Assign2,Part 2 Project 1

After my spending several days working on better understanding drawing and spending hours practicing my drawing I resolved to draw every day for up to an hour to improve.

So in choosing my drawings for this Project I may need to redraw and or add to my drawings from Part 1 to obtain a better quality of drawing for this Project.

I am particularly drawn to my work thus far on the Christening Dress and seed pods.  I like that the Christening dress has a variety of layers and textures and patterning and very interesting detail items.

Further Reflection – Feedback Part 1

Following on from my looking at the UTube references provided by my tutor and others I have been reading Maslen and Southern’s book “Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing” and doing a simple course on techniques for better drawing. In the course I have learnt more about hatching and crosshatching, composition line, blocking, contour line, structural drawing, value and form.   I have spent lots of time practicing (I am in Indonesia and my partner is working sometimes in another part of Java)drawing trying to come to terms particularly with shading and types of mark making.  I have looked at drawings by different artists in the Maslen and Southern book and online resources and drawing magazines and tried to practice these different approaches to understand better the drawing techniques used.

I then read further the first ‘Text’ section of the Maslen and Southern’s book concerning Drawing, Drawings, Concepts and Precepts, Making Drawings, Marks and mark making, Lines and edges, Tone and light, Negative space, being selective, Sketchbooks and Doodles.  I have selected those parts of the book that resonated with me and for me to review as I am working through the rest of the course.

The authors comment (p.11) that most adults drawing skills have not developed beyond those of adolescents who gave up drawing!  They talk about our whole personality being involved in the making of analytic and aesthetic decisions and our personal preferences that form the basis for work that should always be an expression of our individuality. The authors go on to stress that following one’s feelings and the use of intuitive judgement are essential in the organic development of drawing.  Information is taken in by the eyes and other senses, considered and restructured in the language and materials of the activity of drawing.  We are given the opportunity to examine the forms structure, spaces and surfaces in our world and gain a greater understanding to them.  We can then express our own personal point of view.

“This examination of appearances, through the drawing process, forms the backbone to all the traditionally valued activities of the artist, and is the essential base upon which all visual art is formed”(Maslen and Southern, p14).  You draw with feeling or spontaneous thoughts.  A drawing can be viewed as an act of theatre.  So it is essential to drawing that one learns to see and that continues with each drawing.  I like the thought that drawing can be viewed as the process of seeing made visible.

Maslen and Southern comment that our drawing language skills increase with arctic as we extend our vocabulary of marks, materials and approaches.

‘I merely draw what I see.

I draw what, I feel in my body’  Barbara Hepworth

I found it interesting in the book when the authors say that “the drawing is as much about the artist as it is about what is being drawn, and it may on occasions tell you more about the artists’ state of mind, level of understand, etc than it does about the subject matter”(p.20).  The comment made me really think much more deeply about what is drawing.

The section in the book on ‘Marks and mark-making’ resonated with me too:

‘Drawing is the simplest way of establishing a picture vocabulary because it is an instant, personal declaration of what is important and what is not’ Betty Goodwin quoted on p.28

Marks can be viewed as the form of words, the elements and how the drawing is made. Everyone makes their own unique set of marks and every medium has its own particular quality of mark.  Similar to handwriting.  For good mark making one needs to think about:

  • is the mark the right one for the job
  • ‘alive and express the ‘life energy’ of the artist
  • communicate the qualities of light and the form, volume and surface of the subject of the drawing
  • show changes in pace and rhythm that add interest and variety
  • think about medium as different medium helps to determine the sort of marks to make
  • size of mark to be made e.g. for a smaller drawing, or a larger drawing

For me to think about is the rigidity of my drawing or too little control. To change the way I hold the drawing instrument has provided a new and interesting choice in the language of drawing.  To know what are the right marks to make is fundamental to learning how to draw. This relates to ‘feeling the mark’ as it is made on the paper e.g. lighter, darker, bold, curved.  So practice, practice, practice drawing so that the skills of looking, feeling, discerning and responding in marks can be made in one action – my drawing instrument is an extension of my brain, heart, eyes, arm and hand.  This makes me feel challenged, excited and vulnerable!!

I really feel that I want to keep drawing and try to improve greatly.  I have also started the Projects in Maslen and Southern and find them really helpful.

However, I have to return to my coursework and Part 2 of the Assignment but will continue to do Maslen and Southern projects and any other opportunities to undertake drawing classes.





Reflection – Feedback on Part 1 – Projects 1, 2 and 3

My tutor has commented to me that I need to develop my drawing skills to a higher standard.  She has suggested some on-line links and the book  by Maslen and Southern “Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing”.  I felt disheartened at first because in some ways I did not understand what that really meant and what I should be aiming for in terms of good drawing.  I struggle in my head with the process of developing classic drawing skills as opposed to innovative contemporary drawing.

