Tutor Feedback on Assignment 3


Overall Comments

Thank you for the care taken in editing, selecting and organising your portfolio.  This contained the assignment outcome, two examples from exercises, one course sketchbooks (with organised Post-Its) and one ‘creative sketchbook’. I will comment upon specific aspects under the key headings and briefly comment on the ‘creative sketchbook’.

In relation to you reflecting on and responding to feedback at assigment 2: there is evidence of you acting on most of the Research and Pointers suggested.  This has clearly fed into and informed your approach to the assignment preliminary sketches; developing your options for viewing, composition, mark-making and cropping techniques.

In your sketchbook it’s good to see you using notations, sketches to prepare for your assignment,.  You’re beginning to explore and develop confidence in a variety of approaches to exercises and your preparatory work.  There are some energetic, dynamic line compositions (townscape / landscape) and stretching your own comfort zones away from the central compositional focus.

You’ve experimented with a broad range of media including: charcoal, pencils, Inktense, masking fluid and inks to expand on your mark-making, representation of depth, composition and form.

A developing analysis and reflection, with a more evenly balanced critique of what works and what doesn’t work, with some intentions on how you can move forward and bring these insights to future work.

As you progressed to the  assignment itself you evidenced a pertinent, concise and focused approach to your preparation, research and brought what you’d learned from the process.  It is clear that you are more readily applying your learning to each subsequent stage of your development: on an intuitive and conscious level.

Your research and analysis on specific artists and on composition has helped you to move away from habits, to see and understand a greater range of options and possibilities for your own work.

You have developed in confidence in terms of how you are thinking about research, planning and preparation with some persona aims coming to bear.

Well done.

Assignment 3 Assessment potential

“I understand your aim is to go for the B.A (Hons) Fine Art Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.”

Feedback on assignment

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

You undertook some good professional networking in order to create an opportunity to draw plein-air with others, create opportunities for discussion, feedback and future exhibition opportunities.  Good practice.

Your prep drawings helped you to expand on compositional and mark-making options.  The panoramic drawing was especially interesting.  Rather than discarding the ‘spiky plant’ it may have worked to radically increase it’s scale, to create a greater sense of depth the the work.

The research and analysis into composition has informed your own understanding and increased confidence in exploring and experimenting further.  (see Pointers / Research)

I tend to agree with your reflections on the final outcome as in the aspects where you’ve explore mark-making and wash with the masking-fluid, do work well and the use of the vertical post of the pergola creates an interesting vertical frame in the drawing.  

Weaknesses are the ‘bodged’ top of the drawing, the vague patch at the middle right hand side and too much detail in bottom right.  Your tonal values need exploring at the darker, denser end of the range especially when conveying depth and distinctive shadows.  (see Pointers)

Other than wishing to convey, ‘plants, structure and depth’, I wonder if you had any other aims or intentions?  What might these be about landscape, nature…?

You utilised a broad range of media: charcoal, ink, masking fluid and pencil in some areas creating abstract shapes suggesting distant trees, loose varied marks to suggest foliage and undergrowth.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Of particular interest are a number of pages in the course sketchbook. The ones specifically relating to the assignment with varied compositions- panoramic, use of 3rds and large ‘spiky plant’ in right hand 3rd: an interesting layout.  Look at Adrian Berg to see how he structured some of his Regent’s Park works (paintings and watercolour sketches).  Further look at and analyse Peter Doig and John Virtue (see Research / Viewing / Pointers).

You mention that you utilised photographs to provide references for composition and other visual elements; it would be useful if you posted these to your blog or in your sketchbook with brief notations of how they were useful.  Just helps me to see how you are using and translating information from photo – drawings.  (see Pointers).

Utilise your sketchbook on a more regular basis, if possible everyday.  Use notations, explore mark-making with/ without masking-fluid and especially extent your tonal values, explore the more fluid and dynamic linear qualities in sketches.  You are touches on a range of interesting visual language and notions- if possible just do and practice more regularly.  (see Pointers)

{ ‘Creative sketchbook’ }:

Though not linked to the coursework….

