Category Archives: Part 1 Exploring composition

Parallel Project 1.



Abstraction, enlargement, looking closer/in/out; finding images/motives/patterns in nature/things around; explore tone/colour/shape/space; installation derived from created drawings (such as Assignment 1).


Use different tools, (elongated tools, and electric whisk- interesting patterns). Different media – at the moment inks are quite appealing along with diluted acrylics/water colours.

So as an example – enlarged are of chosen subject/drawing/pattern – large scale linear drawing overlapped with mirror print (?) and toned/coloured using variety of tools and angles. Step two – take this 2D drawing and make a 3D model/installation using wire or other found materials (junk).

The concept here – looking closer at the things around us in a new way – do we really see or just walk by assuming we know it all? Touching theme of environment, nature, over consumption, exploitation of resources, recycling and reusing to preserve the world and prolong life of the planet.

Limiting my language and instead expressing it through work, explore free form art – starting work without preconceived idea and let it develop itself during the process hence exploring inner emotions/feelings etc…

Assignment 1. Exploring Composition


After going through sketches and exercises , i decided to go with the idea of scaling up and using all the space available in order to create a semi abstract drawing that includes natural elements. As i had some troubles with shading and perhaps use of too much colour i chose linear approach using  ink pen. Personally this is what i enjoy and feel drawn to – lines, shapes.

While walking my dogs i tend to make a lot of close up pictures of areas that interest me ( trees, mushrooms, flowers, branches etc.). The one I’ve chosen contains a group of mushrooms on a log (rotten log not really visible) with branches and fallen foliage.

I did a small ( A5 sketchbook page 11) sketch using pencil and ink pen – this is to familiarise myself with composition and work out how to take this further.


Next i tried to enlarge the whole drawing ( A3 sketchbook , attached to page 11)  and change it a little ( sizes and placement, smaller number of elements) – but was not very happy with the composition.

Next i used a piece of paper with an area cut out ( as a viefinder) and using my original sketch chose an are i was happy with. In the sketchbook ( A3 sketchbook page 11) this area was emlarged to fill the space and check out the composition. Using watercolour and ink some colour and shading was added as a start.


How much to scale up was the question, so going with the flow i took a risk of attempting a larger format for this (A1) – partly to explore how the space will work and also to get some gestural marks as the initial linear markings. Using a pencil i quickly drew the design, then charcoal stick was used to reinforce the lines. I used a roller ( as in exercise 4 – scaling up) to apply acrylic paint over the “branch” areas. I liked the texture and this particular colour combination when used previously.



Next day , after a few hours of staring at the paper, yellow watercolour wash was applied ( as in the sketchbook sketch) over the “background area) – this really started to feel like a sun shining shtough the miriad of branches i see in the forest.

While this was drying i went through a variety of thought of how to take this further – in order to find shapes and forms, steer towards abstraction but still to keep idea of mushrooms/forest within the design. As Leonardo DA Vinci ones said ( not exact words but the way i remember) – if you stare at the wall long enough the shapes will appear – this is something i do as an exercise quite a lot. Here are a few small “finding” design sketches i’ve made using gel/ink pens, while may not be relevant for the assignment i want to mention this because this “doodling” gave me an idea of going with the flow and let the design emerge rather than fall into struggle of loosing myself here:



Using dip pen and black ink i “found” more mushrooms and leaf shapes ( using the drips and textured marks from the paint roller), a few more “branches” etc. The tall mushrooms ( bottom of the drawing) have spores flying off them, leaves appear as if catching light on their uneven surface.


Later Watercolour paint was used to add form and volume to the elements. During the process i was walking around the board to make sure i was not thinking about the source photograph,  trying to apply shading to create contrasts between light and dark areas.

This is the result – a combination of initial sketch from scaling up an area, “found” elements that were created by texture and marks from the initial wash and rolled paint, plus engagement with the process and composition. Looking at it the right way up it is possible to recognise some elements but  i feel that it does look abstract on the first glance.

or upside down – i think it looks more abstract

Personally i think it is quite a successful use and realization of the things i have learned in the part 1 of the course.  Overall, the project exercises did not always come to a successful realization but i believe i have managed to combine the thought process behind the exercises and create an interesting drawing with elements of abstraction and composition that uses all of the space as one, without separation into unused areas and main elements.

