Posted in Coursework, Notes, Part 3

Project 3: Composition

It took some re-reading and thinking to understand what this exercise was really asking for. I decided that this was one of the projects which is effectively a single piece of work. The first part is to play with ideas for a major composition. The second part is to create an A3 landscape drawing based on the selected composition.

Exercise 1 Developing your studies

Seaside sunset

Some initial thoughts in my sketchbook…

img_6672 Continue reading “Project 3: Composition”

Posted in Assignment 2, Assignments, Coursework, Part 2, Sketchbook

Project 1: Composition

This has been a fairly long winded Project in its own way. I previously commented on my composition research, which I have been combining with some experiments in different media. I’m beginning to think more when building a composition – which I suppose is a level of success.

The next step, I think, is to move on to the other exercises and apply this new experimenting with media and composition to them. Its likely to be an interesting journey, as I have a lot of new things to think about.

Within the media, the water colour wax crayons have worked OK – but the oil pastels are too crude. They would be best for very large format drawings, or I need to find a way to provide more subtlety in their use. The blending of colour “in situ,” rather than on a palette, is also proving quite a challenge for me – but one I need as however many colours I have available I’ll never have everything I’d like.

Posted in Assignment 2, Assignments, Coursework, Part 2

Composition of Still Life

Despite my tutor’s comment that my book work is ahead of my own work I’ve been re-reading the course notes, and have realised that an area I need to consider in more detail is composition. As such I went off on the research trail again. This time I have a different focus: “How do I produce a good composition?” In particular, of course, this means an initial focus of still life compositions. I believe, however, that most of the “rules” of composition are more generic than this. Continue reading “Composition of Still Life”


Overall Evaluation

Looking back over the work of the course I’m starting to understand how much of a journey it has been. My approach to creating work has changed significantly, as has the work itself. Much of this development has been a result of considering my tutor’s thoughts and comments on the work, which has been enlightening. The following provides some specific commentary on areas I feel have developed significantly over the course:

More drawing: Fairly early in the course, for example, my tutor identified that I have a tendency towards book work rather than actually drawing. This flowed partially from the way that I manage to allocate time to the course and work of the course. As a response to this feedback I started to find ways to use this time to actually draw rather than just writing about it. This had the dual benefit of getting me to do more drawing and less reading about it, and meant that I became more experimental and less “hide bound” (his term) in how I was approaching the course.

Other artist’s work: As the course progressed, I started to find ways to more explicitly link my viewing of artists back into my drawing practice – which has led to an improvement in my approach. This can be observed most effectively in the part 5 working cycles, as I started to more explicitly integrate the linking into my work. The Egon Schiele blog article provides a flavour of this changing approach. At the same time, however, I have been changing the way I view and consider the work of other artist in a more general sense. The National Gallery article on the blog illustrates this changing approach. This new approach underpinned much of the work in Part 5.

Line and tone: Through the course I have been working on a tendency to draw border lines on objects which I don’t fully remove in the final piece. Over the course of the course I have also worked to improve my tonal range, and to use tone effectively to provide an illusion of depth. The issues are clearly visible within some of the submitted pieces and the sketchbooks. See pieces 3 and 6, along with supporting pieces B, C and D. As can be seen in some of the submitted pieces, however, I have made progress in this area. See pieces 8, 9 and 10, along with supporting piece H.

Colour: Another development area for me during the course has been my use of colour, as I started the course with very little colour experience. I have a tendency towards the use of overly vivid colours, almost fauvist, and colour selection based strongly within local colour. I can’t declare a complete victory in this area, or a mastery of colour theory. I can claim, however, to have made significant progress. I am starting to gain a better understanding of colour theory and select hue, value and saturation more carefully. This is a few steps of a journey for me rather than a destination that has been reached. As part of this journey I have started to try painting based on a limited source palette. The act of mixing the paint to the correct hue, value and saturation is helping me to understand and apply colour more effectively.

