I was initially looking forward to this exercise as it seemed like a great opportunity to tie together and try out combinations of what I have learned so far on the course. This quickly changed and I realise it is deceptively the most difficult assignment yet.
I initially picked an apple, an avocado and some peppers in a bowl. I tried a preparatory sketch and soon realised the bowl made it unnecessarily cluttered, I’d reverted back to boring old realism for the apple, the surface of the avocado required new mark making skills I didn’t have and I the surface of the small peppers was actually very reflective, continuing my battle with reflective surfaces. I noted down the problems identified which you can see on the image below.
I though I’d try some individual prep sketches of the items paying attention to hard and soft lines. I was still frustrated by how tight the drawing was so set off to research some creative marks. I’ve gone into more detail on how this made me feel and what I learnt here.
Here is a further preparatory sketch where I tried to experiment with a looser more expressive type of line. I found this difficult on the smaller long peppers because of their size, even working on A3 paper.
Here was what I intended to be my final drawing. I happy with the apple. The looser edges on the left came out well and I liked the way the more expressive lines still conveyed a sense of shape. I don’t think I achieved this with the avocado because I got hung up on the surface texture. I really didn’t know what to do with the small pepper and didn’t really resolve how to be loose and expressive on a smaller item. I think the work on the shadows is poor and shows I was getting tired and frustrated at this point. I also didn’t know what to do with the background to make it interesting. I was drawing items on the table so they didn’t really have a background for shadows to be cast over for interest.
Two days later I felt unsatisfied and restless with the drawing. By now I’d eaten the apple so it wouldn’t go off (!) so grabbed a few peppers and tried again, beginning with a warm up sketch which felt stilted and not as relaxed or expressive as what I had achieved with the apple, which annoyed me as the shape and size wasn’t hugely different.
This is my final drawing. By now I think I had realised the limits of my ability at this stsage. The background still lacks interest and the shadows are still poor. This is looser than I normally draw but still tighter than the apple in my first attempt. I was happy with the depth I achieved with the two larger peppers. The problem with being expressive on smaller items remains as can be seen with the smaller peppers although I liked what I achieved with the stems and the stem shadows. Underneath is a photo of what I was drawing.
Overall I found this incredibly challenging and wonder why, three modules in, I am still falling back on realism when I don’t consciously push myself to try other styles. I still don’t find expressive, loose drawing a natural or comfortable thing. I wonder what exercises I can do to relax into this more. Something to research as when I persevere I do see progress although it is very slow and small.