Critical essay

SARAH DAVIS – student number – 515110 – EXPLORING DRAWING MEDIA


The impact of human involvement and intervention within the natural world has led to a detrimental effect on the future of our planet and has led to the decline of many animal species: Many contemporary Artists are using visual media to explore the catastrophic and fragile future o the f Earth.

The future of the planet and the rapid extinction of many species over the last 40 years has during 2018 been a major source of discussion in the media. We have been reminded that time is rapidly running out for the planet.  This major issue resonates and concerns me so for this reason I have chosen two very different artists who explore themes concerned with the environment.

Mark Dion is mostly known as a conceptual artist. In Dion’s work there is a prominent multi-layered and dual theme that combines scientific and historical threads that he uses to explore the past with today’s changing  attitude’s and modern research and knowledge. Dion is also asking us to be aware and take responsibility of the environment instead of assuming ownership of the natural world. This idea of delving into a theme and coming at it from entirely different angles is a process that can add impact to a topic offering the opportunity to challenge what is in essentially an emotive subject. Dion has also collaborated with zoos and catalogued modern artefact’s recovered from the Thames shoreline. Dion also uses irony to maximum effect at his recent show at the Whitechapel gallery he recreated a Victorian Naturalist study complete with wallpaper depicting extinct animal species.  There were also a series drawings of  damaged and broken trees with tar as the medium. Dion’s work reminds as that the natural world is at the mercy of humans.

Sarah Eisenlohr is a relatively unknown collage artist at the beginning of her career that is using her art to make a statement about current issues. Eisenlohr’s rural American upbringing has inspired a deep rooted love for her local environment and of the natural world. Eisenhohl uses collage to fuse and blend images, using sourced found kitsch and vintage pictures that are seamlessly juxtaposed with an odd surrealist l element. This overlapping process effectively adds impact and allows an abstract bizarre narrative to tell a visceral story.  This device also works on another level as it challenges the notion of nostalgia and memories as these stylised magazine images are also unrealistic and promised an impossible dream and life style. So in a sense she is also challenging the ideology of the past and how the media has the capacity to influence how we live our lives. Eisenhohl in common with Dion is using her art practice to comment on how the environment has been exploited by human consumerism both now and in the past. Both Dion and Eisenlohr use irony and subtle humour in their work to powerfully get across their message – an artistic process that lends an extra dimension to their message and also poses questions for the viewing public. 

RESOURCES       ( assessed October 2018)

       (Assessed October 2018)    (assessed October 2018)

(Assessed October 2018)         (assessed October 2018)

       (Assessed October 2018)


DION, M (2018) – The theatre of the natural world exhibition catalogue Whitechapel gallery 

DION, M (2017) – High line: a field guise and handbook

Ready for assessment- choosing work to send off

In a sense this is the hardest part of the course- selecting work for the assessors – I’m nervous at this stage as it all seems so final! And is probably the biggest decision making process of the entire course


I began the process by lying out all my work to date and arranging it on a mounting board, carefully appraising each piece and photographing it. I then set myself some basic aims looking at scale  looking at varying the sizes of the pieces. I felt I wanted  to include some different techniques and materials including collage, 3D drawing, and drawing specifically mark making. I also want to include pieces from my final project as although there are areas within the project that do not necessarily work I found the theme so emotive and in a sense personal to me that I feel that the themes explored constitute such a large part of me and the development of my own drawing process that they do need  to be seen by the assessors.



the course introduced key concepts of using media in drawing – my assessment pieces i feel support the criteria set out in the course handbook. i have excluded examples of many of the techniques explored including fluid media, collage, drawing in 3D , scale, mark making and process. This cross section of work supports my learning process. 


