Project 3: Exercise 3: Stance

These poses are from three different sessions and the timings and size are indicated on each drawing.  I found the guidance on where to look for the line of balance helpful and tried to keep this in mind when I was drawing.  I used my pencil to visually align the balancing points and lightly marked these on the paper.  This was easier with the 5 minute poses but I had to fall back on instinct for the very short poses.

Stance 1
Fig. 1. A3. White and black Woody pencils and white chalk on black paper. 5 minutes.

For this drawing (Fig. 1.) the arms were raised slightly and the torso twisted.  The central line runs through the ear down through the models left hip through the left leg to the floor.  Slightly counter-balanced with the model’s right leg and torso thrust.  Because of the raised arms I miscalculated the length and therefore hands and feet are off the page.

Stance 2
Fig. 2. A3. Black and white Woody pencil, white chalk and black crayon. On black paper. 5 minutes.

Fig. 2.  Again I used the relationship between the base of the ear and the hip as a centre of balance reference.  The thigh of the model’s left leg should probably be sloping more to the left but the torso and the position  of the arms show counter-balance.  The slope of the shoulders (raised right shoulder) helps to emphasise the twist.

Stance 3
Fig. 3. 11.5″ x 11.5″. Conte on white card. 4 x 30 second poses.


Fig. 3.  Different class and model.  These were very quick (30 second) poses and the model turned to a different standing pose, so I didn’t have time to carefully consider the balance points.  I still feel I have achieved a sense of balance in these quick sketches by observing the position of the legs in relation to the shoulders and hips.

Stance 4
Fig. 4. A3. Conte and pencil on white paper. 5 minutes.

Another model, another day.  Not got it right in this drawing (Fig. 4.) The base of the ear should line up with the model’s right leg but he looks as if he is tipping forward.  I struggled with the arms on this one so I didn’t pay as much attention to the balance as I should have.

Stance 5
Fig. 5. A3. Conte on white paper. 5 minutes

This model (Fig. 5.) was not the strange shape that I have drawn him.  This was a tricky pose (well for me anyway) as one leg was backwards and one forwards and the model was leaning slightly on a rail against the wall.  The centre of balance was pretty much down the centre of the body, but I have over-emphasised the size of the right leg and buttock, the left leg is too small (though it was smaller through foreshortening).  If the model is leaning on something then that is another point of balance to take account of.

Overall I found this helpful in getting to understand how to get the figure in balance and the need to establish a line of balance in a drawing when a figure is standing.

Tutor Feedback on Assignment 3

I have received prompt, helpful and specific feedback from my tutor for Assignment 3, some of the exercises,  my sketchbook and blog.  This was based on accessing my blog without seeing any physical materials. 

Janet Davies Drawing 1 As.3 Report

Overall comments: “You are working hard and continuing to make progress.   Some of your project exercises are confident and demonstrate an ability to handle a range of materials.  Your final piece is inventive and well executed.  Your log and sketchbook continue to positively support your development.”


I do feel I am growing in confidence, particularly with experimenting.  I am pleased to have received good comments for this assignment (which I didn’t do for 1 and 2).  I did more preparatory work, which helped enormously.  I also tried to get away from the idea that the final assignment piece must stand out.  It took the pressure off me by thinking it was just another exercise and something I was trying out, instead of something I must get right.  I must get used to working on A2 paper more often too.  There is something daunting about a larger sheet of paper but if I use that size more often I will get used to it I know.

The biggest surprise for me was the second exercise I did on a townscape using line (the yellow-based pareidolia approach).  This started as a casual bit of work that I did in between exercises when I had a few minutes to spare.  I did pay attention to composition, colour, variety of mark-making and perspective, but in a playful way.  I was genuinely surprised to get such positive feedback:  first of all from fellow students; then from my tutor.  I need to give more thought on how I can develop this further.

So, going forward I will aim to:

  • continue to experiment, but also develop the techniques and approaches I have investigated to date;
  • remember to check tonal contrasts;
  • work bigger and more expressively;
  • follow up on recommended research/reading: Jenny Saville (I have already looked at her work but will refresh this for life drawing); Egon Schiele (who I know but looking forward to finding out more); Paula Rego (whose dark work I came across in Part 2); and Ana Maria Pacheco and Chantal Joffe (both new to me);
  • continue to enjoy myself.

Assignment 3: Final Drawing and Reflection

I feel that this drawing for Assignment 3 meets the parameters set in that it includes natural and straight-lined objects and demonstrates my understanding of linear perspective. 

