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.

Assignment

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.

Portrait

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.

Sketchbooks

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.

Research

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

Context

  • 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

Strengths

  • 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.

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!

Assignment 4

For this exercise, I decided to break the three sections up and carry out some preparatory work for each from some of the earlier exercises within this Part of the course and from the Unit as a whole, including the following:

  • Fabric and form;
  • Proportions;
  • Foreshortening;
  • Lighting;
  • Positive and negative space;
  • Mediums and surfaces;
  • Quick Sketches.

Upright Seated Model in Line:

Preparatory work

I began this section by taking a photograph of my model, who I had sat to the right of a lamp, which draped him in light on his left side and shadow to his right. Remembering that this piece was to be created in line, I focussed first on the fabric of his T-shirt, the proportions of his arms and the foreshortening of the fingers and lower arms. I then moved on to playing with the light and dark areas of the model and then the positive and negative spaces in the piece, which I also found helped with establishing the proportions correctly. I tried to consider which of the previous artists’ works that I have researched would suit this piece most and how I could incorporate the ideas found through replicating their work previously. I then had a little play in my sketchbook with several different surfaces and mediums, as well as creating several quick (and very rough!) sketches before settling on one final decision as to what would work best.

Final Piece

Seated Model in Line – Final Piece

I decided from my preparatory work that my strongest options for this specific piece, including the size, were to use acrylic markers due to their flexibility and malleability. I also decided against using any form of preparation to my chosen surface (A1 cartridge paper) to allow me to focus solely on the task at hand, having never done this before, so as not to distract me or clutter the piece and to potentially revisit and explore this area more in the fifth part of the course when I have more flexibility.

I was able to move expressively and still create a good line drawing. The piece does not look truly like my model, but I think I have been rather successful in showing the lighter and darker areas of the piece purely in line, as well as also being able to stay very expressive. I enjoyed this piece very much, however, do think there are areas I could have done better on, such as the eyes being too close together and the face too elongated. I am pleased with the outcome of the black and silver pens together and feel they help to create a sense of depth within the piece.

Upon reflection, I do think the model’s left hand could be somewhat more detailed, but I found this difficult when there wasn’t hardly any detail to be seen due to the glare from the lamp’s light. There is not much of a likeness to my model at all in this piece, however, this was not my main focus; my focus was on trying to achieve an accuracy in proportions within the body as a whole, as well as the creases and folds and areas of darkness and lightness within the piece as a whole, which I think I have somewhat been able to replicate. I thoroughly enjoy working in line, however, I do not think it the best option solely for me due to the cartoon-like appearance which I do not really seem able to shake so far.

Once again, I believe I was able to try and keep all of the expressive markings within the outline of the figure, however, I do feel I need to be willing to allow myself to leave some of these areas free of line to trick the viewer’s mind’s eye into seeing what isn’t actually there.

Reclining Model in Tone

Preparatory Work

I then moved on to my reclining model and, again, being limited for inspiration, had to capture my husband (once again!) unawares whilst lounging on one of our sofas. As can be seen from the photographs, the light source was artificial and from above the bottom end of the sofa. There was also some artificial light falling on his hands and face from his mobile phone which was in his hands. Again, I worked through some experiments with foreshortening, positive and negative space and the fabric and form seen, as well as the mediums and surfaces to potentially use for my final piece, as well as reconsidering the methods used by some of the artists I had previously researched.

Final Piece

Reclining Model in Tone – Final Piece

Overall, I am rather torn with this piece. On one hand, I had so much fun creating the depth and pressures with the charcoal, whereas, on the other hand, I could hear my tutor’s comments relating to ‘overworking’ and ‘less is more’ reverberating around my mind! Considering it is a leather sofa, I think it appears that my husband is draped in fabric and that I have created the same issues I created in my first assignment piece, where I have treated everything the same – the cushions behind his head are not really distinguishable from the sofa and so on. I do not think the perspective is very accurate either with the foreshortening of the sofa needing some work. However, on a plus note, I actually rather like the definition of light and dark within the piece, as well as the folds in my husband’s clothes and the accuracy of the proportions of his body. I think I must definitely try and come up with some way of restricting the pressure applied by my hand!

