Summary of Video tutorial: we discussed areas to go for in part 5 – a more personally driven project approach. You wanted to continue working with the figure, and experiment with a greater variety of supports and drawing media and instruments as additional objective. I suggested you write up a proposal for now which you can email me, this will then get reworked into your project statement later on when you had a chance to revise your ideas. There are (optional) possibilities to implement close to home aspects to the figure, by including furniture, interiors or other domestic ‘stage settings’ for the figure.
Strengths of submission of part 4:
1. Sensitivity in mark making and use of line
2. Tackling large scale
3. Sketchbook work – freshness of mark making
Weaknesses of submission of part 4:
1. Up scaling of marks to larger scale
2. A laboured finish – freeing up gesture?
3. Use of supports (low quality papers can limit the results especially if working with wet and dry media)
Although on a budget investing into some better papers would yield better results, especially if working with fugitive media (pastel/charcoal) to allow better integration of pigment into surface of paper. With wet media like ink again the potential to explore washes for immediate tone would be better explored in heavier papers with a watercolour finish. We discussed Bristol Card and Senellier cartridge 300gms weight as inexpensive alternatives to Hot Press heavy grade watercolour paper.
The nature of this part of the course leads to quite self-‐conscious results in many students, and as in previous assignments, the sense of having to finalise and conclude all what has been learned in the assignment can lead to a lack of freshness, or spontaneity and lack of risk taking.
Areas of strengths in previous projects:
• Landscape and perspective work was strong in sketchbook: you offered unusual perspectives and beautiful integration of clouds/ weather with rooftop drawings; your townscape drawings in sketchbook in particular where often very atmospheric.
• Portrait work in part 4 through less predictable formats to reinvent the genre portrait stand out in part 4 and could form part of your project approach for part 5?
Assignment 4 Assessment potential
I understand that you are still currently enrolled as leisure learner. We discussed this and as you seem to wish to go for assessment now, and consider studying for degree in Drawing or Painting, I urge you to contact OCA office to let them know about your decision to go for assessment and to discuss your degree path options further. 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:
Feedback on project work and assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Project portrait: a number of good, some excellent results:
Your husband from memory is interesting as you dislike it so much, yet you are very inventive in the use of support and handling of media, an outcome demonstrating creativity, and the overall result has a lot of personality even if anatomically incorrect.
Your context research (Sonia Boyce) shows that you are interested in less predictable formats of portrait-‐ this could be another direction for part 5 to take forward?
Self-‐portrait inspired by Graham Little – this is very sensitive and works very well. Here your tendency to labour in small marks is fully justified as you keep this light and let the ground of the paper work with it. The use of colour with blues for shadows and reds and whites for highlights works well to suggest a sense of plasticity. This is one of the best outcomes of this submission and pairs up well with:
The portrait on right (Project Facial Features) also shows off your sensitive mark making skills. Here more economically working with pencil only, but conveying character of the sitter very well.
Project groups of people / moving people:
Here I much prefer the sketchbook work that gives a genuine impression of movement, to the over-‐ finished drawing of people from a photograph. The sense of capture of a photograph gets in the way of suggesting a large group of people in flux. Although technically the drawing is very fine, it seems to not fulfill the objectives of the course here asking for real observation. The experiment on red paper is much more satisfying. You dismiss it as you felt it didn’t represent the mood or coldness of the day. Perhaps this is of consideration to you personally, but from a tutor’s point of view the objectives of the course are met much more here than in the previous study. I do get a real sense of movement, as you deploy a head-‐on perspective where the crowd is moving towards the viewer, this gives it a sense of actuality. The sparing out of the coloured ground of the paper demonstrates excellent use of negative space. It also lends itself towards painting practices in future. Cropping some of the foreground area would enhance that sense of actuality further:
red by Graham Little – this is very sensitive and works very well. Here your tendency to labour in small marks is fully justified as you keep this light and let the ground of the paper work with it. The use of colour with blues for shadows and reds and whites for highlights works well to suggest a sense of plasticity. This is one of the best outcomes of this submission and pairs up well with:
I stole Degas’s device to cut off sections of people here, as this seems to make the viewer feel part of the scene.
Moving figures: you used pen very effectively for this (see sketchbook below), but I agree that as a medium this is challenging; the broad side of pastel or charcoal and drawing with a brush would allow you to work more rapidly but you would need to use a larger scale. Lining paper is useful for this – a roll is quite inexpensive and you can work on a large area of paper using your upper body, arms and wrists, to exercise gestural marks. Perhaps not practical in the city or on the street, but you could ask a friend or family to walk up and down in your living room, or even just to capture an unfolding pose where the model sits on the floor and slowly gets up, all interesting exercises for this type of lining paper work. If you use recycled lining paper you will find this doesn’t not yellow as much as the standard grade.
