Assignment 3: Preliminary Research

Picture 2

New York Roof Top My Window In New York – Mstislav Dobuzhinsky , 1943

I love this sensitive study by Dobuzuzhinsky, A Russian artist that moved to New York where he worked and eventually died. The media is not specified. It could be a gouache or oil paint but I think it could also be pastel. This sort of effect is achievable using pastels any way. He has approached the colour in a interesting way. The exterior scene is in muted tones. It is more a tonal study than colour work although there are faint yellows for mid tones and blue grey for the shadow areas. This suggest arial perspective. The interior objects are given some colour representation. Still the pallet in limited. Predominately blues with red-browns to the same mute yellow from out side.

Angular perspective is used on both interior and exterior elements. We can see from the artist eye level he was looking down on both. I think I may include a few books on my window sill of choice. I like how there rectangular form echoes the building shapes which unifies both half’s of the painting I think.

This picture is very successful in its distinguishing between fore and background. The focus is on the fore hence the eye takes in the exterior due to the cleaver colour use. I also really like the painterly quality.


Ken Howard (b.1932) Dora at Oriel, Spring 2009 Signed; titled on the reverse Oil on canvas: 48 x 40 in / 121.9 x 101.6 cm

Sometimes called the later day impressionist Ken Howard’s exterior view from his London studio lives up to this accolade. Note how the tree twigs and leafs are reduced to smudges and shapes but still are unmistakable as trees. In contrast to New York Roof Top My Window In New York by Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Ken Howard choses to make the view from the window the most important part of the painting by using sumptuous spring like pastel colours.

Ken Howard’s is defiantly one of my favourite artist. His style relies heavily on tonal mass or as we see out side colour mass. He also exhibits floorless perspective in his paintings. Some times leaving some handy guide lines in that you can see are the strong foundations for what becomes an airy seemingly dashed off painting. I love this guys brush work!

Using a window gives a great opportunity to have a strong sense of light and dark. We see here on the woman enjoying the view how the artist has used a light flesh tone to pick up highlights on her skin. The protruding arm and around the leg have light around the edges. The main form of these limbs is in a far darker tone. This beautifully depicts the sun streaming through the window as the main and dominate light source.

For my own drawing if I am to use this device used by these two artists I will go for the second example. As the focus for my drawing should be the landscape and not a still life of objects that are on the window sill.

Ken Howard article here

Picture 4

Edward Hopper – Sun in Empty Room, 1963

New Realism painter Edward Hopper often uses a window in his paintings. They serve to give a definite light source to his disillusioned characters. They also give a sense of the subjects being viewed in a goldfish bowl. Especially the famous ‘Night Hawks’.

Although This is completely wrong for the brief I find this quite fascinating so had to include it here. Even with no characters Hopper manages to create a dramatic tension and maybe even unease. it shows how important light and dark is in art. That it manages be intriguing with out a subject to enhance. The glimpse out the widow shows the only possible exit we can see, but outside its dark and unwelcoming, perhaps staying in this baron room is a better option after all!

It could be an option for me to stand on an angle from the window instead of face on. Might lead to an interesting finished result.

Picture 6

Vincent Van Gough The Entrance Hall of Saint-Paul Hospital. oil and chalk

In this depiction the outside view is set further back. Liner perspective shows depth of field. Van Gough has drawn this fee hand allowing the straights to show the presence of the human hand. He uses  haturing effect on the floor which shows us its solid and flat.  Directional lines help emphasise the curb of the ceiling. A pallet that sits well together but gives a slightly sickly feel, maybe a disharmony? Although a slightly cruder representation that the two above light and dark ins still carefully observed showing form and describing a sunny day with light pouring through the door.

Might be an idea to try some sketches from a little further away. From a different room looking through door then window.

Picture 7

Cassis. The view from the Window – Pyotr Konchalovsky , 1913, Cubism

I can tell springs in the air at the minute as I being drawn to these light,warm,airy paintings. This painting is choker block with hardly any sky showing. To me it has a vibrant celebratory feel. Like how I feel when springs on the way! Greens, Turquoise, violet, blue, orange all seem to sit really comfortably together and complement each other. The shapes of the buildings a vegetation become abstractified but yet again a strong sense of light and dark describes the form of the objects. Perspective shown in the buildings and walls in angular. Arial perspective is present in the colour. The far mountains are a receding blue. However the painting has more of a stacked feel tan a sense of depth of field as all elements seem to have equal importance to me. I know when you really look the town is made from Wight tints which is calmer than the plants lower down. However the focus of the painting seems to be predominately on the geometric forms ranter than producing a life like representation. This makes sense as Konchalovsky was involved in the Cubist movement.

