Posted in Assignment 2, Assignments, Coursework, Part 2, Research & Reflection

Part 2 Feedback and Reflection

In the following extract I’ve retained the relevant feedback for my development and removed content which seems inappropriate to share. Missing content is denoted with “…”. My initial reflection on the feedback follows it.

Overall Comments

In the blog you write about your research method. It would be good to use drawing as the principle research method. When you spend time with a subject and forget about what’s ‘right’ you make some good work. At the moment though, you tend to be hidebound by the discoveries / methods of others. Allow yourself to investigate the media and the subject THROUGH drawing and not through reading about other people’s way of making things.

You’ve produced a lot of writing about the work you’ve made and the work of others that you’ve seen. That’s great – and thanks for highlighting some of those pieces in the ‘submission notes’ – but it means that there’s a lot of thing for me to get through. I won’t comment on everything but will pull out the drawings that have potential so that you can focus on building on the successes of making, which is your own empirical research.

Assignment 2 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the 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 pass 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 exercises and assignment

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

You’re deliberately addressing the desire to fiddle and make detailed pieces and it’s working.

The large ‘Material Differences’ drawing is the best thing here, I think. It’s a complex and bold drawing which eschews detail for rhythm and impact. More please. I’d like to have read a lot more about how it emerged from the ‘quick sketches’. Why that view? What that medium? Why those marks? How do you think it went? See the list of analytical questions I wrote last time.

The final assignment piece is less convincing, but on the way you have made some good studies. The A4 piece on black board is more exciting than the large piece. That’s partly because the black space is reduced: there’s more intensity to the image that gets dissipated when the drawing is bigger. If you scale up the size of the paper, you need to scale up the size of the media accordingly to retain the same ‘feel’.

The drawings that have the lichen as ‘white on black’ have a presence, down to the marks you’ve used, that is missing from their coloured equivalents. (Think about the drawings when drawing trees next time).

The daffodils piece needs more work. The background seems too loose and, yes, the composition needs work. when you notice that something could be improved, it’s worth making it again to see if you’re right.

The various ink drawings (shells and so on) are getting there. The black line forces you to be decisive. The Still life with line, though small, is good. Try and make more preparatory drawings rather than photographs (this goes for the whole submission), unless you want to explore the space between photography and drawing a la Hockney.

The broccoli drawing in ‘prismacolor’ pencils looks interesting. There’s an ‘all over’ quality that could suit you. The background being as intense as the ostensible subject that gives that ‘Matisse-flatness’ mentioned last time. Coloured pencils are hard to use though, Getting intense colour is VERY difficult and they tend to bring out a method of ‘drawing then colouring in’ in students. Use with caution as it’s hard to edit and amend on the fly.

The cabbage is a good subject. I’d like to have seem LOADS of drawings of this from different angles as it has such an interesting shape.

I think this is where your ‘book research’ is hindering a bit. You’re finding out that there are LOADS of ways to go about drawing even something as humble as a cabbage. I bet you could find thirty more. Though it’s interesting to see how others have approached a subject, what’s important is that you find a way of approaching it and you’re more likely to find that out by drawing cabbage. It may be that you base your approach on someone else’s at first, but you’ll move past that in time.

To be honest, I’m torn as to how to advise you as it’s great to have a student who looks at some much art, but remember that you’ll be assessed mainly on what you make and not on your knowledge of art history. Even the art history you are marked on is related to the contextualisation of you own work. I hope that makes sense.

The sculptural qualities could have been brought out more by heightening the tonal range.  Although it’s a completely different subject, look at how Renato Guttuso exaggerates to give real sense of a crumpled newspaper and creased clothes and think how that could be applied to the leaves of the cabbage.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

The ‘quick sketches’ you’ve made around the house might be the strongest piece of visual research you’ve done. Over several drawings you’ve developed a way of representing a space you know well. There’s a sense that you’re wrestling with a problem and coming up with some answers. Well done. Working in a series format like this is useful as it generates a lot of material and also takes the pressure off producing one ‘perfect’ work. In the next section you’ll be doing some similar exercises but outside. Use these quick sketches as the basis for that part of the work, Make lots. Think about what you’ve done. Make lots more, but bringing what you’ve learned through making to bear on the new work. (Repeat ad inf.).  The images on the blog appear a bit bolder than their ‘real-life’ counterparts. That’s a product of them being photographed. Think about how the blackness of the lines in the photos can be made in the actual drawings.

You’re using a sketchbook when commuting. Keep doing this even if not everything works.

The spiral bound book has better work in it than the other book. I put some post it notes in to mark some points for discussion in the hangout the never happened. Look at those pages and reflect on the work there. Generally it’s of a higher standard — or simply more interesting to look at — than the rest.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

The ‘mind map’ you have created is a good start. At the moment it is — as far as I can see — a list of links to other sites (I haven’t clicked on them all to check). At the moment each term is isolated from the others. Plotting connections between terms and people demonstrates much more. Showing that you understand how Cèzanne’s work gives rise to Cubism is much more important than knowing about Cézanne and Cubism in isolation.

