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  1. Art Reflection- Creative interpretation unit

    May 31, 2013 by 15robidouxk

    For this art unit, we were trying to find out where good ideas come from and also explore. We had to create a series of compositions relating to one chosen theme and one of the pieces had to include some sort of pattern.
    Firstly, we chose a couple of themes and brainstormed about our chosen topics. We also had to research pictures, artists and anything else related to our theme. After this, we continued researching artists, styles, mediums and cultural influences to include in our pieces.
    Out of the two themes we initially brainstormed, we had to research one and explore it in depth. I chose conflict and beauty, however in the end went with beauty because I felt that beauty encompasses conflict as well as a broader range of other areas and also because I thought I could relate to beauty more than I could to conflict, which would make my work more personal and creative.

    In my research book (which can be seen here), I tried to document all sorts of random pictures I found while browsing books or the internet. I then wrote down different aspects of the works that I liked or disliked, or simply commented on the work. I also researched different cultural influences. for example, I started off by researching Turkish art (for instance the traditional, arabesque and ottoman patterns used in the pottery, tapestries or other decorations) because I used to live in Istanbul, so I felt a personal connection to the culture. I also researched Japanese art (and patterns used in traditional dress, lacquer-wear, etc) given I currently live in Japan. Finally, I researched the Russian matryoshka dolls, as I was interested in these and used to play with them as a kid, so I could personally relate. As for artists, I researched several different ones such as Xiaogang, Nara, Moriyama, Klimt, Uekawa and Berber. In my work you can see influences from some of these… I also contacted Canan Berber directly and got to learn a bit about her art and inspirations, mediums as well as artistic process. This helped me to realise better where I can get my inspiration and also helped me consider different ways of personalising my art. For movements, I researched mainly art nouveau because I did not know much about it, liked the arabesque and decorative side of it and also because it incorporated pattern often. I did not really research mediums in depth, which I think I could have done next time to improve my work, instead of blindly approaching my pieces without having practiced or familiarised myself with the medium. Finally, throughout my research I thought about what beauty means to me and considered the positive and negative aspects of the theme and how I could convey this through my art.

    The first piece I made was a large sized acrylic painting of a head being fished out by a fishing hook (drawn with ink pen).

    1st piece- acrylic paint

    For this piece, I used a simple harmonious cold colour scheme that comprised of pastel hues: baby blue,purple,pink,peach, and of course, white black and grey. The features and head are enlarged, disproportioned and centred on the page, with the fishing line on the right third line.  The eyes are also located on the bottom third of the centre division.

    Yoshimoto Nara’s work (Source)

    Close up of shading

    The message I was trying to convey in this piece was: identity and how by searching for perfection and to conform with norms, people can sometimes lose their own identity. I was also trying to communicate the ‘dangers of  fishing for compliments’. By choosing to have the person’s mouth and hair omitted, the identity remains anonymous so the piece becomes less of a specific portrait and more of a message.

    Close up of eye

    The missing mouth also represents how the person’s voice has been silenced by trying to fit in. The blank

    Hooked eye

    background represents loss and dullness. The enlarged head also shows how the compliments have inflated the mind of the subject. The hook in the eye represents how the person is still feeling pain, yet can;t show it because they’ve no mouth. The fact that the hook is black creates a contrast with the pastel colour scheme, which bring focus to it and makes it seem more ominous and precise.

    Shading at side of head

    To achieve the blends of colour and shading used in my composition, I created my own acrylic colours and blended them on the paper using my fingers, as opposed to a paint brush. I also used water to help everything mix together. I think this created a unique texture that along with the purple shading and non-realistic face helped to add to the surrealist feeling of the piece.
    I this piece, I particularly inspired myself from Yoshimoto Nara and his non-realistic style as well as light colour schemes and large heads.



    The second piece I made was a very small (1/8 of A4 paper) charcoal monochromatic portrait of a person looking out a window. The small size and anonymous person of the piece once again deals with identity and shows how I find beauty in simplicity.

    Close up of the face

    The piece cropped the top of the person’s head and many of her features were blocked by a scarf.