Self-Portrait in Line and Tone

Preparatory Work

Once again, I carried out the preliminary experimentation within my sketchbook, having reconsidered some

Final Piece

This was by far my favourite piece to have completed so far throughout the whole of this course. Knowing I would have to work over two hours and how fast I am able to create pieces, I decided I really needed to slow this piece down. I had already worked in both acrylic markers and charcoal for this assignment and because I was free to choose the size of this piece, I settled on A2 and black biro. Again, I decided to work from a photograph and grid system for the base layer and proportions, but then worked from a mirror for the tone and depth aspects. Later, I decided to add a slight touch of charcoal in places to create a slightly more believable depth and darkness to the tonal areas, due to this piece focussing on both line and tone.

Once again, I think the nose has been somewhat unsuccessful to my actual right side as I have overworked the shading in this area. I was unable to draw this back in any way without ruining the piece, so I left it and decided there was nothing more I could do for this section.

I had positioned myself by a window so that natural light would fall across my right-hand side and also chose to pull a shocked face to lead the viewer to question why I am looking in that direction, what has surprised me and what could be in the light etc.

As stated above, this is by far my favourite piece to have made as I think I have been able to listen to my tutor’s advice of not overworking the piece, keeping an ‘outline’, but being expressive within and using different pressures to create different tonal ranges. The hair took the longest time by far, however, I think I have managed to do it justice in the majority and have been able to indicate a change in direction of the hairs, showing a ‘wind-swept’ positioning.

Part 4: Project 6: The Head

Exercise 1: Facial Features

Considering these features include a lot of detail, I actually rather enjoyed certain areas of this exercise. I thoroughly enjoyed recreating the eyes, for example. My favourite by far is the charcoal study in the bottom left-hand corner. With this, I tried to focus more on the different patches of tone as opposed to concentrating on the line.

I think the charcoal works best for me for a lot of areas, including the nose, ear and hair. I like the results in the conte sticks, however, I found this medium much harder to manipulate.

The black biro pieces have been effective as I think the medium allows me to use line to show depth and definition, giving weight to the sketches purely by bending the lines to suit my purpose. I think this has been very apparent in the ear, mouth and nose sketches. I think the biro also allows me to indicate the individual hairs in the eye brows.

I decided to create the study of the shapes of the face in black biro too as I find this medium the best for finer lines but whilst still being able to be expressive with the line markings. The head looks rather bulbous and unrealistic, but I think the general shapes will really help me when trying to remember them in my studies.

Research Point: Depictions of the Face throughout History

Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.

Exercise 2: Your Own Head

Initial Studies of Own Features

Before I began making sketches of my face as a final piece for the exercise, I decided to recreate the previous exercise but this time looking at my own features before trying to create a piece as a whole. I decided to create quick studies of my eye, nose and lips as these are the key features which would be seen in my pieces. I also decided to create these studies in charcoal as I trusted myself much better with this media and knew the outcomes would probably be the best result of all media available to me as I could manipulate it at will; rubbing areas out simply or smudging to show slight shadows on the skin.

I was rather pleased with the outcomes of the studies and do think I was able to stay rather light-handed with the end results. I am most pleased with the study of the eye as I think I have managed to capture a rather true likeness and a good balance of contrast in the tonal range of the eyebrow, iris, pupil and then the lighter areas of skin and the nose. I think I may have been slightly too heavy-handed with the bridge of the nose and the tones of the lips, but I am generally pleased with the outcome.

Quick Biro Sketch of Own Head

Quick Biro Sketch of Own Head

For this exercise, I tried to barely look at the paper, but to stay focussed on my reflection in the mirror. Whilst I think there is no real resemblance to me, I am not too bothered about that really as I was more focussed on trying to draw what I saw as opposed to a true representation. I think overall I have elongated the face, the nose is too much of an oblong shape and the chin too small in comparison to the other features of the face. There was a bit of foreshortening through the mirror, with the top of my head being closer and the chin slightly further away, but I do not think I have conveyed this accurately enough.