You write about seeing the Modigliani show and it having a profound effect on you. That needs to be made much clearer. You’ve written about the visit(s) in some detail but I want to read in the entries about YOUR work how seeing Modigliani has made a  difference. Connect to the other artists more when explaining your decisions and when when reflecting on the effectiveness of the work you make. You should see your work in a kind of conversation with that of others.

The article about Van Gogh is a good find. Think about how the rhythm or ‘flow’ of the form of objects can be shown with line drawing like this, especially in the next section.

Don’t worry about trying to find out everything before proceeding. Colour theory, for example, is covered in Painting 1.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

AS mentioned before you have a thorough way of working on the log when it comes to research into other artists and their work.

You need to reflect more on the work you make and analyse it and not just describe what you’ve done. For example the ‘Material Differences’ entry is less than four lines. Go into detail about the problems (taking the Material Differences entry as an example, what are the perspective issues? Why is detail kept ‘low’ and how does that change the experience of making? What does it allow you to do? What do think you can take forward into other work? Is the approach reminiscent of another artist’s way of making?). Without you granting this insight into what you’re ware of learning it’s hard to comment on the work meaningfully and even harder to assess. Art’s not a ‘right/wrong’ subject and assessment is often based on the intentions the maker has in terms of ‘good/bad’ outcomes.

If you want to look at other student’s logs to see how they write about their work, I recommend starting with this one (and the blogpost I wrote about it): https://tllog1.wordpress.com/ https://weareoca.com/student-work/student-work-therese-livonnes-sketchbooks/

Suggested reading/viewing

Context 

At the moment it’s important to focus on the drawing, so don’t go ‘down the rabbit hole’ of research as much as you have been doing. That said, it’s worth looking at the following artists as they can provide food for thought for the next section:

  • Look at the piece I wrote for the OCA about John Virtue to see how drawings made int he field can be compiled to make new works in the studio: https://weareoca.com/ fine-art/john-virtue/
  • Egon Schiele is perhaps best know for his figure drawing, but he made some exquisite landscape studies that are rigorously composed and arranged and that lean heavily on his ability with line. There’s a strong sense of design in the work and he uses detail in places but leaves bold blank areas as a kind of pictorial counterweight. Worth investigating.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Follow up on the suggestions I have made.
  • More drawing as research. Find your own answers more.

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

Strengths Areas for development
Good research skills when it comes to looking at other art VISUAL research that emerges from your own practice
Sketch book practice is improving. Used it as the basis for development. Analysis of own work. Be more critical of your results and go in to detail. Also, link to the work of others

Reflection on this feedback

I’ve needed to consider the feedback my tutor has given me this time quite carefully. In many ways it is very positive, but feel that if I can really work the feedback into how I am approaching the course then I may be able to make a significant step forwards. I think the feedback condenses down into a few major categories.

Research, Reflection and Approach on Exercises

Allow yourself to investigate the media and the subject THROUGH drawing and not through reading about other people’s way of making things. …More drawing as research …when you notice that something could be improved, it’s worth making it again…

I’ve looked at the suggested blogs and considered the feedback in the context of the way I’ve been working. I think this is the result of both what I’m doing and the way that I present it.

In part 2 I did more visual research as well as a level of “hidebound” research. This has come through to a degree in the part 2 write up, but I need to shift my write up focus to what I am doing and more explicitly reflecting about it. Where I reference and write up other artists I’ll separate this more explicitly from the coursework – keeping only references that relate directly to the work I’m making. I then need to do more, and fix issues as and when I consider them significant. This will give me a balancing act between development and deadlines – but that is a balancing act I can manage.

I will also restructure the way I write up the learning log to reflect the experiment/reflect cycle that I’m using. Some of this is appearing in the learning logs and some not at the moment. The experimentation and reflection is also often separated from the “result” and later “reflection” at the moment. I may even have to do that retrospectively on the Part 1 and Part 2 work. If my tutor misses the underlying developmental narrative then there is a real risk the Assessors would as well.

Sketchbook and Photography

Try and make more preparatory drawings rather than photographs (this goes for the whole submission), unless you want to explore the space between photography and drawing a la Hockney. … You’re using a sketchbook when commuting. Keep doing this even if not everything works.

This one has its own challenges, as the way I’ve been working (especially whilst commuting) is a lot easier from a photograph than from memory or imagination. There are subjects around me on a commuter train, but of limited nature. This is where photography comes to the rescue. I will, however, try to use “live” sketchbook and finished drawing as far as possible. I will also defocus the use of the photograph in the write up of the process. It’s the drawing and visual research that important here.

On a slightly separate note, I’ve built up a large library of interesting images over time that I could use as the seed of drawing. When I looked through them for a foundation drawing assignment I found a large number of images that might be useful. I’m loath to ignore that resource when considering possible drawings in Part 3. I’m going to assume the approach works as long as the photograph is the start of the work, rather than the work being reproducing a photograph. The latter is something I explicitly want to avoid, for reasons I’ve mentioned previously.

