Assignment 1 – Practical Exercises

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I have taken longer than I would have liked to get to Assignment 1 due to family circumstances. As I was behind with the workload I decided to focus on a number of themes/artists as a way to prioritise my approach to the research required. I have written about this in more detail in the post Exploring the Field – A Place to Start but my list included, Icons, Polychrome Sculpture, Gwen John, and Amedeo Modigliani. I also wanted to explore working with egg tempera and gouache.

I am aware that the course work encourages creating the paint using dry pigments. Such were the time constraints that I have tried this with only one exercise, for egg tempera, as I decided that I wanted to focus more on the process of applying paint when trying more traditional techniques.

The details of my research and approach to the practical exercises are listed in the section Exploring the Field. A summary of the exercises is given below with links to the relevant page.

Practical Exercise 1 – Egg Tempera – Tubes (1)

For my first attempt, I based the exercise on a medieval sculpture from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. My aim was to try more traditional techniques for icon painting such as the order in which to paint specific parts of the painting and the processes for the actual application of the paint. Overall, I liked the result and using the egg tempera from tubes. At this stage I did not have the comparison of using dry pigments. I found the paint could become quite streaky at times but that may have been due to my inexperience with this medium.

Practical Exercise 2 – Egg Tempera – Dry Pigments

In some ways this wasn’t a successful exercise. I was anxious about submitting the assignment and think this was making me impatient resulting in processes having to be repeated. While I had read several texts regarding techniques I wasn’t properly prepared when I came to work on the exercise. Having said that once I had something to work with I enjoyed using the paints and found them easier to apply. I did, however, move away from the more traditional approach in this exercise and tried using the paint in a less prescriptive way.

Practical Exercise 3 – Egg Tempera – Tubes (2)

For the third exercise using tempera I decided to use tubes as I wanted to try a more traditional approach to creating highlights, inspired by research into icons from the Byzantine period. Again, I struggled somewhat with the paint becoming streaky and a misunderstanding on my part of how the paint was to be applied. However, this was a useful exercise as much for a reminder of the discipline involved in creating icons in the the traditional way as anything else.

Practical Exercise 4 – Gouache – Tubes (1)

While researching artists for the Modernism section of the course I looked for examples of work done using gouache. It is a medium I have used before with little success and I felt that this was a chance to experiment more with it. The result of this exercise is underwhelming but it did give me a chance to try out various techniques such as wet-on-wet, with oil pastels, lifting paint out and creating more texture.

Practical Exercise 5 – Gouache – Tubes (2)

I based this exercise on another polychrome figure from the Burrell Collection. It reminds me of figures in Modigliani’s paintings and, having looked at examples of his work, I decided to work with a limited palette for the exercise. I don’t think this has been a particularly successful outcome in terms of the image created however I liked the subtle effects that can be achieved from blending layers of gouache paint.

Practical Exercise 6 – Gouache – Tubes (3)

For the final practical exercise, I tried a variety of techniques. Overall I think there is a lot of potential in using gouache and would like to experiment more, perhaps using more mixed media and texture.

My reflections on the research and practical work for Exploring the Field can be found in Assignment 1 – Reflections.


Related Pages

Assignment 1 – Reflections –

Exploring the Field –