1) from unit  2 – collage piece of a mermaid worked from scraps of paper from old magazines – I also explored using my support going away from the idea of a regular shaped piece of paper ( A2 size) –  this as Selected to demonstrate how collage can transform a piece – from a magazine image i have transformed an image   into a mythical mermaid. The piece also explores changing the shape of the paper exploring something not regular with the aim of adding drama, texture and movement

2) from unit 2 – still life lemons and white bowl – tonal collage ( A4) – selected to demonstrate the power of collage to produce a tonal drawing using torn scraps of old paper sourced from magazines. There are also sketches and preparatory work to support this piece in sketchbook 1 ( A4 size)

3) from unit 2 – still life of hare and penguin– collage and graphite drawing ( A2) – this piece is represents how old discarded drawings can be reborn into a new piece. This piece also demonstrates the power of using mark making to add drama and texture to a drawing. It is also about how every mark applied is important and valuable 

4) from unit 3  Assignment piece – 3D drawing of a head using copper wire – about 6 inches tall –  This was a new technique for me – also drawing in wire allowed me to really explore my migraines and comment on how physical the whole process is. From pain i have been able to explore aspects of my personality that inspired an emotive piece of art.

5)  from unit 3  additional assignment piece –Drawing in pencil and graphite of the 3D head – ( A1)  –  this piece was selected to demonstrate how scale can alter a piece and how a 3D piece ( the wire head) can be transformed into a 2D piece – this piece is also about how different materials and scale can alter a drawing

6) from unit 4 –  Assignment piece – study of trees using gouache– (A1) – This piece i chose as it is about structure and how to use media to explore a subject as part of a process  – looking at elements to explore more fully in a much more resolved piece

7) extra assignment piece from unit 4 – trees – collage (A1)  – This piece was very labour intensive taking me over 20 hours to complete – it is also quite different from my other collage pieces as i literally drew with tiny pieces of torn paper assembling my design piece by piece. It is also the piece of work that i spend more time on the planning process – as i planned everything in my sketchbooks. in many ways it is not a spontaneous piece. It is also a very decorative piece and very evocative as it is also about layered memories  embedded in time and landscape

8) from unit 5 – final project- collage and gouache – Antarctica in the year 2525 – ( A1) – despite this not being my best work i have decided to include it as i feel it does represent my final project and body of work. It is also about landscape, the future , climate and loss which was one of the key elements of my final themes, so this represents something personal. it is also a piece from my imagination something that i do not explore very often in my work.

9) from unit 5 – final project – drawing and graphite washes ripped paper – Antarctica in the year 2525 ( A1 piece with part of the paper torn) – This piece is the companion piece to the Antarctica collage.  I have selected this as the piece is blurred to and monochromatic to represent loss and the blurring of reality. The piece is also about using sparse materials such as charcoal, pencil etc). The piece also explored changing the support as the paper has been cut into.   

10) from unit 5 – final project- Ghost of a penguin drawing on drafting paper with collage , photo transfer, ink , graphite and pencil , glue and white correction fluid – (A3)  – this piece is very experimental i have used different paper and techniques but is also have a drawing element to contrast with the digital image. the piece also represents a large part of my final theme – it was carefully planned and evolved from a photograph and drawings i did from live penguins. I was keen to add impact and develop the drawings from my sketchbook to explore the powerful nature of my themes.

Also a selection of supporting drawing for final project- penguin drawing in conte crayon, and 4 collage , mixed media , drawing and digital images  – These are mainly preparatory pieces or ideas that develop aspects of my theme. Many of these themes and ideas i have explored and worked though in my sketchbooks which i have also submitted for assessment. 


1 hardback A4 sketchbook

3 SoftBack  brown toned thin sketchbooks

1 A5 softback sketchbook ( animal sketchbook)

1 A6 hardback sketchbook



Extra study piece – The sheep sketchbook of Henry Moore, Sally Muir’s dog portraits and Alice Neel

At the suggestion of my tutor I briefly looked at some other artists- Henry Moore specifically his sketches of sheep, Sally Muir’s drawings of dogs and Alice Neel.


