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.

Part Two: Intimacy – Assignment Criteria Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

  • Materials: I think I have made good use of materials throughout this part of the course. I have experimented with a wide variety of surfaces and mediums throughout and tried to incorporate a variety as much as possible without over-complicating things. This is especially true for my final piece.
  • Techniques: I have tried to use differing techniques in this Part as opposed to treating objects the same, as my tutor noted upon in my first assignment. I have tried to take this on board and have tried to use different mediums and surfaces for different objects and really consider their qualities before committing to any one thing. I was especially pleased with the texture created by the ink in the potatoes and bowl image, though I think I still could have been slightly more experimental by using less traditional tools, such as twigs for drawing with or toothpaste and tomato ketchup for the colours and textures, for instance.
  • Observational Skills: I was especially pleased with my quick sketches around the house and think I definitely need to do more of this type of sketch before settling into my final piece. Doing this allows me to see things I may not have seen before, allows me to map things out more accurately and decide on my chosen viewpoint. I was rather disappointed, however, with the fact I forgot to rub out the grid in my pear and apple piece. I was so focussed and submerged on getting the colours to blend nicely, I did not take a step back and realise what was right in front of me! I also think that, whilst the grids are helpful, I should try and refrain from relying on them too much and instead work on improving my free-hand sketching.
  • Visual Awareness: Again, I am pleased I was able to see parts of my surroundings I would not normally see if not observing closely. I think I need to work on seeing the ‘artwork’ within my own surroundings as opposed to using photographs of ready made compositions where possible, however, I am pleased with my capabilities to be able to find the correct viewpoint generally.
  • Design: I think I have done well in my assignment piece and the beetroot pieces with the design of the pieces and the ideas portrayed within them. Again, I think I need to try and avoid photographs and try and find more real-life compositions where possible.
  • Compositional Skills: I am pleased with my preliminary work for my assignment piece, having considered several different compositions before settling on the most suitable one which contained many different angles, sharp and soft lines,many different textures and contrasting parts. Again, I think I should try and avoid using photographs where possible, however, sometimes it is the only option available. Whilst I do not regret using the photographs I have used, I will try not to use so many going forward. To improve in this area, I will try to push myself with regard to the creation of compositions and also try and find natural compositions, such as pots in a drainer next to the sink, for example.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

  • Content: Again, I am pleased with the information I have tried to get across in my pieces; creating texture within them to closely represent their original counterparts, as well as the natural connections between them all. However, I feel that some of the quick sketches around the house I have done are somewhat sparse and could be more interesting if I were to choose a slightly different angle or viewpoint. Going forward, I will try to find more compositions which tell a story. For example, going back to the pots in the drainer by the sink idea, I could have a plate with small amounts of food left on it to the other side of the sink, to infer the washing cycle.
  • Application of Knowledge:  I spent a fair bit of time in this Part of the course creating preliminary experiments and research which I then tried to build upon and refer back to for my assignment piece. I think I still need to develop somewhat in this area, but believe this will come naturally as I progress through the remainder of the course.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: I think my website is well maintained and rather accessible and user-friendly. I have also tried to keep my sketchbook as clear as possible, as well as the individual pages for the different exercises, having labelled them all up as best I could. This being the first time I have had to send any documentation to my tutor, I have decided that, going forward, I will create a checklist of contents and the order in which to view them for my tutor, but also to help me ensure I have sent everything and everything is accounted for and in its correct place.
  • Discernment: Following the first assignment, I read my tutor’s comments carefully and have tried to work through each part as best as I could throughout this Part of the course. Whilst I tried to cover all areas suggested, purely due to time, I have a few little bits still to go, such as the watching of documentaries. I did, in fact, watch many shows during this part of the course, however, I have just not had the time to document and reference them correctly, so will try to do this more so going forward. When I received my feedback, I was initially a little disheartened and could only see the negative aspects so I slept on it and came back to it with fresh eyes and viewed it neutrally, as though it was discussing someone else’s work and found I agreed with all of it, although there were a few little bits I was unsure of, so I used the student groups to discuss these with other students and then had a better understanding. I think I need to work on distancing myself from my work some more and practice seeing comments neutrally and not personally! I think this will get easier the more I go through the course (even though the comments may be even more critical the further I go!) as this was the first feedback I had received since college, so I need to get myself back into the swing of things!
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts: I created a fair few experiments in my sketchbook which I then used as information to help me reach the conclusion of my final pieces, however, I think I could have done better here if I had used mind-maps (as I didn’t use any in this Part which I only realised at the end!). I also struggled with the monochrome exercise as I just could not find a muse which I felt fit the bill, so to speak. I spent far too much time dwelling on this and should have just created a mind-map much earlier to help get my thoughts down onto paper into an understandable format.
  • Communication of Ideas: I think my learning log is generally rather well stocked and is pretty much an open book – I try to be as honest as possible with my achievements and failures as possible, even though this can be difficult with failures sometimes! Again, I think I need to include more mind-maps to convey my ideas, as well as showing all parts of my processes as, looking back over my work, I think I sometimes can do something as an experiment and then not change direction somewhat but not explain this clearly enough.