In my preliminary sketches, photographs (not shown) and drawings I have experimented with composition and media to determine the final drawing (Fig. 1).

Assignment 3 final drawing
Fig. 1. Assignment 3. Final drawing. A2.

I started the drawing by preparing a background of newspaper, stuck on to A2 heavy paper and torn off when dried to give a random effect.  then gessoed over this and added a blue ink tint (Fig. 2.).

Background large
Fig. 2. Background preparation

I used a previous study (see previous post Fig. 8.) as a basis for the composition.  That was in A4 so it was relatively easy to scale it up by doubling measurements to A2.  Again (as I did with the study) I masked off areas where I wanted to keep the lightest tones and applied a wash of watercolour (black, white, yellow ochre, burnt umber, slightly diluted) to the whole surface.

When dried I added detail with coloured pencil, Tombow pen, crayon, white ink pen, and a little gouache.  I scraped through some areas to add texture and to lighten.  Having a heavier paper supported this enormously.  I had prepared the background a few days ago and I set myself 2 hours to complete the drawing.


Overall I have achieved what I set out to do.  I wanted this to be looser than my previous assignments and I think I have succeeded.  I like the range of marks and textures I have achieved. The range of tone is OK.  I particularly like the bushes in the foreground.   I think the limited palette works well with small highlights of colour.  The composition leads the eye around the drawing to the different areas of interest, with the view and rail tracks disappearing into the distance the main focus.

There are a number of things I could do to improve this:

  • I wouldn’t have the initial background so dark, the added blue tone was difficult to lighten so I don’t feel I have achieved the range of tone that I could have.
  • The houses top right look unfinished and could probably do with some more work to blend them in.  This was more successful on the study.
  • The graffiti on the lower right is a little small.  The graffiti next to the lamps stands out too much, I could take it back a little.
  • It probably is a little too muddled, I would use less texture in the background next time to allow myself to build texture through the layers.

Overall I enjoyed doing this.  I found out that it pays to keep a small vacuum cleaner nearby if you are scraping bits off a drawing, particularly if you are doing it in the living room!

Self-assessment against assessment criteria:  May 2017

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

I am using a broader range of materials, particularly in my sketchbooks, but increasingly in exercises and assignment pieces.  I am starting to free myself from the notion that I need to be technically competent with a medium before I use it. Sometimes incompetence leads to interesting effects and better learning.

The exercises on perspective and drawing statues have shown that I need to continue to work on my observational skills, but I feel that I am continuing to improve and that the next part (Part four: The figure and the head) will build on this.  I am probably still a bit staid with my compositions, but have tried a number of techniques such as heavy foregrounding and using varying perspectives.  I continue to look at the work of other artists to gain insights and inspiration.   

Quality of outcome

Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment

I am increasingly aiming to draw subjects which provide me with a narrative so that I am engaged with the work.  I think this is leading to better outcomes.  When I look at other artists work I aim to analyse how I might use their technique, composition or approach in my work. 

I am also developing a way of working that helps me step back from my work to gain distance and perspective.  I find that working on more than one piece at a time, and not necessarily in the order set out, allows not only time for drying if wet media are used, but also time for reflection and better decision making on whether a piece is “finished” or needs more work.  This means that recording on my blog is in chunks as I am still aiming to present in chronological order, but I keep careful notes and photos as I go along, particularly on process and reflection, to ensure that they are contemporaneous.    

Demonstration of creativity

Imagination, experimentation, invention, personal voice

I wanted to spend more time on this part of the course as I felt I had not left myself enough space to experiment before.  I have experimented with a number of techniques including collage, mono-printing (sketchbook), layering, digital manipulation, non-traditional drawing media and sgraffito.

I am continuing to enjoy the spontaneity of making images from my imagination, but still have a nagging doubt that this is are not “real drawing”.  I guess it’s that they are not directly observed. But I have started to have an idea about incorporating direct observation into imaginative drawings.   

I still don’t feel that I have a very strong personal voice, though I do think I am starting to recognise a few approaches that I like using such as layering and drawing from my imagination.  I am still enjoying exploring and learning.


Reflection, research (learning logs)

I regularly attend exhibitions, but want to attend more contemporary, less well-known ones as well as the blockbusters.

