Part 5: Tutor Feedback and Own Comments

Overall Comments

Thank you for your final submission Rachael. You have worked hard with your reviews and choosing a subject which you are passionate about. This has culminated in a large ambitious piece. However, there are some technical issues which could be addressed. Your artists statement describes your methodology rather than in-depth analysis of your themes. It’s in the last two paragraphs where your statement gives insight into the issues and themes of your work e.g. photosynthesis and humans interaction with nature. Overall, the assignment piece is meaningful and personal but quite tight in relation to the more fluid and freer drawing of figures which you have demonstrated before.

I am really pleased my tutor can see the effort applied within this Part of the course.

Having never done an artist’s statement before, I can now appreciate my tutor’s comments regarding the creation of an in-depth analysis of my chosen theme as opposed to my methods to achieve this. I can now appreciate that, instead of breaking down my plan of action, I should have delved deeper into what it was I was actually studying – focussing more on the interactions, qualities and characteristics of my chosen subject.

I totally agree that my final piece is very tight as opposed to fluid and that this, whilst being ambitious, could potentially have been a bit of a safe play on my behalf, however, I still feel I was right to go in this direction to secure such a strong result. I think I still have a way to go to fully control and make the most of my expressive nature.

Feedback on Assignment

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

Assignment: You have paid attention and spent much time in drawing the hands and hair. These have been observed very well and the perspective is convincing, and form is apparent to give spatial grounding. The actual back, buttocks and torso could
be more observed in terms of fleshiness, muscle areas and bones. It sits as one block, so we lose some form. The positioning of the body is complex, and the foreshortening of the buttocks compared to the head seems on the same plane. So, do think about the perspective and the angle. The background distracts the viewer as it is busty and complex.

The tree is quite generic with the mark making and again, more attention could be given to the essence of it being a tree. The collaging of the background works well and this supports the colour scheme of the whole image. You have sued a variety of media with ambition but at the same time being selective and this works for the theme of the work.

Reading this feedback, I feel as though I am watching myself creating the piece and can appreciate how much dedication I gave to the head, hands and hair as opposed to the other areas of the body. I think if I were to go back and recreate this piece, I would give just as much time to the remaining parts of the piece as I had the hair, hands and head. I think the reason I did not do so in the first place was because I knew the hands, head and hair were all more complex in nature and areas I would have to give more attention to in order to be successful, however, in doing so, I feel I became complacent with the other parts of the final piece due to feeling they were easier to recreate, thus leaving them with much less detail.

I am majorly impressed that my selections have worked as well as I had hoped (if not completely) and I will definitely employ this more in the future.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

5.3: Initial Conceptual Ideas and Studies

You have reviewed your work in your sketchbook and this shows some development towards the final art. In terms of practice and investigations into the human form, there could be more. Especially with the fundamentals of human figure, it’s anatomy
and the proportions. Also, with different investigations in to the media used.

I completely agree, I definitely could have done more in respect of experimenting with and investigating the human form and media used. Perhaps I was too ambitious in trying to incorporate two Parts of the course and so was unable to dedicate adequate time to one specific point.

Research

Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis

5.2- Your artist research is all relevant and it’s been good for you to reiterate the themes and techniques from the ones which have inspired you. You have been in tune with looking at different techniques which inspire you. However, this could be more in-depth with you looking at the wider issues and themes of the subject of the human form.

I really enjoyed this research as it was completely specific to what I wanted it to be focussed on (though now I think I could have done more in the way of researching my chosen subjects and the media and techniques used). Again, perhaps using two subjects was a little too adventurous for this stage of my journey.

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical Essays

Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis

You have done a considerable amount of work in terms of reviewing, being self-reflective and being in tune with your areas of improvement and how to pursue to the final part. Your work in 5.1 shows good understanding of self-actualisation – well
done.

Your own commentary of the final assignment piece is in detail in terms of breaking down all the different elements of the process; from surfaces, to detailed drawing, to media exploration and final reflections of the overall piece.

I am pleased the effort applied to this area has shone through to my tutor. Clearly, this is the standard I have to try to attain every time throughout my journey.

