I am very pleased with the body of work that I have been producing relating to the City. I feel like I have an interesting concept, exploring the Hidden Loneliness of the City and have experimented with this idea in depth. However, I felt like I needed to consolidate my findings and portray what I have learnt and think is working so far. I decided to make a piece reflecting on these findings.
In this piece, I have incorporated a variety of different medias including paint, ink, charcoal and gouache. I have portrayed the sepia tone influence that I have been working with inspired by an artist I came across in Berlin and user Shoe 18 on the deviantart forum. I started off with a dark brown ground here, influenced by my experimentation after undertaking the grounds workshop, I also painted an underpainting using a palette knife and worked on top of this employing Dry Brushing techniques that I learnt from attending the paint workshop sessions with James Green. I have worked with the concept of all of the people around you being insignificant and portrayed that they are just bodies and may as well just be white silhouettes because I believe it is particularly successful and left one person in colour to show they are lonely and singled out among all the others that they do not interact with.
I wanted to formulate a piece that includes all the experimentation and things that I have learnt that I believe have been positive and successful within this project. I believe this is an accurate reflection of this and a successful piece of work in itself. Now that I have consolidated and reflected, I feel that I can move on in my project with confidence and continue my experimentation.
After my tutorial on Monday, I realised that I haven’t experimented with monochrome because I was so inspired by the influences of the artists I mentioned, but this is what I will be working with next, I believe that the loneliness may be heightened by an empty monochrome background and the colours of the one person will appear more vibrant and therefore the person will stand out more. This seems like it will progress my work further and add to the portrayal of the Hidden Loneliness of Cities.
Today, I attended the paint workshop, where I started working on top of the Green underpainting that I have been working on this week. Prior to this workshop, I had a tutorial with one of our tutors – Susan Adams, who suggested that I worked in monochrome to highlight the one person that is in colour within my work. I think this is a great suggestion and I will experiment with this technique throughout the further stages of my project. In this session, based on the feedback I have been given, I decided to work with a monochrome layer on top of the Green underpainting, and I was interested to see how the green would shine through the greys.
I started to realise that I had already done a lot of the work by putting detail into the underpainting and that I could use it as a guide to work on top of. I focused on creating dimension and tone in the underlay and this definitely helped the success of the paint I was applying on top because I could follow the tones I have considered and thought out previously. I have employed dry brushing techniques here so that the glow of the green underlay is allowed to come through. I have been researching artists that use these techniques within their work and I came across the YouTube video’s of George Ayers, who incorporates much of the detail into a green underpainting and like me uses it more as a guide to work on top of.
I am really pleased with how this piece is turning out. Before these sessions, I never realised quite how useful an underpainting could be and how it really does inform the outcome. It is definitely something I will be condsidering a lot more in my future as an art student and an artist.
I will continue to work on this piece this week and finish it ready for next monday’s session where we will be exhibiting what we have created and presenting what we have learnt.
I have now finished the green under-painting I have been working on this week, ready to paint the shaped painting on Monday afternoon in the paint workshop.
I have linked my shaped painting into my Hidden loneliness project and painted all the people as white silhouettes apart from one, to show that the one person may as well be alone because there is no interaction with any of the other people around them, they may as well not exist. I feel this heightens loneliness, but this green under-painting has proved to me that colour is very important when portraying loneliness, because I would say this figure looks lonely than in the pieces I have painted in dark and sepia tones.
I am really pleased with the result, I focused on creating tone and highlights and shadows and I feel as if this is definitely evident and I am confident that this underlay with inform the final outcome greatly.
I have started working on the green under-painting of my shaped piece that I started in Mondays paint workshop. When I previously produced a green under-painting of a still life, I found that the tones I had worked with in the green underlay really informed the shadows and highlights that I painted when rendering the top coat. I found that I produced a far more three-dimensional and tonal outcome and that it was easier and quicker to do as I had already thought about tonal variation in the under-painting.
In this shaped piece, I am taking more time on the under-painting and focusing on achieving dimension and tone within it. Also, I was really surprised by how well the green showed through my work when applying the top layer with a method of dry brushing and so this is something I will be working with again. I will document the progress of this painting and work hard to create a highly successful outcome portraying the hidden loneliness of the city. I will incorporate the white silhouette imagery I have been working with into this piece and work at creating a visually successful piece. I have never made a shaped painting, but I can see how it is going to make for an interesting outcome already. I am really enjoying the paint sessions and have already learnt many valuable skills that I have already started applying in my project work.
I have spending my evenings working in the studio, I have now finished my still life painting that I have been producing in and outside of a paint workshop I have been attending every Monday and I highly pleased and proud of the result. At first, I was unsure of the benefits of underpainting, especially using green tones but I have been pleasantly surprised. The green tones coming through under the colour I have dry brushed over the top has definitely helped add depth to my painting. It has also changed the colours on top and undoubtedly helped inform my decisions when painting in shadows and highlights.