While I was working on the main piece ( as it was drying) another drawing was also worked on using a different approach. Here i used technique that really captured me in the Part one – where i used plastic and paint to make the first drawings as prints, where paint created interesting blobs and shapes. The design is the first drawing ( at the stage where only charcoal lines are present) overlaid with a sheet of clear plastic and diluted acrylic paint was used to follow the contour lines. Next a sheet of paper was placed over and pressed down gently using a roll of tissue paper as a tool. The result is a mirror image printed onto same size (A1) paper. I did the same thing in the sketchbook as a tester to figure out the design first.

I really like how paint creates intricate random marks and blobs – the drawing is almost unrecognizable this way. It took me a while to decide what to do next , in the end i remembered research on H. Matisse earlier ( part 2) and his use of colour and shapes and decided to take a risk and use colour here.

 sketchbook A3 page 12


The pallet is limited but i feel that it really works here. Sketchbook drawing/painting was painted upside down in order to “forget” that it is a mushroom , but interestingly enough somehow the mushroom found it’s way back. Looking at it the right way : it could be an illustration of the surreal forest or a walking stick person.

The large piece is more abstract ( looking at it upside down in regards to initial design) and has loose painterly paint application, i dropped water into the wet paint on purpose – to get some fungus/mushroom shapes. Is it finished? I would say that for now, yes – i think  if i were to add more shapes or use dip pen then i go back to the first drawing approach. I’m quite happy that it is different and slightly surreal. 


Placed next to each other (the same way up)




Thoughts on parallel project – to be completely honest i have not finalized the idea yet but do have a few in mind ( for example is to look for images and shapes in the surroundings and environment to create a composition and perhaps an installation using found materials, which is in line with my previous course), i would like to start part 2 before i choose a direction on this.

Review against Assessment criteria

I’ve realised that this was not posted with the assignment piece i hope it is ok to add now ( 25/02/18), i have written it for the assignment before sending:


Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

Building up from what i have learned so far: i believe my technical skills are improving, espetially with the painting and ink(linear) media. Drawing and tonal contrast still needs improving when dry media is used. I believe that desidn and observational awareness improved and i am staring to incorporate this in to the final work ( assignment 1 piece).

Quality of Outcome:  Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner,  discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

During the exercises the approach is almost like finding my way in the dark room – but in the end i believe i’m starting to find the way of how to put this learnt experience into a more finished work. Quality would need to be worked on , perhaps by changing the support and time spend on the final piece. Saying that i find that sometimes spontaneous approach can get better result and help to visualise idea better than when i’m trying to please the viewer. This hopefully will come into one with more practice.

Demonstration of creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

I try to combine my imagination with the experimentation and the process, there is still work to be done on getting them connecting to create the intended result. But i do find it interesting and somehow important , to allow the process  and materials to take part in the outcome – i feel this help to open the mind and create/add unexpected into the work. My personal voice – it is emerging, still working the way out but definitely getting the feeling that i work more on thing that interest me rather than how to please others.

Context Reflection: research,critical thinking ,critical review.

I need to get deeper into research of artists/movements/techniques that interest me. Steps was taking towards it – I’ve visited galleries ( need to write about experience), also engaging into the recommended as well as my chosen reading materials.


Assignment 1. Contextual fucus point : Prunella Clough Tate Archive

Prunella Clough (11 November 1919 – 26 December 1999) was a British artist, very private person and comes across as a very strong individual.

She chose to depict mundane objects and places, spaces and relationships of objects – things that most of people overlook, disregard or just pass by. It seems to me she was intrigued by the composition and how objects interact with the space they inhibit.

I found interesting how she used pictures of places/objects and created new  her own visual language. Her note taking instead of sketches meant a lot to her – i believe she used words as mental notes/pictures that recreated the experience of chosen scenery that was very personal and unique to her.

She expressed her inner feeling of this experiences through her work – in a way she captured the fleeting moments and the impact of looking at something very quickly without thinking, as we do most of the time.

