I have decided to develop the interior painting of My Studio rather than doing another still life composition. I feel that I’ll definitely benefit from more practice with interiors and need to find an interesting and lively composition.
Research: Anthony Green
During the past year of visiting exhibitions I have come across paintings by Anthony Green on several occasions. The fascinating composition of these instantly leaps out at me to make him one of the few artists whose work I can identify.
I spent some time looking at his interiors on the internet then decided that the thing to do was to print some off and make notes on them. See sketchbook:
- Irregular shaped supports or even multiple supports loosely joined.
- Almost always uses a high viewpoint, up at ceiling height.
- Multiple perspectives, includes all walls, both those in front and behind the viewer, plus ceiling, next door rooms etc. Great sense of space. Some rooms distorted or extended to create extra space.
- Very bright vibrant palettes but limited to a few colours. Many are tones of oranges and reds, others greens.
- Trickery included – reflections in mirrors can show different people.
- The artist himself and family members included, almost as caricatures. Eyes high on head.
Also bought this book, really interesting insight into what is behind his painting:
Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain) (2017) Anthony Green: Painting Life. (s.l.): Royal Academy of Arts.
For Part 2 of the Drawing 1 course last year, I worked on My Studio to do these pieces. Then I was using David Hockney (for multi-perspective) and Roy Lichtenstein (for changing/updating patterns and textures) as inspiration:
This isn’t quite what I was hoping for, too many straight lines…. then I thought about taking panoramic photos with my mobile – that will give a curved perspective….
Yes that’s much better, more the effect I have in my mind. Too many objects and clutter to include, I need to be selective to get best composition.
Another sketch, this time on A1 paper, long to include all walls of the room.
- Curve to the walls as they go off into distance.
- Furthest point is left end of window wall where it meets shelves so this part is the smallest and lines grow as things get nearer to the viewer.
- Desks are central focus (and nearest point) so items are large.
- Desk edge sticks out beyond edge of support to accentuate.
- Ceiling beams included, as Anthony Green does, with them sticking out. These help to hold the room together and make it look like the side walls are parallel. Without the beams I’m not sure that I’d have the 3D feel at this stage.
- Can see into adjoining wash room though I’m not including the door itself as that’s too dominant (pretend it opens away from us and hinged from right of doorway)
Next stage was fiddling around with the lines again and making a simplified plan. Now what colour palette to use? (see sketchbook)
Decided to use different colours than it is and go for green walls and a reddish colour (its complementary colour) for a wooden things. Practiced mixing various greens – mostly they turned out pretty dull and mossy which isn’t what I want. Grass Green with either Cobalt Blue or Cadmium Yellow gave a good range of vibrant, in your face, greens.
I wanted to use a support other than paper – try something new. I found some hardboard and drew on the outline, then was told that I should draw it on the reverse side to get a smooth cut on the front. I did this but stupidly forgot that I needed to reverse the pattern so it was cut wrongly – bother. And the back is very textured so no good.
I’m going to have a go anyway and attempt to do a mirror image of the room.
I’ve been watching Sky Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 and one of the artists used a Pebble Sculptor / Contour Tool / Wedge (seems to be called many things) which I’d not come across before. I’ve ordered one and am going to try using this along with palette knives – just to try to create a different effect and to add some texture. It would be too easy to just do a regular brush painting and make this realistic – I want to experiment and try new stuff!
Initial layer of acrylics applied using Wedge and Palette Knives – scraped so that under layer shows through and there’s lots of texture. Carpet applied with an old toothbrush and stippled to get texture. Allowing this to completely dry and then I’ll try adding washes to sort out tones and detail. Working in reverse is actually quite interesting – the lines are less instinctive and I hope I’ll be looser rather than obsessing with accuracy.
Some parts are sticking out to me as very wrong:
But some of the textures are great:
There’s a lot wrong with some of the line work – the shelf unit is far too narrow, hasn’t got a smooth curve around and the tall part too wide/short part too narrow! Working as a mirror image was hard – as you can see I failed to reverse the items on the table and I got confused by the curve of the ceiling line above the window.
I do love all the textures though and they really add to the interest of the piece. I worked hard on the tones, especially on the walls, to show places where there was light or shadow and I feel that I’ve largely achieved creating space and depth to the room.
Although I’m pretty pleased with the finished painting, I’ve decided to have another go this time on mount board and hopefully the correct way around!
This of course looks far more like my studio, that’ll be the accurate colours used this time. I leant by my previous mistakes and spent the time getting the lines right first this time.
The curves of the shelf unit are correct this time and I’ve added a small view of the near left end which helps (though it can’t really been seen from this view point). When I painted this unit on the linear perspective exercise, I really struggled painting the straight lines of the unit front and they ended up very wiggly. This time I used the wedge to ‘print’ straight line sections – these are slightly raised and reflect the white paint well resulting in a nicely highlighted front – much happier this time. I painted in the shadows/light in each shelf to give it depth before filling with miscellaneous items. I deliberately kept the painting of these items vague and loose, not accurate representations but general forms.
I think that both the use of tones on the walls together with the curving lines and including the ceiling, have all contributed to giving a great sense of space within the room. As one fellow student said, they would like to walk into the wash room to explore in there too.
The far window looks better with the window sill included, along with being able to see the sides of the window recess (not the top due to high view point).
I did the ceiling beams as on the first piece – black on the shady sides and black with gloss medium on the light sides, with streaks of white allowed to show through. I also did the carpet the same, stippling colours but adding more shade this time too.
This second piece is more realistic, calming, accurate and sits well on the eye. But, it is more boring in many ways with its largely smooth texture and cool colours.
I presented these two assignment pieces at the SW Study Day on Saturday 9th Nov to fellow students and tutor Lydia Halcrow who was there. I asked which they preferred and why – interesting responses:
- Green has more energy. The errors add interest and intrigue, and make it my own. Since the perspective and line is rather abstract, these errors aren’t seen by others as errors. Texture is great. Colours and texture give it quite a fairytale/dreamland quality. A place of energy and adventure.
- Blue is obviously more precise and the colours are calming and relaxed. The feel of space is very realistic and they’d like to walk into the wash room to see that too. More to look at in this piece, one student commented that they could study the contents of the shelves for ages deciding what the items were.
- I had assumed they would prefer the blue one however opinion was split between the two.
This has been a great learning assignment. Lots of positives and lessons learnt that I can take forward into future painting. ie use lots of texture and apply paint in a variety of ways to create interest, Accentuate the light/dark tones, Don’t fuss with fine detail but do make sure there’s plenty going on for the eye to find, Initial sketches, planning and mapping out are very important!