Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 2

Tutor feedback from assignment 2: On Project 2: Comparing my sketches to Claes Oldenburg and Patrick Caulfield

It’s great to be compared to somebody famous! Not only does it feel good but it’s a good way of looking at my work from a different perspective and an opportunity to broaden my artistic experience.

So here’s Claes Oldenburg: He was born in 1929 and died in 2009. He was Swedish but practiced in America. Best known for his sculpture… which is maybe why I struggled to find his drawings? He was mainly known for his public art installations and large-scale replicas of everyday objects… often in soft sculpture.





I can see only a passing resemblance – his drawings are delicate and ‘hang’ in space. They don’t feel finished (but that may be because I know he mainly did sculptures and assume they’re preparatory drawings?)… whereas mine is definitely the end of a process… not a part of it.

Both mine and his are ‘colored in line drawings’ (especially his shuttlecocks).

But I think mine is much bolder and the power is in the sketch. My sketch is a finished product. It’s captured some of the energy that went into the drawing and the brutality of the raw power of a hammer.

You bash things with it!


(From Wikipedia)
Patrick Joseph Caulfield, CBE, RA, was an English painter and printmaker known for his bold canvases, which often incorporated elements of photorealism within a pared-down scene. Examples of his work are Pottery and Still Life Ingredients


Santa Margherita Ligure, 1964 (board)

Reserved Table, 2000 (acrylic on canvas)


I don’t see the similarity.

Firstly, his style changed over time… the last canvas ‘Reserved Table’ from 2000 reminds me of a Braque or early cubist Picasso. On this the lobster is photorealistic… but I wouldn’t say my pots are photorealistic… they’re more exaggerated colour bent to shape. So, if there was a comparison it would be with Patrick’s earlier work.

These have hard black lines filled in with flat colour, no colour modelling, simplified shapes, they are flat and pattern like, like Matisse’s ‘The Dinner Table’. Even in his, Santa Margherita Ligure, 1964 (board) there are just a few lines to suggest the waterfront hotels and sea… the rest is flat blue colour – both sea, waterfront buildings and sky.

Doris must have seen something… maybe it’s a mood for strong colour? Or the (almost) flat blue of the tablecloth?

Apart from technique my aim was to capture the warmth of the sunshine in the red terracotta pots. The emotion of Summer. And (to an extent) the pots are meant to be realistic… if heightened. The fence is obviously a fence and the grass is grass.

But his prints and early work appears stark and beautiful to me… paired down… distanced… aesthetic… peaceful. And perfect for his screen prints.

Mine was emotionally driven and representational.






Assignment two (and reflection)


(1) Firstly I drew the ‘frames’ on my A1 drawing paper.  These frames will hold the different drawing media and different supporting media.

1 hour:



They are also meant to give a seperate geometric structure to the still life and act as an abstract ‘still life’ with it’s own dynamics.

I changed these slightly from my plan… as I thought more about how the shapes worked together. I changed the small square to a circle as I thought the circles would attract each other. And also repositioned the bottom right rectangle so the gaps to the side were the same.  It introduces some symetry within asymetry.

When I’d drawn the frames (sorry it’s so light) I moved my paper around and decided that it worked better upsidedown – that is with the circles supported on boxes like debris at the bottom of a mountain. My original orienation made the boxes hover in mid air and looked odd.

(2) Next I drew the rubber plant.

1 hour:


I really enjoyed this and love the patterns the leaves make.

It’s the second time I’ve drawn this rubber plant and I noticed the leaves all have different ‘feelings’ so I tried to make them work together. A bit like 3 D chess till they made a pleasing arrangement.

This was cool as it’s like speaking to the plant – which I know sounds bonkers. Maybe more like having a conversation with what you’re drawing but not using words… being in the moment.

(3) Painting the frames.

2 hours:


My original idea had been to make a montage by sticking different material for the different frames – I really like the idea but due to time contraints decided to paint them in acrylic.

I’d hoped acrylic would be thick and opaque but it reminded me of liquid watercolour. Given more time, and when I finish, it might be nice to experiment with brushdtrokes… I had a little go with the silver paint and liked the effect.