Henry Moore ( 1898-1986) is an artist that I really like – his drawings in particular are wonderful, evocative  and very inspiring. As an accomplished Sculptor his drawings process a real sense of form, dimension  and volume. They appear tactile and multi layered. I was already aware of Moore’s sheep drawings as my grandparents brought me a copy of the “sheep sketchbook “for my 21st birthday and it is a book that I return to again and again. Most of Moore’s drawings of sheep were produced during the latter part of his career. He would observe the flock from the window of his studio. These drawings  have a pure, sensitive and  luminous quality. There is also an evident physically in them. Moore also demonstrates how drawing can be spontaneous as he uses just simple tools such as biros , ink and felt tip pens. The book has been created to represent a facsimiles of Moore’s original sketchbook and the publishers have skillfully achieved that as the pages even include where Moore’s original  drawings had bled though the pages. What is  is interesting thematically is that the sheep drawings include references to Moore’s other work. Again he is concerned with nurturing and motherhood capturing the relationship of the ewe’s to their babies. Their is reference also to intimacy, to shelter, and sharing space with each other. As well as being  extremely   beautiful and emotive the drawings are I feel incredibly powerful.


Is a contemporary artist who has a very successful commercial career producing designs for a range of specialised retailers and independent shops. Muir is also known as a book  illustrator. Muir is mainly known for her sensitive portraits of domestic dogs. Muir works from life enabling her to capture the unique personalities of her canine subjects. Preferring to work quickly using a range of different drawing materials such as charcoal, pencil , ink and water based paints. Muir is also an accomplished printmaker experimenting with different techniques including potato printing and drawing on an iPad. I particularly like how Muir skillfully uses sparse mark making and loose washes to capture the texture and growth of the dog’s fur. There is also a real sense of a relationship between Muir and the dogs that is apparent in her work. Each of the dogs are captured naturally – never posed instead they are fresh and spontaneous. I have sketched dogs and have struggled with capturing their character so to me on a  personal level it was really  interesting looking at Muir’s work where she has clearly honed her skills and techniques in a very effective way. I also like how each of the dogs despite their sensitive depiction are not twee.


I first come upon Alice Neel at the Turner contemporary art gallery earlier this year where a portrait of her son and pet dog was being shown as part of an exhibition called ‘Animals and us’ The piece i saw was ironic and humorous commenting on how pet and son are vying for the artist’s attention.

born in 1900 Neel is known for her intimate portraits of her family, friends and prominent American artists such as Andy Warhol. Despite a career spanning many of the most important modern art movements Neel stayed true to herself producing figurative work in her own style capturing the nuances of the personality. Neel’s work almost transcends what was happening in the art world. I really like the vivid colours and direct stares of her sitters. There is a freshness and emotive feel to the works – you can  sense that Neel has built up a relationship with her sitters. Despite the emotive feel of her work there also seems to a intimate feel to Neel’s very observant portraits. Neel is definitely an artist that i would like to know more about and i hope one day to see more of her fascinating and descriptive work.

RESOURCES / REFERENCES ( accessed December 2018)   ( accessed December 2018)        ( accessed December 2018) neel      (Accessed December 2018)        ( accessed December 2018)



Moore, H and Clark, k ( 1980) – the sheep sketchbook

Re-working some pieces for assignment 5 – personal project

At the suggestion of my tutor I reworked my piece “Ghost of a penguin “ . The piece was concerned with the rapid acceleration of the extinction of wild animals and marine life partly as a consequence of climate change and human intervention in the natural world.

my original piece began with photo transfer on a canvas board. The original source was a photograph of a king penguin that I enlarged and manipulated on a photocopier. I had found the piece extremely challenging my tutor in her feedback said that I should have primed and prepared the board. Michele also suggested that I should remove the bumpy collage material and the acetate sheet to review and revisit the piece with the aim of reworking it. I totally agreed with Michele’s suggestions.