She chose to depict rural, industrial everyday life scenery, dock workers, fishermen etc.. – in one way this could be a rebellion against her privileged background but perhaps, i think, she found inner peace and calmness being among normal people doing their everyday task, earning the living to support families. This people are ones that make the world work everyday but mostly forgotten and ignored higher up the chain. So in my opinion one of the reasons for the chosen subject was her understanding of everyday life which is not always a pretty picture. Perhaps that is why she felt closer to real people, life, objects and felt the need to immortalise them – because not many did.

I think this also evident  later as she mowed towards abstraction, while deriving elements from nature and surroundings – she was , in a way, looking for the essence of this element, the momentarily impact it made on her and a search of what exactly captivated her attention.

To some extend her abstracts – reminded me of Georgia O’Keefe close up paintings. Espetially while watching the tate archive vide

I felt that the similarity is is in the way they were looking at things – in depth, really investigating and digging deep into the “soul” of the chosen subject.

She was very experimental but kept her work quite secretive so there is not a lot about the actual methods of working , but i as i understood sometimes she added materials from the site into her paintings. As mentioned in this extract from Tate website ” The surface of ‘Yellow Mesh’ includes particles of dust (identified by the artist as either ash or silver sand) mixed with the paint. ” ; Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986 ”

Also she used objects to create prints and textures to explore the tonal marks and shapes that could be achieved. As well as experimented with contour lines of objects and how they might interact, as in “Can and Basket”

Some of the other techniques she used : frottage, drawing/painting on the objects themselves to get an imprint, combining tone and line, various mediums , painting and drawing along side, layering and overlapping sometimes leaving previous lines to show through – this created texture and volume etc.

As I’ve noticed mostly she used neutral or low key pallet and sometimes added a stronger saturated or dark colour to create an impact and attention to a particular area or mark.

There is quite an interesting entry about her possible way of working during making of this painting “Broken Gates” 1982 , as it said she possibly reworked same canvass and then used the other side, application also varies from diluted thin paint to thick impasto. The tonal arrangement is very low apart from one bright area on the right – is it on purpose or happened accidentally?

This work “fence, climbing plant” really intrigued me. I immediately had the connection between the title and the image – black paint really recembles the imprint of the plant that was pulled off the fence or a wall  leaving just the memory of being here. Interestingly she used the print and then worked over it with paint.

We asked to looked at her “Bypass 1” and determine how she developed the visual material into this composition.  IMAGE numberCOU225309 and IMAGE numberCOU225320 on Bridgeman Education website (now here i’m a bit confused as on Bridgeman the  first painting is titled  Wire Tangle II , while in the course materials and other websites it is titled Bypass 1) , I’m going with the visual from the course materials and will look at both .

I’ve looked at some of her photographs of that era (1950-60s) – most of the ref pictures are black and white but it is easy enough to imagine how this would look in color – probably dull, dusty, busy and along with the weather mostly as on photographs. So perhaps all this played a role in her choice of colours – small addition of bright colours is the rust or water that could be easily found in the docks, or building sites. I would say that complicated geometrical design was derived from the busy and “tangled” combination of materials, buildings, roads, machinery and to me has a quality of being staggered/crammed together or perhaps looked from above.  I think she used quite a few layers and reworked the design adding or eliminating areas to achieve the effect of “cells” being pushed together – just as all the objects and things that occupy and use space on the industrial estates she was observing. Of course i’m speculating but it is just what it seems to me. (Bypass 1, 1960) ( Wire tangle 1, 1978)


When looking at the “Wire Tangle II”, 1978 – i would say here she used memories or actual props of tangled wire, nets, ropes etc ( she has quite a few photograph of those). She could have used the prop as a guide to create a contour line, or followed the shadow of the wire on support. The background resembles a surface of a building wall where some paint started to crack , or perhaps dusty old concrete road. Maybe she used some sort of a sheet or perhaps tree bark to create the texture, or scraped some paint after applying a layer to get this effect. The only bright colour is a bit of orange in a shape of , what it looks to me, a shoe print, or maybe mark that could be left on the ground by excavator or perhaps imprints left by rusty wire.


This was a very interesting and useful research. There is a lot to take from P. Clough’s approach to use of source materials, composition built up and experimentation with application as well as tool use. I will definitely be coming back to look more in depth later.


bibliografies: (assessed 20 jan 2018) (assessed 23 jan 2018)




Project 4. The Human Form

Aim: make a drawing of combined body parts, feel underlying structure and create an engaging drawing that leads the eye .