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

  • Imagination: I have enjoyed using different surfaces and media for my final assignment piece and think I have done so rather well. I think I could have a much wider variety of mediums and surfaces if I were to think more ‘out of the box’, so to speak, as I tend to stay rather traditional in my pieces. I may have used glue sticks, PVA glue and candle wax but, looking back, I think I could have been more imaginative and used such things as chocolate, handwash, lipstick etc. This is something I will try and work on going forward. Again, I think the use of mind-maps will also help get my imagination in full flow.
  • Experimentation:  I am very happy with the amount of experimentation I have done for this Part of the course. I really let myself go and loosened up, allowing one medium to mix with another here and there where I would think they would never work together! Again, I think I could have pushed my comfort zone somewhat by using less conventional media and surfaces, which I will bear in mind going forward.
  • Invention: I am pleased with the different mediums and surfaces I have used to represent different objects and textures, however, the sheets I had created to speed the write-up in my last Part did not play much of a role in this Part. Going forward, I will try to keep them on hand more and complete them as I go. I think the fact I was faced with a lot of research points in this Part, as well as some ill-health really threw me off course so I ended up playing a bit of catch-up towards the end and found the sheets a little tiring and time-consuming.
  • Development of a Personal Voice: I think I have shown again that I enjoy bolder, darker, moodier pieces, however, taking note of my tutor’s comment of not putting myself into one category, I attempted to work lightly in my apple and pear piece, which I think paid off rather well. I was slightly disappointed in myself for overworking the piece slightly and trying to pull a much darker shade than was needed as I ended up tearing the page somewhat. I think I need to work on learning when to leave a piece be and to accept the limitations of each media chosen and to not try to force more from them at the risk of ruining the piece overall.
  • Research: I really enjoy researching artists, but also techniques. The sheets I made to assist me with this really do help, however, I think I need to invest more in the feedback of my own interpretations of artists’ works.
  • Critical Thinking (Learning Logs): As stated above, I think my learning logs are very well laid out and was pleased that my tutor seemed to think so too after the first Part. I think I need to work more in series; including details of any decisions and diversions taken, as explained above. This is something I will try to consider more going forward.

Part One: Form and Gesture – Assignment Criteria Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (35%)

  • Materials: I have tried to use a wide variety of media and materials for my work but, having never studied at degree level before and there being a large gap between my college days and now, I have used this part of the course as a learning curve as to what is expected of me throughout the rest of the course.  I have found I have had to buy and find materials and media as I have gone along, so I have not had much time to use such things as the ink.  I think I need better control with such things as charcoal, soft pastels, ink and oil pastels and intend of working on this as I go forward.
  • Techniques: I have really enjoyed certain aspects of this part of the course – most notably the expressive mark making and crosshatching.  I definitely need to work on my ability to control the media to create finer, more delicate detail in my work, but I don’t intend it to be a massive part of my work as a whole as I much prefer the mess and lack of control.
  • Observational Skills: Whilst I think I am rather capable of drawing what I see, I think I need to work more on my ability to scale things properly as I have found in several of my pieces that lining objects or sections of the piece up can sometimes go slightly awry.  I think I need to do more quick continuous line sketches to really strengthen my skill in this area.
  • Visual Awareness: I thinkmy skill in this area is still developing, but I have found myself questioning almost every aspect of the world around me as to what media would best represent such things as the texture, tone and perspectives.
  • Design: Throughout this part of the course, I have found myself looking for natural ‘frames’ of things I feel would work well in a piece of work.  I think my skill in this area will only improve the further I delve into the course.  Again, I think I need to work more on jotting things down or taking photographs as and when they crop up so I don’t forget them. 
  • Compositional Skills: For this assignment, I feel I really took control of the choice of objects chosen instead of just grabbing anything I could find, as I had in the earlier exercise and set them up in a way which would provide me with the best layout for being able to translate such things as the negative space, tonal ranges, perhaps including something such as a the net bath toy bag with its loose objects inside.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

