Part 1, exercise 1.3: Quick and focused

4 May 2017. Considering the amount of work required for the first two exercises in this part of the course the present one looked so straightforward that I was worried about probably having overlooked an essential instruction. But no, it was no more than three 1 minute A4 or A3 overlapping drawings, with paint, of five of my found images (Open College of the Arts, 2015, p. 41). I chose images with as much distint content as possible. One giant demolition project next to my son’s school, paragliders over a mountain top, a spirit level used when building in our front garden, a student jawning and pink-orange buildings photographed when on holiday in CuraƧao a few years ago. I painted on A3 high quality watercolour paper with my Schmincke watercolours, selecting the respective dominant hue to paint with. This is the result (Fig. 1):

Figure 1. Three watercolour drawings of five overlapping found images

What I learned from the exercise was the following:

  • As expected each repetition made me more familiar with the main structural element of each photo, so I was able to place the focus increasingly on those elements I thought essential.
  • The result here is highly dynamic. Althought the photos had nothing in common initially, the identical style of painting resulted in a believable whole.
  • The overlapping elements, at least in this case, seem to create a transparent three-dimensional space, which I like to investigate. On a completely different level they exert a similar influence on me as M.C. Escher’s world-famous impossible buildings.
  • A series like this looks interesting because it is a series. It seems to be a human characteristic to want to compare and contrast. My eyes keep wandering between the paintings to see where they differ.
  • This kind of start to a project may help to set the scene, investigate a subject in a playful way and draw inspiration from.


Open College of the Arts (2015) Painting 1: Understanding Painting Media. Open College of the Arts, Barnsley.