Part 5.3: Initial Conceptual Ideas and Studies

Surface and Media Experimentation

I decided to begin by creating some very brief and nondescript mixed media experiments, using the same ideology as used in a previous exercise, to refer back to once I had found my chosen subject. I created three pages using inks, masking fluid, pen, chalk, charcoal, masking tape and a range of found papers and then applied of these in a very child-like way, just to see how each interacts with the other.

From looking at these results, I think the chalk and charcoal as surfaces is very delicate and the colours work nicely together in a subtle way in the background. However, other than the charcoal, there does not seem to be many media which will work on top of these surfaces. The tea works really nicely as a base and I think would assist in keeping the image as a limited palette, especially if mixed with some of the found papers.

Initial Sketches of Chosen Subjects

Next, I decided to create some preparatory sketches to try to come up with different ideas for the composition, structure, layout, design, different angles, foreshortening, perspectives and technical aspects of my final piece.

Sketches of Human Subjects

I began by sketching several figures from a couple of books I have and also from the internet (the details of which can be found in the bibliography, below). I decided to use several different media to try and deduce which would be the most successful for the final piece.

Sketches of Tree Subjects

Next, I created some sketches of several trees from my local park, again using the different media to try and assist with deciding upon a chosen media for my final piece.

Combinations of Preferred Subjects in Biro

From here, I tried combining some of the figures with some of the trees to try and come up with the best choice for my final piece. I chose to work in biro for these sketches as I find it the most delicate, but quick and controlled for my method of working. I also realised from my initial sketches that my pieces in biro were my favourite with respect to the precision and fluidity created in them.

Different Media Experiments of Preferred Subjects

From the quick sketches I created, I decided that my strongest option would be to zoom in to the tree as close as possible to remove any excess space, but also to choose the two figures I found the most interesting to provide the best result and the most intriguing story and connection to my chosen question for this assignment.

With regard to the choice of media and surface, I tried to consider all of the artists I had come across both independently and from my tutor when creating the sketches and to try to include a mixture of several within my experiments, such as Moore’s expressive but controlled use of lines, Schiele’s delicate and subtle mix of colours, Redon’s use of contrast in his pieces of trees.

I found I really enjoyed the collage aspect and think it provides extra depth to the piece. I also like the monochrome and limited palettes I had created in the pieces and think I will have some fairly difficult decisions to make with regard to the final piece as to which options to choose.

I did find, however, that I struggled to choose between the two favourite poses as they were both appealing. Again, I feel this will be a difficult decision to contend with.

Part 5.2: Research: Artists with Similar Styles and Approaches (Already Researched and Newly Researched)

From the preparatory work I carried out, I decided to pick out one or two favourite pieces from artists with similar styles to refresh my memory of them before delving into my own ideas, to see how they could influence or inspire me in my final piece.

Still Life, Basic Shapes and Fundamentals

I really like both styles used by these artists in creating these pieces. Both have been well calculated and proportioned before being filled in with detail, tone and depth. I can really see from looking back now what my tutor has tried to get across to me regarding not treating objects the same, using different pressures in different parts and the lack of necessity for there to appear to be a solid outline to objects, rather a contrast in the tones of each section.


Again, from revisiting these pieces and looking at the newly found Fig. 5., I can see what my tutor has tried to instill in me regarding layering my work, being more fluid with my lines and differentiating my planes. All of which are now more apparent to me than before and I feel able to appreciate the pieces in a much more educated way. Going forward, I would also like to attempt to recreate Morandi’s piece or a similar layered piece on an iPad to try to grasp this concept better.

Positive and Negative Space, and Mixed Media

Looking at the earlier research finding at Fig. 6., together with the more recent findings at Fig.7., Fig. 8. and Fig. 9., I can really see how I could make something like this work for my final chosen piece, whatever that will be. I particularly like the use of newsprint and a handwritten letter as the support, but also how in Fig. 9. the artist has used this to show the highlights and contours of the features in the subject’s face. I am particularly drawn to the eye in Fig. 9. with its subtle highlighting, but drastic impact. I also like how Fig. 7. shows only a ‘black and white’ contrast, with no definition or shading applied. The piece does look flat, but it is still very effective and the added white to the eyes really helps them stand out to draw the viewer in. These are all aspects I will bear in mind when creating my final piece.

