Part Four: The Figure and the Head – Assignment Criteria Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

  • Materials: I feel I have been rather restricted in my use of materials in this part of the course, having used mostly charcoal, acrylic paint pens and biro throughout, however, I tried to follow my tutor’s recommendations to exclude those things which do not appear to suit my style and to focus on those things which I am strongest in. I feel I have used each medium well for my final pieces and that they have suited each piece best, however, I feel I do need to work on my use of conte sticks and ink and shall use the next Part of the course to explore this further, when I am not as restricted and have the opportunity to revisit experimental methods much better. With regard to supports, I have stayed with cartridge paper for this part of the course also to avoid creating a cumbersome and cluttered piece. I will, however, revisit this area again in the next Part in the same way as the mediums.
  • Techniques: I have tried to incorporate some of the methods discovered in the research topics I have covered within my own pieces, most notably that of Henry Moore, whose work I have found a great respect and appreciation for. However, I do wish to revisit my techniques in the next Part to attempt to vary things up slightly. I do feel I have a tendency to stick to expressive markings in the majority of the pieces and sketches created, although I was very pleased with my technical application in my self-portrait in charcoal and feel I restrained myself rather well in this piece.
  • Observational Skills: I feel I have improved rather drastically in this respect and have a natural ability to be able to see the human form and to be able to recreate it rather accurately within my work. I think when I include other information within the piece (such as my settee), I then spoil the piece and create clutter and inaccurate perspectives. This is definitely something I will need to improve in and perhaps realise I do not need to include every single aspect of the surrounding furniture as it then has a battle with the object I actually do want as my main focus. I definitely still need to work on my proportioning skills, but feel I have worked rather well with producing some level of this in this part. To improve on this, I think I will try to do at least one sketch everyday of all kinds of objects, not just the human form, to enable my artistic eye’s skill to improve.
  • Visual Awareness: I feel the best representation for visual awareness I have done for this Part of the course is most definitely within the self-portrait in charcoal piece. I think I have been rather aware of such things as skin blemishes and imperfections whilst creating the piece. Perhaps this is because it is my own face and I am very well acquainted with it? I think really looking at others when creating pieces of them will help with this too; if I try to really understand why someone’s facial skin falls the way it does over the bones, where their imperfections lie etc, I will definitely be able to create a piece with as much of a story as my own. I feel I still need to work on my understanding of colour and different surfaces, both of which I feel will be good to try to look into within the next part of the course, however, will look into my understanding of colour within the future parts of my degree journey.
  • Design: I think I am rather good at zooming in on certain areas of objects to decide what would be the most interesting, although I do not feel I have done much of this within this Part of the course due to the requirements of the exercises. I feel there has not been much opportunity (besides the foreshortening) to create the more interesting types of pieces. Foreshortening is definitely something which I think would be another good avenue to explore further as I really enjoyed recreating the pieces by Hatt and Hankin in the research for this area. I also think the quick sketch I did of my own head which was slightly from a side angle also worked rather well and would have made quite a good subject for my final piece.
  • Compositional Skills: Again, I think my use of a grid to assist me with my final pieces have really helped me in laying the base work down and assisting with the proportions, allowing me to then work rather freely within these drawn boundaries without losing the majority of my basic proportions. However, whilst my grid method is useful in this way, it still has room for improvement as some areas do still lose their shape. The outline cannot help with building the depth and tone within the final image, so this is something I need to work on. Also, I think by making the squares in the grid smaller, I will be able to focus in on even smaller areas of the piece as a whole. Perhaps I do not need to do this throughout the whole of my chosen image, but just those areas with finer detail, such as the face and hands.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