Quick Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

Quick Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

Again, I looked through a mirror but changed the angle slightly so the foreshortening was more pronounced and clearer to see, as well as the medium used. I think this piece was much more successful than the biro and that I have been able to keep all of the features rather accurate this time, however, I think the mouth is slightly too ‘forward-facing’ to be fully accurate. The charcoal was great for creating a lot of hair very quickly and is most definitely my favourite medium for quicker studies.

Longer Charcoal Sketch of Own Head

LArger Sketch of Own Head in Charcoal

I then decided to slow things down and do a piece from a photograph of myself, using my grid system and using controlled pressures thoughout to try and achieve different tonal ranges.

I am extremely pleased with this piece and do not think I have overworked the piece at all – for a change! I think I have been rather successful in trying to make the nose believable, since this was the hardest part to do so in the features exercise. Whilst the other two sketches weren’t visually accurate, I think this piece is, although I do think there are some areas I could have improved; the nostrils appear somewhat crooked and the chin line should be more blended as opposed to so defined. I think I have managed to capture my eyes rather well. I think I could also have added a little more shadow to the neck to create depth as I think it looks somewhat flat.

Overall, this has by far been my favourite piece to create and as an end result, to date.

Research Point: Self-Portraits throughout History

Please click here to view my findings for this piece of research.

Exercise 3: Portrait from Memory or the Imagination

For this exercise, I tried to work with four different media; biro, charcoal, conte stick and acrylic markers and to create sketches from my imagination.

I didn’t really enjoy this exercise as much as others as I don’t really enjoy the imagination aspect and much prefer working in a realistic manner and from an actual subject, whether it be physical or via photographs.

Looking at the sketches, whilst I did try to mix it up a little, I think I somehow managed to create four very similar images. I think I was able to get the features in proportion rather well and, whilst they do not look like anyone in particular, I think the separate features do work rather well together, but appear somewhat caricature-like in places.

The features I found the hardest to recreate realistically were the lips and the flesh of the cheeks, as I think is apparent in all of the sketches. The lips appear too bulbous and the flesh not defined enough or evenly stretched.

I think the fourth sketch is by far my favourite and appears the most realistic of all. I enjoyed working with two colours (black and silver) to create the piece and feel they work well to create a sense of depth by just using line. I think I will consider this method for my assignment piece where I am to create an image in line.

I created the biro sketch in the style of Chalhoub, whose work I have recently looked at. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the sketch and liked the fact I was using several different coloured pens to create the depth in the piece, but also how there wasn’t much need for specific emphasis to the features within the piece, however, I did decide to add much more detail than the other artist as it just felt right to me to do so for my own piece.

Tutor Artist Recommendations from Part 3

David Hockney: iPad Drawings of Trees

Relating to Honing in and Colour

Looking at these pieces, I can see what my tutor means regarding the difference in colours used and how they are built up in layers, one colour on top of the other. I did try to achieve this in my third assignment piece, as I layered the colouring for the bushes in the foreground, but I do not think I did enough of this in the background colours. Looking at Fig. 6., I can see how a block of green colouring has been used for the bush in in the background and then several different hues built up on top to create the depth of the bush, similar to the colourings of the pathway. I tried to use this method in my final piece for Part 3 but clearly I have a long way to go in understanding the hues I should be using. I wonder whether my tutor’s comments regarding my use of colours is due to them being more natural and not contemporary enough? Perhaps I should be using more vivid and intense colourings within my pieces?

Hockney’s pieces appear somewhat cartoon-like to me, but yet these are considered successful? I am determined to get my head around understanding my tutor’s comments and what makes the cartoon-like pieces Hockney has produced better than the cartoon-like pieces I have created. I wonder is it somewhat part of his artistic licence to be able to get away with such things? A right I have to earn along my journey, perhaps? It fascinates me how some pieces are considered masterpieces when such things as their perspectives or scalings are off, so I would really like to look into understanding this more throughout my journey. I also want to learn to fully understand and get beyond the issues I have with colour.

With regard to the honing in aspect of Hockney’s work, I can only really see that he has honed in in Fig. 4. whereas the rest appear to be on a much vaster scale, taking in the whole surrounding area. In Fig. 3., I can see that Hockney has created a piece of the vast landscape, however, he has cleverly divided the page into six equal parts (perhaps as looking through a window?) which could then have allowed him to focus on each section individually and the detail within it. I think this would be very helpful for me in my work actually as, instead of looking at the ‘bigger picture’, I could then concentrate on each individual section (once the overall general shapes were in place to ensure continuity throughout).