The Human Form and Foreshortening

I am really glad to have found these pieces as they really do both call to me in some way. I love the fluidity of Fig. 10., but also the delicate expressive marks made in Fig. 11. Both of these qualities have been commented upon by my tutor as being a key focus to improve on, so I will bear these pieces in mind when I come to create my final piece for this Part.

Expressive Mark Making

Again, I really feel a connection to the way in which Moore works. Looking at both of these pieces, it is clear to see just how differently he can apply pressure and intensity to the pieces; Fig. 12. is quite heavy-handed and free in its movements, whereas Fig. 13. is much more delicate and controlled. This control over my more expressive nature and the need for a more accurate definition is something I need to focus on more when completing my final piece. I will aim to be free, heavy-handed or delicate and controlled as and when the piece calls for it, but I think this will be something I will have to give much thought to before undertaking the end piece to ensure I stay focussed and the piece does not become overworked.

The Human Form

Having only recently been introduced to these artists, I feel a little less connected to them than the older works researched. However, I can see how relevant each piece and each artist’s style is to me and my continued research and development. Again, the fluidity present in all of the pieces, as well as the subtle use of colours in Fig. 14. and Fig. 16. are definitely something to bear in mind and potentially replicate in my own final piece.

Trees and the Human Form Combined

Whilst Fig. 18. has been created in metal, I initially thought it was a line drawing. Regardless of the media used, both pieces use line, both dense and delicate, to create the structure, fluidity and depth of the pieces. Again, these are both concepts I want to include in my final piece.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Giacometti, A (1927) ‘Still Life in the Studio’[Graphite] At: (Accessed on 26 November 2019)

Fig. 2.  Cezanne, P (1877/1881) ‘Wash Basin and Scent Bottle [Rector]’[Graphite] At: (Accessed on 26 November 2019)

Fig. 3. Morandi, G (1957) Landscape [Painting] At: (Accessed on 21 June 2019)

Fig. 4. Redon, O (c.1875) Two Trees [Charcoal on paper] At: Bridgeman Education (Accessed on 19 February 2019)

Fig. 5. Unknown (Unknown) ‘A Tree that Does Not Want to Stop Growing’[Unknown] At: (Accessed on 27 November 2019)

Fig. 6.  Durrant, Jessica (2013) Watercolour [Watercolour paints] At: (Accessed on 19 March 2019)

Fig. 7. Jovers, L (Unknown) ‘Drawing on Newspaper’[Drawing on Newspaper] At: (Accessed on 26 November 2019)

Fig. 8. Unknown (Unknown) ‘It Looks Like Someone had a Vision of a Human Tree’[Unknown] At: (Accessed on 28 November 2019)

Fig. 9. Nicolle, F (Unknown) ‘Unknown’[Mixed media] At: (Accessed on 26 November 2019)

Fig. 10. Hankin, J (2017) ‘Foreshortened’ [Photoshop] At: (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 11. Hatt, F (2010) ‘Dynamo’ [crayons] At: (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 12. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Resting [lithograph on paper] At: (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 13. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Walking [lithograph on paper] At: (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 14. Schiele, E (1914) Liegende Frau mit blondem Haar (Reclining Woman with Blonde Hair) [Transparent and opaque watercolour over graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 15. Giacometti, A (1961) Nude [Standing] [Lithograph] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 16. Dumas, M (2015-2016) Venus in Bliss [Ink wash and metallic acrylic on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 17. Kramus (2010) ‘Tree Dancer’[Pencil] At:×7-1-191379972 (Accessed on 27 November 2019)

Fig. 18. Sun-Hyuk Kim (Unknown) ‘Intricate Metal Root Sculpture’[Sculpture] At: (Accessed on 26 November 2019)

Part 5.1: Preparatory Work


I decided to begin this part of the course by making some mind maps of several different things:

  • Key areas for improvement from tutor’s feedback;
  • Best results throughout the course so far from tutor’s feedback;
  • Skills which are strongest.

I then created further mind-maps of the individual parts, projects, exercises and research points covered so far. I then went through my tutor’s feedback for each part and highlighted the exercises and/or projects she thought were my strongest. I also highlighted those I felt were the most interesting.