Other Artists

Find your own answers more. … The cabbage is a good subject. I’d like to have seem LOADS of drawings of this from different angles as it has such an interesting shape. … I think this is where your ‘book research’ is hindering a bit. You’re finding out that there are LOADS of ways to go about drawing even something as humble as a cabbage. I bet you could find thirty more. … but remember that you’ll be assessed mainly on what you make and not on your knowledge of art history. Even the art history you are marked on is related to the contextualisation of you own work. I hope that makes sense. … The ‘mind map’ you have created is a good start. At the moment it is — as far as I can see — a list of links to other sites (I haven’t clicked on them all to check). At the moment each term is isolated from the others. … You’ve written about the visit(s) in some detail but I want to read in the entries about YOUR work how seeing Modigliani has made a difference. Connect to the other artists more when explaining your decisions and when when reflecting on the effectiveness of the work you make. You should see your work in a kind of conversation with that of others. … John Virtue … Egon Schiele … Renato Guttuso

This feedback has caused me to ponder what to do about it. I think I understand what is being said, and why it is important. My first step is in the separation of writing about coursework and write up of artist consideration noted above. The next step is to separate the different elements of the consideration that was in the mindmap: A set of pages I’ve written about art; and an Artistic timeline. I feel I still have a need to explore Art History to at least a degree. This is partly a hangover from my previous two tutors, and partly that I feel it is difficult to “Steal like an Artist” where I have such a small artistic experience to steal from.

I find trying to “get my head” around what other artists do and what drives them interesting to a degree, and it can initiate thoughts for visual research. Take the Hockney reference. That sent me on a tangent, as I wasn’t aware of that aspect of his work. That lead me to an article about his 2014 reverse-perspective work, which might be of interest in the landscape work. It triggered a thought about an (unsuccessful) attempt I had at trying to represent a landscape piece with curvilinear perspective. The Hockney pieces have a similar feel to what I was trying to achieve there. Might that give me a start to solving that challenge?

I will, however, try to make sure:

  • the viewing of other artists and writing doesn’t overwhelm the time spent drawing;
  • or stop me producing my own visual research;
  • and to ensure the hidebound work doesn’t unduly influence my own style development.

That may be a challenge, but it is clearly needed to progress.

Image thoughts

You’re deliberately addressing the desire to fiddle and make detailed pieces and it’s working. … The sculptural qualities could have been brought out more by heightening the tonal range. … The ‘quick sketches’ you’ve made around the house might be the strongest piece of visual research you’ve done. Over several drawings you’ve developed a way of representing a space you know well. …Working in a series format like this is useful as it generates a lot of material and also takes the pressure off producing one ‘perfect’ work. … In the next section you’ll be doing some similar exercises but outside. Use these quick sketches as the basis for that part of the work, Make lots. … Think about what you’ve done. Make lots more, but bringing what you’ve learned through making to bear on the new work. (Repeat ad inf.). … The final assignment piece is less convincing, but on the way you have made some good studies. The A4 piece on black board is more exciting than the large piece. That’s partly because the black space is reduced: there’s more intensity to the image that gets dissipated when the drawing is bigger. If you scale up the size of the paper, you need to scale up the size of the media accordingly to retain the same ‘feel’.

This is in some ways the simplest section to consider, and in others needs more consideration. The points being made make sense, and on reflection are points that I can use to aid myself in moving forwards. The scaling up, for example, is an interesting area for reflection. If I am going to make small experimental drawings then I need to consider the approach of scaling them up without losing the interest of the piece. The need to make multiple pieces of work and reflect on them is something I thought I’d made progress on in Part 2 – but I clearly have a way to go. This is an interesting development in the next stage of the journey.

Analysis of own work

You need to reflect more on the work you make and analyse it … For example the ‘Material Differences’ entry is less than four lines. Go into detail about the problems (taking the Material Differences entry as an example, what are the perspective issues? Why is detail kept ‘low’ and how does that change the experience of making? What does it allow you to do? What do think you can take forward into other work? Is the approach reminiscent of another artist’s way of making? … I’d like to have read a lot more about how it emerged from the ‘quick sketches’. Why that view? What that medium? Why those marks? How do you think it went? See the list of analytical questions I wrote last time. … Be more critical of your results and go in to detail. Also, link to the work of others …

Analysis of work (mine or others) seems to be an area I need to work on. I’ve considered that previously, but I need to consider this more directly. The initial questions suggested in the last Assignment Feedback (What works?; What doesn’t?; What would I do differently next time?; What can I take forward into other work? Are there any ‘happy accidents’ that I need to process?) Will make a good start point as a checklist, and possibly the previous analysis and checklist thoughts might provide a lens for consideration. This I’ll need to practice.

Actions

  • Rework the art timeline and mindmap;
  • Work out a better approach for Project and Exercise write up and apply going forwards;
  • Retrospectively modify the part 1 and 2 write up as far as is useful;
  • Make more work as part of doing my own visual research;
  • Use a more analytical approach to consideration of my own work;
  • Separate more clearly Coursework and consideration of other artists;
  • Make sure the writing and other artist observation doesn’t overwhelm the time spent drawing; or stop me producing my own visual research;
  • Ensure the hidebound work doesn’t unduly influence my own style development;
  • Ensure photography is only used as a start point/appropriately;
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