Posted in Foundation Drawing - ASSIGNMENT 2, Foundation Drawing - ASSIGNMENTS, Notes, Research & Reflection

Reflection on Tutor feedback

On consideration I’ve decided that it is appropriate to reflect on my tutor’s feedback again. This is more for my own thinking than as a response. After my Assignment 2 feedback I realised that I hadn’t understood and/or followed some of his advice. Considering each point explicitly at this point seems worthwhile as a completeness check, and to build a “further work” list.

Submission Format

I think I’ve fixed the format, and my tutor acknowledged the improvement. I still need to make a judgement on what to include as a sketchbook and any optional pieces. He seems happy with the idea that, other than a covering letter, all of my written submission is via the blog.


Assignment 1: Try not to over-draw and include too much detail before you have established the form. Approach your drawing as you would an essay – take notes – (e.g. establish the form without detail) – then organize into introduction (establish composition/design), body (start to include detail) and conclusion (refine the drawing).

I should tattoo this one on my arm. I keep getting a similar comment form other people – including my wood carving tutors in Austria. “Going off on one” into detail before the form is fully defined seems to be my sin of choice when it comes to art. (Maybe other things too.)

Assignment 1:  The most important thing to do is not become too descriptive or stylized in your drawing….

Assignment 2:  Please learn to tone down detail in favour of structure – the grain of the wood and the importance of the reflection are less important than the subject of the drawing – don’t make it more important – tone down the extraneous detail.  … Study drawings by Morandi, Vuillard, Tiepolo, Sickert, Hockney’s (line drawings in particular) and look at the importance given to the subject and how they employ detail only where it is necessary. Work at your construction and refine it.

This is a judgement that is a bit of a recurring theme in my work. I’m not keen on the excessively detailed / Photorealistic work – even if I had the skills. This is something I have been increasingly aware of recently. Neither, however, do I connect with work that is heading into the abstract. That puts me on a balancing point which this comment describes well. I suspect I’ll be learning about the correct balance for a while yet. The work by Morandi in particular was interesting, and I have considered this in more detail than the other artists listed.


Assignment 1: “I encourage my students to ask questions about their work and to use a ‘tool kit’ of evaluation both for their own work and for the evaluation of other artists work. …”

Assignment 2:  Well if it does not look like a spoon then the drawing is not working and you need to ask why. This is the key issue to making progress – ask questions and if something does not look right –act on it. … In this case the spoon does not look like a spoon because you have given no importance to the spoon – the form is weak  – it is completely undermined by irrelevant details – …  The spoon does not have a physical presence. Look hard at the spoon and analyse what you are seeing – because you are not observing.

Assignment 2:  Keep asking questions when you draw and if something does not look right ask your self why and try to correct it.

Assignment 1: Include context (background) in your drawings do not draw in isolation.

Assignment 1: Do not use graphic devices such as sudden areas of blank space

Assignment 1: Think about viewpoint

Assignment 1: Think about light variation on surface and phrasing

Assignment 1: Improve tonal range

Assignment 1: Be aware of light source … Include immediate and cast shadows

I’ve been working on all of these – though still have a way to go. As in the background on the spoon, where I went from no background to an over detailed extreme. Keep working….

Considering work, my own and others

Assignment 1: The ‘tool kit’ comprises of the following headings that I call the ‘five C’s ‘(my own invention to help students) – Concept – Construction – Composition –Context – Colour (contrast and tone).

I have started applying this approach, and have considered other ways to analyse and consider work. A tromp through Art history via OTIS on iTunes has also helped my understanding of the importance of Context in an Artist’s work. I was particularly surprised by the context of the impressionists (based on that that), whereby the relatively neutral scenes were full of meaning relating to the Franco-Prussian war and its aftermath in Paris. They were showing life returning to normal, working and middle class people all together after a war and massacre in the very environments they are showing as modern and tranquil. Their work was also rejected by the Academy system, due to is quick rendering and necessarily less finished approach than academic art of the time. Later workers then rejected it as too feminine in nature. All strange given the images themselves.

Viewing and Reading

Assignment 1: Sketchbooks of artists are always good to look at and learn from. I recommend that you try to get hold of some of the sketchbooks published by Dover Publications including Cezanne’s sketchbook, Degas dancers and Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook published by Thames and Hudson.

I’ve followed this one through, and benefitted from it in understanding and in terms of the work. I particularly enjoyed Henry Moore’s sheep – probably more than the majority of his work.