But I have now looked at the online videos and can see a mixture (in my eyes) of both that I need to improve on.  I have a copy of the book referenced by the tutor and am taking it with me to Indonesia and will go through it. As well as practice, practice and more practice of my drawing.  I really appreciate that drawing is an integral part of art and design. I may be able to find some appropriate drawing classes too.


Written Reflection Part ONE

What have I learned over the course of the projects in Part ONE?

Reflecting on my work in Part One I have gained firstly, a much greater appreciation of the significance for future work of archival textiles.  I have not previously given much thought to really examining pieces of old textiles and using aspects e.g. press studs, mending, stitches to inform design elements.  Also reflecting in samples the tactile nature  of these old pieces has been interesting too.  It has opened up a whole new world for me.

Second, I have a much greater appreciation of mark making.  I now get the significance and the massive possibilities for design and to now use my eyes and look for opportunities to record all sorts of marks e.g nature, and man made.  I have started a sketchbook just to record marks I come across with the idea of using them in my textile work.

Third, I loved doing the collage work and this has heightened my awareness of using this type of approach to a range of work generally in the textile arena.  I now have a big range of books on collage and have been doing small fabric samples as 30 minute exercises to get my creativity flowing.

Fourth, I enjoyed the work on leaves and seed pods and the challenge I set myself to depict these in a variety of drawing and media.  I think my drawing is getting more ‘freer’ and I like the results and the way these can provide inspiration for future work.

I found using the mind maps I created at the beginning of the work on Part One so helpful to ensuring I was ‘on track’.  I also developed more recently a Project Plan for Assignment Two work with estimated times to undertake Project tasks and estimated dates.  This has been very valuable in finding out where I have underestimated time for photographing and blogging all my work as well as stopping me going ‘off track’ to follow an idea or Painter that I was inspired by but to remind myself to get on with my Assignment!

Consolidation of Drawing Folio PART ONE

I note that at the end of Part One I am asked to consolidate my folio of drawing.  I am an Australian student so I am recording all my work virtually on my blog.  At the end of Part One I may select up to 10 drawings for some brief comments.  I have quickly chosen the ones below which already appear in the Part One Projects sections of my blog along with many others.

As indicated these appear in a larger format in the relevant Project sections of Part One.

Assign 2, Part 1 Project 2 Ex 1.8 Portraying by Drawing

Assign 2, Part 1 Exercise 1.8 Portraying by Drawing

I thought about how to portray my chosen subjects and decided on a variety of approaches.  I decided not to include flowers but to chose leaves and seed pods because I love the patterns and shapes of these.

I like the autumn leaves that are on display now in my street and beyond and decided to depict those using watercolours.


I then decided to replicate the leaves using the actual leaf and a gelli printing plate.  I used slow drying Golden acrylic paint on the plate and two layers of colour.  I like the effect you get using this approach.  Gelli plates are also good for using with fabric and this may have possibilities for future work.


Next mindful of my research and love of John Woolsley’s art work (discussed in a previous blog post) I sought out native plants growing in my garden.  I found grevillia bush with its thin spiky leaves, paperbark tree with its thick leaves and the eucalyptus trees leaves(variety unknown).  I depicted these in a variety of media as shown below:

I decided to use leaf printing on bank paper to depict the thin spiky leaves of the grevillia and followed that by overlaying prints of the thick paperbark tree leaves.  I like the lines these prints created and the possibilities for taking further in the future.


Next I gelli plate printed the eucalyptus leaves shown here on the right.


I also decided to do a quick charcoal sketch of a small branch of eucalyptus leaves.


Following on from these I decided to include leaves and some seedpods from exotic sub tropical plants and trees in my garden.  First I looked at the seedpods from the poinciana tree.  These are large seedpods and can be up to 20cm or so.  I attempted to replicate using a crayon rubbing – not quite so successful.  I include a photo with the actual seedpod.


Next I decided to draw the seedpods using charcoal on soft Japanese paper.


My other seed pod was a tiny round seed I found on the path but could not find out the tree of origin.  I drew with charcoal on Japanese soft paper and increased the size by like 20 times!

IMG_7883I next took leaves from my passionfruit vine and printed these on bank paper using acrylic slow drying golden paint.


Finally I took a dead head from a ‘Bird of Paradise’ flower head in the front garden and depicted it using a wash of watercolour and then drew using a small branch from the Paperback tree near by and Indian ink.  I like the movement in this drawing and the possibilities.


In summary, I have used a variety of media to depict my leaves and seed heads and a variety of leaf sources.  I am happy with the outcome and think I will have a resource to use further in my work.

Assign 2, Part One Research Point 3

David Hockney Part 1 Research Point 3

David Hockney is a renowned contemporary living British artist. He works in a variety of medium including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and digital art. I had heard of Hockney but not been exposed to his work here in Australia. I really enjoyed looking at the Yorkshire Sketchbook, 2004, I found his sketching and watercolour and ink approach to the landscape, trees and vegetation refreshing.  I like his use of bright colour, foliage and brushstrokes. The lack of complication.

