PART 3. Project 4, Exercise 2. Angular Perspective.

A quick line drawing of my shed and garage, and my neighbours’ houses. We live on a slight hill and I was looking downhill to complete this.

The lines at eye-level and above extend and converge as expected to the left vanishing point (vp). The angle of the base of the shed is significantly different to that which is dictated by the use of the vp, yet I drew what I saw. Is this foreshortening?

The lines on the other planes extend into more of a ‘vanishing cloud’. I think I’ll do this exercise again and stand further away from the buildings, on flat ground.

PART 3. Project 4, Exercise 1. Perspective, an Interior View.

I learned about perspective and vanishing points studying graphic drawing at school and have a good understanding of the concept. I also learned from my A-level Art teacher how to capture angles with a pencil or brush to translate onto the page, and measure relative proportions in the same way.

It is interesting that most of my perspective lines do meet, but below where I estimated my eye level to be.  The recessed panels in the doors are aligned which suggests that my estimation of eye level is correct….  I just stood next to the door and confirmed this to be the case. Curious. Having said that, I can see that re-drawing using a point on my eye level (blue) makes very little difference. I think the distant door is slightly too wide and this pulls the vanishing point down.

Let’s ignore the rug! 

PART 3. Project 3, Exercise 2. Foreground, Middle ground, Background,

I was interested to develop one of the sketches that I did on my sketchbook walk because the tonal values of the areas in the picture are the opposite to those you would expect if using atmospheric perspective to convey relative distances; the foreground was bright sunshine on grass and the background was deep shadows under dense trees. Reflections on the surface of the pond in the middle ground provided interesting interplay between the tonal values of background and foreground.

I tried to work quickly in monochrome in order to accentuate these ideas but the result is messy and unsuccessful in achieving my intent. I will probably rework this idea at a later date in different media, and in situ. There was not enough detail in my initial sketch to adequately inform this piece, and I didn’t take a photograph at the time either.

PART 3. Project 3, Exercise 1. Developing Previous Studies.

In these conditions of bright sunlight, I wanted to explore the contrast of the hard structural elements of the trees that were thrown into silhouette with the foliage that allowed light through and consequently appeared to almost fluoresce.

The unpaved footpath, covered in autumn leaf litter, stretches far away before curving out of sight, but the least dense canopy was about halfway along, which meant that the relative tonal values between background and middle ground were unusual.

I used soft pastels to lay down base colour in a circular form, then fixed these. I then used conte sticks to draw trunks and branches and more soft pastels to add detailed foliage and stones in the foreground. I tried using more impressionistic marks than is my usual habit, and it creates interest in the foreground without upsetting the overall composition which still draws the eye to the distance.

I really enjoyed the ability to add more to the picture after the application of fixative, which I haven’t done before. It allowed me to better capture the deeper colours and retain some sharper definition and focus on the foliage in the foreground. I will employ this method again.

I’m pleased with this picture. It evokes the peaceful sunny atmosphere observed when I was on my sketchbook walk.

PART 3. Project 2, Exercise 3. 360 degree study 

I did this exercise on Pampelone beach near St Tropez in bright early morning sunshine. The vibrant colours of the cloudless sky and clear shallows, and the dazzling sun on the water were just stunning and I was really pleased with how I was able to capture them on paper. However, when I opened up my sketchbook upon returning home, I found that the impact seemed less, the marks coarser. For example, I don’t remember being able to see the marks made by the edge of the darkest blue pastel in the middle piece… I’m surprised I left it unblended. Viewing the pictures in situ adds to them in some way. I wonder if that is why St Tropez is such an artists’ haven?

I took supporting photos so if I choose this series to develop, I have those as a reference, and my memory.

PART 3. Project 2, Exercise 2. Sketchbook Walk.