    Close up of the scarf- details a bit vague

    I think the best part of this piece is the nose, because I built up the shading slowly and it was detailed. The weaknesses here are that I rushed too much with the shading and applied too much pressure on the pencil,

    Details of the hair- showing how I pressed too hard

    which instead of gradually darkening the region, actually created a shiny and glossy finish that was then hard to erase, blend, modify, etc. Next time I work with charcoal, I would want to remind myself to work slowly and gradually build up.


    Details of the nose

    Charcoal piece

    The third piece I made was on a large cork board I found at my house. The board made an interesting background texture,

    Background texture

    a little similar to rice or sand, which connected a bot to the Japanese influence of the piece. I drew three small heads of ‘maiko’s and then used patterned paper stuck on to the board to create their bodies (kimonos). The

    Three Maiko

    maiko were very small and only occupied the bottom left section of the frame. I chose to leave a lot of negative space because I thought it might be interesting to experiment with the amount of negative space and the mood it gives. The small size made the maiko seem simpler, more elegant and fragile. It also made then seem more distant and mysterious. This was effective at conveying the message of beauty in simplicity and also beauty in cultures. To improve this piece next time, I would like to be more precise when drawing the maiko heads and deviated less with my pen to create smoother contours and less of a messy look. I would also like to make sure the maiko’s bodies were all symmetrical, as this would have fit better with the whole piece. It would also be interesting to experiment with different ways of creating the piece. For instance, using fabric or dyed rice grains to make the kimonos or using different backgrounds.


    Next, I made a patterned piece that had no negative space at all. I used a monochromatic colour scheme with sharpie pens and at the end added a touch of blue with  highlighter to create contrast and focus. In this piece, two heads can be seen, one upside down. I was trying to convey the themes of identity and self-image (the two circles with the heads are like mirrors and the patterns represent the different parts of someone’s personality. The blue highlighter shows how sometimes the personality is less looked at.

    Fourth piece- sharpie and highlighter on paper

    Fifth piece part 1 – sharpie and pink pen on A4

    Fifth piece part 2- Sharpie and blue pencil on paper

    As a 5th piece, I made two works focussing and exploring eyes. I made a pattern with eye shapes and swirls in black sharpie and then added contrasting elements in the centre such as a blue eye or a pink contour. These pieces represent the visual aspect of beauty and how beauty is a very subjective and visually influenced thing. To improve these pieces, I would maybe like to experiment with different colours and maybe even incorporating typography to make it more interesting and specify a message.

    Side 1

    Side 2

    Finally, I made a small playful piece. It is an optical illusion that has an image on either side. When you wind it up and twist it, the images come together and form one image. I drew a girl holding balloons to represent happy aspects of my theme (balloons are a symbol of happiness and youth is a symbol of innocence.) I brought this out using bright colours and soft coloured pencil shading. The piece although mostly happy also had a more serious side: By having an optical illusion instead of  a simple picture, the balloons now also represent how the girl is reaching for beauty but can never really have it and that any happiness is actually fake.

    In conclusion, I think this unit really challenged me to explore different things and developed my research and application skills in art. I also learnt that good ideas come from a variety of places and had fun exploring art more freely than in any other past units. In the future, I would like to explore different mediums such as collage,digital, sculpture and photography and experiment with different styles, for instance   abstract.

    Take a look at some of my classmates’ work here.

  2. FIGURE it out-Reflection

    November 22, 2012 by 15robidouxk

    During this first art unit, we explored figure drawing. We started off by simply learning and practicing measurement and proportion techniques and then started experimenting with various mediums. We began with simple poses and angles and gradually increased the difficulty and added foreshortened elements. At the same time as practicing figure drawing and trying out techniques, we also effectuated research on two artists who figure draw. We had to research about each artists’ styles techniques and movements as well as try out a few drawings mimicking their style. Finally, we compared and contrasted a piece from each artist.

    At the very beginning of the unit, we tried an observational figure drawing using markers, just to assess where we were.