Charlotte Verity

Sensitive and Subtle use of Media and Limited Palette

I have previously looked at Charlotte Verity’s work, the results of which can be found by clicking here.

I decided to look again at Verity’s work and try to understand further why my tutor recommends this artist’s work to better my own. Looking at these pieces as a broad overview, I can see that each has one or two colours at most for its background and to lay the subject in its space. I really like the fact Verity uses lines in several of her pieces as the main subject within the piece. The lines are delicate and fragile in appearance, yet seem to own the foreground and draw the viewer in. I think I definitely have to consider these pieces when creating my own and try to simply wash away the detail of the background. I can see from these that I need to really lighten up with my touch also. I think the reason I am so heavy-handed is due to the fact that doing so eases my tremor and allows me more control over the straightness of the line. When I ease up off of the pressure, the line becomes somewhat wiggly and, I feel, appears weak and less finished. Perhaps I should try and use this to my advantage? I worry for Part 4 that I will make everyone I draw appear wrinkly as opposed to having nice smooth outlines! I think I will also take from this that perhaps I can use some colour, but purely in blocks and used sparingly.

Henry Moore: Sheep Drawings

Relating to Linear and Expressive Tree Drawings

Again, I have looked at Henry Moore’s work before, the findings of which can be found by clicking here.

Looking again at these pieces, I can see how Moore has used the black markings to create the negative space of the backdrop in certain parts of the pieces to create the illusion of the foreground and positive space of the sheep’s heads or bodies. Where the pieces have shadows and are at their darkest, the line has been applied thicker and broader strokes. Where the areas are at their lightest, the lines are very light and almost non-existent in certain places. The lines used are sometimes straight, cross-hatched and wiggly. I think this is something I need to consider in my own work and to acknowledge that I do not need to apply line in every single part of the piece to create depth, as well as showing direction and movement.

With regard to Fig. 17., I can see that Moore has used two very muted colours to place the sheep in the field, with only a touch of shading to indicate the distances. I really like the muted colours used in this piece and think I will try creating a few pieces in a similar way. Whilst I do not want to use too many colours, I do really like the block colourings several of these artists tend to use and think it high time I had a go myself.

Anselm Kiefer

Simplifying Vast Spaces

Having looked at Kiefer’s work, I find it slightly confusing as to how the pieces are deemed simplified, besides Fig. 19, Fig. 20 and Fig. 23. The pieces with the trees I can see is simplified in the sense that the trees are merely lines, beginning rather thickly and with greater detail in the foreground and becoming less defined and thinner when moving backwards into the piece. In most of these pieces, I can again see only two or three colours, except in Fig. 23. In this piece, there are a few more colours, but the piece has been simplified somewhat by the blocking of the colours of the clouds and the foreground. I really like the depth created in the clouds caused by the layering. I think this is something I will have to try within my pieces. I do think I have a long way to go with my use of inks, but can’t get the seed out of my mind that such things as inks and watercolours are more for painting than drawing. Perhaps these things will develop more in units more so focussed on painting?

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Hockney, D (1997) The Road Across the Wolds [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 2. Hockney, D (2006) Woldgate Woods, 21, 23 & 29 November 2006 [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Hockney, D (2006) A Closer Winter Tunnel, February – March, 2006 [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Hockney, D (2008) The Big Hawthorne [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 5. Hockney, D (2011) The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 6. Hockney, D (2011) The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate [iPad drawing] At: https://www.treehugger.com/culture/stunning-english-landscape-paintings-made-with-ipad-photos.html (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 7. Verity, C (2014) Spent Stems [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 8. Verity, C (2015) Winter Ending [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 9. Verity, C (2016 to 2017) My Nest [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 10. Verity, C (2017) A May Day, Sienna [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 11. Verity, C January Colour (2018) [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 12. Verity, C Seed Time (2018) [oil on canvas] At: https://www.charlotteverity.co.uk/works (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 13. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Walking [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-resting-p02567 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 14. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Resting [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-resting-p02567 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 15. Moore, H (1974) Sheep and Lamb [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-and-lamb-p02588 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 16. Moore, H (1974) Sheep Before Shearing [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-before-shearing-p02589 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 17. Moore, H (1974) Sheep in Field [lithograph on paper] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-in-field-p02590 (Accessed on 22 August 2019)