  • Content: I feel I have still continued to keep my content relevant and appropriate and avoiding excessive wording. I do feel, however, that I could definitely improve by including more variety of subjects and to use the sheets I created with questions to answer regarding each exercise, research point or assignment. I feel I have let this slide a little in this part of the course, but think this is purely down to having spent much more time drawing due to really enjoying the topic in question. Going forward, I feel I must really improve on my use of the questionnaires and depth of my responses.
  • Application of Knowledge:  I have used my research findings much more frequently in this part of the course, having listened to my tutor’s comments regarding choosing artists whose work is much more relevant to my own, most notably that of Moore and Chaubhan. I do think, however, that I did not really apply my knowledge as well in the tonal assignment piece and am rather disappointed with that. I think I definitely need to learn to restrain my arm and really try to remember that less is more!
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: I think I have continued to keep my website accessible and easy to follow. I do think the wording is not always 100% linked to my sketchbook work and the reasoning for why I have created something within my sketchbook not always very clearly explained, my translation of my ideas not always being easy to decipher. I think, again, using my questionnaires will help to connect the dots much easier and help others understand my reasoning.
  • Discernment: I believe I have construed the exercises, research points and assignment well throughout, however, I still have times where I stumble over one or two things because the meaning is not immediately apparent to me, which can then lead to a lack of time spent on other things. I generally tend to use my own initiative in this respect, however, there have been occasions where I have had to ask other students as to their interpretation or to view their learning logs to see whether I am generally on the same lines. Whilst I do not copy other students’ work, I do like to get a general feel as to which direction I should be moving in with regard to the exercise in question. To improve on this, I think I need to take a little more time working out the requirements of each exercise before beginning and to keep referring to my textbook throughout, ensuring I do not divert any.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts: As stated above, whilst I think I have been rather coherent in getting my ideas and methods across, I also think I have lacked in this somewhat in my final assignment pieces, having carried out experiments but then stayed with what I know etc. I believe I could improve in this by spending less time on the exercises and more time on the assignment itself, but also using my questionnaires to prompt me to comment on things I may have forgotten about which will help the reader / viewer understand easier.
  • Communication of Ideas: Again, I feel this is rather similar to several other areas above in that I need to use my questionnaires more to prompt me to remember to include something which could appear as a gap in the process story, specifically within the crossover between the learning log and the sketchbook. I also think the use of mind-maps may also assist the viewer in understanding my initial burst of ideas and how I developed from them.

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

  • Imagination: I think I was rather creative in this section by using my time at my karate class to create some of the movement pieces, as well as in my final assignment self-portrait piece. I tried to create a story for the viewer to be drawn to question, causing interest and intrigue. Again, I think mind-maps will assist me with thinking up new ideas and methods. I was rather disappointed with my portrait from imagination as I do not feel it was original at all really and seemed to just hold parts of my own face within it. Imagination is definitely something I would like to work on as I feel I am much more capable of producing very basic ‘black and white’ pictures and do not really tend to stray from exactly what is seen. Again, this is something I feel I really need to work on, specifically in such areas as with not always having to include an outline and allowing myself to stray from the realm of reality some more.
  • Experimentation:  I really enjoyed experimenting with the artists’ work which I had found which suited my style more than previously had been considered as I felt an intrigue to work in a similar way to try and appreciate what the artist may have felt when creating their pieces. Doing the research has definitely influenced me to want to work expressively and also to look more at the foreshortening aspects available from different poses and the interest and excitement they can bring. I do feel I could have been more experimental within my final assignment pieces, however, I intentionally decided not to do so to be able to dedicate more time and energy to this new method within my next assignment and to just focus on working with what I had studied within this part of my course to be able to assess them independently and to not include everything garnered from this part.
  • Invention: Besides the idea to include changes to my grid system to assist me with creating better finer details, I do not think there has been much opportunity to be inventive within this part of the course. I thought it rather interesting to consider my tutor’s comments regarding my removal of the use of colour and to focus on monochrome work, but am intrigued to know her views as to simply including one colour or a mixture of colours as a background or working with only a limited palette. This is also something I would like to consider in my next part of the course. Again, I believe the use of more mind-maps throughout will also assist me in discovering new ways to be inventive within my work.
  • Development of a Personal Voice: I feel my personal voice has definitely begun to develop within my work; I have reduced to only monochrome and limited palette work and feel the strongest connection by far to the human form and other organic structures, specifically when created in large, energetic ways, showing movement and fluidity. As stated above, whilst I feel somewhat restricted by the removal of colour completely, I do feel the inclusion of this as a base to my pieces will help re-integrate the usage and not allow my skills (or lack thereof!) in this area to grow stale.
  • Research: I feel my research has improved tenfold since searching for more relevant artists to my own work and that the influences of which are beginning to show though. I am struggling with a few of my tutor’s recommendations of artists as I still struggle to see how they relate to me. For example, whilst I appreciate Charlotte Verity’s work, it does not excite me or draw me in as I feel it too light and delicate compared to what does draw me in. being darker, bolder, more atmospheric pieces. I actually really enjoy those pieces which are very heavily done and which have a lot of texture as a result as I feel much more emotionally connected to these pieces. With this being said, I have tried to consider the delicacy of Verity’s touch and the plain backgrounds in my own work (such as the consideration of using a calmer colour as a background for my pieces).
  • Critical Thinking (Learning Logs): I feel my website is rather clear and concise, however, I do feel I need to be much more critical regarding my own work. Again, I think I need to use my questionnaires to prompt me to remember the types of things I should be passing comment on. I have found, however, that when I create a piece, if I take a photograph of it and leave it for a day or so, I am then able to see it with fresh eyes and pick out the areas which need improvement. Somehow, the piece being seen as a photograph really does assist me in considering which areas need to be changed and where I am going wrong!

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