Response to feedback on Assignment 1

Assignment 1 Feedback is a comprehensive look at how I tackled my first assignment. As I work through Assignment 2 I will be attempting to incorporate this feedback in 4 main areas.

  1. Set my intention for an exercise. Find out where my interest is.
  2. Use prep sketches to look at how I can use tone, composition, etc. to express this intention
  3. Analyse what went well and why as well as areas of improvement. Try to take this into the next exercise/assignment.
  4. Continue research using recommended articles/resources

The feedback points out that I focus on the areas that I think need improvement rather than the areas where I am working well so I’ll round up the areas I’m working well first, then go on to areas I will be focusing on improving.

Areas I am working well

  • asking questions as I go on
  • good beginnings at experimenting with approaches, media and techniques
  • reflecting on observation and acquiring drawing skills
  • bringing in personal aims and ideas outside course material
  • learning from exercises
  • using thumbnail compositions to make quick, informed decisions
  • learning about composition from research and practice
  • Assignment 1 drawing contained: “some well-observed, sensitive mark-making across the jar and brushes and a subtle and simple approach to the ring and shell.”
  • “You have approached the assignment with thought and consideration with regard to choice of media, selection of objects in relation to your research and reflections on vanitas genre and also a personal narrative content.”
  • Good use of sketchbook to make prep drawings
  • Continue the succinct yet useful notations alongside prep drawings
  • Using my blog to reflect on my research

Areas to focus on improving

  • regular practice and exploration of techniques
  • look at tonal values during preparatory sketches
  • attempt to solve problems I find in my work, take that forward into planning work for the next exercise.
  • look at what works as well as what doesn’t
  • Expand upon sketchbook prep work by setting my own specific aims for the assignment. Draw in series – for example: 6-8 thumbnails to explore composition, tonal values and negative space; 4-6 thumbnails to explore how the object/subject sits or fills the page; 6-8 small loose drawings to explore mark-making qualities in relation to lighting/tonal qualities
  • Use the constructively critical way I approach others work in my analysis of my own work. See OCA study guide “Looking at Artists”
  • set some intentions and aims for my own work. Ask broad questions about my intentions when beginning a drawing and ask similar questions when looking at others work.
  • Harvard reference all research

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

www.drawingcenter.org  Research through current and past exhibitions.  Red Drawing Papers no: 128 Cecily Brown’s Rehearsal and Paper : 117 on ‘Small’ are good starting points.

https://drawingroom.org.uk/

‘FOUND’ Cornelia Parker curated exhibition ( Aug – Sept 2016) at The Foundling Museum.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect and act on the suggestions and recommendations throughout the feedback.
  • Set yourself some specific aims to apply to your own drawings.
  • Reflect upon both what works / what doesn’t work in equal measure- then set some aims to develop and enhance both aspects.
  • Expand upon the preparatory drawings: work across a number of thumbnail sketches to explore tonal values, relationship between object / subject and negative space, mark-making qualities (in addition to composition).
  • Suggested reading / viewing (as above) and reflect on these on your blog.

Feedback from Assignment 1 from Tutor Cheryl Huntbach

Overall Comments

Thank you for your submission of Assignment 1. You submitted a well organised and thoughtfully edited portfolio, a supporting blog archiving research and commentary on process, media and range of exercises.

Throughout the feedback I have made some recommendations on approaches to media, process and critical analysis: your work and research.  It will benefit your progress to act on these and reflect on the benefits or otherwise on your blog.

You have a methodical and committed approach to experimenting with different media and recording the process.  

You have made a good start to researching with reference to historical and 21st century research.  You ask questions of yourself and others, exploring a more open inquiry rather than sticking with assumption.

You’re using the blog to track your progress and to reflect upon your use of media and technique.  There is more scope to reflect on the connections between your breadth of research, your own learning and potential.

There are some experimental approaches to exploring tonal values in creating three-dimensional form.  In observing and conveying objects you have attempted to explore and communicate differing surface and material qualities.  You’re noticing and exploring how to communicate reflective and transparent matter.  Good beginings here, regular practice and further exploration will improve these effects.

