Project: Landscape Drawing – Check and Log

02/06/14

Check & Log

  • In what way did you simplify and select in your study? Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information available to you?
360 degree studies

Project: Landscape Drawing
Exercise: 360 Degree Studies
Location: Hengistbury Head, Dorset

Drawings made in the Exercises: Sketchbook Walk and 360 Degree Studies, were made easier to simplify by using the view finder. It not only helped frame the scene in front of me, it also gave me markers for where elements needed to fit onto the paper around the edges, I then had points to refer and relate to for the entire content of the image.  For selecting which of the 360 degree studies to develop further in a larger study, I found that by putting all the sketches on one large piece of paper, I could judge my choice more easily. I could see the composition most suited to illustrate the three main sections of the image, back, middle and foreground. The bottom two sketches had more depth and interest, with the last one having simple shapes to develop leading from near to far.

  • How did you create a sense of distance and form in your sketches?

I tried to use the whole scene’s sense of perspective ie not only the more obvious subjects in the landscape but the sky as well.  This helped enormously as I was having difficulty with the media I’d chosen to use (conte sticks in black, grey and white) in knocking back the tone in the distance. In retrospect I think I was more successful in creating the atmosphere rather than specific forms, particularly as I got colder and worked quicker and with less detail.

  • How did you use light and shade? Was it successful?

As mentioned above, the conte sticks being fairly hard in texture, I struggled with tonal ranges, particularly with the distance – I was aware that the distant objects should be lighter in tone and tried over-hatching with light shades with a limited degree of success.  Consquently, in theory, I knew I should darken the foreground as a foil to the distance, again with limited success. Yes I should have used charcoal, but I will learn from my mistaken choices.

  • What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?
  1. Considering which sketch was to be developed whilst I was on site.
  2. Sketching the same scene again a few times with each drawing focussing on different aspects. ie it would have been helpful to have information specifically for:
    1. Perspective of the manmade features (beach huts)
    2. A more detailed study of the natural formation of the sand dunes
    3. Study of the textures within the foreground
    4. A basic simple tonal representation of shapes
Project: Landscape Drawing Exercise: Plotting Space Through Composition and Structure

Project: Landscape Drawing
Exercise: Plotting Space Through Composition and Structure
Graphite and water soluble graphite pencils on paper

Instead I had a great “impression” of the scene and could remember the feeling and atmosphere of being there with the sounds and smells of the sea. This in itself was a step forward, however, I need to be able to develop these impressions and stay true to them rather than dilute with over work, which is what I think I did in the end.

Claude Lorrain re division of landscapes

02/06/16

Research Point

Look at the work of Claude Lorrain and Turner.  Write notes on how those artists divide their landscapes into foreground, middle ground and background.

landscape with brigands - claude lorrain

Landscape with Brigands 1633 by Claude Lorrain

Referring back to the illustration already used for Claude Lorrain.
Lorrain used tone and colour to great effect to achieve aerial perspective. Landscape with Brigands 1633 – Even though this is a monochrome etching, the use of tone is striking in separating the three main areas of the image.  The distant hills progressively become stronger in line and tone as they come forwards. The middle ground is more defined but less so than the foreground where all the action is, not only with the figures but with tonal values and detail on the near trees.

Lorrain predates Turner by well over a hundred years, yet Turner and his contemporaries have obviously observed and learnt from him. Turner used similar techniques in composition even though his style evolved very differently becoming a major influence on the Impressionists to come.

 

 

 

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 re division of landscapes

21/05/14

Research Point

Look at the work of Claude Lorrain and Turner. Write notes on how those artists divide their landscapes into foreground, middle ground and background.

Crossing the Brook exhibited 1815 Joseph Mallord William Turner

Crossing the Brook by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1815
Tate Gallery London

An epic landscape painting which clearly defines fore, middle and backgrounds. The great sense of space and depth is my first impression. The distance is achieved with proportional scale and a more ethereal painting technique that eliminates detail and relies on subtle tones and muted colours for its illusion.  Even the sky has depth due to the smaller clouds closer together with them increasing in size and space as they come nearer to the viewer.  The middle ground has more features but these are still handled delicately plus encompassing the sunlight falling on the buildings and rocky, tree covered hills.

The foreground has much more detail and more contrasting tones. Features and subjects appear nearer due to the increase in size and detail. The whole painting is brought together by the framing of the trees on the left, the diagonal of the tree-lined hill guiding the eye up and to the right tree group and then off into the distance. Turner has crafted this beautifully and leads the viewer, although, one can also just get lost in the sheer expanse of the composition as if seeing the view in real life.