In my opinion, this is an incredibly successful outcome and I have learnt so much about painting that I didn’t know before. I think the depth in the work and the three-dimensional quality it has is one of the most successful elements. The addition of a dotted pattern in the chair and thin line work on the book edges has shown me how to create subtle detail and add texture to my work when working on a flat surface. This has been such a valuable exercise for me and I will definitely be using underpainting and techniques such as dry brushing within my work in the future and within this project.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has definitely aided my learning and expanded my knowledge as an artist. Below I have highlighted the successes and failures of working with six different grounds. I have also noted my thoughts and potential uses for the grounds that haven’t been successful for this project work.
Burnt Umber – Dark Brown
Dark Brown is definitely the one of the most successful grounds for this kind of painting. It was incredibly effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. It was easier to paint and focusing on the highlights allowed me to create a far more successful image than if I was simply working on white.
Mid Tone Ground
A mid-tone ground worked quite well, but it didn’t allow for a dark feeling painting. It is quite unsuccessful really and does not heighten the feeling of loneliness as much as a darker tone ground. Also, I found myself using the ground to guide the highlights in the image which I feel made the image look quite flat and I don’t feel there is enough contrast between the figures and the surrounding here. I am incredibly surprised by how much a ground beneath a painting actually affects the outcome in the end.
Red Textured Ground
This textured ground made it very difficult to paint the straight edges of the buildings and figures within the outcome. However, I feel quite an interesting effect has been created here. To me the red ground made the scene look almost apocalyptic which isn’t exactly the feeling I was trying to create, so in that respect it is unsuccessful, but using a textured ground was a valuable insight into effects that can be created with grounds and demonstrated to me what my tutor meant by making more work for yourself when painting on an uneven ground.
Cadmium Yellow Ground
The cadmium yellow ground did weird and wonderful things to my painting. I like the effect it created and the yellow highlights peaking through as if the sun is shining, but it does produce a positive feeling so is unsuccessful in aiding the portrayal of loneliness in the city. In the future, if I am thinking about light or painting sun light, I will consider using a cadmium yellow ground.
Dark Brown Textured Ground
Textured grounds could definitely be interesting to explore and would undoubtedly benefit an abstract piece of work, but in this painting, even though I like the effect created, it was difficult to paint any straight edges because of all the lumps and bumps. I kind of feel that the attention is detracted from the subject a little bit by the interesting textures and palette knife work highlighting the surface.
Black Emulsion Ground
The black emulsion ground is also incredibly successful. It is between this ground and the dark brown as to which one has worked best. Again, It was effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. I would say this is so successful because the highlights and white figures really stand out and the darkest areas are black so there is a lot of contrast within the work.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has undoubtedly been a valuable exercise. I have learnt first hand, how the colour or texture of a ground can affect that final outcome. I have also learnt the importance of choosing the correct ground to work with and how some grounds can make the painting you are producing easier to paint or vice versa. It is important to consider how the ground that you choose could affect the mood of the piece as here some of the grounds have helped heighten a dark mood and loneliness and others haven’t. The textures grounds definitely made it more difficult to paint figuratively but could be incredibly useful and valid for abstract works. Now that I have experimented with grounds, I will produce a large piece on a dark ground to add to its success and highlight my findings from these explorations.
We were asked to bring our Green tone underpaintings along to this session with a view to working on top of them with more realistic colours. The idea was to see how the underpainting informed the painting produced on top. The tutor showed us an example of a green underpainting that he has been working on and showed us a few techniques to think about when painting on top of our pieces. He asked us to think about pattern, and how using pattern in painting can be effective. He used the example of wood grain within our still lifes and delicately showed us how to apply thin brush strokes using a small brush. Next, he showed us a technique known as “dry-brushing”, which is when you almost scuff the surface with paint. It is best to use an old brush for this and it was a valid way of applying paint for us in this workshop, because the highlights, lowlights and green tones of our underpaintings could show through the new thin layer of paint being applied.
We were then left to experiment with these techniques and start building up a more realistic image of our still lifes using more accurate colours. I started my piece by observing the texture of the surface that it was on, this week there were no tables left and I had placed my items on an orangey brown canvas chair which worked out really well for adding colour to my painting. I used a dotting effect and spotted pattern to render the chair and then used the dry brushing technique to add a scuffed orange colour over the top, allowing the green to show through slightly. Dry brushing over the pattern also gave emphasis to the dots themselves and it started to look highly textured and effective.
I continued employing these techniques and built up a substantial amount of colour within my work. It was really interesting how I found myself being informed by the shadows and highlights that I had thought about when producing the underpainting in the first place. The green tones showing through also seemed to give my painting a lot more texture made it look more three-dimensional. The green underpainting definitely effected the colours that I painted on top. For example, The photograph that is laying on the book was painted in dark greys but when applied on top of green, pink tones were emerging, which was highly interesting.
I have learnt a lot from these sessions and underpainting and dry brushing are definitely techniques I will be using in my painting in the future. I will now continue working and finish this piece in my own time ready for the next session on Monday.