i began by removing the acetate and the stuck on  collage pieces being  careful to  leave  the photo transfered images. After  evaluating  and assessing  the piece I felt the piece was totally unsatisfactory, that it  lacked  the visual impact I was aiming for. It was also flat. I decided It needed a darker feel, with impact and drama. So instead of adding more collage I added marks and colour using gouache. I used black, blue , white and a tiny amount of yellow, moving the paint around on the  canvas board with the aim of building a must darker colour palette. I had hoped to gain a sense of  texture to add definition. Looking at the piece I still have misgivings about it  , but I feel the darker much more visceral quality of the work is better that the first version with the unsatisfactory collage pieces.  I was reminded of the drawing process of Frank Auerbach who would spend years building up layers , removing and reworking them. I then varnished the work using an artist quality varnish that claimed to be suitable for mixed media and collage work. However despite carefully applying the varnish I experienced many problems and set backs – including areas of the gouache pain bleeding despite the fact in was dry. Another problem was the one piece of collage that I wanted to keep on the piece lifted! And even worse once the varnish had dried areas had noticeably cracks. In a way a complete disaster. I feel that the piece is very poor in quality and in no way worthy of a final piece. But it has been a learning curve and mistakes are part of the process so I have no regrets. Interestingly it was in a sense the most unplanned piece of work I had produced for assignment 5. I had barely made any preliminary studies or used my sketchbook to plan the piece. I had hoped the piece would be spontaneous but this approach had not worked out. With a degree of hindsight the technical issues I faced were probably a result of poor planning. The techniques I chose I should have trialed more fully. But as a process of trying out new ideas and exploring and experimenting I feel I have learnt a valuable lesson.


As a learning process I still need to practice more with image transfer as it is a difficult medium to use . But on a positive note   Working though layers and removing them and working some more , and making decisions and problem solving and realising that not everything I produce works  has been a beneficial

process,  as it has allowed me to experiment, explore media and make discoveries and to evaluate my work.


On the advice of my tutor I have revisited my final project. I began by looking at my sketchbook of animal drawings to source ideas. After selecting  two sketches of a penguin i  made some charcoal drawings on white paper  blowing up the scale from A5 to A2 using my eyes and hand to estimate the shrift  in scale. With compressed charcoal, charcoal pencils and  black conte crayon I build up the form in layers erasing layers , and working into  and  adding more layers . The aim was to use mark making to suggest drama,   movement  and the lively personality of the King penguin. On the whole I feel pleased with the drawings as they have a sensitive fragile feel that represents the delicate nature of the animals. However i also feel  that my mark making could have been bolder? Also i  should have developed a wider range of tonal values .

Taking the two  charcoal drawing  – I developed them further playing with scale on a photocopier.  I also experimented  with the images by  Cutting into them to make collage pieces.  I was interested in the juxtaposition of the penguin physical structure with its internal  skeleton.

I also looked again at my large collage of Antarctica. Looking at it afresh  I am not sure whether it works? The aim was to create a piece exploring Antarctica in the future after the elimination of humans and animal species –  depicting  a world without any organic life  instead focusing on the  beauty of the isolated continent. But I feel the piece looks  too contrived and did not meet my objectives or ideas. My tutor suggested making a drawing of the collage. Using A1 paper I used charcoal and ink as my drawing medium. I also erased areas of the drawing using baby wipes. I feel that this drawing is much rawer and visceral than the original collage. It also has much more atmosphere.

Finally I printed out a A4 digital image of this drawing to explore in collage juxtaposed with  my penguin collage pieces.  I spent some time positioning the king penguin within the piece.


First off I would like to thank my tutor Michele for all her support and for the very useful and insightful  tutor reports. I have loved the course and with Michele’s guidance I feel I have gained and grown so much and that I have developed new skills to equip me on my learning journey as i move up to level two.

I am delighted that my hard work has been recognised and that with some more  focused work I have the potential to achieve a pass at assessment.


–  Firstly to look at my sketchbooks and attempt to use some of the initial drawings to develop and explore more with the aid of gathering  a solid body of work to support my chosen themes/ topics

–  To   look again at the large collage piece of Antarctica and consider producing a drawing of the collage using drawing media

–  to rework the collage on board piece “Ghost of a penguin’ look at removing the plastic cover and removing some of the collage piece and reflect more on what the piece needs to say.


– look at other artists including Sally  Muir’s dog sketches and Alice Neele

– finish off written piece on trees from Assignment 4.

– my artist statement and critical review of two selected artists are already on my blog – but I will revisit the work and attempt to rework, edit and rewrite sections.