Couple of sketches of a single hand: (A3)

pencil      watercolour


All the sketches are attached in the A3 sketchbook page 9:

  1. Using a photograph from a magazine – the cropped close up  fills the space better hence creating a better composition arrangement. (A3)




2. my husband’s hand and leg – i like the division here : left is empty “quiet” space while opposite right is a busy area, plus the position of leg going up with the arm/hand going back into the picture  creates a circle for the eye to follow. (A3)


3. My mum’s hands overlapping – the cropped close up fills the space better. (A3)

4. using a manikin – never used one before and found this a bit of a struggle really. Maybe i tried too much here and that is where it got out of hand, but it was an interesting experience.

Sketch (A4, charcoal) while looking at the manikin – only later i have realised that both hand are left – this is because i was looking at mine to draw the fingers…


I decided to crop and scale up an area from this sketch – using A1 sheet and charcoal. While the pose has potencial interest i feel that it did not achieve desired statement.


5. Hands and feet from a photograph, A3 sketchbook page 10, pencil, charcoal. Some of the initial pencil marks still visible 0 i decided to leave it like this to show how the drawing was reworked, personally i like the idea of not toning everything here – it creates contrast between solid background and linear marks.



Overview: I feel that i need to revisit this project later. I’m hoping to practice with a real model rather than manikin or photographs, i think this is one of the reasons that i did not engage with the project as well. Working on proportions and practicing drawing human body is definitely something to consider.



Part 1. Project 3: Changing the scale

Aim: experiment by scaling up an area of an arrangement/drawing to achieve a drawing that suggests a monumental landscape or architecture.

The idea of scaling up is a familiar one to me already as we had a similar exercise on level 1 course. As i remember this was one of the exiting exercises as the experience of finding an interesting area was a way to understand abstraction and explore something from a very different perspective – an extreme close up where detail disappears and a new form emerges.

For some reason i got slightly lost during this project, i would definitely need to revisit this approach and take it further. The overall idea is very interesting especially the possibility of discovery and a new way of constructing a composition.

Changing the scale allows one to experiment and brings a new energy into use of space/composition, also it allows to go more abstract if one wishes – in my case for example , it went a bit too far from the original but  i found this approach quite liberating and can see how it could be taken further through experimentation with support/materials and colour.

I have made a number of photographs of small objects gathered together and later did a few small sketches in pencil ( next time i would use ink pen or a variety of pencils to get a better tonal contrast between the areas/lines).  I tried to crop some areas but could not find ones that felt right.

I did one sketch using charcoal, pastels, ink and a dip pen, water + brush. At the beginning i thought it may look like an area with some buildings or a part of an architecture – but i feel that it did not get there. It looks more like a train and a plain on top of each other…

    (cropped detail)                     ( A3 sketchbook)

  charcoal, pastel, ink



As an experiment i used a sheet of plastic and marker to overlap contours of all 3 initial sketches – the idea was to find a new image. Then i pressed them on to paper while the marker ink was still wet to get an imprint.I liked the result when blue and green overlapped, but think that the last one ( red) made it too busy, that’s why i decided not to use it  for enlargement for now. But i definitely like the idea of this. (A3 sheet attached in the sketchbook to page 8)


another experiment: I decided to choose a picture of the dinner ( stir fry) – i liked the shapes and to a some degree it made me think of the sea and underwater vegetation.

I’ve cropped the image and using it as a guide line drew freely some of the shapes and lines. Wax candle was used to preserve a few highlights – but this did not work , i believe it is due to paper not having enough texture. Using brush i applied water to some areas and then dropped ink to let it flow. When this dried using dip pen and ink i redrew some of the lines and also found new shapes along the way. In some way i actually like this drawing – it reminds me of the underwater plants , so perhaps it could be classed as a part of the seascape. ( Sketchbook A3, page 9)


Taking this a bit further I’ve used similar approach on a larger paper ( A1) – charcoal first to apply initial areas/shapes, followed by white oil pastel ( not really visible at the end). Whole paper was moistened using a spray bottle and ink was applied – it did not work in the same way as on a smaller piece so i had to paint the areas rather than drop the ink. Using dip pen i added some linear elements and shapes. Acrylic paint was applied using a roller – to get hit and miss effect.  I’m not that happy with the result – the dark/light balance seems a bit off and perhaps it is a bit too busy in places. Saying that i like the texture mark achieved by the roller in combination with flat dissolved ink and harder lines.