    My first figure drawing-Marker-10mins

    I didn’t know how to measure figures and was just trying to draw what I saw the best I could. As you can tell in the drawing, my proportions were off. In this particular example, the legs are too short and the torso is too large for the legs. Also, the head is too large for the rest of the body proportions. Another weakness in my initial drawings were line work. I kept using hair-like strokes and it made my lines very messy and the shape wasn’t clear. Next, I was very slow, and it took me a very long time. I think my poor time management skills were due to the fact that I was hesitant when drawing and was unsure how to go about it.

    My second drawing (after learning basic measurement technique)- Marker- 15mins

    After evaluating our initial drawings, we learnt basic measurement techniques for figure drawing. We learnt how to use a vertical line on the page that divides the subject in half at the eyes, then we learnt how to use a pencil/marker/drawing tool to measure the proportions of the model. We learnt: by extending your arm and locking your shoulder, you have to measure the size of the head using your pencil as a ruler. Then, you count the number of heads that the model is (height). You can then use these measurements as a reference for the figure’s proportions on your paper. To make it easier, I drew circles and ovals for each part and joint of the body so I could visualize and draw the form better. Compared to my first drawing, the proportions in my second attempt were much better. However, the arms are still a bit too short for the body. Also, I was still very slow paced and my lines were still hair-like.

    A selection of figure drawings effectuated over the course of a few weeks- practicing measurements-marker

    As we continued to progress through the unit, we continued practicing figure drawing, alternating models, viewpoint angles and poses. For several weeks, we focused primarily on proportions and measurements, so we stuck to markers for quite some time…

    My main weakness when drawing with markers was my proportions. I often got the form correct, however my arms were often too long and thin (example in the first 3 drawings ), or too short (drawing on left bottom), my legs were too long (left and center drawing on top ) or my head was too small (center drawing on bottom) compared to the rest of the body. I also struggled with shoulder angles and width (demonstrated in left and right drawing on top). However, By looking at this series of drawings you can see that my measurements are becoming more and more accurate and my form is becoming more precise and realistic. What helped me for the form of the bodies was really drawing circles and ovals for each joint and each part of the body (neck, shoulders,head,elbows,upper arms, forearms,hands,ankles, knees, thighs,calves, feet, etc.).

    I also struggled with patience, as I started off my drawing by measuring very precisely, however as time passed I got a bit bored of measuring, so I jumped straight into adding form/detail, which might not have always been a good idea, considering my proportions weren’t accurate. Once I had started outlining the figure and adding details with a darker marker, it was often too late or too difficult to go back and fix my proportion mistakes. After a few weeks drawing simple poses, we introduced the concept of foreshortening; when limbs or body parts look smaller or bigger than they should do to the viewpoint angle. We tried to draw foreshortened figures by using the crate method, to outline on our paper lines and “crates” that marked the angles at which the limbs or body parts were placed. We then went on to practice a whole lot more figure drawing with marker, to solidify our skills in measurements and proportion when figure drawing. As shown in the drawing below, you can see that I still struggled with the proportions of the head vs the rest of the body as well as shoulder foreshortening. In the drawing on the left on the second photo, you can also see that I had trouble with arm and leg proportion. However, my form and shape of the bodies were alright. The coloured pencil drawing below shows once again how I struggled with proportions due to my laziness (not taking time to measure perfectly because Iwas eager to add details/different colors), with the legs being too thin and short and the arms being too short.

    Figure drawing using foreshortening and crate measurement- marker

    Another couple of drawings-this time that used the crate technique and in the one on the right, colored pencils instead of markers


















    At this point we started researching our two artists of choice. I chose Egon Schiele and Edgar Degas, two artists with extremely different styles. In my sketchbook, I started experimenting with figure drawing mimicking the style of the artists I researched about. Here is a photo of one my experimentations with Degas’ style.

    Figure drawing–Used techniques learnt in class for proportions and composition, color scheme and use of media inspired by Edgar Degas

    I was inspired by his depictions of dancers using pastels and bright color palettes. While effectuating this drawing, I based the pose on a photograph I found on the internet and then tweaked it a bit. For my proportions, I used the techniques we used in class to outline my figure accurately and with the realistic proportions. the experimentation in my sketchbook really helped me and I think I improved alot by practicing my skills and techniques in the sketchbook.

