Project 3: Picking and Portraying

I decided to continue with my exploration of different media for this exercise, as mentioned in this article.

Coursework Part One

For my first arrangement, I picked some feverfew and sage leaves and tried different coloured backgrounds and various viewpoints. Having recently researched Elizabeth Blackadder’s work, I decided to go with a ‘table top’ arrangement including other objects, but using collage, felt pens and acrylic paints.

The collaged aspects included fabric, plastic, and photographic paper. The flowers, button, and vase, I was quite pleased with, however the perspective and sizes of just about everything else were wrong. I liked the white flowers and other colours against the black background: It reminds of me of folk art.

A blind contour drawing in black pen. I like the scribbly flowers and may try to do something with these in Paint Shop Pro later on.

The next two drawings were a sort of background nature print (rather like the Japanese Gyotaku). First I laid out various pieces of plant material: parsley heads, sage leaves and feverfew flower heads on the paper, then sprayed with silver paint from a can. This blew the subjects all over the place and did not result in the neat, plant-shaped voids that I was hoping for. It might be possible to temporarily stick them in place with blue tac or similar. A lesson for another day. I tried spraying the plants with the paint and printing directly. The leaves came out quite nicely, but the thicker pieces did not. It might be possible to press them flat first, and I may return to this technique again – but with different paint: I still have silver sticking to my hands days later!

I drew (with felt pens) some of the separate pieces of plant material with a view to adding them to a digital picture later on.

Aquilegia Seedpods drawing, made from Aquilegia seeds and glue. I had to work quite fast with this one, to get the glue drawn in first before covering the whole piece with the seeds. I liked the simplicity of this piece seen from a distance, with the added surprise of finding that it is made up of seeds when you view it close up. I’m sure the seeds would germinate if the drawing was ‘planted’. Might be a possible idea for greetings cards – but the trick would be to find a biodegradable glue that also dries quickly: anything too wet would germinate the seeds.

The Slug Drawings: a Collaboration


Slug Drawing, Control A4 size, flour, water, slug marks

I made four drawings in flour and water, one of which, shown above, was a ‘control’ piece, just covering the paper with the mixture. My idea was that I would leave the drawings outside overnight and see if the slugs would eat the flour and leave their own shimmering trail ‘drawing’ in its place. On the first night, only the control piece above had been touched, leaving a continuous rasped pattern across the page. An interesting abstract piece!

On the second night, I added some smears of dog food on parts of the drawing to tempt the slugs over the blank space surrounding the plant drawings.


Slug Drawing: Three Turnips, A4 size, flour, water, dog food, slug marks

The first image shows the ‘before’ drawing, and the next three the finished picture with slug additions. The macro shot shows the little rounded, scythed shapes that the slug makes as it eats. It looks like it took the top layer of the paper in some places, too.


Slug Drawing: Parsley Seed Head, 59 x 54cm, flour, water, dog food, slug marks

The original drawing is made using a dropper. I felt that this piece had an ethereal, ghostly quality and I liked the zig zagging trails onto and off the mount board, taken by the slug. The seed head now looks like it is suspended by gossamer threads. I love the random element that this introduces to the drawings.

The third piece (now shown below) was less popular with the slugs, probably due to the greater expanse of blank space, but I will give it one more outing as soon as the weather dries up!

Edited 18/08/16. The third slug drawing is now complete! The first picture shows the ‘before’ drawing, the others show the slugs’ work. This turned out to be the most successful in the end: every trace of the original flour drawing has been eaten.P1270303P1270458P1270459

Just a faint outline of the original drawing remains. Well, I enjoyed trying this experiment and who knows where it may lead in the future.

[Edited 27/01/17 My husband saw an article about artist Daniel Ranalli today, and sent me a link. He makes art with periwinkles by placing them in a pattern – for example, spelling out the word ‘CHAOS’ – on the beach, then photographs their movements.]


Three Turnips, 59 x 43.5cm mixed media collage (various papers, acrylic and watercolour paint, yarn)

I liked the turnips with their hairy, yarn roots, but was less happy with the background. I had folded and concertinaed newspaper, hoping that it would give small raised squares to represent the tea towel that the vegetables were resting on, but as soon as the acrylic paint touched it, it went quite flat, but I added a painted pattern instead.

Flowers Sketch 10 August 2016

Flowers and Foliage, Sketch App Drawing on Sony Tablet

After researching David Hockney‘s plant drawings and still lifes, and especially his iPad drawings, I decided to have a second attempt with a different drawing app and device. The one I used is called Sketch, and I found it contained more variety in the brush types and marks that I could make, compared to the ArtRage one I had tried last time. I also used colour this time, which was a delight compared to the monotones of Assignment One. I was very happy with this drawing, although there are some things I should have done differently: not enough stems in the vase, for example, and no shadow by the vase.

I enjoyed trying all of these techniques and will probably keep all of them in my ‘toolkit’ to use again in the future. Trying out different media has taught me lessons about the limitations of the materials, such as the amount of detail that is possible, which media are enjoyable to work with, which combine well (and which don’t) and the variety of effects that can be achieved.



Websites:- Accessed 27/01/17

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