Assignment One feedback and reflection

I was very impressed with the quality of feedback received from my tutor both by GoogleHangout and in her written report. Below is my checklist of things to explore following this feedback along with relevant excerpts as quotes from my tutor in italics.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of
Creativity

• Ink – beginning to explore idea of dissolving the edges of a line – investigate this further.

I had not used ink really at all before this course and certainly hadn’t thought about adding water to dissolve lines.

• Practice using charcoal . Look at Jenny Saville’s use of charcoal in her large studies for her mother and Child series of paintings. Here you can see a powerful and expressive use of line. The evidence of smudged underdrawing adds to the layered and slightly animated quality to these pieces.

I’ve begun to look into her work and enjoy its energy and her focus on toppling the male gaze. There’s a great introductory summary of her work here. I will try out mixing an underdrawing with more expressive lines which my tutor has said she wants to see.•

• Portrait – Steve and Dad. Make a quick line drawing in pencil from the same photograph and notice the different qualities.

Given the lack of detail in the photo I was working from, I am interested to see if I can do more of an expressive line drawing. How can you use line to convey the strong sense of affection going on in this photo? Something I need to think about.

• Tea cup on black background – sensitive but needs more highlights. Contrasts can
occasionally be emphasised without being too dramatic.Try using a mid tone background with white/pale grey to black chalks.

To try out.

• Pastel – consider contrasts and areas that would benefit from less activity/detail. Look at Paula Rego’s large scale pastel works. Also, as a contrast the abstract landscapes of David Blackburn. Notice the different ways they manipulate the medium for different effects.

The first pastel drawing I encountered by Paula Rego got me very excited. The contrasts and brightness in the white fabric is beautiful. I like her use of storytelling and multiple works, the sense of magical realism, the feminist aspects of her work – I must credit huge thanks to my tutor who is clearly recommending artists that combine the style of art that I like to demonstrate the techniques I need to learn. I am deeply thankful.  Reading through and studying the pieces on the Saatchi Gallery‘s site I think it’s fair to say I am in love with her work – and so much in pastel. A joy. Equally excited to explore David Blackburn from what I have seen of his work so far.

• Try using oil pastel and turps to soften/blend areas and make sections of the drawing semi-transparent. Would be useful for you to explore more fluid mark making generally and experiment with watercolour and ink.

My dad recently found my old oil pastels in his studio – what a coincidence! I’ll have to look into how to use turps, this is completely new to me. I have some very interesting buildings near where I work around Lincolns Inn which I think will lend themselves well to line and wash so when the weather improves I can get out at lunch and try this. I’ll also take some photos to I can draw on the train.

Sketchbooks – Predominantly used for ideas in written form rather than for quick sketches/studies. Get into the habit of using your sketchbook to make observational drawings from life alongside more expressive experiments with a range of media.

I didn’t do GCSE or A level art so bought one of the text books to read before the course. There was a lot of focus on idea development so my initial use of my sketchbook on this course was to start recording ideas for drawings as they came to me as I thought idea development would be expected of me. After speaking to my tutor I see this course is more about being playful and exploring whilst learning good technique. I’ve reviewed my daily routine and will try to draw more on my long train journey to work. I am not confident enough to draw people so will have to think what is achievable. If not, I will commit to drawing for half hour before I go to bed or at lunch.

Suggested reading

‘Vitamin D: New perspectives in Drawing’ both the 2005 and 2013 version. Also have a look at the Jerwood drawing prize catalogues which are available online.

I found the Jerwood 2015 catalogue here which I’ll download and review.

You mentioned Kathe Kollwitz but also look at Henry Moore for the intense exploration of tone. Graham Sutherland is also interesting as his work conveys depth and intrigue through a range of media such as ink, gouache and pastel. John Piper employs similar
techniques including frottage. Also look at the charcoal drawings of William Kentridge
for a more immediate and expressive type of mark making.

I’m including some links here for me to come back to and review for these artists:

Pointers for next assignment – Resist the temptation to tighten up too much, I would like to see a more expressive approach and a wide range of drawing techniques.

Because of the art I love – surrealism, magical realism – I have not in my own drawing experimented with expressive line, focusing on drawing face portraits from photos in quite a realistic way. I know this will hold me back so I will commit to pushing myself here. The artists my tutor has suggested have been very thoughtfully chosen and I look forward to exploring them further.

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