    In class, we tried drawing with pastels and charcoal, experimenting with various poses and angles. I found the most successful of my drawings in these mediums were the ones whee I used my habit of very lightly and loosely outlining the figure form using circles and ovals. I also found the most successful drawings were those where I did not try to color EVERY bit in, but also considered leaving parts blank and considering a bit the negative vs. positive spaces. As we moved along and progressed, I started to find it much easier to measure proportions and started to be able to eyeball the form and angles. I really enjoyed experimenting with the different mediums and using colors or shadows and highlights to bring out my forms. I also found I really liked loosely sketching the figure using lots of sketchy strokes and circles and ovals, much like this. I think at this point, I had reached my peak in development and I really started to draw with better proportion, form, scale, speed and accuracy as well as more complex shading and color use. I found I was beginning to be able to eyeball measurements a lot more easily now and din’t need to use the crate method to determine angles of limbs.

    Pastel figure drawing- I considered negative space and tried to play around with the contrasts of shadows and highlights by using different colors. Leg proportions still a bit off… as well as the shoulder width and angle. Nice shading in the left leg… I considered the negative space and context, which was new but interesting.

    Unfinished, but more or less successful charcoal drawing. My proportions and angles have improved…











    Close up of leg drawing-pastel

    After several weeks of experimentation,we finally started working on some final work. I decided to experiment with chalk on a black paper, as I enjoyed working with contrasts. I found my measurements had really improved and that finally my figure was accurate. However, I found it very challenging to work with chalk, as I always wanted to press really hard and move my drawing along quickly… Also, chalk was a new medium for me so it was a challenge to work with.

    Chalk figure drawing

    I also effectuated a pencil drawing in my sketchbook using a foreshortened pose, similar to Monet”s “La promenade”. What I found really challenging with the fact that we were left with freedom of experimentation was that I had too many ideas I wanted to try, and too many mediums I wanted to experiment with so I was very slow at deciding which pose to draw, composition, medium, and constantly thought about switching.

    Pencil figure depiction from low angle- about 35mins

    In conclusion, this unit has been very challenging but has also allowed me to grow technically as an artist and develop many skills. I am also a lot more comfortable and confident in my figure drawing skills, which I think will make me confident in other art areas as well. To improve even more, I have to keep being patient while measuring and making initial sketches and keep trying new things and be more decisive when planning any final compositions. I also think it’s important for me to start trying to consider negative spaces as well as positive spaces, which I tend to focus on more. If I focus on negative space as well, my drawings might become more accurate and visually appealing.
    In the weeks to come, I would like to continue practicing measuring and accurately drawing proportions, to achieve more drawings with accurate measurements like my chalk one. I would also like to try out a few different medias such as watercolor, pencil/charcoal and mixed media. With watercolour, I want to experiment with color and see how it can help with depiction of form. With charcoal/pencil, I want to try out some more expressive figure drawing, allowing myself to be more sketchy and maybe incorporate some elements from my process of drawing sketchy and loose circles and ovals (example or example2). With mixed media, I want to try and use material and fabrics to bring out certain parts of my compositions as well as pair colored backgrounds with black and white figures to achieve an effect similar to this one (UK artist cliff warner- has lots of interesting figurative figure depictions) . I would also like to try using my newly acquired skills in measurement for still life drawings and see if my stil life drawings have been improved thanks to this unit.


  3. Art Unit 3- Painting Reflection

    April 25, 2012 by 15robidouxk

    Throughout the third unit of the art course, we explored painting. Before effectuating our final painting, we learnt about colour use, thoroughly researched art movements, styles, artists that inspired us and researched techniques and tutorials that could help us. We also did a bit of experimenting with paint and tried out different techniques and styles. This process led to planning our final painting. Our final composition had to be based on a photo that we had taken and could either be a landscape/cityscape or a still life depiction.
    During the research stage, I discovered many artists that really inspired me and learnt many useful techniques. One particular artist that inspired me was Wayne Thiebaud. I liked how he uses bright colours in his works. I also am attracted by the retro style, the stark shadows and the non-realism. I really like the halation techniques he uses in his compositions. Thiebaud’s compositions are always very simple which I find very effective and appealing. I am also interested in the subject he often depicts: food!