Composition: The importance of composition and how best to approach it is an area that I feel I have finally started to “get”. I have a long way to go to start to reliably create strong compositions, but at least I am starting to consider the composition as the important element that it is – and find ways to improve my compositions.

Editing work: What to include, what to emphasise and (more importantly) what to leave out is a series of judgements that it has taken me a while to fully appreciate the importance of. As with composition, I feel I have a way to go to truly master the making of such decisions.

Mark making and media: Each new media I approach takes a significant amount of experimentation and practice to work out how to use it effectively. I feel this is one of the factors that enhances my charcoal work, which I have some previous experience with, over much of my colour work. I am, for example, beginning to improve the way that I apply pastel and selecting an appropriate paper for the image that I am trying to make.

More generally, however, I feel that the course has helped me develop in a significant way. I honestly do not feel I would have been able to make such significant progress working just from the course materials without a tutor, and most definitely not on my own without the OCA.

I intend to continue with my drawing work and have started painting as part of my overall practice. I have found an interest in drawing for the sake of drawing, whereas I previously only considered drawing as a means to an end in creating my wood carving work. This is, to me, a somewhat surprising development. My next step with the OCA is to return to sculpture, using drawing to underpin my practice, with Sculpture 1 course. This will should allow me to development my approach to linking my work to other artist’s in a way that I hope will take me on a new sculptural journey.

Contents List

Course Work Blog Physical Work G-drive
Assignment 1   Warm up
Project 1
Project 2
1. Part 1, Project 2  

Odilon Redon tonal drawings.pdf

Part 1 Coursework.pdf

Assignment 2 Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Project 4
Tutor Report and Reflection
2. Part 2, Project 3
3. Part 2, Project 4
A. Part 2, Project 3
Considering part 2.pdf

Composition of Still Life.pdf

Part 2 Coursework.pdf  
Assignment 3       Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Project 4
Project 5
Tutor Report and Reflection
4. Part 3, Project 5 5. Assignment 3 Project 3
Research Point Landscape Artists.pdf

Assignment 4       Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Project 4
Project 5
Project 6
Tutor Report
Life Drawing
6. Life Drawing, Charcoal, March 2018
7. Tonal Life Drawing, May 2019
B. Life Drawing, April 2018
C. Life Drawing, March 2018
D. Life Drawing, Jan 2019
E. Assignment 4: Seated Figure
F. Assignment 4: Reclining model
Approaching Part 4.pdf
Considering part 4.pdf
Nude Genre.pdf
Project 1 to Assignment 4.pdf  
Assignment 5       Approach
Cycle 1
Cycle 2
Cycle 3
Cycle 4
Cycle 5
Tutor Report
8. Part 5, Cycle 1
9. Part 5, Cycle 4
10. Part 5, Cycle 5
G. Part 5, Cycle 3 H. Part 5, Cycle 4  
Learning Log       National Gallery
British Museum
Tate Modern
Egon Schiele
Landscape Artists
Composition of Still Life
Modigliani Degas
Ways of seeing
None submitted Considering personal visual language.pdf  
Tutor Reports   Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
Assignment 4
Assignment 5
  Original PDF files provided.
Contact Sheet      


1. Part 1, Project 2:
Two pots, Charcoal

Despite technical errors in projection I like the way that this turned out. The tonal range and shadow projection comes out well.

2. Part 2, Project 3:
Still Life with line

This drawing is one of the best I’ve achieved with a dip pen. I like the composition and the look of the final result. There is some feeling of depth within the image.

3. Part 2, Project 4:
At Home
I like the way the composition turned out on this, and the curtain in front of the garden scene is believable.  

4. Part 3, Project 5:
London’s Wobbly Bridge
I like the way that this depicts both the bridge and its surrounding context. The composition has worked reasonably well, including elements of both linear and atmospheric perspective.

5. Assignment 3:
Langdale Farm
As a large scale charcoal drawing I was pleasantly surprised how well this turned out. The composition worked well, and there is a believable sense of depth.

6. Life Drawing, Charcoal, March 2018 This is one of my favourite early life drawing images. It has reasonable tonal representation, and a level of context for the figure.