‘Purposeful’ use of the sketchbook is an important phrase.  Ask what you want to use it for, how using it will help you experiment, explore and develop your visual language and your ideas and thinking process.

Creating surface on which to draw / paint can be useful / interesting, it can look contrived too.  It depends on the nature and purpose of the sketchbook.  Is the surface, insert, collage part of the ‘idea’ or does it distract or seem to make things look ‘arty’ or ‘attractive’ with little content?

The page with the paint refs and notations and two shells seems to work, as do the page of four shells, the page with bullet points down the left-side and the large loose drawing and collaged sections ‘Kitty Sabatier’ and large shell with text opposite.  There are definitely elements to incorporate into your sketchbooks with an understanding of what elements are important for you to draw on and explore.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

A very diverse, yet pertinent range of research including historical and current practitioners.  There is evidence that this is informing how you think, analyse, critically reflect and make decisions- benefitting your drawing practice.  

A good range of both primary and secondary sources.  Actively seeking out OCA study days, workshops, exhibitions and online sources.

Not yet consistently analysing and then applying what you research to your own ideas, concerns and practice.  Try and practice this more and foreground the relationship between what you’re researching- ask what connections there may be with how you’re practicing now, and how you hope to develop.  (see Pointers)

Good, consistent practice of Harvard referencing throughout.

See Research / Viewing / Pointers

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

A concise yet thoughtfully, insightful reflection on the assignment itself.  You reference each criteria and analyse how you address them; well and not so well.  You go further by saying how you aim to take these findings forward to develop your work further.

The clarity and confidence in your analysis and thinking is developing, and it’s good to read your balanced sense of your strengths and qualities, whilst also commenting in brief on what doesn’t work so well- setting some clear aims to address these.  A much more useful way of approaching the work and gaining recognition of both elements, then setting clear aims for developing and improving both.  This is a really valuable and important shift in your perspective. (Pointers)

Consistently good critical analysis of your drawings and a concise yet purposeful reflective process.  Continue this as you progress.

Suggested reading/viewing


Peter Doig regarding his compositional devices: 3rds and horizontal / vertical reflections. I also think you may find interest in his juxtapositioning when representing depth, whilst also reinforcing (painting’s) surface. Analyse these aspect of the works alongside the rich mark-making qualities, surface pattern and monochrome / high-key palette.

The Architect’s House in the Ravine

White Canoe

Ski Jacket



Adrian Berg look at and analyse his Gloucester Gate, Regent’s Park May 1980 series. There’s a strong sense of composition, mark-making and palette.  I believe there are some connections between Berg and Doig’s composition, palette and use of mark-making.

John Virtue in relation to landscape and abstraction.  This particular article by Simon Schama is of interest for various reasons, but specifically what he attempts to convey through landscape and his influences.










Pointers for the next assignment


  • Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.



  • From your analysis and insights: Make some clear, bullet-points as to what you aim to develop further (strengths) and what you wish to improve .  Keep referring to these as you progress through the next assignment.


  • Be more focussed and specific about what you are making connections with in your research.  Draw out the specific points or connections you wish to explore and develop in your own work- make bullet points and set some aims.



  • Your tonal values are still limited at the dense, darker end; try and explore these much more through heavier gestural marks, swathes of ink or wash or built up through dense areas of marks or line.  To review these tonal qualities view the drawing through half-closed eyes, turn the drawing upside down and try viewing them in a mirror.  


  • I recommend that you continue to use your sketchbook regularly by exploring composition, mark-making and palette: monochrome & colour.  Try and use more notations, testing of marks, palette and tonal values.  Make sure that what you learn from this process you set aims to develop at the assignment outcome stage.  


  • Post photos of your visual refs to skethbook / blog with brief notations (see Sketchbook comment)


  • Further analyse the Doig / Berg paintings I recommend, using the specific elements.  How might this analysis help you to understand possible composition, use of mark-making, palette and depth / surface qualities.  How do their and Virtue’s work explore notions of abstraction, that you say you’d like to explore.



Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio


Well done, you’ve developed in confidence since assignment 2.  I look forward to your assignment 4.


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