Three Figure Drawings: there are weaknesses in all three, overall I find this group of drawing less exciting as quite predictable in their academic poses. Your personal voice shows much more in the portrait section and figures in groups/ moving figure approaches.
Project Energy – good economic use of brush – scale this up! Essential elements drawing shows a growing ability to work with mass, with tone and flat areas of paint to suggest the body. This is worth building on. Foreshortening: feet need to be larger.
Basic shapes – sensitive integration of seated figure on sofa – again here the theme of figure in architectural context interior or exterior to think about for part 5?
Quick studies: the first two on the blog show that you are struggling with foreshortening but in the end you nailed it: this last one looks good.
Cloth studies including figures draped – the preliminary cloth studies give a sense of texture and type of fabric. You maintain this in your two draped figure drawings, although I don’t think the balance is quite there between figure and drapery. Above quick sketch of basic shapes would lend itself towards exploring folded garments – if you wanted to develop and apply this to another exercise. These days we don’t portray people in flowing robes or men in togas, so perhaps it feels strange to do this type of thing when applied to contemporary art. But even to render a bulging fold in a T-‐ shirt convincingly – it is worth thinking about. I wonder in how far garments, dress, pattern and the cocoon function of clothing could become a potential extension to project 5 if focused on the human body or face? Giving it a new contemporary relevance? (Veil/camouflage themes as discussed in video tutorial -‐ see Emile Vuillard for pattern as a form of enveloping the figures, with reference to your interest in Graham Little’s drawing of the woman with the cropped head – the way the patterns becomes an independent feature; also Little’s use of the dramatic orange garment to frame the head-‐ almost like a Tudor garment!)
Reclining figure in tone – successful application of softer drawing media onto a precoloured ground. It is a slightly unsettling study, psychologically tense, and your model suggests vulnerability. The legs are well drawn, foreshortened correctly and expressively handled through white highlight. Your use of red to create deeper shadows is controversial as reds come forward optically, so your use of red acts anti-‐ illusionistically. For this tonal handling it can work well to use a more neutral backing colour like buff or grey-‐ which then is your ‘ready-‐made’ mid tone, using charcoal or black pastel for shadows and white for highlights. You probably noticed that most of the old master drawings you researched area on buff or other toned papers – bleached white paper was rare and expensive.
Seated figure with line: you showed me the original during video tutorial. You made some good preparatory studies including the detail of the hands. Your additional use of photographs here as reference material is not detrimental – it is a good compromise strategy between observation and photo material. You are inventive in the use different types of marks to create interest in negative space areas. You set off the light check pattern in your husband’s shirt against a more deeply structured black seat (taking on here the square frame function of Little’s collar in the orange drawing you referred to). You refrained from the common approach to apply a pattern all over; you only give sparing detail of texture in the foreground of the seat. This privileges the seated form of the person and the shoes, which have a function of balancing and weighting the figure. I think this is a successful outcome – the best (most resolved and confident) from the three assignment pieces.
Portrait using line and tone: this is a good solution to the task set, and your preparatory work makes me think that you should be reversing the values further and make the background fully black through intense cross-‐hatching or mark-‐making (see George Seurat’s drawings for that). Here is more to come -‐ you should push the wet and dry media application further. A good alternative submission to this piece could be your self-‐portrait, which I think is overall the finer portrait for reasons discussed above and also in tutorial.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Some strong work here: the movement studies in smaller sketchbook A 5, which capture rapidity and motion with a use of fast drawing broken line; these could be scaled up as discussed with larger tools and larger paper. The more detailed works in pencil, in particular the pages with noses, ears, eyes – are quite compelling and could lead to new outcomes in a future self-‐generated project. (Facial Features project)
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
You visit exhibitions like the America After the Fall exhibition and manage to select key works saying something personal and perceptive in a few lines. For example an observation about Hopper’s composition “where the light from the building leaks out reflecting off the gas pumps at this quiet but welcoming oasis. The lone attendant seems an almost insignificant part of the scene.” I wonder whether this painting may hold a clue as to where you might put your direction for final part 5? A way of including the figure into a landscape scene?
Your reflections on viewing the nude, initially in response to John Berger, is a fluid development where you analyse a number of art historical examples portraying both female and male nudes. This could be the gem of an essay (of use to know for future courses and your consideration to study for degree). You return to reflect on ethical considerations when drawing others, and also what other artist’s self examination says if applied to your own practice.
Date 8th April 2017