Check and log: Still life

Do you think it is easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects?  Try to explain your answer.

My first impulse was to answer this by saying that I found the natural objects easier to draw, because they’re less prescriptive.  On reflection though, I’m not sure that’s what’s being asked here.  For suggesting three dimensions, I would say that the man-made objects were easier, because they have definite reference points, fixed edges which are more easily measurable.  That said, it’s easier to spot when a man-made object looks ‘wrong’, because most of us recognise that the sides of boxes or bottles, or whatever, tend to follow a fairly straight course.  Even curved edges tend to have some kind of regularity about them.  Not so with natural objects, for the most part.

How did you create a sense of solidity in your composition?

Through use of light and shade, and by considering the angle of edges, especially in the man-made objects drawings. In the natural objects composition, it was harder to represent solidity as my subject was feathers.  Hopefully I went some way to achieving that solidity, though, by use of shadow beneath the feathers, and by showing the irregular shapes of  the peacock ‘strands’.  The green glass vase was etched with lines curling diagonally around the body of the object, so I took note of the way in which the lines converged on the receding right hand edge.

Do you think changing the arrangement of your composition makes a difference to your approach and the way you create a sense of form?

It made a big difference.  The relationship of objects to one another is what creates the shadows and contrasts, which in turn makes it easier or harder to create a strong sense of form.  Light is a vital aspect, obviously.  Depending on my light source, compositions can appear dull or bold, and changing the arrangement can alter this, either way.

How did you decide to position yourself in relation to the objects?

For both the exercises in this  section, the choice of where to position myself was restricted by current physical limitations (shoulder).  Adopting an overhead point of view was off the cards altogether, although I was curious to give it a go.  That will have to come later in the course, though.  I was interested to try sitting on the floor and looking upwards during one of my man-made objects sketches – not a viewpoint I would normally adopt.  Ideally one would have a dedicated space that might allow a 360˚ viewpoint – but living in a rather cluttered one-bedroom flat makes that unlikely.  I think that, when my body allows, the open area in the centre of the sitting-room floor might be my best bet for achieving a wider variety of viewpoints.

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