Fig. 18. Kiefer, A (1971) Mann im Wald [acrylic on cotton canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-mann-im-wald (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 19. Kiefer, A (1998) Lasst tausend Blumen blühen [emulsion, oil, acrylic, shellac, dried roses on canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-lasst-tausend-blumen-bluhen-2 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 20. Kiefer, A (2006) Für Paul Celan : Aschenblume [Oil, acyrlic, emulsion, shellac, and books on canvas] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-fur-paul-celan-aschenblume (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 21. Kiefer, A (2010) Fitzcarraldo [oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, ash, thorn bushes, resin ferns, synthetic teeth, lead and rust on canvas in glass and steel frames] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-fitzcarraldo-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 22. Kiefer, A (2010) Winterwald [oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, ash, torn bushes, synthetic teeth and snakeskin on canvas in glass and steel frames] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-winterwald-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Fig. 23. Kiefer, A (2014) aller Tage Abend, aller Abende Tag (The Evening of All Days, the Day of All Evenings) [Watercolor on paper] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/anselm-kiefer-aller-tage-abend-aller-abende-tag-the-evening-of-all-days-the-day-of-all-evenings-1 (Accessed on 23 August 2019)

Part 4: Project 3: Form

Exercise 1: Basic Shapes

For this exercise I created a couple of sketches of a seated model from different angles. I decided to use some acrylic paint pens as I remembered this tool being rather flexible and quick to draw with.

My model was seated towards one side of the chair with a slight twist in her torso and a slump to both of her arms.

I decided to begin by drawing the basic shapes I could see within the outline of my model’s silhouette and then drew the detail in rather quickly. I tried to consider the centre of gravity to the model, resting down the central part of her face, towards her left hip and down through the weight-bearing left hip and leg to the floor. For the second sketch, I tried to create the central line as indicated by the book; around the ear area, down the side of the torso and down the weight-bearing leg.

I found the body was largely made up of several ovals (the arms and legs), triangles (elbow joints) and squares (torso).

I noted that the torso was slightly twisted, leading the model’s left shoulder, breast and then the arm to be raised, but the latter of which she left slack. This also caused the model’s right arm to drop slightly and that the model allowed this arm to also hang loosely draped over the chair’s frame. On the right-hand side, the model’s midriff was much shorter than that on the left, leading to weight distribution being much more crushed and gathered on the right compared to the more stretched-out flesh on the left-hand side.

Overall, I think the general shapes are rather consistent with that of the real model and are recognisable as being a human form. I am slightly disappointed, however, with the accuracy of the chair’s legs, specifically in the second piece. I did not spend half as much time on these as I should have due to an oversight on my behalf of not reading the exercise details properly, hence I decided to then use these as preparatory sketches for a much larger study of the same model in the same position. I also think I have created the head of the second model slightly too small to be believable for the size of the remaining frame.

Exercise 2: Essential Elements

Due to time constraints and the lack of willing models, I decided to search the internet for images of models I could use to create quick sketches of.

I created my first sketch in pencil but just did not think pencil worked well enough; I really like the contrast charcoal creates with the white of the paper.

Regardless, I was rather pleased with the outcome of all six of the pieces; I think the measurements are largely accurate, however, I do think I have a tendency to either elongate or shorten certain parts of the body unnecessarily. Due to the time constraints of this exercise, I am not all that fussed about this misjudgment here, but will bear it in mind when I come to creating pieces with a longer time-frame. I also think my work is much stronger in the charcoal than the pencil as the latter appears too cartoon-like to me and too controlled. The markings are too ‘permanent’ compared to those of the charcoal which can be manipulated somewhat to correct certain mistakes etc.

Questions from Textbook

Were you able to maintain a focus on proportion at the same time as creating a sense of weight and three-dimensional form?

