Research point, Positive and Negative space

Gary Hume’s work is influenced by many different art movements and his work can be described as Post-modern. His simplistic subject matter and large flat planes of colour are influence from Minimalism and Pop Art. Other influences come from OP-Art and Neo-Geo

Hume states, “I used to think of the areas of color as tectonic plates meeting, so in the paintings it’s like there are these molten plates that would hit each other and dry. I wanted one of those plates to be higher than the other, and I wanted the hit to be more abrupt.” This can especially be seen in the images bellow. He uses cool colours for the faces and warm colours for the background. This use of colour makes it appear that the background is coming forward while the subject moves back. The use of complimentary colours also cause the flat planes to clash and stand out even more.

In “love loves unlovable” the subjects are black silhouettes framed by flowers. It is as though the light it coming off of the colourful flowers. The subjects are made from negative space yet it is clear that they are the main focal points of the artwork.

The silhouettes mirror themselves yet it is unclear which is the reflection. This artwork symbolizes a period in Hume’s life of self-evaluation and growth as to the type of artist he wished to be.

Love Loves Unlovable (1994)

Bellow are photographs taken by artist Amil Jadhav. the purpose of these pictures was to inspire people to adopt animals from shelters. Jadhav’s amazing use of positive and negative space creates impressive optical illusions. When I first saw the pictures I immediately saw the white silhouettes of the animals and assumed that as the positive space. Upon a closer look I realized that the darker areas consisted of people and what I had mistaken as negative space was really the positive space. Although I’d say that the positive and negative spaces are interchangeable.


read: 22/06/2019

read: 22/06/2019

by: Stephen Messenger. posted: 17/04/2017

Image sources


Research Point; Still Life

sixteenth- and seventeenth- century Dutch painters

The still life genre boomed in Flanders, Holland and Germany during the sixteenth century due to the Prodistant revolt against the Church of Rome. This lead to the near end of religious artwork and allowed artists to explore new subject matter and mediums.

This new genre challenged artists to create realistic and true-to-life artwork. This level of mastery was reached in the seventeenth century and is known as “Dutch Realism”.

The earliest still lifes AD were done in 1502 and 1504. Later, in 1520s-30s paintings containing moral messages and symbols was introduced by the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger. These messages were portrayed by using symbolic objects. The purpose of this symbolism was to remind the viewer of their/our short and sad lives on the earthly plane of existence.

Nineteenth- century artists’ interpretation

Still life has survived through many different art movements. These artworks would usually consist of everyday objects. Each art movement inspired a new approach to still life and painting as a whole.  It was most popular during Post-Impressionism and was adopted by both Van Gogh and Cezanne. Cezanne also incorporated skulls into his work, influenced by the vanitas genre.

The Cubist approach to still life involved breaking down objects into flat basic shapes. they would paint the subjects as viewed from multiple angles at once.

Fauvists went about incorporating unnatural colours into their still life paintings. They focused more on portraying their emotions and feelings towards the objects instead of the objects themselves.

Contemporary artists

Themes such as death, time and consumption are common in contemporary art today. Photography is often used and many artists will try and compete with the quality of today’s technology by creating hyper realistic artwork.

Ori Gersht recreates scenes from 19th century still life art with vases of flowers and photographs them mid explosion as part of his series “History Repeating”. He does this to depict history repeating itself and the fragility of life.

Laura Letinsky is an artist who depicts things after their purpose has been fulfilled; she says she wants to explore “the more meager path, an inclination to be happy with what you have. It all made me want to look at the still life in the moment after things are consumed—thinking about this ‘post’ moment, about hunger, about desire and want and need.”

In her “The Dog and The Wolf” series, she photographs still lifes with orange peels, half eaten foods such as cake, deflated balloons and other such objects that show that people have been there in left their discarded materials behind.

She invites us to enjoy life but at the same time shows the passing of time and that all things end.



by Rachel Walff. Posted 02/10/14 5:ooAM. read 20/06/2019

by Encyclopedia of Art. read 20/06/2019

read 20/06/2019

by Kelly Richman-Abdou. posted May31 2018. read 20/06/2019

by Encyclopedia of Art. read 20/06/2019

image sources,%20Jar%20and%20Fruit%20by%20Cezanne.html

Assignment 1

The jar at the back of the drawing contains the ashes of my pet dog whom was very dear to me. He had a wild and static personality with I tries to portray in the texture of the jar.

The jar towards the right is a glass jar of spice which I use to mix my own paints. I tried to portray the gloss of the glass by using watered down ink and charcoal and I’m quite happy with the way it came out.

Towards the left is a velvet pouch given to me by my step mother who raised me. I used charcoal and water to portray the soft texture of the velvet.