Overall Evaluation and Written Assessment of Parts One to Four

From looking back at my previous Parts, my own reflection and the feedback from my tutor, I realised the following:

  • I shouldn’t assume to have a style or be too narrow-minded or closed off to different methods of working.
  • Trying to make pieces too finalised or ‘pretty’ is not always needed and can lead to overworking the piece.
  • I need to remember to break subjects down into basic shapes first and foremost to ensure accurate measurements before moving on to the more expressive work.
  • My planes need work, so I need to bear this in mind for my final piece.
  • I need to remember to treat objects differently so pieces don’t become too cumbersome.
  • I need to be more selective as to what I include in the final pieces of my work and discard any excess information, as well as cropping down to more interesting parts of preparatory sketches and excluding excess empty space.
  • I definitely need to concentrate on my levels of pressure when applying media so as to not be too heavy-handed and to be able to create layers and depth within the work.
  • I really need to consider technical aspects when creating work, including the form, perspective and foreshortening.
  • Whilst colour doesn’t quite work for me and I am aware I suit more monochromatic work, I need to attempt to use very subtle hints of colour within my pieces, but in a limited palette and in a muted fashion.
  • Patches of tone work really well for me and this is something I should try to incorporate into my work as the strong tonal contrasts are very exciting.
  • Whilst I should aim to create atmospheric pieces, I should not try to overload the pieces with too much information or trying to include everything I have learned in one piece as it becomes too cumbersome and cluttered.

All of these things are important to me when moving forward with this final Part.

Photographs of Key Points

From here, I printed some photographs of mine and my tutor’s preferred things so far to be able to see them more clearly and to hopefully inspire more creativity.

I grouped the photographs into more specific categories within my sketchbook, including trees, the human form, positive and negative space, mixed media and still life. Doing this really helped me to properly see the reasons as to why these were the most successful.

I then continued to look at my favourite works again from some of the artists I had previously researched, as well as the newer pieces I had found specifically for this Part of the course. The findings of which can be found here.

Quick Recap of Strongest Exercises

I then decided to quickly sketch each of my strongest exercises, purely to refresh my memory with the ‘feel’ of the creation of them. I decided just to work in charcoal as this was just a quick refreshing exercise for myself.

Tutor Artist Recommendations from Part 4

Egon Schiele (1890 to 1918)

Loose and Fluid Marks Incorporating Colour

Own interpretation of Schiele’s work

Looking at the works created by this artist, I really liked the delicate nature of the lines used to create the figures. The subtle incorporation of the colours is also really interesting. I like the very delicate nature, but wonder whether I would be able to replicate these. I will, however, attempt to create the figures using one a few lines and marks as opposed to my ‘choppy’ nature shown so far.

Alberto Giocometti (1901 to 1966)

Relating to Line Work

Giacometti Drawing (2016)
Own interpretations of Giacometti’s work

This is an artist seems to have popped up quite regularly within my journey! I am very drawn to Giacometti’s work and feel it very, very closely connected to my own style. Watching the video, I can see how he moves very delicately over the page and scales out the proportions faintly before adding in the heavier detail, rendering the fainter proportions almost invisible in the background. I definitely need to attempt to use this delicate hand more in my own work – perhaps even trying a similar pen to that used by Giacometti in the video?

Having attempted to recreate his work in both pen and charcoal, it is very apparent to me that his delicate hand cannot be achieved with charcoal, however both are effective in applying a base layer to assist with creating the proportions, however, the charcoal is not so good at creating layers as the pen.

Marlene Dumas (1953 to Present)

Fluidity and Personality Coming Through in Figures

I absolutely love this artist’s work and am grateful to my tutor for introducing me to it. I love the delicate nature and the subtle tones and colours used. This is definitely something I want to attempt to replicate and to try and achieve that ‘barely there’ detail in one area and as I feel that will be a massive – if invisible! – achievement for me. Again, I can really see how fluid the lines (or lack thereof!) look and what my tutor is trying to get across to me, so I will really consider this in my final Part of the course.

