It’s good to see you not being so concerned with the outcomes but rather starting off by being explorative and expressive with different media. Your work has energy. However, there are still technical issues, which need attention. These are mainly form and depth. It would be great to see you being expressive but not to overload the work so there are technical elements occurring. For example, working with perspective and form to start with then applying your mark making within it. You have improved and your observational skills are coming through. Also, as we go through the submission, your decision making of working with a limited palette, subdued
colours and semi abstraction has appeal to your work (assignment).
I completely agree regarding the technical issues. I plan on working more on my perspective, form and depth issues.
I understand your aim is to go for the Painting Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. However, in order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.
I am really pleased my tutor sees potential in me to succeed at assessment! I don’t see this comment as an excuse to slacken any going forward, so I will focus more on the areas in which I need to improve more so than the areas in which I am doing well already.
Feedback on Assignment
Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome and Demonstration of Creativity
You have started off well with delving into different media and seeing what they can do in your preliminary work. The marker pens are particularly bold and expressive. Other media, such as pencil crayons are not so strong but hopefully this exercise has helped you decide on which media can be used for different subjects.
Going forward, I think I will keep referring to the findings made in this Part of the course to see how and why each different media, surface and tool may work best for each exercise, as well as building on my findings with further experimentation when needed.
You have worked with mark-making with the flowers and these have energy. Sometimes, you just have to do it. The marble heart (cheesy as a choice!) shows an improvement of perspective. However, in terms of tone, use charcoal and the rubbing out technique so the patches of tone is more apparent.
Looking back at this piece, I fully agree that charcoal and rubbing out would have been a better choice to show the different areas of tone of the tealight holder. I was very pleased with the perspective in this piece also and I am glad this has shown through in my feedback! I am definitely going to work on emphasis between patches of tone.
I’m glad you have used the grid technique as the final work shows accurate measurements. Keep using this method for complex still-lifes and soon you will train your eye and not need it. Form is also improving so use your arm for circular motions. In terms of colour, this still needs work, especially with colour mixing and all the variations of that one colour.
Again, I am pleased with the feedback for this piece regarding accurate measurements and how it is ok to use grids within my work to assist me. I was worried this method would be seen as cheating or a lazy way out, but it is good to know it will only assist me in improving my skills, however, I will not allow myself to become too comfortable with the grids and begin to rely on them too much.
With regard to the circular motions, I think I will carry out a little experiment of my own in creating circles on an A1 page standing right back from the page and using only my arm to create the circles. I am somewhat worried about the circles’ formations due to my tremor taking hold more when my arm isn’t supported, but I will look past this and focus purely on the overall basic shape of the circles.
I am also going to create a colour-wheel somewhere in the future of my course, where needed, to assist me with picking out the best colours and mixtures of colours. I think this would show a building upon my earlier experiments within my sketchbook.
This is an enticing still-life and you have not over complicated it. When it comes to your drawing, there are subdued colours and tones that work but you are being quite shy. Make the darker areas denser and the lighter areas more subdued so there is more contrast between the patches of tone. This way the form will appears. Otherwise, the piece is flat. Try and work with blocks of tone without blending in too much.
I will definitely try and improve on my shyness with the use of subdued colours and tones and maximizing the contrast between the different areas and the thing which keeps appearing, patches of tone! I will try to improve my blending (or increase the lack thereof!) going forward too.
This piece needs work. You do work well with a limited palette and this is the same. Think about all the shades, hues and tones one colour has and incorporate them into the work. I think working from a photograph has stifled you.
Again, thinking on this piece, moving forward I will try and experiment with one colour and all of its possibilities before I begin any relevant exercises. I did try to build this image up with several layers, having changed the ratio of water to ink from mostly water to pure ink, but clearly this didn’t come through. This is something I really need to work on and ask myself why that was.
Quick sketches around your house seems like it’s been challenging for you. At the moment, your work with still-lifes is much better. The rooms are unbalanced in perspective and geometry. However, as the whole room is overwhelming, you have made the right decision to focus in on a corner (fireplace) and magnify. This gives more attention to objects. Hone in more so there is not so much empty space around the main subjects.
It is true, I did struggle with this part, mostly because my home is rather bland of detail to the walls etc! It is true that I chose to hone in on certain areas, but I agree I need to work on my geometry and perspective which, hopefully, will come through during my work in the next Part of the course.
This has been a very useful exercise for you to veer away from traditional picturesque drawings. Your use of PVA, wax and masking fluid has given the work a different dimension and this reaffirms that subtle textures add an intrigue to your work. Keep this method as you go through to the next parts. It allows you to be inventive without over doing the work.
