Reflection on tutor feedback on Assignment 2

I am pleased that the feedback on Assignment 2 recognises my strengths in drawing and the work I have done to look critically at my own and other artists’ work.

I completely agree that the main areas I can look to incorporate into my practice are:

  • exploring composition much more thoroughly before starting a piece through shifting perspectives, looking at tonal values, lighting, and relationships between objects.
  • through this, moving away from having centrally focused compositions and explore negative space, tonal values and creating a sense of space and also flattening space.
  • linking my research to my practice and taking research and my own reflections into future work

I will also:

  • analyse Pierre Bonnard’s work to look at composition and shifting viewpoints
  • read Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. Rozsika Parker, Griselda Pollock, IB Tauris Ltd (reprint 2013)
  • put notes on my visit to “Flesh” at York Art Gallery on my blog

Tutor feedback from Assignment 2

This is the feedback from my tutor Cheryl Huntbach from Assignment 2. I will put my reflections on this in a separate post.

Thank you for the care taken in editing, selecting and organising your portfolio.  I will comment upon specific aspects under the key headings.

In relation to you reflecting on and responding to feedback at assigment 1: there is evidence of you acting on the Research and Pointers suggested.  This seems to have informed your approach to the preliminary sketches; using different viewing, composition and cropping techniques.

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

An interesting and varied range of sketchbook work.  This evidences an exploratory approach to media and preliminary sketches.

There is evidence in the portfolio of experimenting with a range of media, including combining various pens, pencils and pastels with collage.  This is in relation to the exercises across the assignment and a developing independent project.

Throughout there is ongoing, and often purposeful research incorporating primary and secondary sources.  A lively and curious questioning of a range of research and ideas.

A good breadth of historical, genre and fair currency of practice across drawing and wider fine art practice.

Opportunities for experimentation and exploration are pursued across exercises and the assignment piece.

Assignment 2 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

The assignment is informed by the learning undertaken throughout via exercises and preliminary drawings.

Areas for re-evaluation and development; the negative space though interesting in terms of the shapes between pots, playmobil figure and orchid root- lacks sufficient tonal range to suggest a sense of space or a distinct flattening of space.  Set some specific aims prior to starting the assignment work and test out composition and tonal ranges in preliminary sketches. (Pointers)

The objects and placement have been considered in relation to a balance between positive / negative space and creating a visual narrative between each element.

The composition being central and face-on seems a little obvious.  The figure being central and facing the viewer.  It may have worked better by being side-on, or at angle to the viewer.  Also if placed on the right by the terracotta pot, there could have been a play with complimentary colour:  the cool green/blue of the figure’s top half, juxtaposed against the warmth terracotta of the pot.  More preliminary drawings needed prior to the final assignment. (Pointers)

There are some subtle and sensitive approaches to drawing, within the mark-making and forming of the objects.

A well realised assignment piece utilising a range of media clearly suggesting form and consideration for the use of a complementary, subtle palette.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

A greater and more sustained series of drawings in the sketchbooks.  You are beginning to consciously explore a range of compositional techniques and devices.  This brings more understanding or appreciation for ‘interesting’ compositions.

Continue to challenge the ‘habit’ of a centrally focus composition; whether this be an object, architectural feature or lamp stand.  Try radically shifting your perspective (from typical eye-level perspective) to viewing from above or looking up at the object / subject. (Research & Pointers).

An interesting development of your independent drawing project.  Good idea transposing the random table drawings to design-mag pages.  This could be a very interesting side-project to develop, juxtaposing the messy-line drawings from observed ‘real life’,  against the mediated idealised, slick lifestyle images.

Your confidence in your drawing abilities and observational skills has progressed during this assignment.  Good that you recognise what is working and also able to make decisions, that inform the following drawings and the assignment itself.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

A very broad range of research across historical to current practitioners.  There is some evidence that this is informing how you approach your drawing practice.  

You refer to a blog regarding women’s art history, none of the research seems to be academically referenced.  If you’re interested in this area of research; Griselda Pollock’s ‘Old Mistresses: Women, Art, and Ideology’ is a more reliable source.  It has a very good bibliography to expand upon your knowledge.  (Research)

Good, consistent practice of Harvard referencing throughout.

It would be helpful to more purposefully comment upon how the research might inform, underpin or influence what you are aiming for in your drawings.  For instance you mention Doig and Hume in relation to negative space- how might you apply this understanding to your own work?  Are there other surface and material qualities from their work that you appreciate… how can you utilise and explore these?  (Pointers)

You are archiving your research well sometimes analysing individual works, with supporting reflection on the context in which they sit.  Reflections are generally of a considered, insightful yet concise nature.  Well-pitched critical analysis throughout.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You use your blog well in terms of archiving your progress and development.

There is a good range and breadth of primary and secondary research throughout the assignment.  This is supported by clear and thoughtful questioning, reflection and analysis.  There is room for more consistent commentary on how, in what way you are learning from and could apply this research and analysis to your own learning process. (Pointers)

Good critical analysis of your drawing and reflective process.  

