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.