Picture 8

Woman Peeling Potatoes near Window – Vincent Van Gogh, 1881,Chalk, water colour

I want to include some drawing in this research. Or at the very least mono chromatic representations. This chalk and water colour shows a sad scene of a potato peeler at her window. In her large rough hands, a potato. She catches the peelings on her lap in her apron. Her hunched shoulders, sunken eyes and large work boots under her drab skirts tells us of her impoverished life. Van Gogh uses dark and light to convey a sense of her small humble dwelling place set entirely in the shadows. A strong contrast is used between interior and exterior tone values.

Picture 12

Woman at the Window – James Tissot 1836-1902 ,Etching, Realism.

Another loverly example of a tonal study. I think this really fits nicely into its Realism tag. The artist has gone out of his way to truly represent what he see. The light and shade on the chairs looks fastidiously observed. All of the basket weave making their back rests and bases is not only drawn out strand for strand but each area is given its true tone value. The pattern on the rug is also replicated with much attention to detail. The artiest gives the pattern a sense of perspective to lay it flat on the floor. Its quite interring and unusual to have the two cropped half chairs on either side. these are followed by dark heavy curtains that from the central scene of a woman out side at the window. The fabric of her dress is far lighter in tone than the shadowed curtains. The back ground garden is lighter still. again telling us this is the area with the strongest light on it. This area is merely suggested at contrasting with the detail of the rest of the etching.

Picture 13

View From A Room in St Tropez – Cornelies Vreedenburgh 1880-1946, Impressionist .

An effective quick sketch that shows light source and form. The artist uses hatching and varying pressures. Very faint marks out of the window suggesting both a sense arial perspective and a bright sunny day out side the shadow filled room. The boat masts are just visible. I particularly like the curbed dark lines on the urn that help show its portly form.

This is a nice way to make a quick preliminary sketch. A good way to plan composition or just make a quick record.

Picture 14

Patio – Ivan Shishkin 1878, Realism sketch (looks like Charcoal and or graphite)

Although this view doesn’t show a window scene I wanted to include i as I admire the style and sense of arial perspective produced in this study. Due to the darkness of the darkest places I think it is probably charcoal but could be another sort of pencil. The rickety structure of this building makes for interesting angles. The outer edges are lighter showing us the artist is standing in the light looking through a shadowy passage to the day light objects on the there side. We can tell he is stood further down by the perspective he has used. His eye level appears to be about level with the furthest low interior beam.

Matha Alf

Martha Alf – Tangerines on a Window Sill 1978 Pencil on Paper 12″x 18″

This photo realistic drawing by Matha Alf is perhaps more still life than landscape. It is certainly a view from a window or involves one. This artist explores what we see by examining form. Her drawings are completely void of line but focus only on tonal mass to depict the subject at hand. She often back lights objects which can make them appear flat as most of the surface is in dark shadow. Our mind and lighter tones or strong highlights round the edges tells us they are solid. It’s really clever haw she has blurred the back ground objects a bit. like a decent camera does. The human eye also does this naturally when we focus our gaze on one place. the surrounding visual information because a little blurred. This is a sophisticated technique used by artists to show use the focal point of the painting or drawing. The fade out also helps with arial perspective. It would be fun to have a crack at this fade out some time. Not sure I’m quite at that level yet!

Ben Nicholson, drawing 1958, oil and pencil.
Had to include this as I was thinking I could use the car window as a window with a view.



Experimental Drawing – Robert Kaupelis


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter


  1. Great piece of research. I was deeply uninspired by this remit, but I would have felt differently about it if I had started from here. We were at the Saatchi and Barbican together, so we must know each other! Steve

    • Yes, your Steve right? I remember you from Paper. Was a good trip that one. It’s practical spring so I think I will be venturing out to a few more soon. Might see you there.

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