His exhibition at London’s Royal Academy in which he exhibited 51 drawings from his iPad as well as a series of landscapes of his native Yorkshire depicts amongst other things the seasonal changes over four years.  The tree is a key motif in this work depicting summer foliage and the bareness of winter for example.  The iPad works were enlarged and depict the arrival of spring along a local road where Hockney lived.  The grasses, buttercups and dandelions of spring feature in different pictures.

Hockney has been seen as innovative for his use of painting using an ipad as the canvas. He started out using the App ‘Brushes”.  He likes to experiment with the latest technologies to learn new ways to make images.

He has also embraced the iphone and emails pictures of flowers drawn from his window on a daily basis to his friends.  Virtual flowers!!


Hockney’s Pictures, 2012, Thames &Hudson

David Hockney A Yorkshire Sketchbook, 2004, Royal Academy of Arts

Assign 2 Part 1 Project 3 Ex 1.7

Exercise 1.7 Sources and Media

For this exercise I have collected the flowers, leaves and plants that I would like to draw with the aim to choose a source or small group of sources that I will enjoy drawing.  I have chosen living things that I can observe first hand and capture the visual information from its many angles and perspectives.  I note that I can work on a particular paper or scale if I choose and may make use of paper collage.  My aim is also to be bold and experimental in my choice and to reflect back on what I have gain from drawing my archive textiles. To follow a technique that I might want to build on.

I have decided to use watercolours to depict my leaves as I like the effect of the paint on the watercolour paper.  I  want to use graphite, charcoal and pencil to depict the seed pods as I will do rubbings of the seed pods too.  I will use a gelli plate to print images of leaves on bank paper and  also use sun dyed fabric.  I love printing so thought I could combine with the requirements of this exercise!

In Australia we have a fabulous artist John Wolseley who arrived here from England in 1976.  A comment I like about his work (Sasha Grishin, 2015, ‘John Woolsely Land Marks 111’, Thames and Hudson, p9) ‘ much of Wolsely’s art has involved a search for a formal language through which he could express the unique peculiarity of the Australian Environment.  Wolseley depicts various aspects of the Australian bush including leaves and seedpods using a variety of media including watercolour, woodcut, linocut, graphite pastel, coloured crayon and charcoal.  This has influenced my chose of media for this exercise also.

Wolseley camps in the bush deliberately to break down the conceptual and physical barrier between the artist and the nature.  He keeps a journal to record amongst other things his botanical and zoological observations. His work from a camp might include aerial observations, cartographic marks and notes on geological formations combined with studies of minute flora and rocks.  A different approach to landscape art.  I am particularly drawn to his flora studies, for example, lichens in Tasmania. Grishin (p17) comments that ‘Wolseley makes no attempt to persuade us that what we have before us is an authoritative reading of nature; we have a collection of evocative observations which introduces us to a certain slice of wilderness and which prompts us to see the world differently.’

Wolseley also employs rubbings of paper on rock surfaces to capture the textures, or the actual bark or insects found on location, or the effect of drawing of the soil once the paper has been buried in the ground, animal tracks of a platypus made on his sheet of paper to incorporate into his work.  Taking it further I can try to conceptualise how collage and stitch can be applied in this approach – very easily I think!

So what does this mean to me?  Simplistically it means I would love to do a road trip into the Australian bush and record the leaves and seedpods I come into contact with in my chosen locality.  In reality I live in suburban south east Queensland (Brisbane) and am not able to do a road trip at this time.  But I can think about how the leaves and seedpods I select fit into my environment and landscape as I work.


I have reviewed my approach to Drawing over the last few months and tried to be ‘freerer’ in my approach.  I have obtained a copy of Mick Maslen and others ,2014,”Drawing Projects:  An Exploration of the Language of Drawing”, and read parts.  I have also bought an ebook of Kim Nicolaides, “The Natural Way to Draw”.  I think this book looks interesting and will read as quickly as I can.  I feel there is so much to learn and it is so motivating but I need to just do it in terms of my Assignment!!


Sasha Grishin, 2015, ‘John Woolsely Land Marks 111‘, Thames & Hudson



Assign 2 Project 2 Ex 1.6 Detail Definition

Exercise 1.6 Detail and Definition

In this exercise I aimed to look closely and with attention to the fine detail of my archive textiles and depict in my drawings.  I have drawn the press stud on the Christening Dress; the fabric flower on the Christening Dress the honeycomb on the netting.


IMG_4108IMG_4105From the Kantha Rug close up of one of the  patterns.


Assign 2 Project 2 Ex 1.5

Exercise 1.5 Collage and Creases

I have expanded my drawing to include paper media and materials to capture my textile pieces through collage. I have looked at them as a whole piece and also looked at small detail and depicted that in collage.  Photos below:


The folds in the Christening Dress above.  The Collage of the whole Christening Dress attempts to depict the fragility of the dress with Japanese soft paper.

IMG_7803A close up piece depicting the joining work in the very worn Kantha Rug.  The paper crosses represent the stitches.