Part 5: The Personal Project – Assignment Criteria and Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

  • Materials: I think I have developed an awareness of which materials work best for me now and how best to apply them. I have also discovered ways of using each item to its strengths, for example I use charcoal for quick work with barely any detail and biro for slightly slower work with more detail. Whilst I think it was important to play to my strengths for my final piece, I admit I would have liked to have used those I do not feel as strong in and try to develop them further. I think I need to think outside of the box more with such things and not work in such a ‘traditional’ way, but to attempt to be more contemporary with my methods and creativity.
  • Techniques: Again, I feel I have discovered what works best for me and have played to my strengths for this final part of the course, however, I would have liked to have had more time to experiment and strengthen those I am not as strong in. Perhaps this will be an opportunity in another area of my learning journey and on the side of my formal studies.
  • Observational Skills: I feel my observational skills have improved drastically over the duration of the course and my ability to reflect critically on my own work and to distance myself from it emotionally has also improved. I do agree with my tutor’s previous comments about my lines being too jagged when working quickly and the need to be more flexible with this, however, having monitored myself as I carried out such exercises, I think this is due to the size restrictions of the paper and the length of the lines I am able to create quickly. I think perhaps I need to slow down slightly and concentrate on these lines in quicker work specifically. I think I have been more conscious of this in this part of the course and the quick sketches created.
  • Visual Awareness: I feel I have been much more able to hone-in better in this part of the course and have been quite successful in filling my page with interesting visual information. Again, I think it would be nice to be able to instill some colour within my work, however, I did not feel this final assignment the correct place to experiment further with this and will hopefully revisit it further down the line. I tried to recreate the same piece several times this time around and found that by doing so, I was able to get a hold of the general shape better, such as one would when driving the same route on a daily basis.
  • Design: I think my final designs have been creative and very inclusive of the key strengths noted by myself and my tutor. Again, I feel I stayed within my strengths solely to be able to achieve the strongest possible outcome for my assignment.
  • Compositional Skills: I think my use of grids to assist me in getting the overall initial basic shape onto the paper to then allow me to work expressively and freely but to a set ‘outline’ has really worked for me. I do find that my natural ability to recreate a likeness in shape is progressing with each preliminary sketch, however, when I want to have a more accurate depiction for my actual final piece, for now, I find the grids really do assist me. I think I have worked well with the composition of my pieces this time and have come up with the most interesting options for my final piece sufficiently. I do, however, still feel that I need more practice in this area.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

  • Content: I think my content for my final piece is very interesting and has some rather interesting angles, foreshortening and semi-abstraction. I think it is rather well connected to my artist’s statement, but I do think that perhaps the connection could still be clearer in some way. With more time, I think I could have included more experiments to try to strengthen this.
  • Application of Knowledge:  I think I have applied the lessons learned throughout this course well, having reflected on this via the mind maps. I am concerned as to whether or not my tutor will consider that I have applied too much of the lessons learned thus far, but feel confident that I have stripped it back to those most essential and have eliminated the excess as well as possible.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: My learning log is rather well documented and can be found and followed chronologically via the menu. I think I could have perhaps included more explanation within my sketchbook as to how I have reached a certain decision, but feel it could still be well interpreted alongside the learning log interpretation.
  • Discernment: I think my use of the mind maps to be able to investigate, narrow and then conclude upon the best course of action for my final piece for this part of the course so as to only include the essential and strongest elements learned so far. However, I think I could potentially have carried out more ‘working out’ and created a deeper analysis of my work’s progression to the end result.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts: I think my use of mind maps this time has really helped me gather my thoughts in a more concise way and one in which I can understand them more clearly. However, as I am working, I do find that there are often times when I will change my mind rather quickly and not note the reasons for these changes down on my learning log or in my sketchbook. I think I may need to instill some form of ‘diary’ to keep with me at all times and to document everything as I go, so when I come to typing my learning log section, I will be able to include all areas and aspects of ideas and what was actually done and why.
  • Communication of Ideas: Again, I feel this ties very closely with the Conceptualisation of Thoughts area of the course and that instilling a ‘diary’ of sorts will help alleviate any areas of miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

  • Imagination: I feel this assignment has been my most creative by far and has come about as a combination of both my tutor’s feedback and my own self-reflection, as well as from the information garnered from my use of the mind maps. I do think I am finding that I seem to prefer to be rather traditional in my methods and perhaps I do need to be more open to contemporary creativity and imagination which push the boundaries and are that little bit more riskier in approach.
  • Experimentation:  Whilst I have not been too experimental in this part of the course due to time restraints, I did experiment with previous strengths as to how I could incorporate such strengths within this final piece to assist in creating the strongest possible result.
  • Invention: I think my method of using mind maps to discern what my final piece for this part should be was rather successful and has helped me reach the strongest results. Again, I created another questionnaire to assist me with my decisions on the final choices and to note any amendments made and the reasons for these. I do not think I should always limit myself to my strengths, but I felt this the best course of action for my final piece for this part of the course.
  • Research: Whilst there was no requirement to carry out research in this part of the course, I felt I needed to do so to be able to assist me with the best ways to move forward.
  • Critical Thinking (Learning Logs): I think my learning log has remained well documented and constructed. I do think, however, that I should ensure to include any quick changes and different choices in future courses by instilling the diary, as noted above.

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!

Part Three: Expanse – Assignment Criteria Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

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

Quality of Outcome (20%)

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

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

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