Strengths

  • Considerable amount of work has been done with your reflections throughout the unit. This has been supported by artists research into your chosen subject.
  • Good use of varied media has been used without overwhelming the piece and this shows good selective choices.
  • The successful areas are the hands and particularly the hair and this has been observed well.

Again, there is not much I can add here besides ensuring that I strive to achieve this level throughout the whole of my journey, if not more so.

Areas for Development

  • There could be more grounding with the depth of the work. For example, more distinction between the foreground, mid and background- at the moment the main subject is a little lost within it.
  • Technical aspects need attention with the assignment piece, such as foreshortening. The successful areas are the hands and particularly the hair and this has been observed well.
  • Make sure you are looking at the ‘guidelines for submission’ especially in terms of discernment and the amount of work to send for assessment.

I agree regarding the grounding within the depth of the work, but wonder now whether this is something which will develop the further into my journey I travel, although it is something I will try to work on at every opportunity regardless.

I really enjoy working with foreshortening, so this is something I think will be imperative for me to perfect if I am to use this going further. Technical aspects do seem to be quite a struggle for me, so I think the more I can create quick sketches of a variety of subjects, the more this skill will improve.

With regard to the guidelines for submission, this is something I am rather excited to begin and look forward to submitting my work to be formally assessed. Wish me luck!

Part 5: Artist’s Statement and Questions

Artist’s Statement: Combining the Human Form with that of Trees, using Mixed Media, Line and Tone

For this Part of the course, I began by working back and reflecting on my earlier exercises, projects, assignments, parts, research, tutor recommendations and feedback, as well as my own self-reflection, to be able to pinpoint key areas of strengths and to help me with developing an idea for my final piece.

From this reflection, I feel I have a very strong passion and greatest strength for, and in, the figure, but also with other more natural and organic forms, most notably trees.  Whilst I feel other exercises such as still life and architecture have been good for me to experiment with and develop my understanding of deeper aspects of the ‘rules’ within art, they do not hold much in the way of interest and intrigue for me, but also they do not appear to be as strong as the aforementioned topics, so I feel it now necessary to discard the ‘themes’, whilst still retaining the lessons learned (i.e. perspective and other technical skills) and producing a final, much stronger and more focussed piece.

After considering the reflective process and determining that my strengths lie in the human form and the organic form of trees, I began to question whether I could potentially combine the two and how strong I could potentially make the end result.  Perhaps I could create a piece of a person next to a tree in some form of pose?  Or maybe create a person in the form of a tree, or vice versa? 

I decided to carry out some research into artists who have worked in a similar sort of way to what I was considering doing. I came across several artists, whose work and my findings can be found by clicking here.

From this research and reflection, I decided that I would like my final piece to incorporate a human and a tree.  I decided I would create several sketches of different several compositions and then, from there, I would move on to reflecting on the medium experiments recently finished to find which options would work best for the strongest sketches.  I will then create a few drafts of the chosen sketch with the chosen media before moving on to creating my final piece.

The result I want to achieve is a combination of human and tree forms to really invite the viewer to appreciate the complexity of our closeness as humans to our organic foliage counterparts.  Neither humans nor plants could live without the other, thanks to the wonders of the universe and the science of photosynthesis; the trees provide us with shelter and food, but also – and most importantly – the clean air we breathe.  In turn, we are able to return the favour, so to speak, by assisting the trees in their growth by assisting with feeding and pruning etc. 

It saddens me that we abuse our silent counterparts so drastically, but then, without this, there would be no paper for me, as an artist, to convey my message.  It is a very complex circle of life, however, I think we need the trees and other plants much more than they need us and this ‘leaning on’ by humans is something I would hope to convey to my viewers.

Questions from Course Textbook

After finalising my Artist Statement, I decided to create a questionnaire holding the questions in the course textbook so that, as I am working through the different experiments, I am able to write down my chosen option and the reason why this was chosen, so I could quickly reflect and pinpoint when beginning my final piece, as well as any amendments and the reasons for these. I felt this would assist me when self-assessing at the end of this Part. The document used when creating my final piece can be seen below:

Part 5.1: Preparatory Work

Mind-Maps

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

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

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

Overall Evaluation and Written Assessment of Parts One to Four

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

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

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

Photographs of Key Points

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

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

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

Quick Recap of Strongest Exercises

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