Most of my reflection of my own work and others has been on technique, approaches and composition.  I haven’t forayed deeply into conceptual matters, though I have thought and written about some issues such as gender and humour in art (Rauschenberg).    Theodore Gracyk’s The Philosophy of Art is continuing to tax my brain cells and I will aim to introduce some concepts into future observations.

I have discovered the very well-stocked library at Morley College and have started accessing books on artists to broaden my range of understanding.  Frank Brangwyn I have written about.  Richard Diebenkorn I have recently discovered and am currently looking at.

I have an interest in art history, particularly how artists have influenced each other over the years, and how the various “isms” have arisen (Surrealism; Cubism etc).  The biography of Picasso was interesting in this respect, and I still have another biography on him to read about Guernica. 

I feel that my blog is well organised and that the reflection is to the point, yet insightful.  I have tried to avoid being discursive, but know I can slip into tangential matters sometimes – hopefully interestingly so.



Part 3: Assignment 3: Preparation/experimentation

Key points for Assignment 3:  Outdoor scene including straight-lined and natural objects; demonstrate aerial or linear perspective.

During my wandering looking at townscapes I had taken a few photos of my nearest train station (Denmark Hill) and realised the potential for perspective:  train lines and trains running into distance; long platforms; buildings – some old, some new.  There are also trees and shrubs.  Some intended, like hanging baskets: others a gift of nature, seeds blow into difficult to access places and the plants flourishing there.  So I returned for this assignment with my sketchbook (see below) and camera.

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I noted another visual “gift” – the graffiti, which provides additional interest, colour and marks for a drawing.  I noted in my notebook that perhaps recording graffiti was another way of developing a theme about urban change.  I had already looked at some scenes near my home where a new extension had been added to a row of old houses.  Also I aimed to depict a new(ish) type of town shopping environment with the demise of the old traditional shops.  I know a little about the history of graffiti, and while scribbling on walls itself is not new (the ancient Greeks and Romans did it), the elevation of graffiti to an art form is relatively recent development.  A quick peek at the Wikipedia entry on graffiti reveals an even richer history than I had imagined.  This theme is something that might be worth exploring further. 

Robert Kaupelis (Kaupelis, 1992:101) suggests as an exercise cropping parts of a photograph or image to achieve new compositions.  He then suggests developing these in a number of ways, including rendering:

·         one as precisely as possible – then a series in freer ways;

·         tonal drawings: in a variety of ways, including reverse tone;

·         tonal with one/two areas of colour;

·         working a large version (say a 4’ x 6’) in an expressionistic style

With my assignment deadline looming I didn’t have time to explore all these fully, but I did crop one of my station photos to reveal a composition of some of the graffiti, which I aimed to render in a representational style (Fig. 1.). 

graffiti crop
Fig. 1.  Station graffiti. A4. Watercolour (background), crayon, chalk, highlighter pen, Inktense pencils, oil pastel, gouache

This was a useful exercise.  Although this composition does not fulfil the brief for the assignment, it did allow me to experiment with materials and methods.  I began this drawing with a pre-prepared dark wash background.  I have a range of pre-prepared sheets of paper in a range of sizes (this is A4), I usually use left-over ink or watercolour and print, paint or roll it on.  What I didn’t do here though was make a note of how I did the background.  I need to remember to note on the back of the paper how these are achieved in case I want the same effect again.

The background was very dark brown/red vertically streaked with no white paper showing, it was matt.  I had to work out ways to add light areas and colour to this to vary the tones and marks.  I did this in a number of ways, some new to me. 

I had already used a sgraffito method in my sketchbook after looking as some of the work of Frank Brangwyn (Llewellyn/Esser, 2015:21), so I scratched through some areas to reveal the white paper beneath the brown wash; other areas I scratched through layers of oil pastel to indicate areas of dried/dead grasses and twigs. 

I tried to use highlighter marker pen to brighten the middle set of graffiti, but it wouldn’t take very well on the dark background and stained the tip of the pen.  I then discovered if you put some marker pen on a glass or ceramic surface (I used a plate), mix it with a tiny bit of white gouache, and then apply it to the paper with a small brush it works brilliantly.  I particularly wanted to use marker pen as this echoes the use of it in actual graffiti. Some areas were highlighted with chalk, white crayon, or gouache.  Darker areas were achieved with oil pastel and crayon. 

I think this is a successful piece in its own right.  The dark background has helped pull it all together and given it a grungy feel that I wanted.