  • Content: Again, whilst I think I have put a lot of effort in throughout this part of the course, I feel I have given a lot of time to the more administerial aspects instead of the actual content.  My thought process for this was purely because I knew this part would not be assessed, so I wanted to ensure that when I did come to the parts which were assessed, I had created ways to be able to deal with the administrative side in a much smaller timeframe and leave more time to focus on creating more visual content.  Regardless, I feel my content in my final piece holds very strong emotion and is very meaningful to me.  However, I do feel I could have chosen more interesting objects which would make the viewer as what the relevance was, why it was significant and want to know more about their stories. 
  • Application of Knowledge:  Having gone back through all of the exercises for this part of the course, I feel I have done well in applying my knowledge gained so far.  I think this will also only improve as I move through the course when I learn new things.  I did find, however, that I seemed to have misinterpreted part of Project One: Exercise Two as drawing see-through objects, instead of drawing the shapes I could see within them.  I tried to rectify this by creating a version of this for my final piece, as shown above.  I think I need to work on ensuring I fully understand each exercise and project before I attempt to begin them, perhaps by making my own assumptions about it and then checking them against other students’ interpretations for that part.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: I think my learning log is rather accessible (I hope!) and easy to move through.  I struggled at first with how to use WordPress properly – again, eating a lot of time unnecessarily – but think I have managed to get my head around it now.  I think I may ask several members of my family to try and navigate their way to certain points on my site and then get their feedback and update it where needed.  Due to not reading the projects and exercises properly sometimes, as well as not having all the necessary media and materials at first, my sketchbook is rather scatty I think, as well as it being only A4 in size.  I had begun the projects before speaking with my tutor and her advising me to work on A3 or bigger, so I have invested in some larger sketchbooks and will try to make my work going forward more chronological in its order.
  • Discernment: I think my ability to judge my work well and critically is rather good, but I think there is always room for improvement.  Again, I have tried to find methods of speeding things up and have created a questionnaire relating to reflecting on my own work, which I will be using on every exercise going forward.  I also think my progression through the course will increase this skill naturally.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts: I have used several mind maps throughout this part of the course, but think I could have used more.  Again, I think this is purely down to time available to me.  I found that I tend to jump from one idea to another rather quickly without putting much thought into how they could be linked, when and how they could be used etc, so I intend on carrying a small sketchbook or notepad and pen around with me constantly to be able to jot down any thoughts, feelings or ideas I have for later use.
  • Communication of Ideas: My learning log is rather accessible and user-friendly, though I think I may need to make it more visually appealing going forward.  I think I need to reduce my word count and increase my visuals so viewers don’t bore easily. 

Demonstration of Creativity (25%)

  • Imagination: I have used imagination in my final piece in choosing the objects to create my group and also to represent my ‘secret’ meanings within them.  On the surface, they are just everyday objects, but once you read the explanation surrounding each object, I think it does become much clearer that each was chosen for a specific purpose and to represent different textures as well as personal meanings.  There is an evident lack in the variety of tools, media and material used in my work so far, but I hope to improve on this now I have discovered what is required of me and actually having access to such items now and even more as time progresses.  As already stated above, I need to jot down ideas more in my sketchbook so I don’t forget them and collect more and more samples of things to attempt to experiment with.
  • Experimentation:  I believe I have done this well in the build up to my final piece with my breakdown of each object, though I could have experimented more with the surfaces I chose to work on.  I was running rather close on time for the final piece, but decided that I would have more time going forward, so would focus on this more in my future pieces.  I also want to experiment by recreating artists’ pieces in my sketchbook when researching them to try to understand them and their work better.
  • Invention: I have created several sheets to help me speed up my processes moving forward – a task I believe has drained me of precious time, but one which I hope will speed my processing up in the future, leaving me with more time for experimentations, research and development of my skills.  Besides these sheets, I feel I have not done much in the way of inventing much else so far. 
  • Development of a Personal Voice: I believe I have a good sense of my personal voice – I know I like dark, moody, expressive marks and am not too keen on fine, patient detail (not to mention the effort this takes with my tremor), but I am not too stubborn or set in my ways to overlook these things and want to try to learn to embrace them as opposed to sticking to my strengths and avoiding my weaknesses.  I have been surprised on a number of occasions at to how much I have enjoyed things I thought I wouldn’t like; the temporary drawing was actually rather soothing as opposed to my initial thoughts that it would be frustrating and the same again in the fine detail of the polyester bag.
  • Research: I put a lot of effort into my research of Odilon Redon but, again, think I put too much effort into the wording as opposed to experimenting with replicating his work myself.  This is definitely something I will work on improving in future parts of this course.
  • Critical Thinking (Learning Logs): My learning log is well laid out and structured and the sheets I have made have helped somewhat and will only help more in the future.  I think I definitely need to work on my clarity of thought processes and also the types of questions I should be asking myself about my work and how best to improve it.  This is something I am trying to work on and will use what I have written here as well as any feedback from my tutor to develop this skill sufficiently.