

As well as using the Preliminary Sketch and painting I was also working from the original photograph at the same time. As you can see the original colours have changed for the ducks the colour scheme of the primary colours Magenta, Cyan and Yellow wasn’t working together as good as the colours I used.

As well as using the Preliminary Sketch and painting I was also working from the original photograph at the same time. As you can see the original colours have changed for the ducks the colour scheme of the primary colours Magenta, Cyan and Yellow wasn’t working together as good as the colours I used.

I went back to have a look at the Plug Chain as I accidentally painted the chain out. The chain worked well and I’m quite happy with it I just need to add some shadows to them.

I was having a lot of problems with the beaks on the ducks so I decided to start all over again to see if I could get it to a reasonable standard.

Project 8: Still Life with Background: Final Design

Which Idea should I do for my Final Piece?

Out of all the preliminary sketches the three ideas I prefer and the three above, all of these paintings I have spent in between 4 and 6 hours on each one starting from the idea stage to the finished painting. All of the ideas have had something to do with my niece staying with us for the last couple of weeks, the bath toys we had to buy as she wasn’t too happy with just having a couple of empty bottles in the bath to play with. I think I prefer the last two with the bath toys, idea 02 has a meaning to the design where idea 03 is just really a pleasant image. It’s hard to choose which one to use for my final piece but I have decided to use Idea 03 as I really like the composition and the elements. Without working out the colour scheme and design for Idea 02 than Idea 03 wouldn’t have happened. All I’ve got to work out now is what medium and size and material of support I should use. I really want to use oil paints but I know this project needs to be handed in and it wouldn’t be dry in time which was a lesson learnt in the last project. I don’t want to do a small piece I much prefer them larger but any image larger then 20x16” I would have to buy an expensive frame on the internet and keep my fingers crossed that the frame would get here in time. 

I needed to reproduce my A3 painting on to a 30X20” Canvas board, the first thing I did was to scan the original painting into Photoshop at 300%. I then printed out the enlarged painting in greyscale on A3 cartridge paper; I didn’t require the colours so there wasn’t much point in wasting all the coloured ink. I then pieced the A3 prints out together with masking tape to make it the correct size. The 30x20” canvas panel was slightly larger in height which gave me a bit more space to play with.  I used the rules of the thirds to align the composition better and made use of the extra space on the larger support.

Rather than using tracing paper or a projector I’ve used Royal & Langnickel’s Graphite Paper. This works in the same way as carbon paper but it uses graphite instead which you can remove with an eraser. The piece I’ve used has been used many times over and I need some new pieces but the shops locally haven’t got any in stock at the moment so I’ll have to make do with the old stuff. I used an embossing tool to press down on the original print out, this way I’m not making pencil marks over the original print out. Once this is done I had to go over some lines with a pencil as the graphite paper no longer had any graphite left in certain places.

I decided to add a towel in the background, the only other thing I could think of is added the end of a shower curtain rail. I did try both and this one looked slightly better so I transfer the image over. The reason I was adding the towel is because the brief stated it needed a background. The other ideas both had decent background however as this was just a bath it didn’t really have any background. In the end I felt it was better without the drawing of a towel so in the end I used Gesso to get rid of it as I had already used fixative to fix the graphite. I felt if I mentioned this in the evaluation and explain why it didn’t have really a background then it would be satisfactory.

I needed a copy of the drawing that was on the canvas for two reasons. The first was just in case everything went totally wrong I could easily start again if I had a copy of the drawing. The other reason was in case I needed to do the painting again at a later date or I needed proof that this was my painting which I could prove if I had the original drawing.

As I had already worked out the colour scheme out on the original A3 painting I decided to get on with it and do the painting in the same colours and just the same method. I started by killing the white of the canvas by using Cobalt Blue acrylic paint mixed with a substantial amount of water. All of this painting is just an under painting and will be painted over with a thicker mix of paint later.

Project 8: Still Life with Background: Primary Ideas

All the photographs taken, what do I do know?.

I’m not quite sure which one I should choose there’s a lot that I like and quite a few ideas that I loathe. I think I’m going to start off with doing a few traditional still life subjects just to ease me into it. I’m not too worried about the background at the moment or whether to use a found still life setup or compose one myself. I’ll have a look at objects like fruit, bread, bottles, flowers and all the other subject matter that comes to mind when you mention a traditional still life. I have never like pictures of flowers they don’t do anything for me at all; at least with the object you get the smell. I’ve always said I would never do a painting of flowers but I might give it a go just the once and see if I can loosen up and make a more impressionistic mark then realistic. I am going to have to start off with some observation drawings to get me into the project.

Crumpled Paper: You simply screw up a piece of paper and draw it by observing the subject looking at the values and form to try and reproduce it looking three dimensional. I spent around 30 minutes on this lesson but quickly lost interest and started wondering off doing other things.

Bread on cutting board Graphite Pencils on Cartridge Paper
Final Design Bread on Cutting Board [Acrylic on Cartridge Paper]
Orange, Satsuma and a Lemon


This is my first and probably only painting of flowers; the medium is acrylic paint with acrylic paper as the support. I feel I loosened up with my brushstrokes and produced more of an impressionistic painting of flowers rather than a realistic image which was my Intention. The background I have made dark by using 3 colours to look like the Dutch masters earth colours, the light is coming from the front. 