As stated above, I think I managed to keep the general shape and structure believable, but when you look closer, it becomes apparent that I have elongated and shrunk certain areas of the body; mostly the torso and legs. I think I found the weight-bearing aspect of this exercise easier than the following exercise where I was specifically meant to be looking out for it. I think perhaps this is because the majority of the models in these sketches are in more dynamic poses where the weight is very obviously distributed, whereas in the next exercise, the model is stood almost like a statue, so the weight distribution is rather evenly spread between both legs, which makes it much more difficult to see clearly. Once again, I think I have been rather heavy-handed in the sketches, but think this is just my way in quick sketches as I just strive to ‘get it out’, whereas I will take further consideration of this in my final pieces for this section due to the length of time available to me for me.

Which drawing gives the best sense of the pose and why?

I think my third sketch is by far the best of the six as I think it to be the most believable; there is shadowing, the measurements are rather accurate, the pose is dynamic and interesting. I am, however, disappointed with the hand area as I feel this really lets the sketch down. I also rather like sketch five and I believe this is because I have grounded the model, added shadow, movement to the hair with the tilt of the head and lack of features on display. I also think I could have filled the space better in the sketches as they do not fully fill the page, hence are much smaller than they could be, which would also allow me to be more expressive.

Was there any movement or gesture away from the model’s central axis? If so did you manage to identify this and put it into your drawing?

In pretty much all of the poses, there is a lot of movement away from the central axis, so I chose to bend the line with the figure, however, upon reflection, I think perhaps I should have also kept the vertical central axis in place so I could use it as a measurement guide and to ground my model to the spot he/she would have started from.

Exercise 3: Stance

I began this exercise by quickly walking around my model before beginning to be able to try to see the central axis line and weight distribution and bearing. I quickly found that my model changed her weight-bearing between studies, whilst the original pose did not change much at all. I found this exercise was rather eye-opening to the foreshortening which can occur when creating sketches of the same model from different angles.

Again, I was rather pleased with the general outcome of these sketches and the fact the scaling appears a little more accurate than previous sketches. I think, however, that certain areas are not as accurate as they could be, such as the model’s bottom. It was a little dark in the room and I could not really see the creases of her trousers clearly, so I had to do a little guess work here. I do think I may have struggled with the weight-bearing and portraying that as clearly and as accurately as I could have as I do not think it is clear in all of my sketches as to which foot and leg are actually bearing the weight of the rest of the body. I can also see from my sketches that I have changed the width of the model’s frame, legs and arms. This could indicate to the viewer that there were actually several different models, so I must look out for this and try to ensure continuity throughout any series of sketches of the same model, but also when drawing any model generally.

Exercise 4: Energy

I was rather nervous about this exercise as I was not sure whether I would be able to find someone again who was willing to assist. In the end, I settled on some images found on the internet and decided to drawn them.

My first sketch was my most successful I believe; the measurements were rather accurate, the weight distribution was rather convincing and the pose itself was rather dynamic and interesting. I do, however, think I could have created a little more accuracy with regard to the twist in the torso, the shape it took and the distribution of weight as a result. I also think I may have miscalculated the measurements of the model’s frame so will bear this in mind as I move forward.

Bibliography

Source images for ‘Exercise 2: Essential Elements’ sketches can be found by clicking here.

Source images for ‘Exercise 4: Energy’ sketches can be found by clicking here.

Research Point: 4.6.2.1 Self-Portraits throughout History

For this Research Point, I was tasked with finding self-portraits throughout history, including some more contemporary pieces, which I decided to try to find ones which closer resembled my own developing style.

Rembrandt (1606 to 1669)

Fig. 1. Rembrandt Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 (1669)

Rembrandt is one of the most well-known artists of history and one who created several self-portraits in quite a similar style throughout his lifetime. This piece has quite a moody atmosphere to it, which I was instantly drawn to. I don’t really like light and delicate pieces, but much prefer darker and moody, so this piece really draws me in. I can see that the light is focussed almost solely on the face, leaving the remainder of the piece in almost darkness. I think the piece is rather dated in the sense of the clothing worn by Rembrandt within as well as the darker muted palette often seen in historic paintings.

