Part 2, Exercise Quick Sketches around the house




full side 1For this exercise I didnt have much choice over the room I chose to draw the interior of. I wasnt to look for Interesting objects I was looking for areas within a room to draw and paint as it is. There was only one room I could sketch and that is the Living Room. I was to draw and then turn 45 degrees and then draw the next area. I wasnt to get bogged down with detail but to look for positive and negative shapes and areas of tonal contrast. It was to be done standing and seated.Unfortunately  my drawings didnt photograph very well this one above was done standing up the one below sitting.  There is an interesting area within the fire that gave depth to the picture.

favourite side

This can be see better  in the picture above, I was sitting for this and it showed there was some depth to  the fire recess and there were some interesting shadow areas under the canopy.

Next I turned 45 degrees and  there was a door which showed a viewpoint behind which can be seen below.




You could see the difference between the standing and sitting version. The latter was more interesting because the beams were visible giving more interest to the picture.


A turn of 45degrees gave me another door.

front door


I found these more interesting as there were leading lines that took me towards the door to the left is the standing version, the right the seated. This was harder to do as getting the underside of the box on the wall was difficult as were all the leading lines and these were meant to be quickly sketched so there wasnt time to measure the lines to the horizen. This one held some good shapes.


Another change of area and this is my least pleasing area.



This is a radiator with various towels hanging on it and really didnt hold any interest at all. There was a slight difference with the standing/left sketch, to the sitting in that I had more ceiling within my view but it really wasnt the best area within my 45 degree turns.

I think the sketch which showed the most interest was one of the fire, however if I repeat this drawing in the future I will draw a little to the left in order to get the angle of the adjoining wall in. I think this area was the most interesting. It was also the most challenging as there are various items giving interesting positive and negative shapes and the tonal variations were also interesting.



Part 2 Research Point 4 Dutch Realist Genre Painting

With the decline of religious painting and prosperity allowing the middle classes the affluence to furnish their properties with paintings it brought about a whole new era of work. Paintings of Portraits, Still Life, Landscapes and Genre Painting were for sale, Genre Painting was a depiction of everyday life. This research was about taking a look at two or three paintings that appeal to me and study the intentions of the artist, look at how the painter drew the viewer into the experience of the occupants of the room. Well one of my choices The Courtyard of a House by Pieter de Hooch wasn’t strictly a room but it still told a story. My second choice was by Johannes Vermeer The Love Letter.

After studying the paintings and doing some research I realised these like the Early Still Life painting were not just random affairs. Careful placement of items, geometric shapes and a story for the viewer were carefully planned and executed.

Johannes Vermeer The Love Letter tells the story of the love of a couple who are apart, the letter being from her love.  I first chose this as one of my paintings because I like the secret look we are getting of a private moment.  We are viewing the scene from a dimly lit room, a clever way of making the viewer look beyond the darkness into the lit area. For our convenience, the curtain is held back allowing us a peek of a beautiful private moment. To emphasize the depth of field the eye follows the geometric tiles on the floor. I did wonder at the subtle nature of the painting and its reference to the letter being a love letter, but took the title of the painting for granted. It was only after research I learnt about the symbolistic nature of items included in the scene which tell a story rather like the Still Life Paintings I studied earlier.

First the lady has a musical instrument on her lap this was known as a symbol of love, then the story continues, paintings were often used within paintings and carried a meaning. The paintings behind the women show a ship on a rough sea and a lone figure. The sea was used as the symbol of love and passion the ship being the lover.  I have read several meanings associated with the lone figure but there is an absence of her lover and I think, to me it shows a love that maybe a secret one, where there can only be stolen moments. Maybe a love of a man she can’t have. The slippers and brush are said to be symbols of a love that is not blessed by marriage, though once again there are variations on the meaning. All in all it makes me feel the lady is in love with a man she can’t have.