In some of the drawings you pay more attention to the objects and less to the space in-between, foreground and background.  Here it would be beneficial to revisit some of your research: Morandi for example.

You are clearly reflecting on your observation and acquiring drawing skills with an open, inquiring approach .  At assignment 1 it is very good to see that you are bringing in some personal aims and projects outside of the course material.  

Assignment 1 Assessment potential

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

Feedback on assignment

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

An expansive range of monochrome media has been utilised in the preparatory drawings and the final outcome.  

These work best when you’ve explored and conveyed  texture, surface and reflective qualities and form through specific mark-making and handling processes.  You’ve clearly reflected on and learned from the exercises and projects, which you’ve then fed into the assignment itself.

With regards to the preparatory works; you’ve explored differing compositions, mark-making qualities and varied tonal values (especially in the background / negative space).

Some simple, concise analysis on the thumbnail compositions has helped you to make quick, informed decisions.  You are clearly learning about composition from your research and practice.

In future consideration at the prep stage for the range of tonal values: in the background and foreground would also be useful. (see Pointers).  Half-closing eye at this stage may help you to break these down.  Also focussing upon the negative space only to first lay-down tonal values.

‘Lots of things that I’m not sure about in this picture’:  Being ‘unsure’ is a normal and acceptable state of being, especially when learning new processes and approaches.  

You make judgements on your work that suggest you’re dissatisfied with some elements, yet offer no problem solving or alternative approaches i.e: ‘messy’ background, edge of books and image too small.  Ask yourself how you might have planned: the composition, placement on the paper, the range, balance and dynamic of the tonal values across the work?  (see Pointers)

It would be useful to spend some time reflecting on the analysis of what works / doesn’t work- in equal balance.  Then set some aims as to how these might be developed further or addressed.  I suggest that this will be helpful to recognise both emerging strengths and qualities to be further explored, as well as weaknesses to be developed and problem-solved.  (see Pointers)

Some well-observed and sensitive mark-making across the jar and brushes.  You’ve captured and conveyed both a play of light and qualities of transparency in the jar.  There is a both a subtle and simple approach to the ring and shell.

You have approached the assignment with thought and consideration with regard to choice of media, selection of objects in relation to your research and reflections on vanitas genre and also a personal narrative content.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Good use of your sketchbook to make notational prep drawing, with concise analysis of compositions.

It would benefit your development to expand upon this prep.  Set some specific aims of your own around the assignment work.  Pursue the prep by drawing in series before you begin a final drawing, for example:

6 – 8  small, thumbnail sketches to explore tonal values, negative space (in addition to different compositions or viewpoints)- work out the more interesting composition and tones before you start.

4 – 6 small, thumbnails to explore how the object / subject sits or fills the page.  Test out portrait / landscape format.

6 – 8  small loose drawings to explore mark-making qualities in relation to  lighting / tonal qualities- to test out the varying qualities of tone and marks across the drawing.  (see Pointers)

Continue the succinct yet useful notations alongside the prep drawings- these will aid your thinking and visual analysis at each stage of the planning and drawing process.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

You’re using your blog well to reflect on your eclectic research.  A very diverse range of both primary and secondary sources.

Harvard referenced research.

You seem more constructively critical when analysing the work of others; considering elements that work / strengths and elements that don’t work / weaknesses.  How might you bring a similar balanced analysis to your own work?  Could you utilise the OCA study guide looking at artists… to your own work?  (see Pointers)

The research and inquiry is thoughtful, so now it is timely to think of how you might apply or reflect on the content, context and qualities in your own work?

Set some intentions and aims for your future drawings- applying your research to your work.  (see Pointers)

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

You’ve made a good start to using your blog as an archive for your research, reflections and learning process.  Maintaining this practice whilst feeding your curiosity and exploring the practice of drawing is essential for your development.

