Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Below three drawings make a good sequence.
Looking at all three together I get a real sense of narrative: first there is a person in the periphery of the room, than she is gone, and then replaced by cat on bed. I think this could be a way for you to go, or consider multiple points of view (see below sketchbook comments). On the blog the three drawings appear to be of the same scale (not sure that this is in case in reality). Using same size paper can unify a body of work – for future projects maybe worth considering?
Project preparation is conscientious. Very strong is the assignment study Corner of bedroom in dip pen and watercolour. You refer to this one and Corner of Living room in pencil as “loose drawings for assignment” (letter with parcel) – but for me that ever so slightly looser handling of media makes them the assignment itself. Because one thing stands out when looking at your work for real, and not on blog: you need to become bolder and more confident. Some of this you are beginning to achieve by substituting pencil and coloured pencil for tonal wet media (watercolour, also try ink, and try much larger brushes!). Your compositions are generally very interesting, and work very well in these two drawings/ paintings. In Corner of Living room your composition is complex – the way the French window frames another reality out there, outside the domestic. I like the tangle of tree branches suggesting a thicket or wilderness (see also comment final sketch in sketchbook below). Your daughter looks somewhat not quite right – perhaps a matter of adjusting scale?) but I do think you might want to persevere with this interesting indirect referencing of the figure. See also the study of your daughter sitting at table in sketchbook (below).
Final drawing Living room with French window: There is something attractive about the contrast between neat lines for interior and slightly swampy feel of outside vegetation, almost a bit alien (alien invader kept at bay but inviting itself through open French door?). Perhaps a bit fanciful, my interpretation….. I like the suggestions of nature having a dark underbelly (see Peter Doig, George Shaw’s slimy green urban woodland scenes).
In some ways I prefer above preparatory sketch to your final. Having said so, the final version here has much improved since you introduces limited colour and used the eraser to ease the tangle of the trees:
Looking at the real work and looking at the blog – what strikes me is that perhaps there is also a case to be made for you to go smaller with this very light work (it makes me think of silver point). Or if you were to work to scale you could consider a gesso board support (these type of supports would work with silverpoint.) Looking at the drawing in reproduction I get more of the sense of miniature, an Alice in Wonderland feel, which would also go with theme of daughter present/absent in this sequence above.
I am uncertain which of above ‘final’ drawings you want to submit as assignment – I think you need to include the supporting preliminary drawings in your submission. We can speak about the selection for assessment separately. In your evaluation you speak of “all three drawings” and I am a tiny bit uncertain which three you mean. I guess you mean the final versions of each area: bedroom, daughter on table and corner living room. But my sense is that you should not divorce the preliminary drawings from the final ones at this stage. Or as an alternative you could still produce more work – where you deliberately align formats same size and orientation to build a narrative.
The strategies I would recommend to push your drawing further:
• Go larger with soft media and paint – use larger tools
• Go smaller with fine liner, push pencil and HB-‐H range of sharp pencils or silverpoint
• Consider different supports for example https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2014/10/07/ampersand-‐painting-‐panels-‐extraordinary-‐ surfaces-‐art/ Clayboard is quite interesting.
But be careful not to get too caught up in the craft ethos of hobby arts commercial sector – I would treat the examples and how to use sections with caution. You need to adopt these supports for your own end. In the long run you can easily make your own tailor-‐made supports by buying hardboard (thin) from a DIY store, get it cut into smaller sections, avoiding predictable formats like A5 or A4 – instead going for unusual formats like panoramic, or square or near square or long thin…. You can coat wood or paper with gesso primer (or make up your own with high quality matt emulsion 2/3 to 1/3 PVA). Three coats with interim sanding for smoothness of surface create a great drawing or painting support.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
There is good potential in your sketchbook; my only regret is that there is not more quantity of preparatory drawings in the book. Use the sketchbook to dare think up different solutions and to take risks. A particular double page spread showing your daughter in pencil and blue/grey watercolour is very interesting for the following reasons:
• Multiple views of room and daughter exploring different vantage points – this makes an interesting composition and could become a compositional device
• Use of wet media works well for you as it balances out your cautious and sensitive hand and brings understated tonal contract into your drawing
• The right side of the double page spread shows a really interesting vantage point, with the head of your daughter cropped off, and the leg of the table becoming a strong interfering/ intersecting compositional device – a composition like this deserves to be taken further (larger scale?) See Degas Jockeys before the Race painting http://barber.org.uk/edgar-‐degas-‐jockeys-‐ before-‐the-‐race/0
The section you refer to as ‘loose experimental and preliminary drawings’: Here the Stove in Black Watercolour stands out. You use wet media much more freely here. You should also try to work wet-‐in-‐wet some time, as this will make you surrender control to the medium further. (needs a textured heavy weight watercolour paper however – Bockingford is quite reasonable, but Fabriano better surface and paper, and not as pricy as Arches). Ultimately a good balance between letting a medium flow and control (detail and controlled compositions) could make a very attractive mix.
Experimenting with Media Dining Room Table suffers from what I would describe as interfering visual noise – the ink lines bring in unrest – (nothing wrong with that per se but I just don’t feel it works here). The composition of the drawing of the handbag is very strong; I would love you to take this further – this zooming in onto objects letting them take over the vantage point of composition (also leg of table below). I feel that the use of blue in this drawing is not contributing, and interferes.
Other preliminary studies don’t strike me as quite so successful, nor necessarily loose. Charcoal study of your daughter: here the paper tooth interferes with the drawing. Charcoal needs successive layering and fixing to build up bolder tonal contrast. Auerbach also used erasers to etch back highlights. Odilon, Redon, George Seurat and Dan Beudean all use soft drawing media like charcoal, conté etc very successfully. Study their work and imagine the size of the papers they use to get a sense of scale.
50 x 70 cm
It is really good to see you go large in above final study of daughter. I believe this is leading you in the right direction. But it is really hard for me to judge this drawing from blog. There seems something not quite right with the shoulder area. Compositionally I can understand that you don’t want to crop off your daughter’s head (as you suggested in the sketchbook preliminary). Yet a format change of support might be worth thinking about?
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
BP portrait awards: good review, and interesting shortlist of art work you preferred to the winner. With Martin Brooks I can sense an admiration for his boldness and gestural handling, something you may want to build on for your own practice? Samantha Fellows is almost hyperrealist in the treatment of her daughter’s face, yet balances this with a bold green background, and the school tie introduces abstraction and picks up on green as dominant colour. This might be interesting for you to consider – the use of a limited palette, yet very bold use of colour in an abstracting capacity set against fine detail?
Drawing Exhibition Ashmolean: I noted your preference for bolder more painterly treatment of drawing in Delacroix and Degas. This is revealing and says something about your own aspirations.
Statement (reflective and contextualized statement):
This is well conceived and you fluidly integrate contexts of E Hoppe, Philip Koch and Mark Karnes as inspiring influences on your own development. You set out to experiment with a wider range of media and to also achieve subtle atmosphere and mood through tonal shifts. The latter I think you begin to realise quite successfully in your use of wet media (see above). Experimentation with media has been too cautious in my view and you need to spend more time with charcoal and messy media to make them work the way these smudgy and painterly media are best employed. Upping your tool sizes would be useful – thick will charcoal sticks, graphite sticks, conté; larger brushes alongside finely pointed ones.
Your evaluation of all projects, and this last one in particular, is thoughtful and reflective. You identify aims and direction well and you attempt to critically evaluate your progress.