The view up the hill from in front of my house

Across the playing fields, viewed from the community centre

The balance pond on the other side of the ‘village’

The shadows under the trees on the far side of the pond were deep and dense. I really like the bulrushes around the edge of the pond. I didn’t realise, but just out of sight behind the left hand tree of this sketch was a heron poking about in the shallows.

Tree tunnel behind the balance pond

I have always loved tree-tunnels, especially when bright sunshine dapples the ground underneath. The trunks of these trees appeared starkly black against the vibrant sunlit foliage. I’d like to explore that contrast.

PART 3. Project 2, Exercise 1. Cloud formations and tone.

Well, clouds are tricky!

Coloured pencils (with added soot from the ferry funnel!)

Soft pastels and coloured pencils, all nicely blended until the application of fixative which separated purple tones from the pastels and made the blue pencil lighter.

I think I achieved an impression of volume here.

Soft pastels and charcoal.

Soft pastels. I’m finding I’m still not very good at preserving the light areas. I used masking fluid for the sun low on the horizon here but managed to smudge dark pastel onto it and had to try to load up with pale colours, thus losing the impact and making the picture look stormy when the sky was actually very bright and the clouds in silhouette. The sun looks no lighter than the high pale cloud at the top of the picture.

I’m pleased with the effect achieved with minimal marks to portray the trees in the foreground in this and the previous piece.

First sketch conte sticks with highlights lifted out. This cloud was fast moving and changing which forced me to work quickly. This one is the closest representation of a cloud subject of all of these pieces. I think I’ve captured the wispy edges well on the left and underneath, and the more clearly defined right-hand ‘leading edge’ and sunlit top.

Second sketch pencil. I was trying different sorts of marks here to portray volume, none of which are particularly successful.


Simplified tonal study in soft pastels. I finally drew a cloud that doesn’t look like a rain cloud.  

PART 3. Research point 2, Drawing natural elements: Vija Celmins

Sky, 1975

Ocean, 1975

I listened to Vija in the recommended video several times. I am particularly struck by her description of making her stones, she says rather than copy, she “re-describes” the objects and leaves “all the evidence [t]here…. the found object and the imagined object”.

To Fix the Image in Memory 1977-1982

Notes on other films of Vija describing her process-

Painting over and over gives depth- an image packed full of attention

What you see is what is there

If I lose it, which I often do, I’ll paint it again on top of itself (Stars)

PART 3. Research Point 1, Landscape Artists from Different Eras


Durer’s watercolour landscapes all look very modern with a high level of realism, in contrast to his portraits and religious pictures.

View of Nuremburg, 1496-1497, Watercolour.Willow Mill, 1496-1498Courtyard of the Former Castle in Innsbruck without Clouds, 1494I find this scene inviting. It looks like a cold early morning before any townsfolk arrive to set up market stalls and start their day. The muted neutral colour palette contributes to this feeling, as does the blank sky, which implies snow-clouds.

Landscape near Segonzano in the Valley Cembra, 1495This piece is intriguing with more detail in the background than the foreground. Perhaps it is unfinished or perhaps this is a study for a later work?

A Quarry, 1498, Watercolour

I love this picture, and it feels completely modern.


I’m not a fan of this style of landscape art, it feels somehow contrived and devoid of real emotional connection with the subject matter. Simply performing an internet image search (below) shows how formulaic the work is. The exception is the skies, they are varied and beautifully rendered.

Imaginary View of Tivoli, 1642img_3643L S LOWRY

Lowry feels homely to me. My family are from the north of England and many had industrial jobs. We had a print of Coming from the Mill on the wall when I was growing up.

I always wonder whether the figures’ distinctive posture is meant to convey fatigue or cold (or both). It is not as pronounced in the scenes of leisure. The limited palette strongly conveys an atmosphere of biting cold, and the marked difference in tonal value between foreground and background goes beyond what might be considered sufficient to convey distance through atmospheric perspective and seems to suggest smog and rain.

