Exercise: Exploring one subject in a variety of ways

This was the first of the exercises using mixed media and I found it the most exciting of the whole course. I have loved the pure watercolour and feel completely ‘at home’ with it after a long struggle. But what a glimpse of expanding horizons when I began to work in a variety of media. Suddenly the subject matter became the focus and the choice of media simply the tool to express ideas.

I decided to take as my focus for this exercise images of ancient trees. This has always been a huge interest of mine and I have collected some wonderful images of these trees over many years. The four paintings were great fun to do and the exploration of additional media was exciting.

Pen, ink and watercolour

Pen, ink and watercolour


Pen, ink, watercolour and oil pastel

Pen, ink, watercolour and oil pastel

Watercolour and charcoal

Watercolour and charcoal

Watercolour, crayons, felt tip pens and soft pastels

Watercolour, crayons, felt tip pens and soft pastels

These were all experiments and speak about the tree in different ways. The first three attempt to depict the tree at different times of the day – first, in the morning with the warmth of the day beginning, second, at twilight, and third, in the misty darkness of night. The fourth painting is hugely experimental and I have taken risks here. I’m not sure it works as an image but I was trying to find a deeper meaning in the tree as I was painting it. I guess it’s becoming more abstract.

So many effects can be achieved with the combinations of different media. It was good to take one subject and explore it through different combinations. Possibly the most powerful is the combination of the watercolour with the charcoal. I did find that watercolour struggles to hold its own with other media and its important to emphasise its special qualities.




About pbfarrar

I am an Australian living permanently in England. I have recently retired from the position of Principal of an independent school and have taken up the study of Fine Art with the OCA.
This entry was posted in Log notes - OCA - Painting 1. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s