Raby Castle by  Joseph Mallord William Turner 1818

Raby Castle by
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1818
Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore

Raby Castle commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Darlington.
Again, this has distinct separation of back, middle and foregrounds, although this time the subject, the castle itself, is positioned in the middle ground. All the usual techniques have been employed ie the distant hills are muted and give atmosphere and depth. Stronger contrasts and details of the flora and fauna give a sense of closeness to the viewer, with the hounds and riders of the hunt showing scale. Cleverly, Turner has used the sky to great effect, not only for a sense of drama and framing the left upper section with a strong cloud formation, but also by using shafts of sunlight to illuminate the painting’s subject, even though the castle itself is fairly minimal in detail. Bringing the whole image together again with the composition leading the eye backwards and forwards across the painting in a natural and rhythmic way. So very clever.

Research and photographs from
JMW Turner 1775-1
851 from the Discovering Art Series
Turner by KE Sullivan First published 1996 Brockhampton Press, reprinted 2004

Pictures courtesy of Visual Arts Library London, Bridgeman Art Library

 

David Hockney (again)

18-19/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Spring 2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Summer 2007
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Autumn
2008
by David Hockney
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter 2008 by David Hockney

Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter
2008
(8 Canvasses put together 2×4)
by David Hockney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel I have to return to David Hockney’s The Bigger Picture exhibition.  Within this collection there are numerous series of works recording the same scenes at differing timings, over seasons and years. Interestingly with the Three Trees series, it looks like Hockney revisited this scene the following year to produce the Autumn, Spring and Winter paintings after producing the Summer work in 2007.

Painting outside

Painting outside, putting canvasses together to increase overall painting size.

 

The challenges are much the same as any outdoor art work making. Hockney, allegedly dressed in layers of coats and heated gloves is not unexpected, yet his insistence in creating mammoth sized paintings outdoors in the countryside, probably is.  As mentioned in my previous post re Mr Hockney, he got round this by using several, medium-sized canvasses placed together in collections of 6, 9, 15 or so. Alignment also being a challenge, he turned, as many times before in his work, to photography to help him out.  Using digital photographs and photoshop he would “stitch” together the individual images to make one cohesive picture.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

An early start and set up ready to paint.

Many times he arrived at his chosen painting spot with canvasses, easels, camping tables accommodating boxes of paints, pots of brushes etc but also made use of iPad technology and apps as a digital sketchbook, needing only the tablet to paint on and his finger to paint with (plus, I am sure, many hours of practice with the thing!).

Interestingly, Hockney refers back to Albrecht Durer, Monet, Turner, Ruskin, Constable among others and even made his own versions of Claude Lorrain’s Sermon on the Mount in his own style.

 

 

All images are photographs of pages from the official catalogue of work “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” published by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Authors: Tim Barringer, Edith Devaney, Margaret Drabble, Martin Gayford, Marco Livingsone and Xavier F Salomon – Photographic Acknowledgements contained within. Research also from the above.

 

Claude Monet 1840-1926

18-19/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

Famed for his en plein air paintings, Monet painted many scenes time and again. In around 1876, with a growing reputation, Monet was determined to paint several pictures of Gard de St-Lazare. According to his friend Renoir, you may have heard of him, Monet dressed in his finest clothes and addressed the director of the Western Railways, introduced himself as “The Painter, Claude Monet” and informed him that he had chosen his station to paint. This eventually resulted in the station being closed, trains being fired up producing clouds of steam, just for Monet’s sole purpose of painting. Now, that is overcoming the challenges of a busy station! Not sure I’d get away with that at Waterloo – anyway I digress.

Haystacks by Monet

Images from top left clockwise:
Haystack, Snow, Overcast Sky;
Haystack in Sunshine;
Haystacks in Thaw at Sunset;
Haystack in the Snow, Morning
By Claude Monet 1891

Monet started producing series of paintings in earnest around the 1890s. Beginning with the haystacks, he produced sketches and painted studies that became finished works.  Always in a setting of the field with distant buildings indicated, as Monet said himself, the subject was not the objects in front of him as such but the conveyance of “what is alive between me and the subject”. Atmosphere, light, weather conditions etc all became the “subject”.