I really enjoyed this exercise purely due to being able to experiment in a wider sense. I really do want to try and improve on this and be more experimental with non-traditional media. I will continue this in experiments in relevant exercises.
I am glad you have gone back to the viewpoints and angles of the fireplace, as this is the most interesting subject. The charcoal piece has been useful to see the tonal qualities and you have remembered ‘the patches of tone.’
The assignment piece is the most successful you have done so far. You have been attentive to your strengths of interesting angles; looking at negative shapes, range of drawing tools and surfaces, looking closely and being selective. This has resulted in quite an ambiguous and semi-abstracted piece of work, which has some engagement. You have not been too heavy-handed. The angle does still need some more work but you are getting there. There could have been a danger of making the image too twee as they are candles but you have dismissed this – good! However, there is still a lot of empty unnecessary space around the main subject so think about cropping so there I more impact. I have cropped the piece so you can see what I mean:
I’m glad my decision to trust my gut instinct and recreate the image I liked the best in my earlier exercises was the right choice! I was worried that doubling-up on using the same subject would be frowned upon, so it has made me even more determined to trust my gut instinct going forward and not to be so afraid of taking risks with my work if I think it is the best option.
I fully agree with the concept of cropping my work and really zooming in. Again, I was worried doing so would result in negative feedback but, again, I will trust my instinct going forward and crop any work I do to suit or just zoom in further in the first place. I do really enjoy the lack of detail within my work but still a lot of texture.
Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, and Demonstration of Creativity
Its good to see you being cathartic and loosening up in your sketchbook to get it ‘out of your system’. Your sketchbook is full of experiments and explorations of media and this has been fruitful for you to select media which matches up with your subject matters. This element is fine. However, also use it as a space to practice the fundamentals of drawing. Simple line drawings of measuring, perspective and form. This way, you can improve on the technical elements as well as the explorative way you use media.
I will continue to build on the experiments I’ve already done and carrying out new ones to suit future exercises. I will also carry out more quick sketches to try and improve on the basics I am a little behind on. I really want to improve my technical skills and I agree it is a great way to do that.
Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking and Analysis
You are researching areas, which you are new to you and this shows independence, for example the research on composition and positive and negative shape. It is clear from your comparisons of artists that you are delving into what artists have done, why and finding meanings. Let them influence you or say why you have researched them in terms of moving your work forward. Like you did with the response to negative/positive shapes.
I do really enjoy looking at other artists, both past and present, and seeing their different techniques and styles. I will try to look more as to what I can take from their styles.
Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical Essays
Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking and Analysis
You have been very self-reflective throughout, especially with attention to the assessment criteria and feedback – well done. You are clearly listening to yourself and others in how to improve. Your log continues to be in-depth and insightful.
I am really pleased this has come across as it is something I am really trying to stay on top of. I figure if I do so now, when it comes to the end assessment, I will already have a bit of insight and will be able to hopefully improve as I go along instead of hoping to do so all at once at the end!
Suggested Reading / Viewing
Avigdor Arikha: Omitting detail and giving attention to tone and objects.
Georgio Mordani: Making economical use of space and subdued colours.
Charlotte Verity: Her sensitive and subtle use of media and limited palette.
Juan Gris: You mentioned collage. This can work if you combine drawing and subtle mixed media.
I’m really looking forward to researching these artists! Whilst I have already researched Morandi, I am looking forward to looking again at his work and delving into the above-noted qualities further.
Pointers for the Next Assignment
Monochrome and limited palette works well for you, especially for you to focus on the expressive marks you create.
You have been explorative and experimental with a range of media. It’s time to mix the expressive qualities with the technical.
Assignment piece- semi-abstraction, magnification and textures are working for you. You are not so heavy handed in this work.
Subtle mix media and layers work for you- but keep them to a limited palette so they all work together in union.
I am very happy with this part of my feedback and fully agree that these are my strengths. Whilst I wish to keep these things up, I do want to push myself and try to get out of my comfort zones!
Areas for Development
Technical aspect still needs work (depth and form) but you are getting there. When looking at angles and viewpoint pay more attention to the foreshortening.
Some subjects are too difficult (whole rooms) and twee- like ornaments, simpler shapes like the assignment, allows you to explore more marks and textures.
Be selective in how much you include and how many techniques you do in a piece. Dismiss large empty spaces.
Try and be more sensitive with the pressures so we can see layers and this creates depth.
I completely agree with these comments and will take them all on board. Hopefully, by the end of my next submission, I will have improved somewhat, if not completely, in these areas! It’s strange; the last time I received my feedback, I was rather glum and defeated, whereas now I received it with a ‘can do’ attitude and am only excited to ‘fix’ it and beat myself at my own game!