I think this piece is very subtle and creates a sense of humility of the artist. I see a modest gentleman in a very calm moment. By looking at the eyes and the position of the mouth, I am drawn to wondering whether Rembrandt was somewhat unhappy in this moment as he looks slightly subdued and down.

Whilst I do not see much of a connection to my own work, I do like the way Rembrandt has used one a small number of colours and the many hues within these colours, as well as his use of light and darkness to emphasise the areas of the piece he wants the viewer’s eyes to be drawn to. Whilst I know my tutor feels my work with colour needs much improvement, I do think pieces like this offer a great opportunity to dissect the piece and see the colours used and how they were used in such a clever way.

Sketchbook Dissection

Van Gogh (1853 to 1890)

Fig. 2. Van Gogh, V Self-Portrait (1889)

Considering my earlier comment regarding not enjoying lighter and happier pieces, I am actually rather drawn to this piece of van Gogh due to his story, the swirls used in his application but also due to his fantastic use of a limited palette. Considering the whole piece appears blue, van Gogh has very cleverly included a more orange colouring in a muted way to represent his auburn hair and beard. It seems somewhat strange to me just how these colours work so well together. I think it is perhaps because van Gogh has not only usd the orange shade, but also used touches of green and also the blue hues for the flesh and within the beard. Again, colour is not my strength, but this offers a fantastic opportunity to dissect the piece within my sketchbook to try and understand this colour concept better. I definitely have a long way with understanding the application of colour, but I find this piece a great reference point to come back to when coming back to colour in my future units.

Lieu (21st Century)

Fig. 3. Lieu, C Self-Portrait No. 32 (2012)

Moving forward in time, I came across this piece which I was instantly drawn to due to the almost solitary use of tonal patches to create the final piece. All sections appear to just be differing variations of pressure to create the different features. The lighting is clearly from the upper left-hand side of the page and highlights only certain areas, bringing the depth and shape to the piece.

I have found that during the creation of my pieces in earlier exercises, using tone as opposed to line has really worked in my favour and helps me create a more realistic piece, so this piece is a fantastic reference point for when I create my final piece within this Part of the course and is definitely something I would like to channel in my own work.

Sketchbook Dissection

I really like the techniques used in this piece, but definitely struggled with replicating the hands. I also rather enjoy the solid contrasts between sections of the piece and the heavy-handedness used by the artist. This very much resonates with my own techniques.

Auerbach (1931 to Present)

Fig. 4. Auerbach, F Self-Portrait II (2013)

Sketchbook Dissection

Whilst I am not extremely fond of this piece, I found it interesting due to the different pressures used to show different areas. I also really admire the fact that the lines do not appear to mean anything when viewed independently, however, they do come together as a whole to show the overall image of the artist. The lack of a solid outline and the presence of a very broken one resonates with me too and reminds me of my tremor. I wonder whether this artists has a similar issue and has reflected this in the piece?

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Rembrandt (1669) Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 [oil on canvas] At: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-self-portrait-at-the-age-of-63 (Accessed on 9 August 2019)

Fig. 2. Van Gogh, V (1889) Self-Portrait [oil on canvas] At: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg (Accessed on 9 August 2019)

Fig. 3. Lieu, C Self-Portrait No.32 (2012) [etching ink and lithographic crayon on Dura-Lar] At: https://claralieu.tumblr.com/post/21251081537/self-portrait-no-32-etching-ink-and-lithographic (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Fig. 4. Auerbach, F (2013) Self-Portrait II [unknown] At: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/frank-auerbach-speaking-and-painting-by-catherine-lampert-book-review-portrait-of-the-artist-as-no-10328712.html (Accessed on 21 August 2019)

Bibliography

My Modern Met (2017) ‘Iconic Artists who have Immortalised Themselves through Famous Self-Portraits’ [online] At: https://mymodernmet.com/famous-self-portraits/ (Accessed on 12 August 2019)

Van Gogh Museum (Unknown) [Online] At: https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0022V1962 (Accessed on 12 August 2019)

Wikipedia (2019) ‘Self-Portrait’ [Online] At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-portrait (Accessed on 12 August 2019)