Vermeer Love Letter

The second painting The Courtyard of a House in Delft by Pieter de Hooch I like not for the story it tells but for the way in which he dealt with the space and depth of field, it was said he used pins and string to create the different depth of field. Looking at the courtyard we see a difference in affluence the left side we see a more affluent scene and we feel a need to peek through the house to a street beyond. This is cleverly done by using light and angles, inside the muted light accents the leading angles of the floor and the doorways which all travel to an arch and beyond to the bright street behind. To the right of the picture we have an area which again has been given great depth with the leading lines within the brickwork, wooden bunker and walls. I love this side of the courtyard with the plant growing out of a bed and the broom laying on the floor giving interest to the fore of the picture. There is just enough information to make the mind want to tell a story. The painting shows how he has use the angles of the scene to show depth of field. I love this less aesthetic scene to the courtyard, showing a little of the life behind the facia often seen within the home, it encourages the imagination to construct a story.

As we progress through time there is no doubt painting has had its boundaries pushed and artists don’t just stop at the visual but also the tactile works of art. We will find the application of paint is used in numerous ways. The story told in each painting is cleverly portrayed giving just enough information to interest the viewer and like the cliff hangers in modern day tv, there is enough about the story untold to spark our interest and imagination showing how the occupants in the pictures story unfolds.

courtyard in delft


18th Century

Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin and the La Fontaine I chose this one for its similarity to the above paintings. I believe he was influence by Vermeer. The depth to the picture was shown not only by clever use of light but also with the tiled flooring leading to an open door behind. The open door makes us want to look beyond the main focus of the picture to the view behind  where we see another woman and a young child. How intriguing what is the story.

la fontaine (the water cistern)

19th Centuary

Sir David Wilkie is my painter of choice for the 19th Century his is a little different in there are no leading lines in the fore, but we have objects placed before the subjects who are the centre of the painting. It’s a lovely scene with each of the listeners showing their different characters bathed in light looking like the centre of the stage. The enormous number of objects within this picture could be overwhelming, but they are so subtle in their portrayal, they remain unobtrusive. The detail is amazing and what looks like a chalked animal done by a child is shown on the door of the cupboard. In this picture, we can see the clever shaft of light showing through the doorway to the rear giving the painting depth. It is such a cleverly done painting and the pleasure or displeasure shows within the faces and actions. It again tells a story but doesn’t answer the questions.  The elderly couple look as if the music is intruding on some deep thoughts, worry, tiredness, memories of the past who knows. A snippet of a story a nugget to wet the appetite enough to draw in the viewer and spark the imagination. This out of all the pictures is my favourite.

The Blind Fiddler 1806 by Sir David Wilkie 1785-1841

20th Centuary

David Hockney and his very noticeable style shows even with the absence of content, depth of field can be shown by the placement of items within the picture. The table and contents are the only lead into the centre of the picture, the people and cat being the main subjects, beyond the people the window and balcony lead to the outside. Without the door surround reflecting the outdoor light, this picture would have been in danger of looking very flat.  Again we see the light and a window/door are being used to show the depth.



21st Centuary

Susan Ryder is my choice here, her paintings are very impressionistic, bright and full of colour. There within the painting is a glimpse of a special moment and although I don’t know of any symbols to tell the story, we feel from the posture and mood of the lady painted, this is a special day. As with earlier paintings the light is used to create depth within the room, furniture leading the eye towards a door which again  gives great depth to the picture.

susan ryder


Looking at Genre through time we may see a difference in paint application and method, but the basics are to create a fore, middle and background to the picture creating depth. It can be done by introducing leading lines, or placing the main object between the fore detail and the rear. Doors give great depth within the pictures and intrigue, light also is a major influence on giving depth and focal point. Put together they draw the viewer into the picture by walking the eye through the scene engaging them within the story that the painter is telling.


(Unknown, 2011)

(Unknown, 2011) (Unknown, Unknown)

(Levendig, 2011)

(Gallery, 2017)

(TATE, 2016)

Part 2, Close to home, Exercise Still life with complementary colours


For this exercise I had to make a colour study  using only a narrow range of colours. I had to choose just 2 hues, one colour and its complimentary, and white to lighten the tone. I decided to try and keep the painting more monochrome. Simple I thought, I like graphite and work monochrome drawings so thought it would be easy. How wrong was I, to begin with I ran a tonal swatch in my sketchbook to see the various shades and then decided on my area of use. I had drawn several large quick positional sketches at the start of the two exercises so felt I didnt need to do any further studies before starting this picture.

colour test

I decided as with the previous painting there isnt enough time to blend as well as I felt should be done it  would of taken a lot more hours to get the transitions better. Parts of the painting to me were a little painting by numbers. I find Acrylic is hard to work when blending and needs to be done in a small area. This allows a  blend before the drying process. I didn’t try anything other than a straight forward painting either, as I wanted to concentrate on getting the shading correct.