7. Tonal Life Drawing, May 2019 In this life drawing I concentrated on tone over line, though lack of time means this isn’t complete. The foreshortening has worked well, and despite technical errors I’m happy with the overall composition and feel of the image.

8. Part 5, Cycle 1 Rockcliffe winter sunset, A1, Charcoal. I like this image because I feel it is somewhat successful in conveying the feeling of the scene. The use of lighter tones pulls the eye to the centre, and then round the scene. The tonal range is good, and I feel the “editing” of the trees has supported the overall image.

9. Part 5, Cycle 4 Tankerton slopes, Acrylic on paper. This image is a development of earlier experiments. The colour is somewhat false, but I feel it has succeeded in conveying the impression of the day in a way that a more realistic representation of the day doesn’t.  

10. Part 5, Cycle 5 Elbigenalp summit cross, A1, Charcoal on paper.

This cycle was very much a stretch target for me. The intention was to convey an impression of this summit cross, and its alpine context, on a day when the weather was drawing in. The image is the result of a number of experiments, and I feel has been successful in a number of ways.

Supporting Drawings

A. Part 2, Project 3: Broccoli
Although this image suffers from technical issues I’m still reasonably happy with the result. The light/dark on the table has worked, and there is less evidence of representation with local colour than much of my work.

B. Life Drawing, April 2018 As a figure within a context I feel this drawing has worked fairly well. I like the overall drawing and the way that the pose has come across. There are, however, a number of issues in the representation which detract from the final result.

C. Life Drawing, March 2018 This sequence from a life drawing class works in many ways. The increasing time for the different poses has produced increasingly sophisticated images. There are technical issues, but overall I feel it works well.

D. Life Drawing, Jan 2019 Despite technical issues and the reliance on line I like the overall feel of this work. The foreshortening has worked reasonably well, and the context the figure exists within comes over well.

E. Assignment 4:
Seated Figure

There are many aspects of this drawing that work. I like the way the tri-colour approach has worked and the overall pose. Unfortunately, the near hand and a slight misalignment in the face detract from the overall feel.

F. Assignment 4:
Reclining model

There are many parts of this image that I like, but I over worked the face. This means that I feel the image is less balanced than I would have liked it to have been.

G. Part 5, Cycle 3 Fountains Abbey, A1, Watercolour   There are many aspects of this image that I like, but feel that it would have made a better impact at a smaller size.

H. Part 5, Cycle 4 Tankerton slopes on a winter’s day, A2, Pastel. This is a somewhat more realistic version of the Tankerton slopes image in the main set. I feel the more realistic representation doesn’t have the impact of the false colour scene.

Posted in Assignment 5, Assignments, Coursework, Part 5

Assignment 5 Feedback

Overall Comments

You set out a clear plan – described as a series of ‘cycles’ – for the creation of several work informed by the work of other artists. As discussed, the submission seems a little thin when compared to – for example – the figure drawing submission last time. You have time to return to the project(s) you have set yourself and flesh them out and explore them more fully.

Continue reading “Assignment 5 Feedback”
Posted in Assignment 5, Assignments, Coursework, Part 5

Assignment 5

Artist’s Statement


Developing a body of work that conveys the feeling of the landscapes.

This enquiry was focused on building a body of work, rather than a single drawing, which was trying to convey the feeling of places in landscape drawings. This meant selecting an appropriate approach to creating the image that would convey something of the image which isn’t based in technical accuracy.

Continue reading “Assignment 5”
Posted in Coursework, Part 5

Reflection on Part 5


The overall challenge I set myself for Part 5 was to develop my ability to convey an impression of a landscape, rather than to focus of accurate portrayal. I want the viewer to gain a sense of the scene from looking at the picture, leading to a level of interest in the image beyond that simple representation of the scene.

Continue reading “Reflection on Part 5”
Posted in Coursework, Part 5

Cycle 5: Elbigenalp cross

Note 12/06/2019: Some text has been added after Assignment 5 feedback has been received. This has been dated and highlighted to provide context.