Extra piece for assignment 5 – television and animal cruelty for entertainment

While working on assignment 5 I received an email about a petition going around to complain about animal cruelty on television. This particular petition was referring to a celebrity reality programme where the contestants were shown eating live insects and small creatures. I have never watched the programme but have seen pictures in the media of the winner of the series  emerging crowned and bedecked in flowers. My piece is inspired by the way television exploits animals for entertainment value. Using collage materials including a photograph blown up that I took of a Gentoo penguin in captivity. Other collage materials included a photograph of some flowers given to me by an OCA photography student who has gifted me a large collection of his photography off cuts. I also used a selection of different graded graphite pencil to produce grey marks to represent the grey blurry texture of the TV screen. Graduated ink washes were added to build up the lower half of the penguin. The piece also symbolises animals kept in captivity.

This piece again only touches on my theme – I had earlier produced some collage pieces in my sketchbook exploring animal anthropomorphism.

Exploring drawing media – assigment 5 reflection and learning outcomes / criteria for assessment


In many ways  exploring drawing media has been a real epiphany.

The course has taken me on such an extraordinary journey and has made me  re-evaluate my personal and emotional relationship to visual art. It has broadened my thinking visually and and challenged me to reflect  more. coming to the end has made me feel  revitalised about  continuing along the learning journey and yet curious  as to where it is heading next. The course has inspired me and has demonstrated  the potential of drawing as a powerful and important art form. It has shown me that there are ways to push the boundaries in drawing. I have  developed and  become far more intuitive and experimental. There is still a lot to discover about drawing as a process and still a lot more exploring in terms of different media to work with but i feel i have gathered some of the basic  skills to enable me  pursue this and move on to the next level. All of the research points have been relevant and have helped me to understand  visual art.


Assignment 5 has allowed me to choose  a  theme   with the aim of producing a body of work using skills gained from working though all the units. I began by assessing my work and making decisions regarding media to use etc. In many ways a valuable process as some of the work i had not looked at for months –  this process led to compiling   aims and objectives to measure against the outcomes of the course.

I have succeeded  most of my  aims in the final pieces and have recorded my strengths and weaknesses in my learning log.


for assignment 5 i have used a number of skills and techniques using a range of different drawing media  including collage, drawing, mark making, using fluid media , using liquid correction fluid,  digital image transfer ,  drawing with a needle on fabric. I have experimented with different scale and tone. I have used my sketchbook to explore ideas and techniques.


The  final project and body of work has stretched me in terms of pushing creativity – including the use of different drawing media and combining some of the techniques amassed from the course.   working from life and from my imagination has enabled me to  broaden my creative processes. My  sketchbook continues to be an integral tool in which to explore and expand on ideas.


I have explored my chosen topic and formulated my response to it     by looking at other artists  that produce work that  not only resonates but also shares similar interests, ideas and techniques. Reading and researching around my  subject and visiting exhibitions has helped me to focus and reflect more about where to take my ideas. Reading  around different angles of my theme has been a vital process allowing reflection, decision making and has aided independent learning.

All my ideas and reflections are recorded in my learning blog. writing up my blog has been very challenging for me as i am dyslexic and struggle with some aspects of writing. I often find it difficult to write what i mean particularly as i have so much that i want to say and struggle with finding ways to structure this in an essay. But i have worked hard to overcome this and i spend a lot of time planing my written work and editing my blog. I do really enjoy and find contextual studies rewarding as it has helped me develop a critical voice and it has helped me really focus on what i want to achieve. Developing these skills has also helped me to find my own voice and is an integral skill for independent learning.



