Posted in Assignment 3, Assignments, Coursework, Part 3

Part 3 Reflection

Assignment 3

Fit to brief


The image includes both natural and man made objects, with plenty of scope for demonstrating depth. Oddly for the Langdales there wasn’t that much water vapour in the air the day I took the visual notes, and so there wasn’t much aerial perspective present. I considered adding it anyway, but I quite like the darker mountains in the far distance.

Depth / Perspective

I’m mostly happy with the way that the perspective works in the image. There is scope for improvement in the look of the trailer in the bottom left, but it doesn’t jar – as my first  attempts at doing this really did. I still struggle somewhat with rotated curves.

Suitability for Submission

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills (40%)

There was significant scope for the demonstration of composition and perspective within  the selected image. This includes both observational skills and a level of construction in the creation of the image.

Quality of Outcome (20%)

I’m happy with the quality of the final image, especially since this is the first time I’ve tried an image of this scale and style. I’m glad that I decided to avoid colour in the assignment this time, as I feel the charcoal fits the subject well. There is also, admittedly, a level of playing it safe in avoiding colour in the image this time. I have a way to go before I can create an image I’m as happy with as I am this one. Some of my experiments in this part have gone some way towards that, but there is still a way to go.

Demonstration of Creativity (20%)

I’ve deliberately not focused on the study of other artists during the part, so as to avoid any “hide bound” feel to my work in the part. As such the approaches to building the image are drawn more from my own experimentation rather than by comparing and contrasting with the work of other artists. I’m hopeful that this has resulted in an image that demonstrates significant creativity.

Context (20%)

Having deliberately avoided over emphasising the work of other artists during the part its hard to claim that the piece has a strong artistic context. I have considered other artists in the work, so there is some context, but this is a balancing act that I feel I need to work on over my course.

Part 3

This part has taken me an extended time to complete, and overall has involved a lot more actual drawing (mostly in my sketchbook) than parts 1 and 2. It has involved a lot of experimentation with media and approaches to building images, as well as following the instructions of the different projects and exercises. At this point I’m not clear whether I overdid the work, or should have done much more. The scope of part 3 is massive – as was that of part 2 in many ways.

Evolving Approach

I find it interesting looking back at how my approach to the projects and exercises has changed from when I started the Foundation Drawing course. Initially I simply followed the instructions as written, and submitted the work that resulted. My tutor at the time wasn’t impressed, and started me on a path whereby I felt I needed to  provide an analysis and historical context before putting pencil to paper. I struggled to rework my approach to working under his tutelage, and then shifted to another tutor. Her style was very different, and she focused on my drawing rather than provision of a historic context.

Starting the Foundation Drawing unit I was still trying to produce relatively finished drawings in fairly small numbers. I was trying to produce ‘finished’ drawings for each project and exercise. My current tutor has encouraged me to focus on producing m=lots of drawings, and to focus on doing drawing – and lots of it. To progress a fast experimentation cycle is encouraged, referring back to other artists mainly in respect of the work I’m doing. That is, focus on the drawing, which is what I’ve tried to do in this part – mainly sketchbook experiments. The results are interesting, even more interesting is looking back at the journey  in images:

Overall it being quite a journey. An interesting thought is that progress is happening, but definitely isn’t linear. I focus on one thing and something else drops back, more like a squishy squeeze toy than I’m used to. The next part is likely to be particularly challenging, as I’ve struggle with the human form for a while. (Look back at my Life Drawing to see what I mean.)

What works?

The experimental and “Lots of Drawing” approach, rather than a focus on finished drawings, is producing a wider range of learning over time. The use of drawing on the train is also helpful for this experimental learning, even though this is mainly dependent on drawing from photographic reference. In drawing from photographs, however, I’m trying to depend less on trying to reproduce the photograph and more on trying to interpret the image.

What doesn’t?

For many of the drawing in the part I have deliberately decided not to focus on technical accuracy, which has lead to some fairly basic rendering errors in places. The drawing of the Neptune, for example, could have been significantly improved by the application of some fairly basic linear perspective. Selecting when to use which approach is going to be one of those on-going decision points.

I still have a way to go with colour, and selecting the colour I need to get the effect I want. This isn’t too much of a surprise, but it means that I need to spend more time experimenting with colour media. This is one area that it may be worth considering getting a bit “hide bound” and learning from others.

What would I do differently next time?

I’ve also slowed down on the side Drawing during this part, which is a side effect of a new job I started in late April and my modified working arrangements. I need to find a way to get back to this for Part 4. I may also have to go back to theory a bit in Part 4, as the proportions and structure of the human body involve a significant amount of theory.

Lastly, I need to find a way to make time available for my non-course art work. I’ve got a place at the Art Unequalled show, and am likely to start to try and show my work a few time a year from here. That means making some saleable work, which should also move my overall practice forwards.

What to take forwards?

The drawing experiments and sketchbook working is good for my progress, and I suspect that I need to do even more of that for the next part.

I feel I could spend a lot of time on landscape and outdoor drawing. It resonates well with me in a way that the still life didn’t really. Ideally I would like to spend even more time drawing “en plein air”. Possibly a subject matter for Part 5?

Any happy accidents?

The discovery that I like working with an ink and wash format was definitely a happy accident, and may form a strong path into further colour work. Similarly, with practice and experimentation I feel the use of soft pastels may prove fruitful for me. Either may have been viable approaches for the final Assignment piece, but I felt charcoal would fit the effect I was going for better.

Actions from previous tutor feedback

I have taken the following significant actions based on the previous feedback:

  1. Changed the way I approach documenting in my learning log. I am now producing smaller numbers of blog items, with a basic format of one Blog article per Project. I then have a few separate articles.
  2. I’ve changed the artist mindmap so that the list of artists and the mind map parts are separate. Beyond that, however, the map hasn’t been extended significantly because I’ve been concentrating more on doing and experimentation.
  3. I’ve focused on sketchbook experimentation over producing finished pieces, including exploring the complexities and challenges of a piece before starting on a full drawing. As part of this I am doing more “thumbnail” drawings than full size ones.

I’m optimistic that this has resulted in an improved approach overall.

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