    Thiebaud’s famous painting “Gumball machines” Source:
    One of the tools I found particularly useful was colour scheme designer, because it helped me play around with possible colour combinations for my painting. During the experimentation stage, I found it really useful to check out what work my classmates were doing, especially that the girls were mostly all depicting food as well so it was helpful to share techniques with them. 
     For my final composition, I chose to depict a cup of instant noodles, based on a few photos I took when I ate cup noodles and from my visit to the cup noodle museum. I chose to paint still life because I had not yet depicted still life for art class at YIS. In the foreground , there is a cup noodle cup with steaming noodles inside. There is a purple/gray shadow being cast by the cup on the right side. The background is bright orange and gradually turns to red, which creates the effect of gradation. The composition is very simple and follows the rule of thirds.

    The parts along the lines and at the intersections of the lines are the focal points of the painting, where the eye is drawn to.

    I tried to create a tetrad colour scheme, with the orange background, the blue of the cup noodles’ packaging, the yellow of the noodles and the purple of the shadow.

    My colour scheme

    In my composition, the geometrical shape of the lettering and the packaging contrasted with the more natural shapes of the noodles and the steam.

    As for the previous unit, at the beginning I was not very confident in my painting skills and was not very experienced in the medium. I had used paint before, however, I never felt very comfortable using this medium because I found I have trouble maintaining complete control of the paint brush.
    When painting my final piece, I ran into a few problems and issues. I was able to overcome some, and not others. First of all, the paintbrushes at school were not extremely thin and pieces of hair from the brush often found themselves stuck to my wet paint. I wanted to include very fine details for the noodles and some of the packaging, so to overcome this obstacle, I brought q-tips and toothpicks to help with the fine details.

    Fine details

    This worked really well because I felt I had more control over the tools and I was able to work at really small details. Another difficulty I ran into was that I had trouble creating texture in my painting. I tried to fix this by using my fingers to spread the paint and blend it, for the shadows and the steam. Before using my fingers, I added a bit of water to the area I was working on and it helped me to create a natural transition between the shadow and the background.

    Texture created with my fingers

    I think this was effective and actually created a nice effect. However, I didn’t  really include texture in the noodles, cup and background which made it all look a bit flat. I also had trouble outlining the cup with black, as I wanted the line to be really thin. Once again, I used tooth picks and it created a nice effect. A third problem I ran into along the way was that every time I applied a new layer of paint, it wet the last layer and the colours blended together, creating a dirty look. This frustrated me and I tried to overcome this by applying less pressure to the brush and trying to use less paint at once.

    For this unit, I think my main strength was the research process. My research was very detailed and I documented everything from inspiration to experimentation and ideas thoroughly. This really helped me to come up with lots of ideas for my final painting and discover new techniques, however sometimes I feel as though there were too many ideas, techniques and styles to choose from! I think the strong points of my final painting were my composition because it was simple and effective. I am also pleased with the the fact that I mixed all the colours that were used in the painting myself (except the primary colours of course!). This made the painting seem more natural and allowed me to use a broader range of colours. I think another strong point of my painting were the noodles themselves


    Steam coming from the noodles.

    and the steam because the colours were varied, creating gradation, highlights and texture and there was lots of details.

    However, my weak points were the cup itself and its designs.

    Cup details

    I think they lack a bit of gradation and the letters and designs could have been less crooked.Upper cup details

    I think the red lines could have been more precise and the lettering could have been more centered and equal. The way it is now makes the whole composition feel a bit awkward.  Another weak point of mine was the background. I think it lacked some texture because it had the exact same texture as the cup noodles and it made the painting less interesting. I also think I could have added perspective to the bottom half of the background so that the cup did not look like it was floating in midair. I think it would have looked better if I had used brush strokes in the same direction as the shadow for the lower part of the background.