On the top of a mountain near Elbigenalp there stands a cross which is clearly visible from the valley. I first saw thew cross back when I visited the valley for the first time, and wanted to get up to it. I finally managed to get to the top, and the scale of the cross and its presence is hard to put into words. I decided to see what I could do with a drawing.

Continue reading “Cycle 5: Elbigenalp cross”
Posted in Coursework, Part 5

Cycle 4: The sea

Note: There has been some rework of this article since the Assignment 5 Tutorial. This has been highlighted in colour and dated.


Although this isn’t exact a new concept for drawing it is definitely one that is close to my heart. I’ve spent much of my life on and near the bodies of water. Early in life it was the Lakes of Cumbria and smaller bodies of water. Later this has expanded out to the sea, and threaded through all of this is running water in rivers and streams – with the inevitable water falls. For this cycle I’ve decided to focus on the sea.

Continue reading “Cycle 4: The sea”
Posted in Coursework, Part 5

Cycle 3: Fountains Abbey


Fountains Abbey is a beautiful place owned by the National Trust. Its connected to a large park and water gardens, and even when relatively crowded it has an air of tranquillity about it. I also have strong connotations with the site due to walking round it with my wife, and sometimes my children, as a break point in long journeys.

Continue reading “Cycle 3: Fountains Abbey”
Posted in Coursework, Part 4

Reflection on Part 4 feedback

Tonal Life Drawing

In the feedback session and write up my tutor mentioned that I am still too hung up on outline, and that I should be producing more tonal work rather than concentrating on outlines. In my next life drawing session, therefore, That was my focus, and it was at least partially successful. There is still some visible outline, bit that is partially because I ran out of time.

Continue reading “Reflection on Part 4 feedback”
Posted in Coursework, Part 5

Cycle 1: Tonal study


For this first cycle I’ve decided to follow up on my tutor’s suggestion of focusing on tonal work. Thus I would like to achieve the following:

  • Tonal drawing with no visible outline.
  • Grey scale rather colour.
  • Matching tone and medium to subject; and
  • Conveying the feeling of the scene – rather than accurate technical portrayal.
Continue reading “Cycle 1: Tonal study”
Posted in Exhibitions & Books, Research & Reflection

Visit to the National Gallery

It is strange, given I work in London and am on an Art Degree, that this was my first visit to the National Gallery. In visiting the Gallery I needed to focus, at least to a degree, and so I chose to consider primarily Landscape images. That didn’t restrict me too much, as there are large numbers of them in there, but it at least allowed me to have a meaningful approach.

Continue reading “Visit to the National Gallery”
Posted in Art and Artists, Exhibitions & Books, Research & Reflection

Visit to the British Museum

My artistic excuse for this visit was nominally the current exhibition of work by Rembrandt – though I never need much of an excuse for a visit. I didn’t limit myself to the Rembrandt work though, and so the range of interesting work was quite wide, as the following image summary illustrates:

Continue reading “Visit to the British Museum”
Posted in Assignment 4, Assignments, Coursework, Part 4

Part 4 Reflection

Approach and Progress

As noted previously, I knew from the start of the course that part 4 would be a challenge for me. I started making progress with Life Drawing classes, but a change of working approach made it much more difficult to get to these sessions as much as I’d like. Strangely, therefore, I’ve been doing less life drawing during the Part 4 than I did earlier in the course.

Continue reading “Part 4 Reflection”
Posted in Assignment 3, Assignments, Coursework, Notes, Part 3

Assignment 3 Feedback

Overall Comments

… You have responded well to the challenge of working things out THROUGH drawing that I set you last time. There’s a palpable sense of you taking control of the work in this submission. You’ve deliberately avoided doing in depth ‘book’ research in order to focus on making. This has worked. Well done. Obviously there’s work to do, but I feel that you have made good progress with this submission and that the work you have made is more ‘you’. Continue reading “Assignment 3 Feedback”