For this piece I built a simple shadow box using a cardboard box with some dark material. I used a spot light clipped onto one of the boxes flap to help control the shadows. I only used two geometric shapes as I wanted to concentrate on the shadows, form and the reflected light. The piece was done in oil paints and took a long time to dry however this gave me more time to blend in some of the brushstrokes. This is my first time with oil paints so I just wanted to use two colours rather than buying a full set, I wanted to see if I like the medium before I decided to buy any more.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Project 8: Still Life with Background: Primary Ideas

The Third Possible Idea for the Final Piece.

I actually like the last idea I produced with the bath toys so I’m going to have another look to see if I can come up with a more pleasing visual experience. I will have another photo shoot and play with my ducks and see what happens, there’s nothing wrong with the last piece but there’s something missing but I’m not sure what it is yet. The drawing on the opposite page is what I came up with it, it has been taken off one of the photographs but I also added the bath plug from another photograph. I’m happy with the image I’ve just got to see what mess I make with the paintbrush. The image was transferred over with the same method as the last one. I did a freehand drawing and scanned the image into Photoshop, once the image was cleaned up I printed it straight out on a piece of A3 Acrylic paper and then fixed the printer ink with a fixative. I’ve started of my killing the white of the paper with watered down acrylic mix not really being careful just scrubbing it in.

As I was happy with the colours I eventually used on the last piece with these same ducks I kept to the same colour scheme. Once the blue of the bath and bathmat was painted I used the complementary colour of Orange for the mummy duck.

An analogous colour scheme has also been used on the ducks using Yellow for the small ducks, Orange for the beaks with green for the mother’s ducks beak. The complementary colour of purple has been used on the baby ducks for the cast shadows.

Finished Study 03…
The piece isn’t finished there’s a lot more to do to it before you can call it finished. It’s only a preliminary panting I’ve still got a lot to do to it if I want to take it through to my final design. I have a lot to do on the plug chain and there’s seems to be a lot of white space at the top, these things I will have to have a look at. I also would like to add some bubbles from a bubble bath somewhere but I have no idea how to reproduce the look, I will have to experiment and see if I can emulate this. It has taken around 7 hours to do this piece from a blank piece of paper. I do like the idea better than the other two I have designed but I want to look at some other possibilities. I’m going to have a look at some everyday items such as bread, fruit and maybe even some flowers, who knows?

Project 8: Still Life with Background: Primary Ideas

Another Possible Idea for the Final Piece…

The second idea also connected with having my niece for the last couple of weeks. The youngest of my children is 13 and hasn’t played with bath toys for quite a few years. When my five year old niece wanted a bath and demanded bath toys or she wasn’t having a bath she had to make do with a couple of empty bottles. The very next day I went out and bought her a couple of bath sets with toys and that kept her happy for at least an hour.
The idea isn’t just a drawing of some bath toys it does have a meaning. The recently lost my mother a couple of months ago and this image to me is a mother separated from her baby who is just out of reach, however she is still there and can watch other her baby. In the reflections on the tap there will be a door and to me all you have to do is go through the door but of course you can’t it’s a reflection.

In the background there were already bathroom tiles so I didn’t have to worry about what to do for the background as it already had one. I quickly filled the tiles in with watered down acrylic paint, I wasn’t being too careful as it would just be the under painting. For now I’m keeping with the original colours of the bath toys, the duck is a very vivid magenta colour.

There are two toy ducklings in the still life a yellow one and a blue one. The blue one I will more likely than not change its colour as it is blending in with the colour on the titles in the background also the colours are not really working together. The bath was painted in with a different blue but to be honest there isn’t really that much of a difference between the bath colour and the tiles. At least most of the white of the paper has now been painted over, I’ve started laying a thin layer of paint on the tap so I can still see where the reflections still go. Also the blue baby duckling was change to yellow so it matched the other one. The magenta mother duck was made paler by adding gesso into the mix and I continued to work on the tap some more. I’m happy with the way the piece is going I just need to sort out one or two bits that are still bothering me.


Finished Study 02…
The piece isn’t finished there’s a lot more to do to it before you can call it finished. It’s only a preliminary panting I’ve still got the reflections to do in the tap and I need to put on the pieces that hold the pipe to the wall and add the chain for the plug. As the time is ticking by and I only have a short time to do the final piece I’m going to call it a day on this painting. I’m finally happy with the colour of the mother duck I just used the complementary colour of the tiles and I’m happy with it. It has taken around 6 hours to do this piece from a blank piece of paper. I do like the idea but I want to look at the other photographs I have of the bath toys. I’ve kept the image simplified and there’s not a lot going on as there was in the first idea where it was a lot busier.


Project 8: Still Life with Background: Primary Ideas

First Possible Idea for the Final Piece.

