“[The first drawing] should be a still life of natural forms. Its entirely up to you what you put into the composition, but think carefully about it, so that you get a range of surface textures and interesting shapes.”
I was wondering what I might draw for this part of the assignment while taking my son’s dogs for a walk round our local lodge. I then realised I was surrounded by wonderful shapes and colours of autumn. The problem would be which of them to choose. I finally settled on reeds, teasels, horse chestnut leaves and fruit, and rose hips. The first two would give a vertical dimension while the latter two would be horizontal in the composition. Combined these would give a strong L-shaped composition.
One of the last exercises was about frottage. I thought a frottage L-shaped border would add to the composition. Originally I intended using regularly-shaped, rough-surfaced wood shapes, but, as I was drawing on 300g Somerset paper, I felt it was too thick so used a cracked Yorkshire stone flag instead. As this was irregular in shape, the overall effect was disappointing. It is the one aspect of the final piece which I regard as a failure.
I drew my studies on another sheet of Somerset paper. Most of these were attempts to capture different textures with different drawing tools. I found the teasel particularly tricky. I also tried other compositions but was happiest with my original L-shaped format.
I was unsure about how much colour I should use as this is a drawing course and not a painting course. I restricted myself to the red of the rose hips and brown of the conkers and parts of the leaves. For the rest I used washes of indian ink of different strengths.
I used fine pen hatching combined with smudged charcoal for shading. The vase was interesting as it was a hand-crafted slip-cast ceramic piece which had been “decorated” by the potter with smoke from a fire. I therefore had to represent the irregular pattern and the shadows defining the form, all in shades of grey.
Unfortunately, as the piece of Somerset paper was 70 cm by 50 cm, it was necessary to photograph the final drawing rather than use a scanner. This has resulted in the background appearing to be uneven.