Posted in Coursework, Notes, Part 3

Project 3: Composition

It took some re-reading and thinking to understand what this exercise was really asking for. I decided that this was one of the projects which is effectively a single piece of work. The first part is to play with ideas for a major composition. The second part is to create an A3 landscape drawing based on the selected composition.

Exercise 1 Developing your studies

Seaside sunset

Some initial thoughts in my sketchbook…


The 360 degree study with the pub (a local landmark called “The Neptune”) combined with the sunset scene and some more local features could make for a very interesting landscape study. The sunset scene was drawn from the pub as well, which is appropriate. In this case I’d be using a tad of artistic licence with the positioning of items.

Looking forward to the next exercise, the foreground here would be everything up to the Neptune, which includes the boats and groins. The Neptune would need to be the transition from foreground to mid, with the sea and sailing boat firmly in the mid-ground. Sheerness and the sky are then clearly background. The transition from fore- to mid-ground being the Neptune itself might be problematic, as it might be deemed the main element of the drawing.

From up the hill

Next I started to think how the “over the house tops” sketches might be developed into an interesting bigger piece:


Here the major elements might be the local block of flats, the church, the sea and sheerness with Ipswich beyond. The Ipswich section could add a little atmospheric perspective to the scene. Again, some creative positioning  and sizing of elements would help the interest levels. In this one the foreground would be the closest roof, with the church and block of flat through the sea being the mid-ground. The sea, sky and sheerness etc then stands in the background.

An interesting house

I like the idea of developing the house into a full drawing – possibly playing with perspective by emphasising some of the plants, and adding something tall like a monk’s hood:


Although it could (with a bit more development) make an interesting image, the exercise is really about landscape and fore/middle/background. It doesn’t really fit that part of the exercise, as their is no real mid-ground within the image. I also considered the school and anchor as having similar challenges and so decided not to consider that further.

Night storm at the festival

This would be very much a stretch target, as I would be working very much from memory/imagination.


The challenge would be to convey the atmosphere of the scene, and to work out a composition that could work. The foreground would be the tents and people, but as it is a night scene the level of detail may still be low. The mid-ground would be the background trees, and then background the storm clouds. Again, in many ways it would be an atypical composition, because the subject is (to a great extent) the storm clouds.

What’s the next steps?

The answer is evident from my tutor feedback: Lots of preparatory drawings. What of though? What’s the focus? How? This may seem to be a strange set of doubts to have at this point, but I feel it is a lack of preparatory work which has lad to issues previously.

The challenges that further preparatory drawings could help with include:

  • Media experimentation: The assignment indicates “You’ll need A3 cartridge paper … and a range of pencils, graphite pencils and water-soluble pencils.” This still leaves a lot of decisions on approach to experiment with.
  • How to get the effect/impact wanted? A sunset, glowing storm clouds etc.
  • Further refine the composition. How big should the Neptune be, compare to the rest of the scene, and what proportion of the image should different elements take up?
  • What tonal levels should different parts of the image take up?

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