I chose Violet, Cadmium Yellow, and Titanium White, because of time pressures there wasn’t enough hours to accurately look at the tonal differences and I am pretty sure to do the exercise properly it will take far greater time than we have on the course, so I will have to go back and really look at the shade, tone and light.

I think with the palette so limited, the darks and lights were without the depth, the picture lacks the punch it would have gained with darker darks. However I actually like this picture better than the first. It subtleness gives it a charm all of its own and I may have totally fallen for the limited pallet. There was a lot to be learned from this exercise so I am glad I chose it. Not only can you get multiple shades and tones using just two colours, the exercise mentally enforced the range you could get from using such a limited palette. I really enjoyed doing this painting and the knowledge I gained from it. Most certainly I would like to go on and try something similar with other colours.









Part 2, Colour Relationship Exercise Colour Accuracy

hallow ad 2

Not the best painting I have done, nor the best photograph, it has lost some of the blue tint to the painting, and the white looks cream. I had to photograph it under lights and it altered its colour, but good enough to see the exercise. For this exercise, I wasn’t to take too much notice of accurate portrayal, but the accuracy of the colour I see. I had to evaluate the tonal values of all the objects, not get too bogged down with detail, I was then to assess it against the actual object and its colour and see how close to the actual subjects I am. Ok this took me ages, I am only just getting used to the magic of acrylic, you paint one colour and it changes to something darker.


The colours I worked with were Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow, Titanium White, Ivory Black, Light Magenta, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Burnt and Raw Sienna.

Its fair to say I tried hard to match the colours to the original and took my time, often I would find that my colour dried darker than wanted and had to re-do the work. I felt tone and shadow worked well.

To start I decided that I would do a Halloween picture as it was contemporary. Having recently studied Chiaroscuro paintings a Halloween Still Life would be a good way to follow on from my studies of artists such as Caravaggio and Ribera. I set up my Still Life in various ways but decided to go with the lights out and the subjects light by two different lamps, one gave a red light the other blue. This gave great colour cast on my plastic skull and equally plastic spiders and other objects. As the subject of this study was the colour I didn’t try out the colours before I did the painting, I only did positional and tonal sketching.

Unfortunately, the picture above as previously mentioned, doesn’t accurate show the colour I finally achieved but in the most part I could not 100% colour match. The white was a pain it just didn’t have the glow you can see in the photograph, although the actual painting was brighter than shown above. I unfortunately went with a solid dark background to start with and I feel it may have possibly influenced the white, no matter how many layers were applied. In future, I will have to experiment and see if I can get a better likeness from white with other under painted colours as I did with the earlier fruit picture, which I under painted with white. The next thing I had problems with was trying to get the coppered leaves to look metallic with just colour. I felt I was halfway there and pretty much got the look I wanted but again I will need to experiment more with getting that real copper glow. My colour transitions were not smooth within the painting and maybe gentle blending would have helped and more time spent on the details. The yellows were a good likeness but I had various yellows to work with, the background not totally accurate but I had difficulty matching the shadow colours. I learnt from this painting matching colours accurately comes with not just having the correct colour paints, but knowing just how much of each colour to mix together, what affect the underpainting of the picture has and the influence of the juxtapose colours. It makes me feel how little time I have left to learn my craft and wish I could shed some years.


Part 2, Colour relationships Research Point 3

For this research, I was to look at the Optical effects in art which have been exploited by many artists to create movement and depict the effects of light. The impressionists, Post Impressionists and Neo Impressionists in particular the Pointillists, Seurat and Signac, made full use of the new understanding of the nature of human perception. I was to find out about these artist aims and study their pictures to see how they achieved effects such as optical mixing. Look also at the work of Bridget Riley or the Op artists making notes in my learning log.