There is a sound development since assignment 1, in that you are reflecting on both what ‘works’ (strengths) and what doesn’t work (weaknesses).  Sometimes you miss the opportunity to take these reflections and insights into aims for future work.  (Pointers)

Suggested reading/viewing


Pierre Bonnard i.e : Nude in the bath, The Dining Room in the Country, Dining Room overlooking the Garden.  Analyse his composition and use of shifting viewpoints. 

Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology

Rozsika Parker, Griselda Pollock , I.B.Tauris Ltd, (reprint 2013)

Pointers for the next assignment


  • Reflect critically on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Explore some radical shifting in your viewing positions when undertaking preliminary sketches / compositions.  Move and shift your object / subject / view-finder / light sources to explore, manipulate your composition, tonal values and  qualities of lighting.
  • Analyse and consider what qualities from Doig and Hume’s work you might apply to your own work.
  • Explore the nature of negative space in preliminary sketches; experiment with a greater range of tonal values to convey a sense of space and also play with the flattening of space.
  • When you make reflections / insights into what works or doesn’t work (in your own and other’s work) it would be useful for you to set some aims.  Ask how you might incorporate this knowledge into your practice?

Assignment 2. Assessment Criteria.

In this piece I used material from a number of previous exercises to reach my final piece.

I enjoyed the monochrome still life of plants from Project 2. Exercise 4. I wanted to explore the idea of negative space further.


I also liked the tiny doll on the windowsill in my drawing for Project 3. Exercise 3. This gave a different feeling of scale to the drawing. This drawing also raised the issue of what a drawing is. Is this a drawing or a painting? I was finding that in working with colour I was focusing less on line and tone.

wp-image-6861431jpg.jpgIn deciding on the composition of my final piece I looked at all my work from the whole of Part 2. Intimacy.


All the work was very different in technique, materials and use of colour. I had wanted to do the monochrome still life with some colour so I tried this out in my sketch book, but I found the drawing dull.


I remembered the effect of the little doll on the windowsill and put this into my next sketch. I also used gel pens and inktense pencils in the sketch to try to force myself into being more experimental and using a drawing rather than painterly style.


I liked the oddness of the group and the scale.

For my final piece I used a viewfinder and decided to use this basic composition but focus in on the scene. This is an A2 drawing using graphite, Inktense pencils and gel pens.


Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I have attempted to use a variety of materials and techniques to reflect the nature of the materials in the composition. The flower petals are smudged graphite and eraser, on the doll I used gel pens and cross-hatching. There is some use of water on Inktense pencil on the bowl, flower pot, succulent and pink flower petals, to give them a more flowing appearance. The rough flower pot has colour pencil line and the background has an intense scribbled line.

The drawing is almost accurate. The top of the flower pot was a bit fudged, the doll is a bit further from the plant pot than in the composition and one of the petals on the flower facing us is a bit wide.

The composition leads the eye around in a circle however, there is no depth to it and it might have been interesting to play around with the positioning of the two pots and the doll a bit more before committing to the final piece.

The colours are accurate and go well together.

The background is not quite as intense as I’d hoped. I like the shape of the negative space and wanted to use water on the pencils to create a rich dark background but after I started drawing I realised the cartridge paper I was using wouldn’t support a lot of water without buckling. This was an error due to lack of experience in using this medium.

Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I like the final picture. I like its slight oddness with the obliviously smiling little figure and the two large plants which seem to be having a conversation. I feel it pulls together a lot of the work I have done on Project 2 and it is satisfying to see my drawings and research into other artists come together in this drawing.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

I think I have made an original piece of work which has built on my previous drawings and sketches. I have used different media although I am still very much a novice with these media. There is a hint of something going on in the picture – even I am not sure what this is – but I like the element of a story going on.

Context reflection – research, critical thinking.

Throughout ‘Part two – Intimacy’ I have found the exercises and research points interesting and challenging. I have attempted to reflect on my learning in my learning log.

I was struck by Gary Hume and Peter Doig’s use of negative space. I also found Winifred Nicholson’s use of light in her flower paintings came to mind long after I viewed the exhibition of her work at MIMA.

Assignment 2. Final piece.


I used Inktense crayons, graphite pencil and gel pens. I decided to draw my arrangement much more closely cropped than my previous sketches with the aim of balancing the negative space with the surrounding objects.

The whole drawing, which took 5 hours, was a series of on the hoof decisions about which media to use. I realised when I added water to the Inktense pencils that the cartridge paper was buckling. I had intended to use water on the background but this issue meant I used colour pencil without water on the background although I used a little water on the succulent, the pink flower sepals and the turquoise bowl.

Overall, I like the oddity of the arrangement with the strange little doll between two enormous (compared to him) plants. I used graphite for the petals of the orchid which worked and I liked the way I could use an eraser to make the highlights on the petals. I like the way the composition leads your eye around the picture and the strong negative shape behind the arrangement.

Before I send this off to my tutor I plan to fill in the background at the top and make the doll’s hands clearer. I’m also going to look again at the tones on the doll as it seems a bit flat.  

I have learned to select the correct paper for water-based media!