Self Portrait for Practice of Painting

Sky Arts Final


What is Drawing?

Here is a link to a really interesting article by Faye Hall from the OCA that discusses what drawing is and how others perceive it:

As much as my degree progress’ I will strive to perfect techniques and have already started to explore how different media works together. This article has reiterated to me that I really want to push my own boundaries and discover what drawing means to me, discovering new idea’s and concepts.


Analysis of Giacometti, Diebenkorn and Degas

After writing this blog post about paint being used like drawing after visiting the Tate’s Giacometti exhibition: Expressive Figures and Giacometti Exhibition (Drawing or Painting)  My tutor wanted me to “Revisit your research on Degas, Giacometti and Diebenkorn to more closely look at and analyse the use of line, colour and mark-making and the visual dynamics of composition / ‘picture-making’. Make notes and post to your log”.

The images above are all using a limited palate of colour, there is limited tone with the exception of Diebenkorns picture that uses a lighter grey that could be argued for tonal qualities or contrast. they focusing on a sombre, darker, muted colour range.

All of the images have a clear centre within the image with use of diagonal lines within the visual dynamics of the composition. The position in the Degas and the Diebenkorn image portray an S-shaped composition (similarly to a s shaped landscape composition) that pulls the viewer into the image. Giacometti’s composition is more shaped based, with 3 columns or divisions of thirds of the entire image. I have refered back my research that I have done here relating to still life composition and Giorgio Morandi where I now see a link with Giacometti and Morandi:   Instantly I have thought of the rule of thirds that relates to the Giacometti composition to centre the figure in the painting:  Although all three images could have the rule of thirds applied within the design. With the Diebenkorn image there is a more iconic use of composition forming with the use of line crossing and indication a foreground, middle and background. Its harder to interpret with the image of the Giacometti but Diebenkorn has a strong use of pattern and some pattern within parts of the Degas. The Degas has the strongest representation of texture however in all the images the texture is representational not realistic or intricately drawn but the lines still have a quality that isn’t dismissive of texture completely (the paint has texture with Giacometti). There is texture is in the lines. The lines are longer and bold in Diebenkorn with Giacometti shorter and painterly but Degas are much shorter with them connecting in places to form a bolder longer line. Mixture of soft and hard lines all together. Another interesting article for future reference material:

Looking reflectively at the visual dynamics although I have used it within my work I would like to do more research into it. This article touches on it slightly although is non academic, will find further academic research into the visual dynamics of composition to enhance my work. I will spend more time reflecting on this before undertaking the figure (and other) compositions in Practice of Painting. It is also evudently used within the magic of Lucien Freuds paintings that I have just viewed of Leigh Bowery.

Fig 1 After the bath 1900 Edgar Degas (accessed 13/07/17).

Fig 2 Caroline 1965 Alberto Giacometti (accessed 13/07/17).

Fig 3  Rich Johnson Thursday Morning Life Drawing Class (undated). 13/07/17).

Fig 4 Seated Nude 1966 Richard DiebenKorn (accessed 13/07/17).

Tutor Reccomended Research- Lucian Freud- Leigh Bowery Portraits and Rembrandt- Self Portrait

I had heard of Lucian Freud and recently viewed his portrait painting of Amy Winehouse at the National Portrait Gallery when researching Assignment 4. Firstly I was drawn to  the close up painting of  performance artist and club promoter Leigh Bowery’s head 1991. In the painting the head resting on his shoulder, (similarly to my drawing of the reclining male) this painting is exquisite and very sensual pleasing. The marks of the paint make me never want to stop look at the image. Again like John Coplans the image isn’t of an obviously beautiful body but an aging man. The representation of age again has been handled beautifully. In a sketch book I instantly wanted to draw the image. Here is a link to the image:


A5 interpretation in 4B Graphite of Lucian Freuds Leigh Bowery 1991.

Lucian Freuds drawings take on a quality of depth, tone again with exquisite pencil marks and interesting use of line which I love. Again fascinating to analyse although I prefer the painterly marks in his paintings.

Fig 1 Lucian Freud Large Head 1993 Etching on paper

Looking at drawings such as Large Head 1993 and Head of Woman 1996 I really love the really thin lines that sit side by side overlap and interconnect. Then the use of larger lines to emphasis certain parts. I really wished I had viewed these images before undertaking assignment 4 – line drawing. The Jumper on Head of Women 1996 is a beautiful representation of directional use of line.

Reading the article in the Guardian ‘Rambrandt and growing old gracefully’: I find it facinating to look at the two artists from different time periods and how they deal with capturing age beautifully within art. This article quotes that “Rembrandt realished the effects of time” (Jones 2012) and that he “painted old age with a nobility and power that no other artist has ever approached”(Jones 2012).

“Rembandt is, above all, interested in the inner self, the mystery behind someone’s eyes, and the distractions of youthful glamour just get in the way of that pursuit” (Jones 2012) I find this particularly intresting relating this to my reclining man pose. Although I love my sketches from a developmental point of view I hadnt done enough sketches to gather information about the age of the persons skin, hair texture, although I captured a sense of the person, age and situation. This is something I would like to explore further later on as I move into Practise of Painting. Capturing the inner self.

Fig 1 Lucian Freud Large Head 1993 (accessed 2/9/2017).

Jones J (2012) Rambrandt and growing old gracefully Guardian Online At: (accessed 2/9/2017).


Assignment 5 Tutor Reccomended Reading/ Viewing- John Coplan

Researching John Coplans  “Third Age of Man” images bought results in a summary of Photographic Self Portraits and cropped close up’s of the Human Figure. Viewing these images helps me reflects further how to deal with age within my drawings.  The images of an older male is an interesting subject as society as a whole is generally derogative towards self-image as we age. Reflecting on viewing the images I find them beautiful, innocent and an unassuming representation of  human form in an everyday or aging sense. Even though the images are cropped, I still visualise the rest of the human figure that I suspect is purposeful or to provide a narrative. The images remind me of hyper realistic or charcoal drawing.

From research there are a couple of points that have given further reflection “Coplans deliberately avoids any kind of pose or gesture which may communicate a familiar message.” (Tate, 2017). “focuses on more ambiguous physical properties” (Tate 2017).      In relation to my reclining man piece drawing , and other human drawings I have completed have always been purposefully posed. Drawing from Life class especially, although I have thought about the pose in an aesthetic sense, I hadn’t thought about in from a body language or communicative sense. It is interesting thought the message the pose of the figure can send about the image, or drawing. The article discusses a universal language of how the human body communicates subconsciously. Elements of Primitivism.  Finally John Coplan in these works never photographs the face.

Fig 1 John Coplan Self Portrait Freize No 2 Four Panels 1994 Photograph, Black and white paper Silver Gelatin Print.

I have chosen the above image as it stands out to me as the photograph has captured the aging body, dark wire hairs and skin that is sagging and is wrinkling in place. I like how the sections of each photograph are juxtaposed slightly wonky and what this implies. He has made the aging body a fascinating subject.

Fig 1 John Coplan Self Portrait Freize No 2 Four Panels 1994 (Accessed 2/9/2017).

Tate 2017 John Coplan 1985 Self Portrait (Hand Spread on knees) (Accessed 2/9/2017).


Tate 2017 John Coplan 1984 Self Portrait (Torso Front) 2/9/2017).