Dexter, E (2016) – vitamin D – phaiden press

Tracey (2007) – Drawing now : between the lines of contemporary art- I.B Tauris

Tracey (2015) – Drawing ambiguity: besides the lines of contemporary art- I.B Tauris

Stout, K (2014) – Contemporary drawing: from the 1960’s to now – Tate Publishing

Morris, F & Larrat-Smith, P (2013) – Insomnia in the work of Louise Bourgeois: has the day invaded the night or has the night invaded the day – Fruitmarket Gallery

Krysa, D (2014) – Collage: contemporary artists hunt and gather, cut and paste, mash up and transform- Chronicle Books

Ilves, k (2017) – Katja Novitskova: if only your eyes could see what I’m seen with your eyes – Sternberg Press

Steinbrugge, B (2017) – Katja Novitskova: dawn mission – Mousse Publishing

Berger, J (2009) – why look at animals? ( Penguin great ideas) – Penguin

Blazwick, I (2018) – Mark Dion : theatre of the natural world ( Whitechapel art gallery)

Dion, M ( 2017) – High line : a field guide and handbook : a project by Mark Dion – printed matter

Ramos, F (2016) – Animals : documents of contemporary art – Whitechapel Art Gallery

Wohlbeben, P ( 2017) – The hidden life of trees – William Collins

Hart, A & Cooper, M ( 2018) – Expedition and endeavours: images of Nature – The National History Museum

Sleigh, C ( 2014) – The paper Zoo : 500 years of animals in Art – National history museum

Exploring drawing media – assignment 5 – final piece – Antarctica in the year 2525

For my second piece for Assignment 5  my theme is exploring and responding to a  future world after the extinction of marine life, wildlife  and humans. About six months ago I saw an advert  on the TV for a digitally enhanced CD of music from the 1960s . The clip comprised several  video clips of music – one section showed  two musicians singing the following  lyrics “ in the year 2525 if man is still alive …….” ( unfortunately I didn’t catch  the name of the band). The words of the song really affected me and made me think .

There has also been a lot of coverage in the media and the press about time running out for the planet. We are learning that the natural world has been ransacked by humans. Natural resources are been depleted, we are over fishing and polluting our oceans and seas. We also learn that  60 percent of animal species have become extinct in just over 40 years which is  absolutely horrendous and shocking.

In many ways the future of the planet really scares me. As an artist I am fascinated and in awe of the beauty of the natural world and  landscape. I  feel that I need to explore these intense feelings visually.  I decided to focus on Antarctica as it is the last continent discovered by humans and  is essential for the future of the planet. Located the furthest south –  Antarctica is the coldest, harshest and  driest continent. It also contains the most water in the world. If the polar ice caps should melt the sea levels would rise  causing  a detrimental  effect on the planet. Each year large areas of the ice sheet  is lost – so is it just a matter of time?

Antarctica is home to a rich  and vibrant marine life. It is likely many species could become extinct by the end of this century including Antarctic penguins , orca whales and other sea birds. Humans are the biggest threat to marine wildlife  polluting the oceans and even fishing in Antarctic seas. There is even minute traces of plastic that has make its way into the ecosystem.

My piece is concerned with Antarctica’s future. I am imagining Antarctica in the future – the polar ice caps have melted , the ocean has risen and marine life has been eliminated. In my sketchbook i  explored  a future Antarctica Using a variety of drawing mediums including  coloured pencils, watercolour and collage.

Once ideas had emerged i  worked on an A1 sized piece using predominately  collage using ripped paper , coloured paper and tissue paper and a photocopy of a map of Antarctica and added fluid media to the piece.


I am fairly pleased with the outcome I have achieved most of my aims. I wanted to show the beauty of the landscape of Antarctica but  with a different perspective. This imagined Antarctica from the future has no living or organic life.  The  aim of the piece is to  suggest the breathtaking  beauty of Antarctica with  impressive mountain ranges ,  an intense sun  juxapostioned with the sense of an   eerie silence. I think I have managed to suggest this and also the notion of stillness. I also think combining different media worked well on the piece.. The only thing I am not sure of is whether the piece is too contrived and romanticised – in many ways it has an illustrative feel which was not my aim. I am not sure whether the large piece has lost the interest and drama of my sketchbook  thumb sized studies?

But having said that the piece also has an unearthly science fiction feel like another  planet? in a sense some of the other planets in the solar system may once have been like our earth? and interestingly they contain no life forms. So there is a ambiguous sense happening in the piece. I like the idea of producing art that is open to interpretation.