In front of the pouch is an old make up container from France. France used to be my home when I was a baby, the container represents this. The container has a glittery surface and so I tried to portray all the spots of light and shadow by using oil pastel. I started with only using black but I was not happy with the range of tone and so used white as well.

The small Buddha statue is something my grandmother gave me and so it is quite special to me; Buddhism has also always intrigued me and I love learning about different religions. There are many small details on the statue and so I used my finest nib for my dip pen. I also went back and forth between using washes of ink and the dip pen.

I used that same ink technique on the acorn although I relied more on the dip pen and only used the ink wash in the darkest areas. The acorn represents the trip I went on to Greece and Italy, which was a large turning point in my life. While on the trip I was inspired to go into the field of archaeology and conservation which is also way I am currently working on my fine arts degree.

Around the acorn is a bracelet that was also gifted to me by my step mother. I used a mixture of charcoal and water to portray the smoothness of the beads. I also went in with some white charcoal to lighten up some of the areas that I felt were too dark.

Lastly I did the pocket watch, it was the gift I received after finishing school. It’s not very sentimental to me but I really like the look of it. Here I used a mixture of my gel pen and charcoal. I am not very happy with the result though and if I were to do the drawing again I may just leave it out.

I tried to use different textures/ mediums for the different objects however I don’t think I did a very good job at portraying emotion. There was difficulty when it came to the shadows of the different objects crossing over. I did not know where to end with one medium and start with the next, especially when it came to the area in front where the oil pastel and charcoal had to mix but overall I think it came out rather well.

following feedback from tutor

Not enough sketch book art (tutor). Not much progress/ development in my artwork(tutor).

Must draw more often and not just when I do exercises. To help encourage myself to draw more often I have made a new board on Pintrest where I can keep images for inspiration.

By drawing more often, the development of my skills will become more evident.

Exercise 4: Shadows and reflected light

I tried using darker tones for less fat white space like in my precious works. I feel that I may have done this piece too dark, although it could just be that I am not used to adding so much shadow. I think creating a wider range of tonal values is still something I need to work on.

I also tries to full in more of the background in an attempt to make the white areas in my objects stand out more.


Research point: Odilon Redon

I love Redon’s artwork, both early and late. I feel that they are very emotive, he is able to take mere ideas and turn them into expressive works of art.

Redon’s earlier work consisted of black and white drawings, known as his “noir” work, as he describes it. These pieces are very detailed and realistic (e.g. Two trees) . However he did not feel that these pieces were emotive enough and so turned to more abstract and dream inspired work. (e.g. The crying spider)

While sticking to his new style, he stared using more and more colour in his work. He would start with a black and white under drawing and then go over in colour.

He used a verity of mediums and would layer them in order to create his desired effect. He was very experimental with his techniques. I too enjoy experimenting with mediums and techniques and so this draws me toward his work. (e.g. Buddha in His Youth)

Redon does not outline his work and merely uses shadows to create substance and depth. The artwork bellow has a busy yet calm feel to it. He has used cross hatching on the main trunk of the tree which makes it seem rough and sturdy and tells the viewer that these trees/ this forest is old and holds many stories. the smaller branches are smooth and light. The leaves in the top left corner look so small and delicate in comparison to the trees.

The dark shadows behind the trees and in the hole of the center tree creates a feeling of depth. It creates a stark contrast and gives the trees substance. I feel as though if I were to go beyond the trees I would fall into nothingness.

I plunged into solitude. I dwelt in the tree behind me.

Sources :

Exercise 3: creating shadow using lines and marks

I found this exercise to be rather challenging because many of the techniques are new to me. I did however enjoy the opportunity to try new methods of drawing and shading. I decided to test the all the techniques with every medium in order to see the mediums effect on the textures.

Originally, concerning the two drawings bellow, I had planned to do the cross-hatching technique on the cylinder and do the hatching on the sphere. However, after attempting the cross-hatching on the cylinder, I was not satisfied with how it turned out and thus decided to do the cross-hatching on the sphere and the hatching on the cylinder.

I found it difficult using the dotting technique mostly because I was not used to it. The circles on the other hand felt more natural although I feel they would work better with a rounded object.

pencil/ dip pen

Exercise 2: Observing shadow using blocks of tone

I decided to work on light brown paper and have it act as a lighter mid tone. I then used black charcoal for my shading and white charcoal for my lightest tone. I found it difficult to create a smooth transition from light to dark.

Looking back I feel perhaps I should have embraced the rougher shading techniques explored in the next exercise of this project. I find that my drawing style tends to change depending on what medium that I am working with. I also find that I tend to be afraid of making my drawings too dark and so end up making them much too light.