There are a few interesting areas that could be cropped out, i think they could be imagined as a part of a landscape: (for example)









Part 1. Project 2: Using Space

Aim: To create a still life drawing influenced by Elizabeth Blackadder’s use of space as an integral part of the composition along with colour & detail. Use whole support as one rather than separating areas to background/foreground etc.



I started by looking at works of Elizabeth Blackadder – the suggested video was an insite to her working process and studio space. The objects she collects find their way into her works. I particularly like the way she hanged kimono and other bits and used the set up as a sketch to paint.

After examining some of her works on Bridgemans website i realised that she uses space and objects as one to create the composition. Works are balansed by use of strategicaly divided areas: verticals/horisontals/diagonals direct the eye and create a space variations; colours used quite extencively but not too saturated – only a few objects/areas have saturated colour that becomes a magnet for the eye; also the balance achieved by contrasts of colour and shapes of the objects used – round shapes interact with straight solid lines, overal the colour selection creates specific mood by complimenting each other.

Even though a lot of the objects appear flat at the start, the overall composition is quite engaging because of all the “tricks” mentioned above. The result is a proof of her experienced eye and observational skills, engagement with the chosen subject and a personal touch. Looking closer at the details it is evident how masterly she uses minimum, but the most important, detail to capture the essence of the depicted subject. I personally like the playfulness that comes through her work – i feel that she really enjoyed painting her subjects and portrayed  her personal vision of them.


Looking at works of Blackadder and H. Matisse i can see certain similarities – integration of objects with surroundings, energy, use of everyday objects and scenery, flat depiction of objects, use of whole space as one, relationship between colour and lines used – they seem to work for one another both equally important, placement in many works resembles collages etc.

The differences , in my opinion, is the saturation of colours used – E.B work is more tranquil in most cases while Matisse’s work tend to explode the senses upon viewing; Matisse compositions , especially interior, appear a lot more busy and “dancing” while E. Blackadders work appear to float but both create energy and dynamism within the picture that leads the eye around the composition.


Instead of hanging something I chose a few objects and placed them as some sort of a collage – a few chair cushions,  plant pots, framed w/c sketch ( not mine) – on a green table next to the radiator. The idea was to use the objects as a background mosaic rather than separate elements. I used dulled colours, no shadows, the collaged objects are slightly misshapen but still recognizable for what they are. The pictorial space became one element without clear division between background/foreground. Most of the objects were drawn  “Off the page” with edges coming in and out of the used space. (half of A3 page, watercolour, attached to page 5 Sketchbook A3)


I think the result , while having some elements that E. Blackadder uses ( mentioned above) turned out a bit too busy , her still life elements mainly float around and are placed with a lot more space in between. I think if i were to use bold colours and outlines here, the sketch would be closer to Matisse’s use of space and composition arrangement.  However, i feel that the composition has a potential and while appears busy it does have some energy and allows the eye to wonder around the space.

In this drawing i used a small red case, make up bag and an old misshapen jumper hanging on the coat hanger. I’ve tried to use objects as separate elements with a lot of space between them and they were viewed at different angles ( from above, from the side and straight on). The space is divided into areas that partially become objects themselves – white wall behind the jumper, lines represent floor boards and some lines are going out of the page (table). (A3 watercolour, attached to page 5, sketchbook A3


The idea of using space and separation of elements seems very interesting but i’m not sure if i managed to find the right balance in the placement. It feels that i’m trying to fill the space even without realizing – for example the floor lines seem to make the space cramped a little.