In many ways I feel with Assignment 5 I have only just touched on the vastness of my theme so it is definitely something that i want to continue to response to in my work. It is an emotive theme that i feel i can return to later on. I still feel that i have more to explore and maybe i need to really push my theme even further.

REFERENCES (Accessed October 2018) ( Accessed October 2018) (Accessed October 2018) (Accessed October 2018) (Assessed October 2018) (Assessed October 2018)


Exploring drawing media assignment 5 – final pieces first project- the fragile future of the penguin

For this project i created two pieces exploring a  future after all the species of penguin have become extinct.

My aim for this project was to explore a future world after the mass extinction of wildlife. Taking inspiration from Artist Mark Dion’s naturalist studies – my pieces explore the past using memories. The penguins have died out all that is left are digital images and photographs that have became faded, discarded and distorted as the years have passed The pieces are also  a commentary on how in the past animals  were hunted into extinction and how  later we can only guess what they looked liked. Also there is a reference to whether  distant narratives from the past survive or do they become modern legends? Like beasts from mythology such as dragons. stories are  passed down like memories after max extinction how do visual stories survive? . The piece also comments on the fragile nature of marine life. I was partly  inspired by an installation piece from 2016 by Mark Dion that i found online.   The piece comprises of a plush toy penguin placed into a bucket on top of a wooden crate. Placed around the penguin is a collection of curious objects – tar, trinkets , costume jewellery. In this piece Dion is commenting on the destructive behaviour of humans towards nature. It is a serene and sensitive Piece.


ART WORK  ONE – collage mixed media on canvas board

For my first piece I used a canvas board for my support. I blew up a photograph of a king penguin that I took in the autumn at a wildlife park. Using plexitol medium I transferred my image onto the board. I was hoping for a faded worn image so using water I removed some areas of the  image to make it look more patchy. I began working onto the image using graphite pencil and gouache. I didn’t like this outcome so erased the drawing using soapy water. I then added collage and again wasn’t happy so removed the collage pieces.  I then build up the work using collage, pro maker permanent markers and white liquid correction fluid. I also added black Indian ink marks to the work. Once the piece had dried I added a sheet of clear acetate attaching it to the canvas board. I wanted to add plastic to symbolise pollution in the oceans.

On the whole I am fairly satisfied with the outcome although I feel that I may have been heavy handed with my collage materials so instead of subtlety the effect is too overpowering in places.  I also  feel the black Indian ink looks too harsh.  If i take away something to learn from this piece it is that I  need to gain more experience using a photo transfer method.

ARTWORK TWO – collage , pencil and mixed media on draft paper.

For my second piece I also used a collage transfer technique this time using a black and white photocopy of one of my photographs. Again I used plexitol medium to transfer the image. I also experimented more by using drafting paper as the support. It was very challenging as once I had added the image the drafting paper tended to bend and buckle. Using a piece of zerkall printmaking paper I used a variety of graphite pencils and black ink to draw a variety of marks to match up  and extend the  digital image. I used zerkall paper as this  paper had a nice texture it also does not have a straight edge – I didn’t want to use a neat regular piece of paper.I then added the drafting paper piece on top of the  zerkall paper using glue dots to adhere the piece to the paper. I then added more ink marks and tippex. I think this work is more successful that the canvas collage. I like the way the king penguin looks fragile. I also feel the piece has a sensitive and sad feel which adds a poignancy to the work –  which  was one of my aims.

It was interesting working on these two artworks as they seem very current and relevant – while I was working on them the BBC screened a series called ‘Dynasties “ with an episode that explored the hard life of the Emperor penguin in Antarctica. One section of the programme showed a scene where a group of mother penguins and their chicks were trapped in a gully caused by a severe blizzard ( a consequent of global warming). The penguins were unable to escape up the steep bank of snow and faced certain death. After observing this a group of camera men stepped in and rescued the penguins by digging “steps” in the snow. An action that is unprecedented  in terms of  nature documentary filming.

references / resources ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018) ( assessed October 2018)