Part Three: Expanse – Assignment Criteria Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

  • Materials: I think for this Part of the course, I have stayed rather limited in my use of materials, but I also think each have suited the exercises carried out. Upon reflection, I think perhaps I could have been more experimental, using tea or coffee staining to create the effects of the bark of the trees, for example.
  • Techniques: I have learned a lot during this Part of the course in regard to the techniques used to create the perspective pieces. Where I have always used just freehand or grids before, I was now using a ruler and set-square to assist in the creation of my pieces, as well as actually looking for vanishing points within the pieces. All of these things I feel have helped me improve my perceptive skills and see where I am going wrong, for instance I have noticed I tend to curve my drawings somewhat to the left. Perhaps this is due to my being right-handed and the hand naturally moving in a curved manner. This is something I will have to try to work on and be aware of moving forward. I also tried to take on board my tutor’s comments regarding having my ‘outline’ and allowing my expressive mark-marking within these boundaries. I think I have still been rather heavy-handed within my pieces. Surprisingly, I found I was able to be lightest in my controlled and measured pieces. I think, perhaps, this is due to the time and effort I take on these pieces as opposed to how I tend to work rather quickly in others. This is something I think I need to bear in mind going forward.
  • Observational Skills: Again, I think I have progressed in this area as I am now seeing the world around me in a more artistic way; I look for vanishing points in streets, one-point and angular perspectives in buildings, the difference in grounds when looking over landscapes and into the distance etc. I feel I am progressing in this area slowly but feel I have come far in a very short space of time since beginning the course and am hopeful this will only increase as I move on through the many different parts and levels within the course. I feel my ability to choose and crop (as suggested by my tutor in my feedback for Part Two) has grown somewhat and I am still trying to improve this by choosing what I find to be interesting viewpoints and subjects.
  • Visual Awareness: As with my observational skills, I think this is rather linked together. I am constantly striving to see the world in a different way and from a more artistic approach. I think I have been able to find interesting visual stimuli to work from and have improved in my ability to convey what I see somewhat too. However, I still feel I have a long way to go with this.
  • Design: I think I have done better in this Part of the course with regard to less reliance upon photographs as I have tried to work in a method on occasion where I take a photograph of a specific viewpoint or subject to assist in creating a grid, notice of vanishing points and placement of objects realistically to create the skeleton of my piece to then build upon from real-life. I have found that this has worked rather well and is definitely something I will aim to continue and improve upon going forward.
  • Compositional Skills: Again, I believe the use of the photograph / grid / vanishing points have assisted me massively. I am hoping this will progress further in the future and I will be able to eventually see compositions without the assistance of these physical cues, but merely gain the ability to see them solely in my mind’s eye. I think it is rather hard to discuss composition of landscapes or trees since these are unmoving and unchanging. In Part Two, I was able to place objects where I thought best suited. In this Part, I found I had to move myself around the fixed compositions to find an ‘arrangement’ I thought the most interesting and intriguing.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