You understand that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach to drawing, though there’s a tendency to focus on what doesn’t work: this is a great opportunity to problem-solve.  In addition to not repeating the process or strategy,  consider how you might not do / do something else.  Follow this problem-solving by trying out your new ideas and approaches. (see Pointers)

You are using both trial & error, research and analysis to underpin and feed into your learning.  By reflecting on your blog regularly, this is supporting how you think and also how you draw.

You are reflecting on your learning throughout.  What would be useful is to take these thoughts and insights forward – Set yourself some specific aims to apply to your drawings.  This will help you to develop and deepen your autonomy and personal voice.  (see Pointers)

Begin to ask some broad questions / intentions (as suggested in Research) about what your intentions may be when beginning a drawing (& ask similar questions when reading or looking at others’ work).  Try this approach out and record your reflections on your blog.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

www.drawingcenter.org  Research through current and past exhibitions.  Red Drawing Papers no: 128 Cecily Brown’s Rehearsal and Paper : 117 on ‘Small’ are good starting points.

https://drawingroom.org.uk/

‘FOUND’ Cornelia Parker curated exhibition ( Aug – Sept 2016) at The Foundling Museum.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect and act on the suggestions and recommendations throughout the feedback.
  • Set yourself some specific aims to apply to your own drawings.
  • Reflect upon both what works / what doesn’t work in equal measure- then set some aims to develop and enhance both aspects.
  • Expand upon the preparatory drawings: work across a number of thumbnail sketches to explore tonal values, relationship between object / subject and negative space, mark-making qualities (in addition to composition).
  • Suggested reading / viewing (as above) and reflect on these on your blog.

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

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

 

Project 1. Assignment 1. final drawing.

There are a lot of things that I’m not sure about with this picture.

assignment-1-9

I like certain elements of this drawing. The curve and shadow on the cactus, the crease in the spine of the book, the light on the objects at the front. I also created a way of crumbling chalk to give highlights which I preferred to drawing a line with chalk. However, the background is a bit of a mess and the image is too small on the page. I have tried to keep the drawing a bit loose but sometimes, on the edge of the books, I think this is a bit messy. I have also lost some confidence in the composition.

Assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

This project has been a steep learning curve as far as materials, techniques and composition are concerned. I was pleased to find materials which were new to me such as oiled charcoal and chalk and in the final piece I have used willow charcoal, oiled charcoal and chalk. I am quite confident in my understanding of drawing tone and highlights although I think there is some way to go in mastering the materials to reflect this.

Quality of outcome:

I think I have carried through an exploration of materials and techniques into the final piece. I was looking to produce a drawing which reflected the tradition of vanitas still life pictures, the human pursuits, the globe, the natural elements, the symbolic ring but was also personal to myself and my family.

Demonstration of creativity

I tried to create a drawing which was both modern and traditional. I am aware that I have barely touched the surface of techniques available to me but with the materials I used, I tried to respond creatively to the different textures and qualities of light and reflection in the surfaces.

Context reflection

I spent a lot of time considering the nature and tradition of still life. A study visit which involved still life drawing was a useful start and gave me ideas about using repetition to explore a subject, looking at Odilon Redon helped me think about working with dark tones and using vigorous techniques to produce highlights, looking at Giorgio Morandi helped me think about composition and negative space while a trip to see Winifred Nicholson at MIMA was interesting when looking at composition and the use of minimal brushwork to suggest a background. Feedback from my tutor and course support also helped.

 

Drawing 1. Assignment 1. chalk on black paper

Previous feedback suggested I try drawing on black paper with chalk. I focused on the ring and shell and tried to fill the A2 sheet. I also used a viewfinder to look at the composition which I found useful.

I used a white pencil to lay down the general shapes and then used chalk to make highlights. I also used a putty rubber and oiled charcoal to put some dark areas back.

assignment 1 - chalk on black paper
pencil, chalk & oiled charcoal on A2 black paper

I was pleased to find that continuing to work into the image improved,  rather than ruined it. I like the simplicity of the final image.I was also pleased that I managed to work on a larger scale .