Going back to my sketches and photographs I looked for a composition that would fit the Assignment remit better.  I decided that I would aim for the sketch that showed the train lines emerging from the tunnel and disappearing off the page for the perspective.  This also included the graffiti which I wanted to incorporate into the final piece.

My first tentative A4 sketch (Fig. 2.) was in conte crayon.

Fig. 2. A4.  Conte crayon over pencil

I just wanted to get a feel for the composition and how it might all sit together.  It was on plain white paper.  I was concerned about the immediate foreground and how I would add interest there.  I also wanted to more fully explore the possibilities of using a looser approach, and on a larger scale with a different medium.

So I moved to A3 blue/grey sugar paper and taped three coloured pens (black, orange and purple) together to draw the scene (Fig. 3.).

Three pens A3
Fig. 3. Three pens (and some more)

I really liked the sweeping effect of the rail lines across the page.  It was difficult to control the pens though, which might not have been a bad thing but I couldn’t get any firm detail in where I wanted it.  I ended up adding some detail with Sharpies in orange and purple.   I still wasn’t happy with the immediate foreground.

For my next sketch (Fig. 4.) I thought to introduce the ornate lamp-post from my sketchbook into the foreground instead of the signals.

Try lampost A4
Fig. 4. Introduce lamp-post

I was happy with this decision.  I did think about foregrounding it much more heavily, but I wanted to get the detail of the lamp-shades in as the shapes echo those of the tunnel and the doors of the houses in the background, which will help pull the composition together.   . 

I toyed with the idea of adding litter, or a pigeon in the foreground too, but I didn’t want it to look too contrived.  I also considered whether I should do the final piece in line and wash – which I haven’t experimented with to any extent to date – but thought that perhaps this was too delicate for the effect I wanted, which is something grittier.

Having used a sgraffito method in my sketchbook and for the graffiti drawing my next experiment (Fig. 5.) was sgraffito through black ink on red paper (no gouache).  I stuck with the same composition.

sgraffito A4
Fig. 5. A4. Red paper, black ink, crayon

This was difficult to do because I had to actually break the surface of the paper to get the red coming through.  I like the stuttering effect of the scrapes, but this method needs either a buffer medium (like the gouache) or a more robust paper – card or board.  I used crayon to add other colour/detail.  The lighter crayon marks are effective on the dark background.  This could work well on a larger scale.  The sgraffito could also be used to make marks through the crayon to the black ink.

So far in my experimentation I have worked mostly on plain backgrounds (apart from the graffiti drawing).  I wanted to return to using textured background for a few more drawings.  I looked into my treasure trove of prepared surfaces and found just what I wanted.  I had prepared four A4 pieces of paper by gluing newspaper to the surface – a complete sheet – then a light gesso wash over them (Figure 6.).

Background small four
Fig. 6. Background. Newspaper, gesso.

I had forgotten that I had used a Guardian article on Paul Nash, you can just see an image of Wood on the Downs on one of them.  I hope this will inspire me to greater things!  There is not much colour in the newspaper, just some blue tones, and the texture is fairy uniform as I didn’t tear it up.

I then decided I would roll on a watercolour layer with my brayer.  I have found that a combination of black, white, yellow ochre and burnt umber gives a nice warm dark effect.  But first I masked off areas I wanted to protect for highlights with masking tape and masking fluid.  I then decided I would roll on a watercolour layer with my brayer.  I have found that a combination of black, white, yellow ochre and burnt umber gives a nice warm dark effect.  But first I masked off areas I wanted to protect for highlights with masking tape and masking fluid. I tore off the masking tape before the wash was dried as I was worried it might not come of when dry.  The tape tore some of the newspaper/ gesso layer off in places, exposing the plain white background paper, but I liked this effect – so success!  (Fig. 7) The masking fluid (which had to dry before I put the wash on) was rubbed off when the wash was dry.  I do love a bit of process as you can tell.

Masking A4
Fig. 7. Wash applied, masking removed.

This actually gives a really pleasing effect on its own.  Not sure you could call it a drawing though as I haven’t added any lines yet.  But I guess I have made lines by masking and washing with ink.  Food for thought indeed.

The drawing was completed (Fig. 8.) with hard coloured pencil.

Developed from masking
Fig. 8. A4. Finished with hard coloured pencil.

I chose some subtle blue and pink colours to highlight a few areas, which link with the blue tones coming through from the newspaper.  I am very pleased with the result.  Though I do wonder whether I am straying too far into it being a painting rather than a drawing.   I think this might be the way forward for my final Assignment 3 piece.