  • Content: I think I have been quite successful in my choice of subjects and the content of my pieces within this Part of the course. I think I have stayed rather true to my exercises for the most part, only changing certain things to suit where I deemed necessary, such as using biro as opposed to a 3B pencil. I think my choices have been interesting, however, I do think I could have perhaps been a little more experimental by choosing older buildings with more character to work from perhaps, but owing to time, weather, circumstances etc, I often had to work with what I had around me. I tried to choose areas of sentimental value to me, such as my home, a local park and so on, which whilst potentially not ‘exciting’ to the viewer, may lead some to question “why that house?” or “why that park?”, the answers to which I feel are interesting, deep and meaningful when understood.
  • Application of Knowledge:  I feel I have done rather well here as I am very keen on fully understanding how and why certain things are important. I couldn’t fully get my head around perspective, so I researched these topics and and carried out experiments to assist me with my understanding, which I genuinely found really did assist me. I then tried to incorporate what I had learned in these experiments into my pieces and found I understood what I was actually trying to achieve a lot more as a result. I think I have come a long way from the beginning of this Part of the course and can now appreciate the feedback provided by my tutor much more clearly, however, I do feel this is something else which will be a slow learning process for me and one I wish to continue practicing, learning about and improving on.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: There are a couple of pages within my sketchbook in this Part which are a little out of sequence due to my doing certain sections at similar times and having misread the manual slightly. However, I think the layout of my website is understandable and easy to manoeuvre and follow clearly. I have really enjoyed the use of the links within the different projects / research points as this allows me quickly to refer to previous exercises etc and for people to easily follow my thought process.
  • Discernment: As with the previous Part’s reflection, I have again watched shows, read books and looked for as much visual information as possible. I have made reference within this Part as to the relevant things I have come across, but I admit that I generally do not have much spare time to be able to visit art galleries etc very often. I hope to visit at least one more by the end of this course as I do find it very enriching and inspiring. I am, however, very much a book worm and find I cannot read enough, so I am definitely trying to invest as much time in this as possible. I admit I have struggled in certain exercises in the course so far with certain questions or requests asked of me. For instance, I struggled to grasp the concept of the perspectives at first, hence my extra research. I do think, however, that some parts aren’t are not easily read and I end up struggling to comprehend and spend too much time trying to work this out.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts: I think I still did not use my sketchbook for preliminary sketches as much as I should have and as recommended by my tutor. I also think I should have used more mind-maps, but I have found that I will generally think up my concepts and ideas on the spot and just run with them. I have found I have to be in the ‘place’ mentally to create my pieces and want to get this out as quickly as possible, so to spend time creating mind-maps or preliminary drawings would potentially zap me of my creative energy and prolong the process of completing the exercise in question. I have found throughout so far that I tend to work quickly through the exercises and view them more as experiments and then, when I reach the assignment piece, I look back over what I have done and try to come up with a concept for the final assignment piece from there.
  • Communication of Ideas: Again, I think this is where I have had a bit of a downfall in my approach to the exercises due to the lack of creation of mind-maps etc to plan things out efficiently. However, I think I may have redeemed myself somewhat with my preliminary work for my piece of the wall as I tried to get across to the viewer of my sketchbook what I was actually trying to achieve. Hopefully this has also been apparent in my pieces showing the vanishing points I had used. I think I have also been rather consistent with my online blog throughout this Part too.

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

  • Imagination: I think I have shown imagination in the sense that I took the piece with the bridge from actually being from a nice, sunny, clear day to adding in some atmosphere to the piece and changing it to appear as though created in the winter months due to leaving off the leaves from the trees and focussing on the feel of the air surrounding the bridge to add a touch of sinisterism as I do not think the atmospheric perspective would have looked quite as good or effective had I done it for a warm summer’s day.
  • Experimentation:  I found I was not extremely experimental with regard to my media or surfaces for this Part of the course, having focussed on what I thought to be the main aim of this part; the ability to scale and depict things effectively. However, I did experiment with the use of tools such as a ruler, a compass and a set square, so I feel I am still constantly experimenting, just in differing ways with each Part’s requirements.
  • Invention: I think my grids and the use of the vanishing points to help me establish the backbones of my piece, have by far been my ‘invention’ for this Part. I am constantly trying to find ways of easing and speeding things up for myself and think this way rather suitable and effective for my style of working. I also find it really helpful in the short-term to aid me in seeing things properly, almost like armbands helping a child practice their swimming skills in the early stages.
  • Development of a Personal Voice: I think certain aspects of my work have begun taking shape into my own personal voice. I think it is becoming clear that I really enjoy being expressive in my work, working with a limited palette and zooming in on sections as opposed to trying to frame the whole.
  • Research: I think this is my forte and something I thoroughly enjoy. I have tried to compress my findings into what I specifically need to know and what is directly relevant to the reason for the research in the first place. I really enjoy learning about new artists and seeing so many different methods and styles. Learning about others’ personal voices really does help me question my own style and what I would like to put across in my own work.
  • Critical Thinking (Learning Logs): I have tried to continue to keep my logs concise and relevant to the exercise in question. I enjoy creating link-backs and tags to my previous exercises and research as I think it rather important to build upon my earlier work and the findings from them. I think this is important as when I come to my final assignment for this Unit, I will be able to look back and find key things of note with ease, allowing me more time to focus on creating my actual piece.
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