I chose gold for the wide frame because big old frames are gold. Black for the circle because intuitively I wanted to paint that next and gold and black seemed a nice combination. Next I did the white circle so the circles would contrast and all the rectangles would have the colour.

Lemon yellow because it went with the gold… and finally red because there’s going to be lots of green in the drawing and the contrast might give it some energy.

(4) Sticking in the supporting media.

2 hours:


I’m using the drawing paper for:

(A) Pencil and art pen; (B) Marker pen and highlighters and (C) Pencil crayon… but in my preparation noticed that drawing paper was a bad choice for pastels and watercolour.

I traced the drawing then cut out and stuck in the different supporting media, then traced the drawing back on top.

(D) Watercolour paper… the little circle.

Wow!!!! It’s so thick – like card. I had no idea. No wonder the drawing paper didn’t work.

I’m going to test my watercolours on the bits I cut off as I’ve never used watercolour paper before.

(E) Pastel paper – the big gold frame. I only had A4 pastel paper… again I’ve never used it. It’s thicker than ordinary paper and has a bit of a bite so should be good.

As I had to use more than one piece of paper I used different colours to see how that might affect the colours of the pastels. I’ve no idea but I’m sure to learn something!

(F) Acrylic paper – in the black circle. I just thought the oil pastels might work on a canvassy supporting medium as I had such a lot of trouble with the drawing paper. And a friend bought me some acrylic paper as a present. So why not.

It’s nobbly and a bit shiny… might even be plastic on paper?? Anyway, it’s a bit like a canvas so we’ll see what happens!


DRAWING… famous last words but I’m going to try and limit myself to an hour a drawing and another hour to tidy up???

We’ll see!

Saturday 13th May… well, I didn’t manage 6 hours… it took 12 and an hour to tidy up.

Posted it off yesterday (Friday) to my tutor with lots of drawings she asked for and prep work – guarenteed delivery Tuesday 16th May. I’m really excited that she can see the physical work and looking forward to a chat.

Firstly a note on each medium:

A) Art pens: (on drawing paper)

I didn’t expect this to work so was really pleased with the result. It ended up a bit Van Gough like but that wasn’t my intention. And it looks like a negative sun – almost expressionistic?

But my intention was to gradate the blue to give the fall of light on the wall (I made the wall up) and some interest to the background… and for the change in intensity to lead into the plant.  My solution (as you can’t do washes with art pens – or I couldn’t) was to join lines and gradually add more dark blue.

However, having spent ages planning the design I wanted this to work as fine art so once I picked up the pens I worked intuitively and let the colours guide me. I was in the moment and it wasn’t a conscious excercise.

The process was a constant stopping looking and feeling what colour would go best next. I also felt like I was touching the leaves (which may sound a bit weird) but I was absorbed by the plant rather than being seperate to it.

Amazingly this produced quite realistic leaves.

Two more happy accidents were the overlapping of the blue lines and tiny gaps. This gave the ‘wall’ a lovely quality and made it more like sky. It made me think of a cactus in the desert.

I found by leaving gaps in the leaves and dotting I could make reflections which was really cool. And the precision of the Art pens meant I only made the marks I wanted to… but I also had to be strict and stop when it felt right.

All in all I really enjoyed using these and what I thought would be an ‘artificial’ and flat medium sprang to life.

That would never have happened if I hadn’t done a worked drawing using the Art pens.


B) Pastel: (on different coloured pastel paper)

The pastel paper was lovely to work on. It ‘soaked up’ the colours much better than drawing paper so it took a lot longer before the paper was ‘full’… (like a spoon of colour to a bucket) – this meant there was much more scope for mixing/subtle shades and intense colour.

I used my finger a lot for general mixing/smudging. This was great for the flow of the leaf but you had to be careful with your finger hygene… as the colours soon mixed to grey and if you went from one area to another without washing your finger you got a big ugly smudge!!!

I also used a pointy paper thing to butt up blocks of color where I’d left a tiny gap.

Having never used pastel paper before I would definitely use it again.

I tested out whether the base colour made a difference but it didn’t seem to do so – which might be because I used such heavy applications of colour?