A final experiment was completed in a similar way but with ink and stick for the detail (Fig. 9.).

Ink stick A4
Fig. 9. A4. Ink/stick detail.

I used the leftover wash on the glass plate and pressed the prepared paper on to it.  This gives less definite lines than the brayer gives.  I didn’t mask off the highlights on this one but added some neat watercolour streaks where the highlights were.  I finished it off with black ink (neat and diluted) applied with a stick and some white ink pen detail.   I like the energy and atmosphere of this piece.  A4 is probably too small scale for this, and it needs more variety of marks, but it gives me some ideas for the Assignment. 

Better get on with the Assignment now then!





Tutor Feedback on Assignment 2

I have received helpful and specific feedback from my tutor for Assignment 2 and the Exercises.  I am grateful for these as I sent her all my exercises as I misread the guidance which said to send a selection.


To summarise I need to build on good progress by being bolder with textures, line and tonal contrast.  Vary pressure when using dry materials.  Continue experimenting, particularly with layering and use of fluid media.  Balance cool colours with warmer shades when working in colour.  Try and loosen up and be more expressive in final pieces (as with sketchbooks).  Get a watercolour sketchbook.  Artists to look at: Kathe Kollwitz; Henry Moore; Graham Sutherland; Paul Nash; William Kentridge.  Recommended reading on Picasso: ‘Guernica, The Biography of a Twentieth Century Icon’ by Gijs Van Hensbergen.

I also asked for feedback on composition as this wasn’t mentioned in the report.  Generally my pieces are balanced, but I can tend to put too much content in some drawings.

I have been away for three weeks and looked at my pieces with fresh eyes on my return.  I can absolutely see every point my tutor makes having had that distance.  I am still at the stage where I am a little tentative as I don’t want to “spoil” what I have achieved.  Still, all good learning and I am looking forward to tackling Part 3 (except for the scary sections on perspective!)

Assignment Two

Assignment 2 Drawing:  Still Life with Hockney


For this drawing I returned to my quick sketches around the house (Project 3:  exercise 1) for inspiration.  It occurred to me that a number of them included pictures by other artists, and I decided to continue with that theme (see notes on Exercise 3 Material Differences).  I particularly like the large David Hockney print I have in the kitchen.  It has interesting shapes, marks and colours.  My aim was to set up a still life that would harmonise with this print.  I invested in a few lovely tulips that picked up some of the colours in the print, and a few other items that were in the kitchen where I could see I could tie in some of the colours.

I decided to use pastels again.  I had used them for the first time for Still life in tone using colour (Project 2 Exercise 3) with some (limited) success.  I looked again at the video I had noted and also obtained Pastels for Dummies from the library.  I am afraid I am not one for diving in and experimenting, and time was tight so I wanted to get some tips.  I did think about mixing in another medium but was nervous that I wouldn’t get it right, and I didn’t have enough time to experiment properly.

Drawing on my learning from Exercise 3 I did a few larger sketches (A5) to get ideas for composition (Fig. 1.).

Fig. 1. Sketches


Additionally, because I had problems before with tone/shadows because of changing light, I took a photo of the outline drawing – then did a tonal study on this which I could use for a reference (Fig. 3.).  This was very useful.

Fig. 2. Assignment 2: tonal sketch on photo of under-drawing


I fixed the drawing half way through after 2 layers.  Then fixed again after final marks.  This dulled the picture a bit but I am sending this to my tutor so guidance advises to fix.

Fig. 3. Assignment 2: Final drawing


I am fairly happy with the outcome (Fig. 3).  The composition is conventional, but I think the added interest of the Hockney print makes it more interesting.  I have aimed to link the colours across the piece which I think works well.  I have used different techniques to get a variety of marks – blending some areas; short marks and longer flowing marks.  My tonal drawing helped me identify the tone more easily – though I probably could have pushed them further.  My accuracy is good – the objects look the right shape.  I could probably have worked more layers of pastel but as I am fairly new to this medium I didn’t want to push it too far and lose what I had achieved.  There isn’t a great deal of creativity here but it’s given me confidence to use pastels again combined with other media.

Self-assessment against criteria:  January 2017

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I am starting to use a broader range of materials, though I don’t feel I am stretching myself on techniques.  I think my observational skills are improving – more consistent sketching practise is helping.  I still get phased by detail when looking at a complicated scene (e.g. a bookshelf full of books) – need to work out a way of delivering a “short-hand” version to keep drawings loose.  I am still fairly conservative on design, and rely mostly on cropping for my compositions.  I need to study the approaches of other artists more to open myself up to fresh ideas.