    To improve my artistic skills, I think I have to learn to manage my time more efficiently. I think I spent a little too much time dwelling on the research stage, which led to me rushing a bit through the planning, experimenting and painting stages. I think I have to choose what I will depict in my painting right from the start, as I think for this unit, I spent too much time trying to decide what to paint and I decided at the very last minute. I also think I can improve my use of texture in my paintings, by using more expressive brush strokes and by brushing in different directions, etc. I also think I can improve my use of gradation, as most of my painting looks rather flat. To improve next time, I think I should try to practice more and practice specific parts of my painting, instead of random brush strokes and paintings like I was doing during the experimentation stage.  I think it is important that I keep practicing and using the skills I have acquired during the unit so that I don’t lose them. Finally, I have to remind myself to always have my reference photos with me, as I often found myself randomly painting from memory and not looking at my photo for reference.
    In conclusion, I think I was more or less successful in this unit. I think my final composition was less successful than the pastel drawing. However, I improved my self-confidence and stopped comparing myself to my classmates since the pastel unit. I am now also less afraid to take risks when effectuating my final composition. However, I still have to work on my time management skills and planning. I also have lots of techniques I think I can learn for painting. I  learnt how to do very effective and in-depth research and that is an important part of the artistic process. The research allowed me to discover many new artists and techniques that I really like and find useful. The research process also provided me with lots of inspiration for my final painting and other artworks. I think it would be really fun if I could re-do my painting a second time in a different style, maybe impressionistic for example and compare it with this one.

    My final painting

  4. Art Unit 2-Pastels-Self-Reflection

    February 5, 2012 by 15robidouxk

    Final composition

    During this unit, we explored the artistic medium of pastels. We researched different techniques, video tutorials, artists’ work as well as wrote a compare and contrast text, comparing pastel works by Degas and Cassatt. We experimented with both oil and soft pastels many times. We also experimented with colour and pastel techniques.


    For my final drawing, I did a composition based on a photo I took during field studies. There is a mountain, trees and a house in the background and in the foreground there are two large trees and a large house. There is also a path that runs from the foreground to the background.

    At the beginning of the unit, I was really bad at pastels and had no idea how to handle them. I had absolutely no knowledge or experience with pastel techniques. The unit really intimidated me, as I knew I was an amateur with pastels and I knew we had to complete what seemed to me like a GIANT  final composition based on a photo taken on field studies. I was also discouraged at the beginning of the unit because upon looking at my peers’ initial drawings (during the pre-assessment task), I felt I was much less experienced with handling pastels than the others.

    However, I soon realized that it wasn’t about being as good as everyone else and that it didn’t matter whether I started out good or bad. All that matters was that I improve myself. As we progressed through the unit, my knowledge broadened and I gained many skills.

    I became especially comfortable with oil pastels. I found I was able to add more details to an oil pastel drawing than a soft pastel drawing. I also preferred the style oil pastels created and the way it appeared thicker than soft pastels which created a very soft, light feeling. That is why I chose to do my final drawing with oil pastels. I also chose this medium because I liked the brightness of the pastels. I was inspired by famous impressionist artists that often used pastels such as Degas and Monet, etc.  I was also inspired by many drawings I found while effectuating my research, my classmates’ drawings and the drawings of the previous Grade 9 class.

    This was my inspiration for my sky. It is an abstract oil pastel drawing. The combination of blues, whites and pinks made me think of sky and I thought the use of pinks created a nice effect. I think it adds pop to add pink to a mix of white and blue for a sky and I think it makes it more harmonious and interesting to look at.Source:

