Research point-Vija Celmins

Before I am going on to do cloud drawing I am going to learn about the artist Vija Celmins’s works.

Vija Celmins was born on October 25, 1938, in Riga, Latvia then emigrated to the United States and moved to several different areas because she likes the objects’ natures such as buildings and weather etc.

she used pencils and charcoal a lot and by 1981, she had abandoned the pencil completely, and returned to painting. From this point forward she worked with woodcuts and printing, substantially in charcoal with a wide variety of erasers – often exploring negative space, selectively removing darkness from images, and achieving subtle control of grey tones.

From 1980s and forward, Celmins focused on the constellations, moon and oceans using these various techniques, a balance between the abstract and photorealism. Then by 2000s, she had begun to produce haunting and distinctive spider webs.


Look at these pictures with so many details that stand out to the viewer. Celmins’s every image is individually handcrafted and subtly unique. She experiments and explores the use of different tonal values and effects to create the images and put her atmosphere in it. The surface is shown all their different types showing the following things for example: that is it windy, is it in bright or shadow from sun light, the time in the day or sunset?

I can’t find more video which is about her whole process with technique for one of her work. I think it may impossible to video that because every image could take her for a while to finish (she may not realise when she finished the work). This is something for the future for me to discover these techniques.


Research point- Landscape artists

In this lesson, I am going to learn about the artists from different eras who use landscape as their main subject.

Albrecht Dürer was born in Nuremberg, German (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528). Dürer was a painter, print maker, and theorist of the German renaissance. He is some of the earliest recordings of the northern Renaissance world. He established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was in his twenties, due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time.

Dürer’s vast body of work includes engravings, his preferred technique in his later prints, altarpieces, portraits and self-portraits, watercolour and books. His watercolours also mark him as one of the first European Landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.

I have got two of his well-known images from Wikimedia which are Innsbruck Castle Courtyard, 1494, Gouache and watercolour and Castle Segonzano, 1502, gouache and watercolour on paper.

Looking at this drawing I can learn the main important points:

  1. Viewpoint: look down from another side of building.
  2. Precise perspective and strong inspection of the architecturel.
  3. Realistic painting sketching with simple colours.
  4. Many vertical lines make the building are standing upright and steady.

This image is very clear and a tidy view which is a pleasure to the eyes.

Compared to the last one the one below is a painting in impressionistic style landscape. There are not that many steady lines,instead there a a few firm lines on the top of the curved hill.

Claude Lorrain was born Claude Gellée, France (1600 – 23 November 1682). Lorrain was a French painter, draughtsman and engraver of the baroque era. He is one of the earliest important artists and he concentrated on landscape painting. His landscapes are usually turned into the more prestigious genre of history paintings by the addition of a few small figures, typically representing a scene from the bible or classical mythology.

Lorrain’s compositions are vast scenes/classical proportions. I am examining his 2 images which are Seaport at sunset (1639) and The Roman Campagna (1639).

He is difference to his friends who concentrated on figures when they were painting their works. but Lorrain’s focus are the expansive landscapes.

For the Seaport at sunset I am thinking:

  1. There are 3 groups of people in the front of the image. What sizes of been drawn by Lorrain and vivid characters.
  2. This port has far-reaching building architecture and the sunset as the expansive background.
  3. Clearly hierarchy from legible to blurred images.
  4. The sun and clouds are vivid with bright colours but they are far away in the background.

I admire this painter who used the very bright colour for far end background but they are not overpowering to the eyes.The black silhouette in front of the image does not make the image chaotic or blurred.

Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist (1 November 1887 – 23 February 1976). Lowry is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England in the mid-20th century. He developed a distinctive style of painting and is best known for his urban landscapes peopled with human figures often referred to as “matchstick men”. He painted mysterious unpopulated landscapes, brooding portraits and the unpublished “marionette” works, which were only found after his death.

I particularly admire his treatment of the crowd like an anthill and his representation of industrial life.