It feels naturalistic and wistful to me.

It was very intersting how each medium has it’s own feel. Like different instruments in an orchestra.

Finally, when I fixed it it initially darkened but then went back to the normal colour – on drawing paper it seemed to lose it’s brighness. So I don’t know if that’s another benefit of the proper paper?

I masked off the rest of the drawing so I didn’t get any pastel dust on the clean paper or the Art Pen work I’d completed.

C) Watercolour: (on watercolour paper)

I found this really, really hard.

I’ve never used watercolour paper before and it’s got little indentations, it dries and absorbs differently to drawing paper and technically needs a lot of practice.

On drawing paper the colours were easier to spread and it didn’t pool.

The supporting medium is almost like having another drawing medium in that it affects how you use the drawing medium so radically.

In the end I couldn’t achieve what I wanted but it has some nice qualities in the surface of the leaf… however the highlights look stilted and don’t work.

D) Oil pastel:

I love oil pastel – the colours are so rich and vibrant and blend so well.

It’s like sculpting with creamy colour!!!!

The drawback is the mark making is so blunt and the pastels spatter and crumble. I want to get physical with these.

So I got lost in this – it doesn’t help my reflection but it was like dancing. Blending, touching, adding and smearing.

I don’t have the language, but it’s beginning to work in places. By work I mean it sings rather than reflects a certain exterior reality.

E) Pencil crayon:

This was a revelation.

Pencils… they’re for kids… right?

It’s going to be awful.

And yet they produced something that’s very effective… the table and the leaf have a texture. You can mix and overlay, the colours are bright and strong.

I’m particularly happy with the aerial perspective???? on the table. The gradation in color makes it look like the table is 3D. And the little leaf at the front. It’s like a little smile and works really well for me.

It has the feel of hightened reality and reminds me ever so slightly of Andre Derain’s use of colour. With an element of aesthetic expressionism (I just made that up but I think it expresses what I mean?!)

F) Markerpen and highlighters:

Really, really, really strange.

This is perhaps the most effective piece of the drawing and it’s the most ‘unrealistic’.

I expected it to be the worst.

I used a black, blue and red marker pen and highlighters I use on my notes.

It wasn’t planned I just picked them up and went for it. Working very quickly… mixing by overlaying one on top of another.

For me this part of the drawing comes alive.

I would NEVER have used them for a drawing if the course hadn’t taken me there and I don’t know why it works… but it does.

I’m very happy with this section of the drawing.


(1) Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I think I put a lot of effort into using the different media – each of the six areas uses a different drawing medium and several use different supporting mediums.

It’s forced me to use them in a piece of fine art – I really wanted this to work as a complete drawing – and I’ve learnt a lot about their different voices… and how they work on paper.

The design and composition was carefully thought out then integrated into the whole by using a single rubber plant as te focus for the drawing.

(2) Quality of outcome:

I’m not sure about this as I don’t fully understand the language.

But my intent was to creat a drawing that investigated the nature of seeing so each frame was a window onto the same “reality” but changed it. Just like no two viewers view an event in the real world in the same way.

And to stimulate the viewer into thinking about ‘reality’ in a wider context.

In that sense I think it’s coherent.

It applies my knowledge (technically – if that’s what is meant) as I’m working to the edge of my ability (and learning) by applying all my ideas about colour mixing/perspective/direction of movement in a drawing as best I could.

(3) Demonstration of creativity:

A difficult one but I did a lot of prep and put a lot of thought into both the fine art side and design side of the drawing. Hopefully it was an imaginative response to the brief… to draw a still life showing understanding of: colour, composition, line and tone, accurate depiction of form and experimentation.

The colour is not realistic though parts are – I tried to use it aesthetically and expressionistically; composition involves a six frame device; the drawing incorporates lines and tone within the plant and of course strong lines (and colour) in the frames; The plant – in form is an accurate depiction of form but the way it’s rendered involves a lot of experimentation.

(4) Context reflection:

This is a sum of everything I’ve done to date. Researching classical, Dutch and modern still lifes and constant reflection in my log book.

So I hope I’ve fulfilled this element too.