Feedback, written up by myself based on a video session…
Overall, this part represents good assignment submission, where you have clearly enjoyed yourself and improved you observational drawing. You have clearly engaged with the part and learned a lot about drawing and the use of negative space. The work shows good progress through the exercises and the sketchbook.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
In terms of the Foundation course being a place to get a breathing space and build some skills in Drawing, the course is being successful. I particularly like this the original from which the copy is made. It has a tenderness about the marks, and looks like an etching. (I’m sure you would enjoy etching as a process.) The chosen subject matter (gypsy pegs) was interesting, as they are nicely ambiguous and interesting forms. The aspect of looking down on them and them being near to the wall gives the image an intimacy. The whole series of drawings has worked well.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Much of the sketchbook is showing good progress in observation and building observational drawings up to the penultimate drawing of 3 sheep. In the beginning there are a lot of pieces that are illustrations or cartoons, with an element of doodling. Working through the book it gets progressively more about working out how to approach a drawing, up to the penultimate drawing of 3 sheep. This is the result of much of the previous exploration, and shows good use of negative space.
The last drawing, a tree, was more illustrative and less observational. On discussion, you stated that this was the result of experimenting with colour in the drawing. At the moment, your use of colour is too static, because colour is very intangible and volatile. Colour perception is modified per the observer’s expectations and the context of the colour within the overall image. When we are looking at colour we are translating complex information in a dynamic way. To begin with colour don’t overstate its singularity, look for the other parts of the colour.
When using dry media, such as the coloured pencils, go in gradually. In the drawing of the sheep, for example, you might start by adding a tiny bit of blue into the grey of the background. The sheep are in a field, so there will be green. If there is green there will also be blue and yellow. The darker greens will be more of a blue, and the highlights will be more of a yellow. Only then start to feed in the greens. Colour mixing is harder with dry media, because you need to use hatching and weaving to achieve it.
When mixing with paint: Start with a particular red, yellow and blue as the basis of your palette (with some white) and mix all the tones you need from there. These starting colours are the basis of your palette – rather than using all of the tubes from the range. The choice of initial colour, however, can be quite playful. The selection of these base colours allows a wide range of possibilities in how the colours of the picture are built up. By sticking with a limited set you will have a harmonious palette. Many students start with too many tubes of paint initially as they are easy to buy, whereas mixing colours is much harder.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Hands and feet were a challenging brief. You’ve gone about it in the right way – understanding the bones, understanding the muscles and building the drawing up from this. You could have gone more dramatic with your tones – darker behind to throw the toe out. If you are going to go for one, then go for the darkest to achieve a better tonal range.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
The sketchbook contains a good range of questions, which makes it clear that you are considering the approach to drawing and finding a way to structure the analysis. In perspective drawing remember that parallel vertical lines usually stay parallel and vertical. The is easier to retain when drawing on a vertical surface that on a horizontal sketchbook. There are clearly exceptions, where 3-point perspective becomes relevant. In most artwork, even much abstract work, you can still see vertical and horizontal aspects and relationships. There are a few artists who don’t, like Odilon Redon, but most people have an inbuilt sensitivity to the horizontal and the vertical. Often student drawings don’t keep into this framework sufficiently.
A useful approach, proposed in a letter by Vigée Le Brun, when drawing might be to have the subject and easel so that you can “flick” your eyes between them. Then have a second easel with a mirror positioned so that you can see the drawing in it. This can be a good way to help you see errors in the drawing more quickly. Her advice was about your physical body, and how to stand to improve accuracy. As soon as you glace away from the work you will lose the reference and reduce accuracy.
Keep looking at and analysing art then feeding that back into your own work, that is “Contextualising” your work with other artists. As you go forward to a degree you should start looking at more artists and extend your artistic experiences. A degree has a critical edge in its approach. You need to interrogate the idea of what drawing is, and what art is.
You need to consider the concept of “Critical Review”, and how that feeds back into your work. Consider the what, why and how of other artist’s approach and how that can be used in your own work. That is a significant element of studying art at degree level, and you need to understand whether this is something that you can engage well with.
Critically engaged here isn’t about judging, more about understanding. Why do I prefer one form over another? What kinds do I prefer? What might this mean for my work? What ideas are being explored? Why? What might make this more interesting?
Pointers for the next assignment
- Work needs to become more practice lead but critically engaged if moving towards a degree.
- Consider looking at, in a critical fashion, more artists work. Try looking at a couple of artists for each piece, with a view to linking their work to what is being done. Possibly look at Sculptors who have used these processes. The idea is to get used to doing this sort of Contextual study and gain a better feeling for what degree level study might be.
- Talk to the Programme Lead on moving forwards into Sculpture as part of a Fine Art degree.
- Research home printing methods, such as Collographs.
- For Narration: Figure drawing can be really hard. If the figure drawing is causing frustration consider approaching it using other forms. Maybe sheep, or other animals. The idea is to experiment with juxtaposition.
- Consider creative ways of approaching Life Drawing for practicing figure drawing.
- When sending Assignment 5 there is no need to have the final images professionally printed. The full size image can be transferred electronically if needed.