In this part of the course, I have most enjoyed drawing trees and skies. I liked the composition of a few of my sketches where the foreground was in silhouette. I took a lot of pictures in the Loire Valley at the end of our holiday with composition in mind because it is fairly flat and I often saw interesting buildings under fantastic skies. I wanted to try a bright sunny sky with clouds that didn’t look like storm clouds. I’ve found that quite difficult, I think perhaps I need more pale pastels.

I’m slightly disappointed with the sky in this picture. It doesn’t ring quite true to me for some reason. I think because the edges of the clouds don’t reflect sunlight enough. I couldn’t figure out how to improve that and spent hours effectively going in circles.

I really like the trees and Ch√Ęteau. I think I’ve managed to capture the shadows and reflections in the river well. I especially like the highlight on the riverbank where the sun hits the shallows. I paused for quite a while deciding whether to add it or not but in the end the simple single stroke of line is very effective.

I just noticed I forgot to add a tree to match the accidental reflection on the left (I caught the page with a hand-wipe). Too late now- I’ve already posted my work!

PART 3. Project 5, Exercise 4. Statues.

I’m pleased with this first drawing. I think I’ve captured the distortion seen by standing close to the plinth.

The rear view was far less successful. In my defence, I rushed it as it was absolutely freezing!! I think it’s the legs that are wrong but I’m not quite sure why.

This statue is at floor level and is slightly smaller than life-size. It has a crude surface finish and the proportions of the soldier are quite willowy. I’m happy that I captured what I observed accurately, but slightly disappointed that because of this, the drawing seems inexpertly done.

PART 3. Project 5, Exercise 3. A Limited Palette Study.

I can’t decide if I like this piece or not. Most days I do. It is done from a photograph with no preliminary sketches at all. I took a lot of photos of the main harbour in St Tropez because I knew one of the exercises was a line drawing of a townscape and I thought the location leant itself well to that. In the end, the main thing that stood out in all those pictures was the stunning perfect blue sky. The bright sunshine bleaches and softens all the colours of the town but the sky is a really rich deep shade that I always notice and comment upon often when we are there.

Inspired by some of the artists on the waterfront, I tried a naive style with solid blocks of colour for the buildings in order to not detract from the sky. I also omitted tourists and super-yachts….

I think this is quite successful; there is very little interesting detail to draw the eye downwards. For me, this palette evokes a holiday feel.

PART 3. Project 5, Exercise 2. Study of a Townscape using Line

I’m very happy with this drawing. It is a development from one of my townscape sketches and depicts a small, quiet harbour in St Tropez. I loved that the buildings are not quite square, not in straight rows, and that the windows seemed to be randomly placed. The walls were all varying soft beiges and creams and the shutters green or grey, offset by the mottled red rooftiles. A tranquil spot.

The only part I don’t like is the shutters on the house to the left of the alley. I used a brush pen and the colour is too dense. The dark trees on the hill behind balance this to a degree.

I got totally lost in this picture (somehow took ten hours?!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very gratifying when my coffee-provider came into the studio and said “oh- that’s the little harbour we sat in in St Tropez”.

PART 3. Project 5, Exercise 1. Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings

I did these sketches over the course of my holiday in September and was able to find a comfortable cafe to sit in and take my time. I’m not very good at quick sketches; I don’t like the results and it tends to put me off a subject. I appreciate that I need to develop this skill and discover how to make them valuable, and I expect I will do this through attending life-drawing classes for the next module. Having said that, each sketch took only about half an hour (or one coffee or mojito!).

I finished this one later on from a photograph.

I wanted to develop this one: it is of a side street in St Tropez with a beautiful mature olive tree at the entrance. The colours were so soft and calm- greens, creams and greys. I don’t think it’s particularly successful in terms of capturing the colours well- I’m still getting to grips with soft pastels. I found it difficult to choose the composition also. To include both alleys meant that the tree was in the middle and gave it too much prominence. The colours in the right hand alley were more pleasing to me which influenced my decision. In retrospect I think I should have chosen the left and altered the colour scheme, because the buildings are more interesting.

PART 3. Research Point 5, Contemporary Landscape Artists, Urban Themes

Look at contemporary artists who revisit ‘landscape’ genre to offer insights into modern society.


Works only in black and white (shellac, black ink, white acrylic paint) finds colour an unnecessary distraction.

Omits London Eye from skyline, Sharma (the posits that Virtue dislikes this landmark as it represents detachment from the city and his pictures aim to depict a ‘warts and all’ feel of it; “instead of a tourist fantasy, there is a place”.

The monochromatic palette strongly evokes the visceral, grimy feel of London that aligns with my own view of the capital (exciting to visit, but great to come home again). I like the way he has simplified the subject but that there is a feeling that the detail is there but obscured. This is similar to the silhouetted foregrounds in some of my cloud sketches that I find really striking.

