Comments on my work so far from Joanne Mulvihill-Allen, OCA Course Support

I emailed Joanne Mulvihill-Allen from OCA course support with a link to my blog asking if she had any comments on my work so far. Her reply:
Hello Emma,
I think you have made a good start here and you are starting to reflect on what you are doing and why.
EW: this is good to know!
This is something that will develop over time so don’t feel too pressured to have it completely sussed just yet, in time you will allow your research to feed into your reflections also, looking at artwork and responding to it and comparing and contrasting it with your own. There is a looking at artwork guide on the student site here.
 EW. my notes on this are here
Pick out the successful elements in your work and try to take these forward to the assignment piece. When something doesn’t work say why it doesn’t work and how you would do it differently next time, if you have time try and make another drawing inputting these evaluations. Exercise pieces do not need to be finished works, rather a place to learn, experiment and make mistakes. So you could just re-do a section of the drawing.
EW. I’m currently finding it quite hard to identify why things work or don’t work. I’ll practice this.
It’s great that you have started making thumbnail sketches, many of the compositions in each look the same however for example your jam jar is always on the left, try to move things around a bit more, perhaps try your page portrait rather than landscape. Use a viewfinder or a camera to hone in on areas and manipulate the composition further.
EW. That’s an interesting comment. I’ll bear it in mind!


Be careful when making expressive pieces not to lose your angles, you can create lovely gestural work that still looks ‘right’. Within tonal drawings lines are created through subtleties in light – a line isn’t a physical object, pretend it doesn’t exist. The line is an illusion created by the differences in the dark areas and the light areas. If you struggle to see different tonal values try manipulating your light source by using lamps and squint your eyes.

EW. I think I get the concept of there being no line quite well but I find it hard to keep the form of the object while being loose in my style – I will be looking to develop this.

It may also be useful for you to work on black and use white, you could do this with black paper and white media or you could cover your page in charcoal and work back into it with an eraser.
EW: I have tried this here.
If you are struggling to draw large use the gridding up technique, it may help you get your proportions right until you get used to scaling things up. The opening exercises in the course show you how drawing is an activity that uses your whole body, don’t be afraid to input this same energy into compositional work.

Until you can trick your brain into seeing what is really there and translating it to the page there are different measuring techniques you can use for example with a pencil, have a look on youtube for some quick tutorials.

For gridding up take a look at the following blog posts and an example of a youtube video – there are many more like this online.

EW I have looked at these videos.
It may be worth your while going back to one of these exercises and try it out.
EW I think I’ll try and incorporate as much of this advice as I can in the next exercise I do.
I think you are on the right track Emma, keep at it! Do let me know if you have further questions and concerns.

Kind regards

Joanne Mulvihill-Allen


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