Quality of outcome

Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment.

I am aiming to present more complete drawings in the exercises – with attention to composition; tone; use of media; and varied mark-making.  I think I have been somewhat successful, if a little tentative.  I can see now the benefits of preliminary work before I dive into a final piece.  My better drawings (in my view) are those where I have explored more in my sketchbook beforehand – trying out techniques, ideas and compositions.  And even if the final drawing has short-comings, I realise that the sketchbook work is a useful learning process – and can spark new ideas.

Demonstration of creativity

Imagination, experimentation, invention, personal voice.

I have started to experiment a little more, but know I could push myself further.  This course is changing my perception of what drawing is – it’s much broader than I thought it was – and I know I need to embrace that more fully.

I very much enjoyed the mixed media exercise – just wish I had worked larger than A4.  I enjoyed the spontaneity of making images from my imagination much more than I thought I would.

I am using new drawing materials but still feel the need to get to grips with technique before exploring multi-media, unusual perspectives etc.  I also think I have collage phobia after Assignment 1.  Every Exercise I do I say to myself “try collage” – then I draw a blank.

I don’t recognise that I have a very strong personal voice (I am sure it’s in there somewhere).  I still feel as if I am a little un-focused, but I think that’s OK at this stage.  I remind myself I am only 4 months into this new way of working (for me).  I am enjoying exploring and learning.


Reflection, research (learning logs)

I have found time tight on this Section (holidays didn’t help) and I think my research and reflection has suffered as I was concentrating on getting the drawing exercises done.  I do regularly attend exhibitions and make notes, but I am aware that I need to make more use of this in developing my own work.  But I do think it does go in, even if subliminally.  I am more conscious of how artists work and their use of mark-making, and have noted this at the Picasso portrait exhibition and the drawings and work of Henry Moore at Tate Britain.

I am enjoying reading a number of books as a background to my studies, particularly Gilda Williams’ How to Write about Contemporary Art and Theodore Gracyk’s The Philosophy of Art which have given me new insights into how art is conceptualised and written about.

Drawing 1: Part one: Formative feedback: Synopsis

A very quick turnaround on comments on Part one from my tutor, which is very welcome as I dive into Part two. 

Overall:  ‘worked hard to produce a good range of project exercises, some of which show more potential than your final piece.’ Specific points:

·         need to consider shadows, particularly at the base of objects to ground them

·         keep varying weight and length of line to keep pieces active

·         charcoal is more suited to larger studies in general

·         need to consider collage as part of composition, not an afterthought

·         (continue to) use sketchbook ‘fully as a place to explore, experiment and take risks using a good range of media.’

·         continue to build on learning log (insightful and reflective), keep artists’ biographical information to a minimum.

Suggestions for further research:

·         Jenny Saville (use of charcoal in her Mother and Child series)

·         Jerwood Drawing prize website for the online catalogue of past exhibitors, which will give a good insight into current concerns in drawing

·         Henry Moore drawings (exploration of tone)

·         Graham Southerland (range of media – ink, gouache and pastel)

·         Kiki Smith (range of techniques, including frottage)

·         William Kentridge (charcoal drawings – expressive mark making)

For next assignment: ‘resist the temptation to tighten up too much; use a wide range of materials and drawing techniques.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – important insights and discoveries come about through this process.’ 

My response:

This is a fair and balanced review and I look forward to taking on board the comments and exploring the work of the artists and information suggested.  I knew my final piece for Assignment one was weak and muddled, but I learned a lot from doing it which I reflected in my self-assessment.  Going forward I will aim to:

·         explore more with mark-making and use of media (particularly in sketchbook);

·         not get so stressed and tight with the final Assignments and remember to apply learning and plan well (including composition and choice of media);

·         enjoy myself.

Drawing 1: Part 1: Reflection on Progress

HE4 Assessment criteria:  Drawing 1, Assignment 1:  Janet Davies

Self-assessment against criteria:  19th November 2016

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

I have a theoretical awareness of a range of media, approaches, and techniques and am gaining confidence in using them, but need to continue practising with more consistency – particularly in my sketchbooks.  I am reasonably competent with observational and visual awareness – I can certainly see when things look wrong.  I don’t always take the time to adjust them though.  I must admit I mostly rely on instinct when it comes to composition, so I am looking forward to thinking and studying more about this in Part 2 of the course.