Own interpretation of Dumas’s work

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Schiele, E (1890) Egon Schiele Drawing on Paper [Drawing on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 2. Schiele, E (1914) Liegende Frau mit blondem Haar (Reclining Woman with Blonde Hair) [Transparent and opaque watercolour over graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 3. Schiele, E (1917) Egin Schiele Australian Graphite Watercolour [Graphite and Watercolour] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 4. Schiele, E (1917) Stehender Akt mit Tuch (Standing Nude with a Patterned Robe) [Gouache and black crayon on buff paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 5. Giacometti, A (c.1955) Tête d’homme (Diego) [Pencil on Paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 6. Giacometti, A (1961) Head of a Man 157 Derriere Le Miroir [Lithograph] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 7. Giacometti, A (1961) Nude [Standing] [Lithograph] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 8.Giacometti, A (1962) Studies of Diego [Red ballpoint pen and pen and ink on paper] At:  (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 9. Dumas, M (1999) After Fingers [Unknown] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 10. Dumas, M (1999) Dorothy D-Lite [Lithograph in colours with bronze powder on Arches paper, the full sheet] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 11. Dumas, M (2015-2016) Adonis Frowns [Ink wash and metallic acrylic on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Fig. 12. Dumas, M (2015-2016) Venus in Bliss [Ink wash and metallic acrylic on paper] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)


Giacometti Drawing (2016) [User generated content online] Creat. Benhamou-Huet, J. 10 November 2016 At: (Accessed on 3 December 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Alberto Giacometti’ [Online] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Egon Schiele’ [Online] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Wikipedia. (2019) ‘Marlene Dumas’ [Online] At: (Accessed on 2 December 2019)

Part 4: Tutor Feedback and Own Comments

Overall Comments

Thank you for your submission Rachael. You have taken advice on board and this collection of works has been tackled with sensitivity and some ambition with the technical aspects. It can be a tricky subject but you have done exercises several times so it is clear that you are improving as you go along. However, is it your favourite subject? There are elements, which could involve more creativity, especially with colour and form. The figures are working to involve your mark making with lines through drawing but the elements of a personal response; narrative could be pushed more. You work well with line drawings but it’s time now to develop this through colour and with more media.

I’m really happy that my tutor feels I have done well in this part as, yes, this really is my favourite part by a mile! I agree regarding the creativity aspect, though I tried to use this part purely to focus on getting the core technicalities correct and to strip back without over-complicating the pieces, rather to find what works for me and include extras in Part 5. I also agree with the narrative comment and will try to provide more of a background to my pieces going forward.

Assessment Potential

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 do wish to do the Painting pathway and hopefully this will come to pass as I do intend on using everything I have learned so far to attempt to achieve this outcome.

Feedback on Assignment

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, and Demonstration of Creativity

Project 1: Fabric and Form

You have made a good start by going straight into charcoal because you are using tone to give form to the fabric. Your lines could be more fluid, as they are a little angular at the moment.

I feel it is only when someone points these things out to me that I become aware of them! I can now see the rigidity in the lines and the lack of smoothness within them, so this is something I will work on practising to improve.

Project 2: Proportion

When you work quickly, your figures is more convincing. So quick and fluid lines depict the figure in a more lyrical way. Be careful not to just concentrate on outlines, as the figures look too solid and animated.

I do really enjoy working quickly, so I am really pleased that this seems to work in my favour. I think this is a great technique to use to quickly take note of the figures and to use as a reference point as I think I omit unnecessary information when I work quickly, whereas when I work slower and put ‘effort’ in, I tend to over-analyse what I see and thus include too much information as opposed to focussing on the important information solely. The comment regarding looking solid and animated leaves me with something to consider moving forward as this is obviously information which is actually something to be included.

Project 3: Form

You are getting to grips with anatomy and the proportions well and this basic shape exercise has been useful for you. You have tackled difficult positions and they are convincing. However, when it comes to energy be freer with your marks so there is more movement. Use your whole arm to be more gestural.

I agree that the basic shapes exercise was useful and is something I will carry forward as I find it a great starting point for my pieces. I agree with the energy comments too and think I need to ‘let go’ a bit more sometimes and just do what feels natural as opposed to controlled.

