Suitability for submission
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills
The pieces of Project 4.1 and 4.3 have required me to develop a number of new technical skills to produce – especially around line art, production of a wider tonal range and drawing without the use of an eraser. These should be tested quite well in parts 5 if I do the print and narrative options, as I intend. I’m happy with the composition, and that scope that it allowed to demonstrate tonal range in the drawings. I’m also fairly happy with the level of observational skill and interest in the drawings, despite being able to see a number of issues retrospectively. The hands were a particular challenge in Project 4.3. I had to look into anatomy and do plenty of practice to even come up with a passable set of hand images. The feet were slightly less so, but still quite a challenge.
I am finding that the way I approach a drawing is changing, and the general approach in the exercises of relying less on correction via eraser and more on building an image to allow correction was useful. This integrates well with some of the life drawing demonstrations that I’ve seen.
Quality of Outcome
The project stretched me in a number of areas, and the work produced at the end of the assignment exceeded what I was capable of at the beginning. I am starting to consider other aspects of the drawing over simply how to get a fair rendition of the subject, such as how to approach mark making and provide interesting context, though there is a way to go before I will be happy that I’m making good progress here. Interestingly, this maps into my sculpture work as well – as I’ve not put sufficient effort in these aspects in my carvings previously.
Demonstration of Creativity
I don’t think this shows through well in the Project 4 exercises, but this is an area I believe that I am starting to consider and make progress in. The addition of sculpture and developing artistic style into this blog provides some context on my thoughts outside the drawing course, which will hopefully be interesting. I’m finding it useful to consider how this ties the course study into a wider context of what I want to make.
My blogging about considering context is somewhat behind my actual consideration. My writing to do list has a number of to be written articles, which will appear “real soon now.” I think I am beginning to understand and work with the way that Stealing like an artist (https://austinkleon.com/steal/) operates, and am starting to work and think this way. The blog posts on Rembrandt Etchings, Sheep Landscape and Moonshine illustrate the direction of travel. Hopefully I will get around to writing up my thoughts on Petals and Claws (https://ruthincraftcentre.org.uk/exhibitions/petals-and-claws/) and the Hokusai exhibition (http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/hokusai.aspx) at the least. Many of the works and exhibitions I’m going to are giving me a lot to think about.
For this course; my non-course making and drawing (in fact most things outside my working day in London my biggest challenge is getting enough time into it. Where possible I do write up and sketching work on the train, which means I am doing more drawing from photographs than I might like. I can do quite a bit of internet and some book research on the train, but am limited on the amount of art I can do. I did try doing some electronic drawing with a cheap Wacom tablet this way, which was partially successful. I may try this again when it comes to the storyboarding in the next part. I do prefer to work with “real” materials though, which is why I haven’t tried this much for a while. Overall, this limits the number of parallel investigations I can do, and the amount of experimentation that I can try. There is always much more I would like to do than I can do, so I have to continually choose what next.
The exercises in part 4 have been very useful, as has the research that I’ve needed to do to progress the projects. I have definitely found hands and feet a weakness during drawing and carving in the past, and these sorts of exercises are helping – slowly, but surely. To be honest I would like to have done all of the part 4 exercises two or three more times, and I think that the results would have improved further. Time, however, didn’t allow that.
The work on the part has also made me consider my approach to researching a projects, building an image and making marks overall. This is in conjunction with a deeper consideration of context, concept and composition. I think I still have a way to go to truly be considering the meaning of other artists work, and so my own. It is, however, starting to come together in my mind. All of this research, sketching and experimenting takes time though.
The Course so far, and moving forwards
Reflecting on the course as a whole is a bit of a rollercoaster. I started not knowing what to expect, and approached the exercises in a bit of a “happy go lucky” fashion. I took the project briefs at face value and simply followed the instructions to produce a work that fits the brief. I spent quite a bit of effort trying to figure out what I was expected to do on an academic art course. My first feedback from the tutor felt like a bit of a kicking, but did start to answer that question.
With the work on part 2 I started to try to get my head around the feedback and the my approach to working on the projects. I built my approach along stronger lines, but was still working without a real approach. My approach to documenting my thoughts and reflections, however, still left a good deal to be desired based on the feedback I received.
For part 3 I totally reworked how I approached the course, and also had a change of tutor. The feedback was much better, which I think was partly due to each of these factors. Between part 1 and part 3 the amount of work I was putting into the projects and course as a whole increased dramatically. For this part 4 I’ve continued the level of work and research from part 3, and have tried to keep the rigour in the approach. I’ve also tried to extend this into my wider practice, though with mixed success.
The reason I’m mentioning this is that I think this more structured approach to working will need to continue into my practice as a whole. Working out subject, composition, proportions, context and meaning needs to become part of my working approach for creating a piece. Sketches, experimentation and alternative approaches all need to be considered as part of designing my final pieces. I started this course hoping that by improving my drawing I could improve my sculpture, and it looks likely that this will happen. What I hadn’t realised was that by developing a more rigorous approach, which the course has encouraged, I would probably get far more improvement than the drawing improvements. I am very optimistic that this will turn out to be the case in the long run.