Its taken me a while to actually start Project 4.1. Partly this was taking a break in general, but I have also been trying to do some practice and consideration of how best to approach it. The brief makes it clear that this is about building a network of lines and not continually rubbing stuff out if you make a mistake. It is also about building a fair sense of tone with line based marks rather than density of mark making material. These approaches are both quite new to me.
The first challenge was to choose a subject, which had me thinking for a while. I considered leeks, carrots etc., but just wasn’t excited by them. Candles had been done, and I didn’t want to do anything too regular – which ruled out pyrometric cones. Then I ran into a bunch of gypsy pegs that I had been given by a friend. He had made them and has since passed away which gave it all some additional meaning.
So, I followed the instructions and set up a still life art installation with them. I took a photograph to show the original set up, but some of the key details I wanted to drawn didn’t come out in the photo. The background, for example, was plain black. A difference between eye light-balance and camera light-balance. To make sure the photograph was a reasonable representation of what I was finding interesting I have lightened it considerably.
I have made the perspective stand out in the composition by making sure the pegs are at a good range of depths away from the eye, or camera in this case. I’ve also tried to make sure that the shadows are interesting as well. As the light source is quite close the different shadows go off in lots of directions, which I found interesting. The shadows on the black paper also cause significant variation in the black background, which I liked.
The featured image shows my first attempt with a fine liner. It was going well, but I managed to make so many errors in the position of the top of the middle-right peg that I couldn’t see how to recover the white top without practically obliterating the rest of the piece. I decided to try again later with the fineliner.
The next evening I decided to have a go with charcoal, with somewhat better results. To be clear, I have deliberately changed the viewing position slightly. I used the finest charcoal stick I had available, probably about 2-3 mm, but it is still much larger than the fineliner. It is also more controllable in some ways. Manipulating the stick by breaking it or controlling the wear helped somewhat. This is not, however, as much of a detail medium as the fineliner. The end result is much less accurate in many ways but it does a better job of conveying the scene in an appealing way.
Now, back to the fineliner. This time I was somewhat more cautious with the way that I built the perspective of the scene, and so managed to bring the piece to a conclusion. This is more of a detail medium, and a much slower medium. I’m reasonably happy with the end result, but have realised that I am still not being sufficiently deliberate with my mark making. I am also still relying too much on creating the borders of the pegs rather than building up the light-dark areas correctly. I need to consider that idea, as I’m not sure how to approach it. I think there may be an approach to improving the sense of depth if I can get it right though.