Project 4: Structure

You have been observant on the structure of the human body.  When you are doing single parts, you can convey them well in terms of structure through tone and form. When it comes to doing the whole figure, you lose the structure so take your time to put the different parts together.

I did not think I would really enjoy this section as I thought my skill in detail too weak, however, I actually rather enjoyed this part, especially the hands and legs etc, but agree that I need to see figures as a whole as bite-size chunks to maintain this standard.

Project 5: The Moving Figure

You have been quite inventive with the inverted figures and good to see you push yourself with alternative ideas. The moving figures have more fluidity now but when doing gestural strokes don’t forget the structure of the actual anatomy and proportions so make sure there is a balance between creativity and the technical aspects. You have observed the relationship between several figures well.

I did enjoy this section and also the inverted piece. I agree regarding the structure and think perhaps I should try and ensure the technical aspects are as strong as possible before I go any further.

Project 6: Head

Your drawings of portraits are not too bad. There seems to be a likeness but think more about flesh tones and filling in the space so there is more depth to the face. Work with tones and patches of them to get more conviction.

I agree. There are some areas which need the flesh and depth depicting more. I find this response rather kind as I think a lot of this section was actually rather poor, myself! I definitely did not enjoy the imagination portrait and do not think this will be something I will repeat really; I think I am stronger in what I can see and spend time dissecting.


Seated Model

This figure could have more depth through the form. However, you have used various marks to make some convincing folds and creases with the main torso. The face is not as accurate as can be.

This piece definitely doesn’t look as accurate as it could be and I agree regarding the depth and form too. I wasn’t too bothered about it fully looking like the subject, more creating an accurate measurement overall.

Reclining Model

This is more advanced because you have shown form but be careful with depth. The figure is on the same plane as the main subject so the viewer becomes lost on where to focus.

I agree regarding the depth. I feel I definitely overworked this piece and should have included less detail in the background (the settee) since this was surplus to the actual main focus of the figure.


Good form is coming through with the cross-hatching and delicate lines. This piece has more personality and conviction with the proportions.

This has to be my favourite piece to have created so far. I think I am going to use this as a base to try to achieve the same level or to improve on next time.


Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, and Demonstration of Creativity

Your sketchbooks contain good studies, which show practice and development. You have also supported your studies with secondary sources to help you understand the technical aspects.

I think I used my sketchbook work-space the most in this Part of the course. I think perhaps because this was my favourite area to work with, everything just felt much more natural to me and came much more easier to me. I definitely think I have learned a lot in this Part of the course.


Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Analysis

You are being in-depth with research and being active in learning about this subject matter. Well done for your efforts. You write with good visual language and it is clear that this research links in with your practical work to allow you to move forward.

Since my tutor advised me to attempt to find artists whose style and approach is similar to my own, I have had much more fun with this area of the course. I find it much easier to connect my research to my practical work now and also very inspiring and thought-provoking as to where I could go next on my own path.

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical Essays

Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking and Analysis

You have been very self-reflective, especially in your evaluations according to the assessment criteria. You have taken advice on board as well as learning independently with wider research so this helps you to move on. Your log is insightful and in-depth.

I find the self-reflection comes rather naturally to me and, over time, my understanding of the requirements of the course have become clearer and much quicker to dissect.

Suggested Reading / Viewing


  • Marlene Dumas- for fluidity and personality coming through with the figures.
  • Egon Schiele- loose and fluid marks incorporating colour.

Please click here for my findings on these artists.

Pointers for the Next Assignment


  • Working with expressive media like charcoal and conté allows your figures to be freer and more movement is contained.
  • You are not over working pieces anymore and rather being more selective with how much to include.
  • You have been inventive with different monochromatic media and this allows you to concentrate on observing the figures well.

I am thrilled with these comments as this is what my gut was telling me was correct, so my instinct is clearly also improving and I am obviously moving along the correct path.

Areas for Development

  • Figures of the whole figure are more convincing than portraits.
  • Working with magnification of body parts work but make sure you are still working with technical aspects, such as perspective and proportions.
  • There could be more narrative and story with your figures but overall, you have built up your observational skills and learnt to use different media appropriately.

I fully agree with these points and will ensure that I take them on board fully within my Part 5 pieces.