Experiment with mixed media
We were asked to experiment with using traditional art tools and non-art media. We were also asked to think of the background and the composition of the still life.
My piece for the previous exercise, on which this piece was based, was entitled ‘Zero Sugar Still Life’ because of the can of zero sugar coke and the healthy theme with toothbrush and fruit.
For exercise 4, I used a similar composition to exercise 3, but removed the bananas and added an orange and a pear, to give some colour contrast.
I worked in layers for this piece. I first added pieces of an old book which I stuck down with Matte Medium. The second layer consisted of words related to diet and nutrition, written in acrylic inks with a dip pen. I then added a wash of water to make the ink from the script run and bleed.
When this had dried, I drew the outline of the still life with a fineliner Pitt pen. I added a watercolour background to emphasise the negative space around the subjects, then painted the fruit with watercolour. Once this had dried, I added oil pastel in different tones, and blended them with odourless solvent.
I think the picture is successful. It is bright and bold, and makes a statement. It has a message (eat healthily and look after your teeth). It is complex, with 6 layers, but they all work well together.
I feel there is a sense of depth in this picture, and I tried hard to depict variation in tone. The elements of the composition are arranged to promote a certain depth, and the painting hints at three dimensionality.
I love using colour, so it was a joy to be able to draw such bright and interesting colours. I also enjoy seeing the graduation of shades and tones in colour. I felt a bit limited by the colour palette of the oil pastels, but I made the best of the limitations.
I feel that I could have been a bit more adventurous in my composition, and placed elements in a more unpredictable manner, maybe having some at the edge of the paper, or even half off the paper, so only half shows in the drawing.
I feel I neglected representing texture during this exercise. I tend to portray subjects as having smooth areas, which is something I need to work on. I tried crosshatching a version of this sketch in my sketchbook, but didn’t feel it was successful. Therefore I opted for smooth surfaces and textures. I find them beautiful.
I enjoy the larger drawings, I feel freer when I am creating them. I feel cramped when I have to work small, and since getting an A2 sketchbook, the A4 one feels tiny!!
Changing the positions of the objects in this still life didn’t really change my approach, but the way the light shone on the fruit made me change my focus. I tried to be more uniform in portraying the highlights according to the direction of the light source.
I think the objects look as though they have weight. They also look grounded, with the shadow beneath.
I enjoyed the process of this exercise and the previous one. Exploring different approaches and media in my sketchbook before I decided upon the style of the finished piece. I didn’t amend it as it was being made, as I did all the editing in the preliminary sketches.