Going on to spend approximately two years painting the west door of the 12th century Gothic Rouen Cathedral in many different guises.  The views are all very similar, although not identical, as he rented a small room opposite to work from – he did not manage to keep the same room for the project’s entirety.  In the end he painted 30 different canvasses, ranging from morning sunlight to dull overcast days and the myriad of changing light in between. Monet did spend the following year re-working and adding to the paintings in his studio emphasising mood and atmosphere and giving balance.  I have seen a selection of these displayed in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and it is striking how different in appearance and feel each is to the other.

rouen cathedral x 6

Top row – left to right:
Rouen Cathedral in the Morning. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance in the morning sun. Harmony in blue;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in the morning. Harmony in white.
Bottom row, left to right:
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower in bright sunlight. Harmony in blue and gold;
Rouen Cathedral. the main entrance and the Saint-Romain Tower on a dull day. Harmony in grey;
Rouen Cathedral. The main entrance. Harmony in brown.
By Claude Monet, 1894

Detail of previous image top left.

Detail of previous image top left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the challenges Monet faced in working outside, he painted in all weathers rain, snow, wind and blazing sun and was accustomed to working swathed in coats and blankets, being battered by the sea’s spray and whatever else nature could throw at him.  Aside from the practicalities of maintaining body temperature and keeping dry, all these things are the very essence of Monet’s painting “what is alive between me and the subject”.

Research and photographs of images from Monet by Christoph Heinrich Published by Taschen 1994

 

 

Paul Cezanne 1839-1906

13/05/14

Research Point

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

From what I can gather from books on Paul Cezanne, he was, what you might call, a very cerebral artist. By that I mean, he seemed to have to get a scene right in his mind before he began the physical process of interpreting it in paint. He took his selection of subject very seriously and scoured the countryside for his “perfect” subject.

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

 

 

 

 

 

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

Part of a series of paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cezanne is well known for his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, Aix-en-Provence in France. In this dominant shape he saw the ordered and balanced motif he was searching for, and set about his task of expressing it in its variety. He liked to select an object in nature that wouldn’t change in itself but that provided, seemingly, infinite compositions regarding colour and its surrounding environment.

When painting outside, Cezanne was fairly unusual for his time in using watercolour to make studies. It allowed him to be more spontaneous in his work, employing speed and expressive mark making without the, as he allegedly considered, more laboured approach of oil paints.

Arc Valley and Mont Sainte Victoire

Sketch of the Arc Valley 1885-87 and painting of Mont Sainte-Victoire 1885-87 Oil on Canvas

Cezanne returned to subjects often, and when making sketches, they sometimes appear very sparse in information eg The Arc Valley 1885-1887, yet the painting of a similar view is rich in subject matter – Mont Sainte-Victoire 1885-1887. This begs the question whether they were both made in situ or if the memory a regularly painted subject was so strong he just needed small reminders of the scene.

Research and photographs of images from:

Cezanne by Ulkrike Becks-Malorny Published by Taschen 1995

Cezanne by Richard Verdi Published by Thames & Hudson 1992

David Hockney 1937 –

23/04/14

Research Point

Look at and research different artists’ depictions of landscape. For example look at: Durer’s landscapes are some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world created. Claude Lorrain’s designed landscapes using classical proportions, the British artist Lowry’s images of industrial life. Make notes in your learning log.

David Hockney is a multi faceted artist of our time, however, as we are looking at landscapes in this part of the course, I couldn’t omit the “The Bigger Picture”. All images are photographs of pages from the official catalogue of work “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” published by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Authors: Tim Barringer, Edith Devaney, Margaret Drabble, Martin Gayford, Marco Livingsone and Xavier F Salomon – Photographic Acknowledgements contained within.

David Hockney WIP

David Hockney – work in progress on one of his massive works the for “The Bigger Picture” exhibition of 2012 RA, London

The Bigger Picture exhibition held at the Royal Academy, London in 2012 was so enjoyable and inspiring. A massive body of work that was a culmination of several years drawing and painting outdoors – even some of the larger paintings were made outside over several smaller canvasses put together as the above image shows.

The series showing the same views at different times of year or days of the week were interesting and representative of seasons and nature changing all the time.  Media ranged from oil to watercolour to prints of digital drawings made on his iPad. Hockney’s sketch books and method of working were fascinating to pour over. Spoilt for choice here are a few photographs of work that particularly caught my eye.

Garrowby Hill by David Hockney

Garrowby Hill by David Hockney 1998 Oil on Canvas

The Road to York through Siedmore by David Hockney

The Road to York through Siedmore by David Hockney 1997 Oil on Canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut Trees - Timber by David Hockney

Cut Trees – Timber by David Hockney 2008, Charcoal on Paper 26×40″

Trees and Totems by David Hockney, sketchbook

Trees and Totems by David Hockney, sketchbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colour ranges and slightly skewed perspectives are breathtaking and charcoal drawings are detailed and full of many different mark making techniques – there is much to learn from this artist!