Assignment 1: Please find out about and read books on Chardin, Manet (still life) and Giorgio Morandi.

So far I’ve considered Morandi more than the others, so more work to do here.

Assignment 1: Also look at the drawings of Corot edited by Arlette Serullaz and published by Louvre Drawing Gallery.  This book is particularly revealing in terms of the different media Corot used and the different approaches including swift pen and ink drawings and very detailed pencil drawings-

This book seems to be about £60 or so on Amazon in the UK. There is a much cheaper copy in France, but they won’t ship it to the UK. Frustrating when the original cover price was £12.95. I may try to get it through a library.

Assignment 2: … Study drawings by Morandi, Vuillard, Tiepolo, Sickert, Hockney’s (line drawings in particular) and look at the importance given to the subject and how they employ detail only where it is necessary. Work at your construction and refine it.

Again, Morandi has received more attention than most of the others, though I have spent some effort on the others.

Learning Logs and Sketchbooks

Assignment 1: Your learning log has some evidence of self –reflection and you are monitoring your progress through the exercises but I would like to see a more questioning approach to looking at artworks and to responding to them in relation to your own work.

Assignment 1: I would like to see your responses to works of art and exhibitions using the ‘tool kit ‘ that I gave you. So that you analyze the message in the work and look at how it is constructed, composed etc.

Assignment 1: You must also learn that the sketchbook is not just for the exercises on the course. The sketchbook is your visual diary and the test bed for experiments, daily recording and practice.

Assignment 2: Your sketchbook shows some improvement but you must use it as a way to improve what you are doing. The sketchbook is where you can tackle difficulties you are having with seeing and responding to what you see. It is where you can experiment, go wrong and even make a mess. It is your working visual journal. Work on your structural drawing , improve your observation of form – try to get the gist of something very quickly – restate and test your self.

 Assignment 2: Your learning log is improving and there is evidence of self reflection but I would like to see a more evidence that you are responding to this self-reflection. Look at artworks to learn from them.

I have also been working on improving my approach to my sketchbook during and around the projects. It will be interesting to see if my tutor believes there has been improvement here. I think there is much still to do. Some of it is a question of what is, and is not, worthy of writing up. Unfortunately I think more write up is needed, or maybe annotation in my sketchbook, as this is the evidence that is needed of what I’ve been up to, thinking and feeling in relation to art in general and my work in particular.

Further work and rework

Assignment 1:  Practice drawing in relation to the fundamental forms of the cube, sphere, cone and cylinder.

I did quite a bit of this between assignments 1 & 2, and in fact since. I think I still have quite a way to go on understanding and being able to reproduce even relatively basic forms though.

Assignment 1:  I would encourage you to experiment with different sizes A3 and A2 rather than tending to confine your drawings to A4 sheets and A5 sketchbooks. Use different papers including ordinary brown wrapping paper, wallpapers, cardboard etc. so that you see what happens to the mark and experience different textures. …. Your contour drawing of the mug is recognizable but I think your problems with form are not helped by a lack of context…. You have used these heavy lines to describe your nose and your left cheek in your selfie on a train drawing do you see this in the photograph?

Assignment 2:  Answer the above questions and take steps to improve the drawings by having another go.

There is quite a bit of feedback here which I read through and considered, but I realise it is an indication that I should repeat the exercises to get improvements. This is still outstanding, and is likely to remain so for a little while yet. I am considering going into a “try again” phase between submitting assignment 2 and receiving the feedback for it.

Providing Evidence

Assignment 1 and 2: Provide evidence of research, discernment, self-evaluation and contextual study in your logbook

This is one comment that I’ve put a fair amount of effort in to since the feedback on Assignment 2. It took me a while to work out both what was needed and how to approach providing evidence in this area. The result is a shift to more of a narrative-based style on my learning log and course work.  This is the subject of other learning log pages.

Future focus areas

  • Structure over detail; subject over background; with balance between descriptive and stylised form.
  • More work on my sketchbook and learning log.
  • Keep Asking questions and acting on the answers.
  • Writing up as annotations in my sketchbook(s), and creating more of a narrative about my learning, thoughts and approach.
  • Extra examination of: Chardin, Manet (still life),  Vuillard, Tiepolo, Sickert, Hockney’s (line drawings in particular)
  • Try to get Corot book edited by Arlette Serullaz.
  • Consider artistic elements more carefully: Composition, viewpoint, light source (direct and cast shadow), tonal range, texture.
  • Keep looking at and analysing art then feeding that back into my own work.

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