His land and townscape is a composite. Made up; part real and part imaginary … They just crop up on their own, like things do in dreams. Look at how he depicts the crowd of people, are they real in some area on the earth? What does his matchstick man like? Do they have ideas and feelings or are the just like industrial products?

I admire the quality and scale of the reproductions. Looking at his art gives you the strong feeling to inspire your mind.

George Shaw was born 1966 in Coventry, England and he is an English contemporary artist.

First time I saw his paintings that I thought they were photographs. He does concentrate on hyperrealism.

Looking at these staggering charcoal images which have amazing layers are going towards the deepest woodland. I do like this artistic concept and feeling.

This is a image shows  layers of leaves and rubbish are interknited. The colours are sharp contrast and vivid layered. It seems he likes to express the abuse/bad habits where some people damage the environment but he gives them another way of artistic conception.


Sarah Woodfine was born in England in 1968. Woodfine’s work has been exhibited widely and she has also received many awards.

Woodfine’s work is very special and interesting where she has been exploring drawing and creating sculptural drawings in hybrid forms.

This is pencil drawing for a snow dome but it is almost like a photo image.

Woodfine’s drawing used specially constructed structures which act both as frames and as physical extensions of drawing itself. They like industry pattern with a series of vignettes


After learning about these artists who are from different eras (15th century to now). The art works are going  to have a wide range and many styles from realism to action art. The artists’ styles make the art rich and varied.

As I just start to learn and attempt the landscape it is my job to find my own style and interpretation in the images that I create.


Study of several trees(Project 1 trees)

I found a broken tree in the woodland which really inspired me to draw them. The trees are complex in details so I have taken some pictures of them for I can’t finish them before dark.

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A quick sketch for these trees that shows the main skeleton of the broken one and its relation to the ones around it.


Then I  am moving on an A2 white paper now. I concentrate on these skeletons and I started with red and brown colour pencils but only for the broken one, so the trees around it I leave them on black charcoal.


Now I am thinking about the technique for the foliage. I am struggling here. As the foliage is making me confused, I don’t know the way to draw it so it looks like covering these trees. Then I have to quickly use charcoal to fill in around them.


This drawing main thing is the light direction where I supposed from right hand side. Even I high light some bit but it is still not enough to show the light direction.

The broken one is divided from bottom with its right one.  It maybe the view,  I should arrange the gap better than it is now.

At the moment, I use charcoal for trees. So I need experiment with more materials. I need some research to lean more technique from other artists.

Well I have practiced a group of complex trees today even though they are not perfect like I want but I am looking forward to challenge more in future.



Larger observational study of an individual tree(Project 1 trees)

I spent a little time visiting a little park in Newport Pagnell. I saw a very interesting tree stump/trunk which has been made by some artists. Now it really has a strong narrative or drama with it, likes in a scene of a fairy-tale.

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I just really want to draw it. I know I can’t practice skeleton, branches and leaves but I could do those experiments on my sketchbook. For this one I am trying to get some drama on it.

Step 1 Experiment this tree stump‘s character. Observes its gesture and the vivid character will bring a fairy tale out. As I stand in the front of the first photo’s view. The stump is leaning to the right. How can I give it a design that it is also balanced for the image?


Step 2 I use charcoal to give its outline and 3D feeling of this stump then use soft pastel draw its background. Then conte stick for the shapes of fungus.

I used about 2-3 hours to finish this practice.




I suppose it is realistic but with a bit of a  fairly tale feeling image. I think is does come out what I want and I like it.


It is 3D drawing on a A3 white paper. I used tone for building up this stump is round and the wooden tiles are shaping for the stump. I have used the conte stick for the fungus because it is very hard for me to produce the wooden tile and the nature growing things. I think I have drawn the texture of the tree stump well.


During the work I was thinking about a children’s story and perhaps an animal is living inside. The I drew the door and window as additions to the real picture. There is no real steps to the door but I feel it is like a true story.


I didn’t really draw trees a lot before. Now I have some experience of the tree’s texture. Also I tried the charcoal with other media like soft pastel and conte sticks.