Part one: Form & Gesture

Part one consists of Protect 1 with two exercises, Project 2 with four exercises, research on Odilon Redon and tone (see separate posting) and Assignment 1 (see separate posting)

Project 1    Feeling & Expression

Exercise one: Experimenting with expressive lines and marks to express a feeling – then jot down  a free flow of thoughts and words similar to the way you engaged in a free flow of marks and lines.



  • Positive energies and emotions surging * uplifting * Warm glow * deep feeling * smiles * music, song * overflowng *myself * breathless * oneness yet explosive & exploding  * grace-filled flames, surging/cascading/plunging/showering * fiery passionate  * vibrant * dancing *growing, reaching out



gentle ripples of peace * stillness * like looking at a Rothko or Monet’s lilies * connected
* held  * silent as a Zen painting * your reassuring face * drifting * evening shadows * soft clouds * a room with a view * outlook * perspective



sense of powerlessness * feeling trapped * bursting * calm invaded * wanting to shout * yelling * unable to think * blinded * sense of hopelessness * fear * loss of vision * lashing out *tears of rage



smooth * rhythm * innovation * surprise * movement * spark * sway * poetry * mood * energy * excitement * tone * colour * freedom * emotional * smoochy * dark* smokey * uplifting * dynamic * life * emotion * poignant *

Exercise two: Experimenting with texture In your sketchbook divide a page into 4 squares and experiment with depicting the textures of a range of objects with different surface textures.


Dartmoor oak – part of wooden bowl

I am very fond of this hand turned bowl and the grain of the wood is a complex pattern of lines, curves, swirls and knots. The wood is polished so quite smooth but it is possible to subtly detect the shapes of the grain by feel. I brushed in burnt umber watercolour wet-into-wet and made some of the swirly mark with my fingers.I used a pointed brush to give definition to some of the marks and shapes and pure pigment in the knots and scars of the wood. When it dried I felt that it looked much rougher wood than the smooth bowl so wet the whole and laid down some damp absorbent kitchen toll over and picked up some of the pigment. Though not perfect I think the result is quite a good depiction of the surface of this lovely wooden bowl.

Sink sponge I drew in the outline shape of the sponge and painstakingly drew in small mark in wax crayon for the abrasive surface of the sponge. I hoped this would work as a resist and then poured in black ink. It didn’t. The result was a totally black rectangle – maybe my technique or maybe poor quality crayons. I then scrubbed our the ink with pads of kitchen  roll  which as well as some of the ink surface also took away a small layer of the paper. I felt that the result depicted the other surface of the sponge quite well as well as the undulating shape.

Basket The basket surface is quite stiff and rough because of the willow weave though the willow stems are quite smooth themselves.I decided to use a burnt umber Cretacolor chunky charcoal. I think this gives a good sense of the texture of the horizontal  weave and I like the way that the underlying vertical stems have a lost and found effect which resembles the basket itself. As Cretacolor is water soluable I played a bit with the horizontal weave but not skilfully enough to give an impression of the shine. I think I could have done more with an eraser to lift off highlights before fixing.

Cotton shirt with buttons I flooded in some cyan blue ink into a wet rectangle which I then spread with a soft brush. I then lifted out the ink with a wet pad of kitchen roll and this, combined with the texture of the cartridge paper of my sketch book depicts a surface which I think is quite close the the surface texture of the cotton shirt, finer than denim.I darkened the central section to distinguish the back of the shirt the lighter front with the buttons. I picked out the buttons with circular movements with a twisted piece of kitchen roll which also removed a surface layer of paper for the highlights of these shiny buttons. Unfortunately as I was carried away with the ink I placed the buttons too close to the edge of the material but I  like the result overall.

Project 2    Basic shapes and fundamental form

Exercise one: Choose at least six objects of different sizes and shapes using just one colour loosely describe the group of objects.


Initially I  chose charcoal, a medium I am new to, working in an A3 sketch book with cartridge paper. I chose A3 as felt daunted by a larger format and wanted to get started. The Daler Rowney Ebony sketch book paper is smooth and was hard to get the charcoal to stay on the page. Rubbing out was easy but darks were more difficult.I drew the images close together and just found myself instinctively shading in to create form and tone.  I think overall there is a sense of the different objects, their sizes and weights. I think the pestle and mortar looks weighty and contrasts well through the textured surface with the adjacent smooth book surface and dark glass bottle with stopper. I like the composition sense of them being clustered together but the eye moves around the group  with directional lines, particularly created by the cloth and without an obvious centre of attention. I really enjoyed creating this picture.

Exercise two: Observing shadow using blocks of tone (degrees of light and darkness) and tonal gradation on two pale simple-shaped objects


I drew my two chosen objects, jug and bowl, three times using charcoal on an A2 mixed media pad. I was relying on daylight from a window on my right. I think the third drawing is a more accurate depiction of the two objects though I think the jug on the top right has a more accurate depiction of the different and subtle tonal values on the shadow side.

Exercise three: Creating shadows using lines and marks – I used  biro,  pencil, art pen and dipping reed pen – using criss-crossing lines, hatching and spots or stipples.


I liked the results of this exercise, particularly experimenting with hatching and cross hatching. These opened up new possibilities for describing tonal shadows and creating more believable mages rather than my past dependency solely on shading.

I explored cross hatching further with some sea shells and garlic.

and also with boats on the River Dart at Dartmouth where we have been staying .


Research Point – Odilon Redon

Exercise four: Two objects with reflective surfaces and using charcoal and putty rubber show the reflected light and shade of one object falling on another.

I chose a stainless steel gravy boat and a serving dish.


For the first image I used black conté crayon on A2  Daler Rowney mixed media paper. Because of the tooth in the paper this needed to be smoothed in with a blending stump to better replicate the smooth surface of the objects. This meant I found it harder to create definition. So for the bottom image I used charcoal pencil but still had the same issue which meant that for both there was a lot of painstaking work with stump and rubber as well as putting down the tones of charcoal. But I am quite pleased with the results, especially the top image which is more accurate. However, I think the shadows and reflections in the gravy boat are not as sharp as I would have liked. I found a suggestion by Alphonso Dunn in a YouTube video helpful to treat reflections like a series of abstract shapes. I think this has worked although I would have liked a sharper, glinting light effect representing the very bright sunshine on the metal object. I think the white ground tones down the effect of the light highlights..

Assignment 1. 

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