The first idea I have included the cakes and my niece, I had a look through the photographs I took of the cakes and also of the photographs of my niece eating a cake. I’ve decide to make a composite painting compiled by using selections of different photographs. My niece has been staying with us for a couple of weeks whilst she was on half term from school. It’s a long time since I had a five year old shouting me every few minutes but now she’s gone home it’s too quite. I started off by doing a sketch of the cakes as the still life required a background I put in the corner of my living room. This is only a study and took me around 3 hours to complete so it’s not detailed and quite na├»ve.

The idea has been put together using photographs of the cakes; my niece was put into the image as she wanted to eat the cakes before I had finished with them. I wanted to get rid of the white of the paper so I filled in the table very quickly the paint was watered down, it was drying out really quickly I don’t know if this had anything to do with the layer of fixative of the acrylic paper. 

After painting the table in I started painting the icing on the cake and the face as they were both a shade of pink. The yellow cake I’ve used an Artist Acrylic paint which is the only artist colour I have as it was a free sample, all of my other acrylic paints are student colours but decent brands not the cheap paint. At this point I was still killing the white of the paper and not really looking out for details. The background was filled in; I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the background at first. I started the drawing with just the cakes on the cake stand with a table the rest just got added naturally. The background is a corner of the living room with a game consoles kinetic box on top of the TV as the kids don’t have enough room in their bedrooms to use it. The Cake stand I used was white but I’ve decided to change it to a metal one to match the original base. It’s not looking too bad as an under painting but I I’m rushing it as I know it’s not going to be a finished piece. I finally went on to the Belgium Bun and started on the icing, more work was done on the other cakes adding further details to them. I feel like I’m coming along nicely with the painting and it hasn’t taken me that long to get to this stage. Shadows and detail were added to the cake stand and a bit of decoration was added to the lip of the stand as it looked quite basic. A liquid was added to the glass and a change of colour with the straw as the colour wasn’t working in that particular place with the surrounding colour. Dvd’s were added to the bookcase, I decided to give the middle shelf something else on it instead of dvds to break up the same shapes on all the shelves.


Finished Study 01…
The one thing that was really bugging me with the painting so far is the portrait in the background. Finally I have got it to a stage where I’m happy with the painting, it needed a larger forehead and the hair wasn’t looking correct. Once this was done the skin and eyes took some doing but thankfully they are a lot better than in the image to the left. In the rest of the image more details were added without going over the top. I could have spent a lot longer on the picture but I didn’t need to this as it was only a study and I had more studies and ideas to come up with. From the being drawing to the end painting it has taken me about 4 hours to complete to the stage it is at now, this is good for me as I can really get bogged down with the details and could spend hours just refining the details. If I were to do this again I would like to try it in Oil Paints.

Project 8: Still Life with Background

What is Still Life, where does one start ?

After doing research the term still Life is best described as is “An arrangement of a group of objects drawn or painted as a subject in their own right.” These usually contain inanimate subject matter; typically commonplace objects may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewellery, coins, pipes). The Tate Museum Glossary puts it very succinctly, defining the subject of a still life as "anything that does not move or is dead" which in my opinion gives it a lot of scope. Still Life isn’t something I usually do in fact it didn’t even interest me at all until I did some research on it. Whether I use the traditional subject matter of fruits, food and such or a more up to date subject for example drink cans, snacks, consumer goods or other everyday object which we don’t usually see as art or even pay attention too. I don’t want to go the pop art route; but I would like to use everyday objects as they did but paint them in a traditional style rather than a stylistic simplified image. As I’m not clear on what I’m going to do yet I will paint and draw  any objects that take my fancy, I will also photography groups of objects that I could possibly use.

Choosing a Subject Matter to Paint.

I don’t know if to stay with traditional subject matter, flowers, fruit, food, skulls, shoes and books just to name a few or do something totally different. I could as mention before do everyday objects for example choose a theme like Fast Foods or 21st Century man using all the products found in a man’s bathroom cabinet. It’s such an open brief sometimes I wish the brief would narrow it down to a particular theme. Below are some photographs that I have taken myself around the house looking for a still life image to paint, these are only a few pages taken straight from my research folder.. I’ve no idea what I’m going paint yet I’ll just play it by ear and see what happens.



Project 8: Still Life with Background

Still Life with Background: Research

Apart from drawing lessons in class I have never done a Still Life; I’ve always looked at them as a boring subject matter. You might be asking yourself then why did a choose to do a still life, the simple answer is that it seems the quickest and the easiest project to do, I’m already behind my a few weeks so I just wanted something I could finish quickly.

The full brief for this project can be viewed here in pdf format. Whilst researching I came across some wonderful artists, some I have looked at before but others are new to me which I'm very glad I stumbled upon them, below are the contemporary artists I’ve chosen.

Wayne Thiebaud:

Connor Walton : 

Julian Merrow-Smith:

I have a shown a few of their work below but if you enjoy them please visit the website links


Wayne Thiebaud (link)
Connor Walton (link)
Julian Merrow-Smith (link)

Historical Designers…

Also I choose three historical designers again I’ve included a few of their art works but of course you may do a bit a research on them yourself. The designers I choose where:

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)