    At the beginning of the unit, we had to carry out a research task in groups. We gathered tutorial videos from the internet as well as researched various techniques and images, etc. Firstly, I learnt that oil and soft pastels are very different, despite both being called “pastels”. Oil pastels are made with powdered pigments and an oil or wax based binder, whereas soft pastels are made out of powdered pigments and a dry binder. Soft pastels have a chalk-lik texture and oil pastels have a thick crayon-like texture. Soft pastels are easier to blend and create colour mixes with. It is easier to add fine details with oil pastels because they don’t smudge, however, it is quite possible to add fine details to soft pastel drawings. I learnt that you don’t always have to smudge soft pastels and can leave stroke lines on the page. I noticed how oil pastel drawings rarely use very dark colours and I noticed that black is almost never used for shading with pastels. I realized it looks more natural when the shadows are created with dark blues and purples. Through the research task, I also learnt several new pastel techniques and how to properly handle both oil and soft pastels.  I learnt different stroke techniques such as scumbling, hatching, linear strokes and grass strokes. I also learnt how to blend soft pastels and as well as oil pastels. I used the knowledge I acquired with the research several times when executing my final composition. For example, I used the grass strokes for the lawn in my drawing, the scumbling technique (to add texture and vibrancy to the trees and the mountain) and used various blending methods to create uniform colours and/or smooth textures, like in the sky and the roofs of the houses.

    Next, we had to write a compare and contrast text, comparing two pastel works by Degas and Cassatt. When effectuating the compare and contrast task, I learnt a few new techniques that artists use in pastel drawings. For example, I learnt that the colour palette used in a piece can affect the mood and feeling of the picture. For example, cold colours could create a calm mood and warmer colours could create a more vibrant feeling. I also recognized that when blues, pinks and purples were used for shading, it created the illusion of natural light and the brighter the colours, the more it seemed like it was daytime. When browns and dark oranges were used for shadows, it created the illusion of artificial light. In my final piece, I used mostly greens and blues. I added touches and accents of warm, very vibrant colours. This created an energetic mood and created the illusion that the picture was taken in the middle of the day. It made the light in the drawing seem natural as well.

    When effectuating my final drawing, I ran into a few difficulties. For example, I used the wrong colour for the wood of the house in the foreground. I tried to fix it by scraping it off and then experimenting with different colour blends on a separate piece of paper, to try and find a colour that would fit well with the composition. Another difficulty I ran into during the execution of my final piece was that the colours in the reference photo weren’t completely fit for a pastel drawing. For example, the sky in the reference photo is completely white, the mountain is very uniform in colour and the trees and grass are all of the same colour. Also, there is lots of dark colours and black shadows in the houses. To overcome this, I edited the reference photo using a photo editing software. I augmented the brightness of the picture. I also decided to change some of the colours in the picture and modified some of the aspects when I carried out my final work.. For example, I decided to add colour to the original white sky. I also decided to use a different colour than in the reference photo for the house, the roofs of the houses, the mountain, the tree’s leaves, the shadows and the path. I also added an extra tree behind the large house in the foreground and made the mountain much larger than in the reference photo. Another problem I stumbled over was how to do the texture of my trees. I started off by using pointillism techniques to draw the leaves, however Mr. Curkovic advised me to use scribbles, stumbles and large, thick lines to create a more accurate interpretation of the leaves’ texture. I find that the scribbling technique made the tree seem so much more realistic and 3-dimensional. Mr. Curkovic also advised me to make the tree’s outline less perfect. Making the outline uneven and non-circular made the trees look much more life-like and it really added to the overall look of the drawing. I also was faced with the problem that my path seemed like it was part of the grass. To try and repair this, I tried to add a tiny bit of black and burnt sienna to the outline of the path to make it pop out a bit more.

    I think the strengths in my work are my colour choice/use, my planning skills, my organization and my composition. I think I used colours very effectively. For example, the sky has a lot of colour variation in it. I used some pinks

    A part of my sky

    to accent the blue and the white and to add a little bit of shadow and variation to the clouds.Next, the warm colours I used for the leaves of the large tree (on the left in the foreground ) are very vibrant. They provide a contrast with the lighter colours of the sky and the mountain. I also think the vibrance of the tree and the difference between all the different

    A part of my tree (in the foreground on the left)

    colours of leaves makes it appealing to look at. The fact that the foreground is brighter in colour than the rest of the

    Contrast between the brightness of the foreground and lightness of the background creates illusion of depth

    composition help to add depth to the landscape. I find I used a range of harmonious colours for the mountain. I think the beiges, browns and brown-yellows fit together well.