Coming from the Mill, 1930A Market Place, Berwick-on-Tweed, 1935Returning from Work, 1929Street Musicians, 1938Punch and Judy, 1943I include this last one as it is of my hometown and depicts the old floating bridge which was replaced by the current Itchen Bridge when I was a small child. I had no idea Lowry had painted this.


These pieces have slowly grown on me. At first I couldn’t really understand why anyone would want to paint a row of garages or a block of flats. But as I continued to regard them, I began to appreciate the small specific devices used to create a wonderfully nostalgic atmosphere. The skies are genius; a different shade would utterly change the feel of each picture. They seem to be monochrome at first glance but there are subtle variations which give them a bit of life. These images plant me firmly in memories of walking home from primary school with my Mum and little brother on late autumn afternoons in the sinking sun.

Scenes from the Passion, The Middle of the Week

Scenes from the Passion, Wednesday Week, 2003

Scenes from the Passion, Hometime, 1999

Scenes from the Passion, Ten Shilling Wood, 2002

Scenes from the Passion, The Cop Shop, 1999-2000

Young Lovers Don’t, 2010

Scenes from the Passion, Late, 2002

Scenes from the Passion, The Blossomiest Blossom, 2001

Ash Wednesday, 2004-2005


More research needed. I don’t understand these yet.

The Garden, 2005. Pencil on paper in perspex box

Alfred’s Story 2006

Somewhere, 2007



These pieces caught my eye because they look like textiles. I find it interesting how much detail the eye is fooled into assuming is there through simplistic brushwork and subtle mix of tones. I find these beautiful.

Beacon Hill from North Ridge, Halifax

Hope Hill from Saltaire

The Path Over the Moors

Early Snow, Haworth

PART 3. Project 1, Exercise 3, Study of several trees

For this study, I went to The Ornamental Drive in the New Forest, which is lined with gargantuan trees. This is a place we go to often as there is a parking area with picnic tables, so we go very early and make breakfast whilst the only sound is birdsong, before the tourists all arrive. I took charcoal pencils and soft pastels with me and set up my new field easel, thinking myself quite the artist whilst my husband cooked the bacon and brewed the coffee! Unfortunately, my charcoal pencils appear to be shattered inside, and that set of soft pastels contains exactly one shade of (distinctly unnatural) green. So I gave up on the sketch and contented myself with looking around through my viewfinder, thinking about composition, and took lots of photos to work from. I stuck with my original composition because of the bright August morning sunlight streaming through the gloom and evaporating dew of the thick woods.

I came across Unison pastels in my local independent art shop just as I started this degree, and had been thinking about them ever since. During the gallery visits I made in Hampshire Open Studios week, four different artists recommended them so I treated myself to the smallest ‘landscape’ set of half pastels before attempting to complete this piece. The pastels arrived, I adore them! They are extremely messy and my studio was covered in green paw prints, but the richness of colour is amazing and they blend beautifully. I’ll be getting more. After my attempts at clean negative space in the previous section of this course were hampered by dirty fingers, I researched and bought masking fluid, which I used here to protect the areas of pale light.

Progress shots:

Finished piece:

I found this piece highly enjoyable to work on. The composition and tones are very calming, probably because I can still remember how still the Forest was at the time, but hopefully this is captured by my drawing. I’ve simplified elements such as the leaf litter in the foreground and the foliage in the canopy in order to achieve greater focus on the bright sunlight. I like the way that a fast sweep of pastel across the foreground creates the right texture on this toothy paper.

Upon reflection I realise that I was concentrating on where the bright light falls and treating those blocks of yellow as almost tangible objects. This is the opposite of the way I have worked so far where shadows need to be focused on and carefully captured. I believe that because the edges of the scene are in shadow, the observer’s viewpoint changes. In perceiving the light this way, the shadows should just ‘look after themselves’ but I can see that, in trying to simplify, I’ve misaligned the resulting shadows in the foreground. So I need to look from both viewpoints in future.