Landscape No.664, 2003 (

Landscape No.662, 2003 (


Long term project, expanding imaginary allegorical town ‘Nobson Newtown’, an ‘ironic reference to the suburban “new towns” dreamed up by early 20th century British city planners and built throughout England until 30 years ago’ (Hoptman, 2002:69). Extremely detailed, pencil drawings, buildings are 3D representations of letters and literally spell out the function of the buildings.

I find these works bleak and cynical (I assume that is the desired effect though). I’ve watched several films of Noble in his studio- itself a bleak setting to spend time in. I think this is deliberate since the soundtracks are highly discordant and uncomfortable. I can appreciate the incredible amount of time that has been expended here, and the detail is intricate, but I find the work contrived and slightly juvenile, especially the so-called turd-men who inhabit this world.

Public Toilet, 1999 (

Mall, 2001-02 (

Nobspital, 1997-98 (Hoptman 2002:75)

Bibliography, accessed 25/11/17

Hoptman, L (2002) Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, New York: The Museum of Modern Art., accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17

PART 3. Research Point 4, Contemporary Landscape Artists

Compare approaches of contemporary artists to those of earlier artists.


Oils, plein air, impressionist. Close to subject, perspective often achieved by high horizon line and dark (so brain perceives as detailed) foliage in the immediate foreground. Uses some elements of traditional composition, framing with trees and darker tones in sky.

White Houses, Ville d’Avray, 1882 []

Paysage en Ile de France, 1881-82 []

Maison dans les Arbres, 1883 []


Fatigues – chalk on blackboard, working in large scale, from photographs, high degree of realism, cinematic feel. Monochromatic with dramatic tonal contrasts accentuated by black background. Uses gallery space over two floors to display, magnifies sense of scale and increases impact.

Detail from Fatigues (D), 2012 []

Detail from Fatigues (E), 2012 []

Installation views:




Woodland views, ink on paper. High contrast, not much tonal variation, reminiscent of Odilon Redon’s work, dark and ominous, also a nod to pointillism in the application of ink to paper. Choice of black or white is strange in many areas, making the scene appear to be up-lit or like a photo negative. Creates sense of perspective by making middle ground lighter.




Papercut collages, low horizon and dramatic skies create epic sense of scale, employs limited palette and marked aerial perspective through paler tones in background. Includes human-made subjects to further accentuate scale of natural surroundings.

I really like these pieces. I’ve done many intricate paper cuts in the past but not many layered collages, and certainly nothing as big as these. Makes me want to get the scalpel out!

We are Majestic in the Wilderness, 1999, 180 x 145cm (Hoptman, 2002:80)

Out from the Night, the Day is Beautiful and We Are Filled with Joy, 1999, 81 x 71cm (Hoptman, 2002:80)

Do What You Have To Do, 1998, 142 x 170cm (

Bibliography, accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17

Hoptman, L (2002) Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, New York: The Museum of Modern Art., accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17, accessed 25/11/17

PART 3. Research Point 3, Landscape in Series.


Argenteuil, Seen from the Small Arm of the Seine, 1872

The Seine at Argenteuil, 1873

La Seine a Bougival, le soir, 1869


The Seine at Bougival, 1869


Landscape with Viaduct: Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1887

La Montagne Sainte-Victoire

L’Allee des Marronniers au Jas de Bouffan, 1888

Pres du Jas de Bouffan


Digital media, abstract palette – interpretation of ambient light? Love the reflection of trees in puddle.

Late Spring Tunnel, 2006

Winter Tunnel with Snow, 2006


Untitled 2011

Untitled 2014

Untitled 2014

Pieces are very small. Focus is on tone with no detail. Highly atmospheric.

Installation view


Primary Sky

Loch Light

Red Eigg

Isle of Skye


Zion Filigree 2017

Zion Vista 2017

Zion Plateau 2017

PART 3. Project 4, Exercise 3. Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective 

View overlooking Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill. The day was slightly overcast but there were small patches of bright sunlight. I liked how it turned the water to the right of the causeway a pale turquoise. This view is very familiar to me. We often go up there for a coffee and watch the view. The white building in the near middle ground is actually where I work. It looks different every time so I think I’ll start drawing it in varying weather conditions.

I think I have successfully portrayed depth and distance through the tonal values I’ve used.

This next picture is Lake Geneva. I have no sketches, just lots of photos to work from because we were travelling on the motorway and couldn’t stop. When we rounded a curve to see the Lake for the first time, it was utterly breathtaking. All the different blues were just incredible.

I am very pleased with the surface of the water, the mountains on the left and the very distant clouds. The higher clouds and the trees in the foreground are less successful.