Drawing 1. Assignment 1. more preliminary work.

 

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I wanted to focus on the reflections and refraction in the metal plant holder and glass pencil jar. I read about oiled charcoal on a fellow student’s blog (Janetdaviesartblog) and thought this might give me the depth and precision I was looking for. I left sticks of charcoal in olive oil overnight and before using, blotted them off. The charcoal adhered better, was less crumbly and made darker marks. It was still possible to lift it with a putty rubber.

I feel like I’m getting closer to getting the light and dark in the picture.

Drawing 1. Assignment 1. preliminary work

This assignment is taking a lot of thinking about. I selected objects representing things which are dear to me, my husband and children. I have a house-shaped bedside table and thought it would be nice to have the objects in the house but this didn’t work, there was very little shadow and it was too squashed together. I tried lots of arrangements and changing objects around but I couldn’t get a satisfactory composition.

assignment-1-1
trying an arrangement of objects in a house shaped bedside table

Next I arranged the objects on a table. It still seemed cluttered with too many white objects. I cut down the number of objects

assignment-1-2
out of the house – too many objects

 

I reduced the number of objects, gave them a black backdrop and used a glass pencil holder instead of ceramic. This made the image more balanced while increasing the interesting reflections and refraction.

assignment-1-3
narrowing things down

My first drawing was in drawing pen and dip pen and ink with pencil guidelines. The cross hatching was very laborious and the dip pen was quite frustrating. I set aside 2 hours to do the drawing and only got half way. Focusing for 2 hours like this was exhausting. I was glad I had done a full-sized drawing as I felt I learned about working on a larger scale. I was keen to move forward to a slightly different arrangement and technique so I left this unfinished.

assignment-1-7

I decided that the pencil holder and plant were both a bit too large in the arrangement above so I played around with different cacti and different pencil holders. I liked the scale of this arrangement (below). I chose a viewpoint looking slightly down on the arrangement. This gave the objects at the front some space to show up against the black background. The objects I have chosen are:

  1. pencil/brush – for me
  2. cactus – for my daughter (she loves them)
  3. What if? book – for my son (he keeps taking it out of the arrangement to read)
  4. Why we Run book – for my husband, who runs
  5. The globe – because I love them and it is also a pencil sharpener and represents the earth (our home) and travel/holidays
  6. the shell – found on a beach on holiday. You can wear it as a ring
  7. My wedding ring.

assignment-1-5

I drew another A2 drawing, this time in charcoal with some chalk for highlights. The drawing didn’t fill the page. I liked the way I could produce the shading on the cactus and the globe. I found it less effective on the shiny cactus pot and the glass container. I could practice doing individual objects to get better at representing them. I like the dark background but might put in a join between the table and the backdrop to make the objects less “floaty”. The light doesn’t make it clear as you can see from the photograph.

assignment-1-8

I’m left not knowing which medium I prefer to represent my objects. I find working with charcoal quicker and more direct. I’d love to be able to do this arrangement in pen and ink too but it would be a big challenge to grasp the techniques I need.

Project 2. Exercise 4. Shadows and reflected light

I used A2 paper which is the largest drawing board I have. I tried to draw as large as I could – I’m getting up to about half the paper used!

In the first drawing (left) I had my usual battle with accuracy and charcoal. I tried not to draw a line, just to draw areas of tone. I thought the reflections on the coffee pot worked well. The depiction of the handle was difficult as there wasn’t much contrast in tone between parts of the handle and the body of the pot. I found it harder to depict the surface of the white china cup which was glossy but not as reflective as the coffee pot. In the second image (right) I tried to make the image cover more of the A2 paper. In doing this I lost the proportions of the cup and coffee pot. I also was getting tired and finding it hard to concentrate.

I liked the gap between the cup and the pot.

I didn’t really look at composition in this exercise. I could have made it visually more satisfying (because the tones would be less confusing) and also easier to draw if I’d set it up with greater contrast in some areas.