In this drawing (sketchbook A3, page 6) I minimised the number or elements and concentrated on working with space itself.  Red cushion, the plant and a plant pot  all drawn partially coming in and out of the page (soft pastels, inktence sticks and charcoal outline. Using wet brush the pigments were blended, in contrast the background ( inktence) was left dry to have a different texture. It felt slightly empty and disconnected so I’ve placed the charcoal stick over the paper and decided to add the lines where i think they worked best. The result probably is the closest to E. Blackadder’s way of combining space and elements. I actually quite like the overall composition and feel like i might be tuning in with the idea.

This is a small w/c composition – it is probably slightly off the track but the idea here was to break space into patches with  just one more detailed object ( flower). Starting from the left corner going clockwise – rocks and sandy bank, clear sky and, a cloud, sea and the flower all represent a fragmented seascape. (A4 attached to the back of page 6 in A3 sketchbook)


Looking at some of E. Blackadder works she uses a lot of vertical/horisontal divisions of the picture plain. I triet to use this approach in works below:

Sketchbook A3, page 7 – dried up limes placed in a row, red represents the table top and blue is the sky (wax candle, oil pastels, gouache)


The below pieces are on the same sheet of paper ( A1) ,

First (on the right) i broke the surface into areas using pencil to draw the guidelines and then masking tape was attached to create hard border. Here i used objects from previous experiments ( red case, dried limes); Here i combined collage with  loose gouache.

Red case – tissue paper, pencil shavings, string, ice-cream stick, glue, cardboard

Second ( on the left) – also using previous objects : red case ( in the top left corner), plant, and pot  if looked from underneath. A2, w-c pencils, charcoal, oil pastel, gouache


both together:



Overall i think that the colours worked well in the sketches and the compositions have  potential, perhaps using different media and support is something to look at later.


Personally i prefer Matisse’s use of colour and a slightly more complicated arrangement but i find an interesting energy along with tranquility in Blackadder’s work. The combination of both approaches would be something that i might take forward.







Project 1: Observational Drawing

Drawing 2                                                                                                    Natalya Griffin

Investigating Drawing                                                                               512334                                                                                                                



Part 1

Exploring Composition

Project 1: Observational Drawing

Aim: When you’re drawing from observation it’s all too easy to make assumptions about your subject and take certain elements at face value. This project encourages you to reflect on the wider potential of observational drawing, in particular how you can use what you look at more experimentally as you develop your composition. You probably normally start by finding an interesting subject or setting up a still life. This project asks you to reverse this process by finding what may seem an initially unpromising subject, but one with several elements, and then building up the composition to create an interesting drawing. This will encourage you to reflect on the potential of a more creative and open-ended approach to composing drawings.


Just to get going I have done a few small sketches of “unpromising” groups of objects – my laptop and stuff I keep placing on it while working,  twisted extension cables with sockets next to my PC and a corner of the room, using ballpoint and ink pen.

     The wires  The wires – only outlinethe wires – copy corner of the room

 a few small sketches: my dogs, still life elements ( all on loose sheets of paper attached in the sketchbook page 0, A3)


To make the group a bit more complex I have chosen a shelf with the props I collect, because it had a variety of objects, sizes and materials.  I’ve made a 20 minutes sketch (A2 on A1 sheet) using 4H pencil. I decided not to add shadows/tonal values at this point to be able experiment with the shapes and overall grouping.

First experiment: Sheet of plastic was placed over the sketch and using brush dipped in acrylic paint I have drawn some of the shadows. To start with I covered quite a large area, which was a mistake as acrylic dries too quickly, so the next steps were done more frequently over smaller areas.

Next I used another sheet of paper and placed it over the plastic with wet paint, rubbing over the paper to get an imprint. Actually I am quite pleased with the resulted drawing/print – I think it appears quite loose, captures light/shadows and without too much detail manages to trick the eye into recognising the .objects.


 final result


I have used plastic in my previous course (Painting 2) but not in this way. The idea of “printing” was inspired by some works of Picasso – he used stone block lithography technique to create some of his prints. The Bull Series, for examples, is a very interesting idea of deconstructing the detailed drawing of a bull into an abstract linear image. In this video there is a short explanation about his process (37.45 – 38.10 m). here is one of the images of The Bull series.

What I was trying to do in this experiment is to isolate the shadow from the linear sketch, and I think it worked. The technique of “printing” on to a support over a wet paint created very unusual and unexpected marks – I really think this approach allowed subject and materials used to combine with drawing and hand application.