Optical art covers a broad area of art, as art itself is about optical manipulation. Colour used in a certain way placed adjacent to each other can alter the perception of the colour, the pointillists used this, then we have artists who use realism to convince they eye of the viewer they are looking through a private window of reality. Op art which was being experimented with in the 1960s is about geometric shapes and lines which fool the eye into seeing the picture undulate and move.

Neo-Impressionism or pointillism is a technique where small marks of pure colour are applied to a support and instead of mixing the colours on the page or palette it is left for the eye to mix and create the object or picture.  Georges Seurat is one of the original developers of this technique and was influenced by Chevruel and his colour theories. The paintings by Seurat remind me of Newsprint, the dots per inch giving the apearance of a black and white picture with all the varying tones given by altering the amount of dots there are.  When using colour not only can you adjust colour by dot or mark application you can also fool the eye with the colour it sees. For example if tiny dots of blue and yellow are placed adjacent to each other, colour mixing within the eye happens and we see green.




The Channel at Gravelines, Evening. Georges Seurat.

Bridget Riley and the Op Artists work gives the viewer a greater visual experience. Their work can create the illusion of movement, I suffer Migraine and when in the throes of having one, they can give me the feeling of nausea. I can’t help but look at them though as they hold a fascination with a need to know how they cause the illusion. The Blaze by Bridget Riley is one such picture, I was ill when I first looked at this and felt rather sick.


Blaze 1964 by Bridget Riley born 1931



The Blaze by Bridget Riley


This research has been very interesting, I find the way the eye and brain can be tricked into viewing the way an image is seen fascinating and can only admire the tremendous knowledge artists have gained in regard to the effects of colour and mark manipulation when producing their art.


Adam Butler, C. V. C. S. S., 1994. The Art Book. In: The Art Book. London: Phaidon Press Limited.

Tate, n.d. Bridget Riley – Blaze. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 Oct 2017].

Uknown, 2017. The Art Story- Op Art. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 Oct 2017].

Uknown, Unknown. Neo-Impressionism. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 10th October 2017].

unknown, unknown. The Complete Works of Georges Seurat. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 October 2017].

Part 2, Colour Relationships, Successive Contrast



For this exercise, I was to find or paint a large area of a bright colour, it could be a bright red jumper, piece of coloured paper, or a square of painted pigment. Stare at it for 30 seconds. Next close my eyes and wait until an after image appears. I chose a bright red biscuit tin, the after colour was very vivid and a blue green I believe this is due to the tiring of our colour the colour receptor for red within our eye. We have three which are approximately red, blue and green. When staring at the red it tires its corresponding receptor meaning that when seeing the after image the red receptor isn’t working as well so the after-image colour is affected.

Next, I had to paint a large square of colour and stare at this and then look at a white surface. I used a lime/yellow which produced a beautiful shade of Pink/Blue. It is a fascinating subject which I will have to look at further.



Part 2, Colour relationships, Exploring Contrasts


This exercise was about exploring contrasts, to begin with I had to choose any colour (A) then mix a series of several colours that are close in the spectrum to my chosen colour (A). Once mixed paint a series of small squares in colour (A) and surround it with one on chosen colours from the spectrum. I chose yellow and as can be seen from the series of colours above the yellow hue altered according to the surrounding colour. It’s at is brightest when surrounded by orange.

Next, I was to try mixing a colour and its complementary. Paint a small square of the brightest of the pair and paint the complementary colour around it, I also had to adjust the tone in order they were the same by adding white. Here you can see the complimentary colours strengthen each other.

Finally, I had to paint complementary colours and infill with grey or beige, as I had painted this exercise on neutral grey background I used beige.  This exercise was to show how the neutral colour was affected by its surroundings. I tried various colours plus white and light grey. It is fascinating how colours interact with one another.

In hindsight if I do further tests I will try them on a lighter ground it was difficult to get the colours strong enough to show the affect well. I have seen this exercise done before and the different look to the hue can be remarkable. When I have more time, I will try out some more in my sketch book as I have enjoyed the exercise.

Colours used in this exercise were Titanium White, Payne’s Grey, Yellow Light, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Raw Sienna, Brilliant Purple and Sap Green.