Quality of outcome

Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment.

I am a little limited in the subject matter I draw.  I have only forayed outside once and haven’t attempted people with clothes on (!).  The subject matter I have presented I hope has shown some thought and that this has come across.  I can be a little lazy though – not a natural completer-finisher.  I know I need to work on that.

Demonstration of creativity

Imagination, experimentation, invention, personal voice.

My head has been buzzing with ideas doing the first part of Assignment 1.  But this has generally been fairly unfocussed, and hasn’t always translated into my work – particularly the Assignment.  I am more inclined to experiment when guided to do so, such as in the Morley Drawing class I attend, and I always come away from these energised.  I just need to try out things more when I get home.  I am not a natural experimenter just for the sake of it, but I do love solving problems so this helps with lateral thinking.


Reflection, research (learning logs).

Reflecting on what I have seen and produced in a formalised way is new for me.  I certainly spend more time in art galleries really looking at things than I have ever done before.  It is definitely adding a richness to my experiences and learning.  I am starting to make the link between the work of other artists and my own, which I am reflecting in my blog.  Research is where I am more comfortable and I use a range of media, aiming to not just rely on the internet.

My blog is well structured and I have aimed to cover a range of theoretical and practical activities.  I have an inclination to over-research and analyse (I haven’t put everything on my blog) and this can stop me from experimenting and taking time to apply the learning/ideas.    But I am genuinely excited about ideas and approaches of other artists, and I love process, I know I now just need to follow this through in my own work.

Drawing 1: Assignment one: Final drawing and reflection

For my still life I wanted to pick some objects that had connections to my mother.  I chose a sewing basket that she bought me when I was young, and added a plate which I had bought her, but is now with me, that reflects our love of gardening and in particular my mother’s fondness of lilacs.

Figure 1.  If at first you don’t succeed …  .  Pencil, oil pastel, ink, watercolour, and collage on watercolour paper.  A3.

[Sorry this is more than a paragraph:  things got complicated]

I struggled with the composition in a number of ways – shapes, relationships, colours, trying to find an interesting angle.  I did a number of photos (they skew the perspective) and thumbnails in my sketchbook but in the end this didn’t work that well as the shape of the thumbnails didn’t match the ratio of my drawing paper so things were all off.

Then when I started on the drawing it seemed too cramped (I was aiming for intimate) and there was a space in the middle with nothing happening in it – and I still didn’t know what to do about colour.  Also, while trying to get tone I went much too dark for the sentiment of the piece which was supposed to be reflective and calm – the drawing I had done looked a bit too sombre. And in trying to get some liveliness in the piece it just looked careless to me.   The basket effect, which I achieved by frottage, was the only thing I liked.

In short – poorly planned and therefore not the result I wanted.  So I decided to start again with a different approach – much more subtle lines and shading, and delicate colouring (perhaps watercolour?).  After much faffing, and even more thumbnail sketches, I started a very careful line drawing in a very fine pencil taking care to get everything exactly right.  After much looking and agonising I decided to take a break and start drafting my reflections for sending with the Assignment and blog to my tutor – I thought I would just put the headings down but I started filling bits in reflecting on what I had done so far.

When I had finished writing I realised that what I was doing with this Assignment was exactly what I said in my reflections:

  • I have an inclination to over-research and analyse … and this can stop me from experimenting and taking time to apply the learning/ideas.
  • I can be a little lazy though – not a natural completer-finisher. I know I need to work on that.
  • I am not a natural experimenter just for the sake of it, but I do love solving problems.

So I had a word with myself and picked up the first drawing and attempted to solve its problems and finish it.  So I:

  • lightened some of the tone a bit by rubbing back (not rubbing out);
  • added some collage (photo of actual packaging printed off and cut up) to fill a void in composition (wanted to get some text in – see Sketchbook and Juan Gris etc);
  • took a lead from the colour of the collage (a pinky-blue) and added some of these colours (watercolour indigo and rose) to other parts of the drawing to pull it together;
  • I was going to cut the right hand side of the paper off (because I got the measuring wrong) but I decided to make it a border (a la Vanessa Bell (Morley Drawing)) and I think it balances the piece anyway.

So in the end, this is not the drawing that I aimed to make, and I wouldn’t hang it on my wall, but I have learned a lot – planning properly being the main one.  My mother would be proud.