P37 – Project Still Life – Exercise – Composition of Natural Objects

“Make a selection of natural objects.” I chose some of the ingredients for a winter stew – a turnip, an onion, a carrot and some mushrooms.

“Explore different viewpoints by moving the objects around … positioning yourself above or to the side for a more interesting effect.”

The first sketch was a straight forward arrangement which I drew in willow charcoal. I don’t find it easy to draw small with charcoal, especially with shading to create 3D form. The composition, which was drawn inside a rectangular box, was spoilt by being too far to the left.

For the second sketch I moved the vegetables down onto a chair so I was looking down on them. I drew them in Indian ink with a metal nibbed dipping pen.

For the third and final sketch, I cut a small rectangular viewfinder in a piece of white card. This allowed me to draw a small area comprising of parts of the turnip, onion and carrot, using an 8B graphite pencil. I didn’t like the grey obtained with the pencil. I prefer the black of the ink. However, I liked the “close up” and I’ll do this for my main drawing although I won’t use the pencil.

For my main drawing, I replaced the red Spanish onion with a whiter onion. I also managed to secure the viewfinder to the table I was using. Having to hold it in one hand while drawing with the other had been a problem with the third sketch. I drew the original sketches by natural light, but by the time I came to draw the final drawing I had to use a table lamp as illumination. I used a 0.8 fine liner pen with a little shading with crushed charcoal. I’m happy with the result.

Turnip, Onion and Carrot

Check and Log:

  • Do you think it is easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects? Perhaps it was my choice of objects for the man-made still life sketches where the white pot was the only item with a significant 3D element, but it was easier to show form by shading with the definitely solid 3D vegetables.
  • How did you create a sense of solidity in your composition? As just mentioned, solidity is shown by shading. With the main drawing of the vegetables, there was a definite shadow from the lamp at the top of the carrot. This was shown mainly by cross hatching with the pen. The much less pronounced shadow along the length of the carrot was done with the powdered charcoal.
  • Do you think changing the arrangement of your composition makes a difference to your approach and the way you create a sense of form? No. A goose feather quill is a goose feather quill whether it is propped up in a pot or flat on the table. A carrot is shaded on the side opposite to the light source wherever it is in the composition.
  • How did you decide how to position yourself in relation to the objects? The instructions suggest having a high viewpoint which I tried for the second sketch of the natural objects. Otherwise all the items were on the surface of the table I was using.
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About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in Art, Check and Log, Drawing 1, OCA, Open College of the Arts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to P37 – Project Still Life – Exercise – Composition of Natural Objects

  1. Pingback: Assignment 1B – Made Objects | The Milkman Goes To College

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