How was your week? Honestly, this week was probably the most stressful five days I have had in this semester. I have just had so much going on school-wise and also in my extra-curricular activities, I barely had time to breathe. Since I’m doing a double major and a certificate, I have to overload my courses every year – and let me tell you, I really felt the weight of all my courses this week. I had my second portfolio due in drawing class on Wednesday and I really want to share with you what I created and talk a little bit about each of the four drawings.
In our portfolio, we had to hand in four drawings, each based on a different concept: extrapolation, translation, speculation and documentation.
Extrapolation using graphite pencil
Extrapolation is a grid enlargement method. It is a technique used to allow artists to accurately copy a very small image and enlarge it to a much greater scale. In order to do this, you have to first take your original small image and divide it into a grid that is made up of equal length squares.This is what my original copy looked like:
Extrapolation Small Copy
This technique of enlarging images is actually not very complicated at all after this step. All you have to do is create a grid on your large piece of paper that has the same ratio as your small copy. In my case, for every 1 cm. x 1 cm. square in my small copy, this was a 2 in. x 2 in. square in my large copy.
After making the grid, I carefully isolated each square in my mind and copied the contour lines I saw into the larger squares. Since every component of the image is subdivided into small components (like pixels), it is much easier to retain detail and accuracy since your mind only has to focus on getting the proportions right in each small square.
This technique is commonly used to maintain proportions and render areas quickly. This was my first time using this method so I found it a bit difficult to render the facial features – especially because there is so much detail even within the small squares. The image is a picture of my boyfriend and his mom on her birthday. It was really hard for me to get the proportions just right in their eyes, nose and mouth. Even if the angle is slightly off by a tiny bit, it can completely change whether it resembles the person you are drawing or not. In the end, I would say I’m quite happy with it – it was a lot of pressure for me because I’m hoping to give it to his mom for her Christmas and I really want her to like it.
Translation using watercolour, india ink and collage
Original Artwork by Colette Urban using ink and collage on paper
The next drawing I did used the concept of taking an existing artwork and making something new using influence from the original artwork. Translation allows the artist to build on an already existing idea, possibly to question the idea further. If you read my first blog post, you might recognize what original artwork I used and who the artist was: Colette Urban. I loved her figural painting and collage works so much that I really wanted to create my own on a larger scale. This mixed media piece is on 22 in. x 30 in. Stonehenge paper.
Instead of keeping the figure in small brush strokes, I wanted the figure to be more realistic and have more dimension. I used water colour to first create the planes of her body, starting from the bright yellow to a darker turquoise. I chose this pose because I really love how her long arms suggest the movement of flying.
I used india ink to highlight some areas on her body where there are shadows and to increase the depth and add shape to her dress. Next, I went through a couple of fashion magazines looking for a variety of colours and textures. I cut the pages into triangles and diamonds because I think these shapes really emphasize the direction of movement. The collage aspect of the piece gives the viewer the feeling that the figure is soaring through space while she leaves a trace of energy behind her.
The next drawing I did uses the concept of speculation – which means creating a project that you can’t actually create in this moment in time. Perhaps this is because of financial restraints, technical restraints like not having the knowledge of how to engineer the project or not being able to have the materials to create the piece. Speculation draws on the common use of sketches to quickly jot down ideas. In doing so, an artist can archive their ideas for future reference and also to refine the idea. A sketchbook is like a visual diary of an artist.
My idea for a project that I can’t actually create right now is to create an installation of an important moment in my life. Music was a huge part of my childhood and when I was in grade 5, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play the first movement of Mozart’s piano concerto in A Major, No. 12, K. 414 with a mini orchestra. I have always wanted to learn to play strings and I clearly remember during that performance, seeing a double bass in real life for the first time. My speculative project is to create a double bass that is twice the size of a real one. I want to paint on canvas to create the illusion of a piano on one side of the double bass and paint the actual piano score from the concerto on the other side. I will have a projection of the video recording I have of the actual performance beside the instrument.
For me, this installation is a way for me to remember a memory and to express my love for music.
My final drawing uses documentation which allows the artist to record a time, place or event. An event refers to a combination of time and space that creates a definable moment. I chose to paint a memory from the last days of summer when I went to Wards Island with my boyfriend to celebrate our two year anniversary. We had a picnic on the beach and even though it was deathly hot that day, it was a lot of fun! I have always loved sitting by the water because of how peaceful and calm it is. It was a perfect day to walk along the boardwalk and see the city of Toronto while riding a ferry.
If you have tried any of these techniques yourself, please share them with me in the comments. I would love to read about them! Also, check out Adelle’s blog to learn how to create some really cool art and DIY’s. She has ideas about home decor, fashion and even has art lesson plans to teach you how to create your own art. I really love her idea about creating nature collages.
Even though I only got two hours of sleep on Tuesday trying to finish all of these drawings, I’m really happy with how they turned out. I guess the stress was worth it?
Click to tweet if you know how it feels to have a stressful week! Hope you have a great weekend!