Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cornell Week 5 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 5th week in Cornell's online course:

Pencil Illustration: Pleurotus ostreatus. For this lesson we will focus on illustrating this specific type of fungus.

This exercise we will be illustrating the oyster mushroom. Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common edible mushroom. Depending on your location, you may locate it at your local food market, so you can have a live study for this exercise. If it is unavailable, you may reference the images below, or locate a similar mushroom at the grocer.

Beautifully done, John! Very well rendered -- I appreciate the composition and angle of the work, the overall contour, and the exceptional thought you've put into the shading. You've managed to evoke texture so well here -- that odd, somewhat peeling papery feel at the top, the rough, darker area at the base, the gills. 

Nicely done! You have come a long way in your black and white work from the root/radish submitted at the beginning of the course. May I share this with a colleague who teaches a popular course entitled Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds?

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This exercise we are using pen and ink to illustrate one of the species from the Quercus genus. Since there are many oaks available, you have the option to choose which type to illustrate. Depending on your location and time of year, you may find a subject in your area.

Nicely done, John. What paper are you using here?

I especially appreciate the composition, and the detail in the two acorn 'caps.' You have wisely positioned this so that the main event -- the darkest portion of the drawing, in which we are looking into the interior of the lower of the two acorn caps -- is off center, which lends a nice sense of assymmetry and is pleasing. I appreciate, too, the light shadow under the leaf petiole to the far left. It anchors it well.

The only thing I might suggest is a bit more detail in the stem -- a wee bit of stippling -- all the little lenticels and such that make this more detailed, and make it come to life. Would you agree? I certainly feel as if I'm seeing that level of attention in the caps.

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Now that we are getting toward the end of the class, we will focus on creating more finalized works of art. This assignment will be one of the most difficult, as we are working with detail and color. Similar to the last two assignments, we will create a finalized botanical illustration for Rosa spp. See below for the photos and description.

For this assignment please choose a specific rose to study and illustrate, which may vary greatly depending on your location in the world. Spend as much time as you need to complete this assignment. Remember your colored pencil techniques, along with all the details in the study.

Good work here, John. Your use of color pencil is soft, and you're working it a bit more to get rid of the lines, get some good blending. Roses can, in my view, offer a lot of complication with the tremendous number of petals. You have hung in there, paying close attention to the highlights in particular, so that you don't get lost in the sameness of the color.

Of the two color pencil pieces I've just seen, I strongly prefer the interesting quality of the iris. Even with the light scan, I could see much more attention to detail, and I think that's partly because the detail is there for viewing. I enjoy roses, particularly their intoxicating scent, but as a subject, in this case, they can be...well, a little pedestrian. They don't offer as much to work with in terms of color, texture, veination and such, and are therefore a uniquely challenging subject, in my view. Do you agree? So different from, for example, the iris, or the artichoke!

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