    I also think the mix of dark blue, grey, brown and white I used for the shadow of the mountain created a nice gradation. I think I planned out my composition well. I knew pretty much how I was going to draw every bit of my picture. I also think I planned the colours I was going to use well. I also remained organized throughout the unit (always had my work with me, completed all the tasks, etc.). I think I had a visually interesting composition because it used the rule of thirds, directing lines (perspective that guides viewers to interesting points of a picture) and was filled with complementary colours and vibrant hues.

    However, there are several weaknesses in my work. First of all, my perspective is a little bit off. For instance, the house’s walls are at an awkward angle and have a different vanishing point than the path. I could improve my perspective in future drawings by placing a vanishing point in my drawing when effectuating my primary sketch. Secondly, the texture of the path is too smooth.


    I think it would be more effective if the path had more of a grainy texture to it. To achieve this, I could have used shorter lines, used some pointillism techniques to colour in the path. A third weakness of mine is my shading and gradation. I think I could have added more gradation to some of the tree trunks (the three small trees in the background, on the left) to make them look more 3-dimensional. I also could have added darker shadows to the left side of the house, because the sunlight was coming from the right. I should have also improved the shadow that was cast by the house. In the drawing, the shadow looks like it stops at the middle of the house wall. I should have continued it the whole length of the wall. I should have improved the shadows of the trees by continuing them onto the path, instead of only having them on the grass (eg.; the second tree from the left, in the middle ground of the picture, I could have extended the shadow being cast by the tree onto the path.). I could also have improved the tones, variation and texture of the roof of the house in the foreground because it looks somewhat flat and untextured.

    Roof of house in the foreground

    I could have used a broader variety of blues, greens and even purples to fill in the roof, as well as making more lines to create more texture. Furthermore, I could have chosen a different colour for the large house’s walls, because it looks a little bit bland. If I used a more orangey colour, it would create a nice contrast with the blue

    Large house walls

    roof. In addition, I think one of my biggest weaknesses are my time management skills. I spent around two whole double lessons to complete the sky and a whole double lesson to complete the first tree (the one on the right, in the foreground). I progressed slowly because I was scared to ruin my drawing, or pick the wrong colour, etc. My lack of confidence limited the amount of work I got done and I ended up rushing when the due date approached (I rushed the house and the shadows). I think if I was less scared of making a mistake and if I managed my time more carefully, I could have had time to improve some of the aspects (mentioned above) of my drawing and would not have been so rushed to finish on time.

    To further improve my artistic process, I think I should try to manage my time more efficiently. I also think I should take more time to apply shadows, texture, and gradation. I think I should stop being so afraid to take risks when completing my drawings, because I think it really limits the amount of work I get done in a lesson. I also think I need to improve my self-confidence and I need to stop comparing myself so much to others.

    In conclusion, I learnt so many things during this unit. I learnt how to effectively use colour, create visually-interesting compositions, and various soft and oil pastel techniques. I also learnt a lot about myself during this unit. I learnt that it is important to focus on my improvements and the new knowledge I gained at the end of the unit, instead of being hung up on how badly I could have started off. I also learnt that I should have more confidence in myself and that it is important to take risks in areas where you are not comfortable. For example, I took a risk when drawing my sky by adding pinks to it, but it turned out looking really nice! I was surprised at how much I learnt by simply independently researching and learning new techniques through online tutorials and discussion with my peers. Overall, I am very proud of myself and my final drawing because I vastly improved my pastel skills and learnt so many new things. My final drawing is so much more detailed and so much better in every way than my pre-assessment drawing.  This unit has inspired me to use pastels more often when drawing for fun at home and I think if I keep putting the skills and knowledge I have gained from this unit to use at home and outside of class, I think I can further improve my pastel skills and develop myself as an artist. I used to detest the pastel medium and now I have learnt to love it.  There is still new things I can learn and if I just keep trying to improve myself and keep working with mediums I am less comfortable with, I can end up becoming even better. I find as I become more experienced as an artist, and as I gain more and more skills, I am becoming more and more confident in my abilities and become increasingly passionate about art. I have come to realize that you can’t  naturally be an amazing artist, you have to keep working and trying o improve yourself in order to fulfill your full potential!

    Final product

    Reference photo

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