While the overall drawing/composition is still representational I believe due to technique used it has elements of abstraction and somehow sparkles due to textured marks.

I’ve realised later, that the image is mirrored – which makes it appear different from original. I decided to use this find and incorporate it into the next experiment.

Using the same sketch as the base and overlapped plastic to paint over, I used blue and orange acrylic (for added contrast) and repeated the process using similar technique as in previous drawing.

Blue was used for a shadier area of the set up and orange for the side that was in the light. Blue was used to draw outlines of objects while orange was used for shadow and pattern (flower heads, vinyl lines).

After paint dried, carbon sheets were attached to the print and sketch was laid over it.  Using old plastic knife I scraped the arrangement trying to use variety of marks (linear as well as broader strokes for larger/shadow areas).

The result is this:

I think the interesting bit about it is that while the initial impression may seem confusing the eye still manages to pick out overall arrangement. In a way, to me, it seems as if we are looking through the glass of the cabinet – reflection overlaps the arrangement but reflection in a mirror.


While initial sketch of the arrangement was not as interesting – simple everyday objects- the results turned out quite intriguing. I think the idea of printing and overlapping the image definitely has potential and could be developed in to more complex arrangements. What I found interesting is that while there were not a lot of details in the sketch, the resulted drawings appear to have enough visual information for the eye to wonder around and fill in the blanks.

In the sketchbook (A3, page 1) I used overlapping idea  – more precise linear drawing was done first and then using colour blocks I drew image free hand by blocking in areas of colour where the objects stand.  (Materials:  charcoal, ink pen, inktence blocks, water and brushes).

I like how the ink drawing can be seen through overpainted mirror image.

It turned out a bit muddy after water was applied over some areas, but overall this idea can be worked on later.

Sketchbook A3, page 2 – I decided to reduce the whole composition to a minimum – the brass vases were reduced to circles ( looking at them from above that’s all is visible) using charcoal, the flowers and boxes reduced to a few lines using red inktence stick and wet brush; glass and wire elements were reduced to a curved vertical line and  diagonal spiral using blue inktence block. I would say this is definitely minimalistic, starting with a large group of objects and ending up with a few lines. I’m not sure if this is a successful interpretation but definitely an interesting concept.


Sketchbook A3, page 3 – Idea of overlapping, using line and abstraction from the whole led to the next drawing. Using coloured pencils I drew shapes of bottles and one of the brass vases as if they were piled on top of each other. One of the reasons for this was because I liked how the objects reflected on each other’s surface while sun was out, it was almost as if they merged.

I used soft pastels and charcoal to apply the colours which represent the objects in the group – green/purple for dried rosemary branch and cornflowers, red/yellow for boxes and vases, blue/green/black for bottles and shadows/reflection. Ink pen was used for outlines later


The resulted composition is definitely moved away from initial static arrangement: here the objects merge, almost melt and can be interpreted as if they were falling off the shelf.  When the image is flipped upside down the dominant objects changes from bottle to vase shape, which is an interesting accidental addition. The colour is a bit washed out but black outlines bring sharpness and direction for the eye to move around. Overall I’m quite pleased with the composition and colour/line relationship, perhaps this approach could be done using larger scale and paint instead of dry pigment. Also to move away from “stained glass” effect I think shading/blending could be done to add volume.

The pattern of the shelf (wood effect) and previous drawings led to the next few drawings using only line. Here I concentrated on rearranging the objects on paper to find interesting compositions. I feel that some of them turned out quite interesting in terms of using space and pattern.

Sketchbook A3, page 4 – wire sculpture, wood pattern and shadows became lines that follow form. Background was left blank to create contrast with the busy pattern.

Sketchbook A5, pages 1,3,5 – first two drawings can be turned and viewed in any format.


Reflection: This exercise was quite an interesting way to dig deeper into the process of composition arrangement and finding new ways of seeing the subject. Even though the end results still include recognisable subject matter, I think to some extend I have managed to move towards new approaches in arranging a composition.

This project made me realise the potential of “playing” with shapes and arrangements to find a new and unusual way of depicting mundane subjects. I think background in these experiments became part of the overall picture and does not feel like it is a separate element.