Etiqueta: reflection

Reflection on Part 3

In general this part of the course was extremely long and is a stamina builder! I felt that at times the brief hindered a more creative approach (or was a reason to break the rules?).

In following the brief as closely as possible I was nevertheless able to appreciate different aspects of the landscape/cityscape genre.

I am a huge fan of the works of both Constable and Turner, but have also been enlightened by the works of George Shaw, John Virtue and Robert Birmelin. Corot and Courbet are also artists that I admire – their style is distinctive and their sketching exquisite.

I still have a lot to learn and practice but I hope that in this part of the course I have at least made a good start. I particularly liked drawing in the centre of the town and found some very unappealing views to use as my interesting subjects: abandoned fields/ buildings and crossroads. I like seeing movement and the addition of people in a busy street attracts me. I would like to explore this further in my studies during Part 4.

I have taken the opportunity whenever possible to experiment further with different media and surfaces upon which to draw.  During a recent trip to the USA I was able to stock up on materials not readily available in Chile.

During this part of the course I have also read several books on art – notably Margaret Davidsons Contemporary Drawing, Fortuna by William Kentridge and About Looking by John Berger in addition to watching copious art videos on YouTube.

My sketchbooks are fuller than before but I need to develop them further into being part of my workflow – not just pages to fill when I have time – I have found this difficult when following the ‘brief’.

Reflection based on assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I need to sketch more outside and ‘on the go’ as it is something that I enjoy and it has helped me greatly during Part 3 – It is clear that reliance on photos is not a good practice and that you can miss a great deal by not sketching and taking notes on location. My sketches were varied and demonstrate a continued improvement in my visual skills. I demonstrated visual awareness in my sketchbook with different eye-level positions and perspective techniques. My reliance on line was also noticeable and I will continue to improve this aspect of my work. I have had the opportunity to obtain interesting materials and experiment with them during the exercises and final drawings – example: Duralar (similar to mylar) for dry media and Duralar film for wet media.

Quality of outcome:

Whilst I can present my ideas and work in a coherent manner – for example my  learning log (blog) – the log needs to be more regular and a part of my workflow identifying influences and thoughts, ideas and sketchbook pages.

During Part 3 I have identified weaknesses in my work and have tried to improve my approach or for instance look for a better more interesting composition. This has I hope been reflected in my final drawings.

Demonstration of creativity:

I have used personal preferencias and perhaps a personal voice in choosing certain locations/subject matter for my work during the exercises in Part 3.  I have a preference for more rapid expressive work than use of fine detail, although to date I have been able to demonstate a reasonable ability in both camps.

Context reflection:

I  have read a great deal during the last three months and studied many Youtube videos – William Kentridge, Kiki Smith, Gerhard Richter, Julie Mehrethu, John Virtue, George Shaw, Robert Birmelin among other contemporary artists. This is starting to feed into my work and I already have a growing library of ideas and thoughts for work in Part 4/5.

The charcoal work on paper/video/bookprint of William Kentridge has already influenced my work – see studies for Stadium/crossroad in Project 5 – also large cloud study on gessoed brown paper.

My study of Margaret Davidsons book has also been inspiring and a fountain of ideas both technical and creative – Example: Robert Birmelin and Agnes Martin.

Other influences and work to use as a reference in Part 4 include Guillermo Wiedemann’s Retrato fondo rojo (Portrait with red background) 1950 – Oil on Cardboard which I saw in Bogota and the coloured pencil drawings of nudes by Fernando Botero – for example Venus, 1932 Coloured pencil on paper.

Finally I am extremely interested in the stadium works of Julie Mehrethu and have linked her work to that of Gerhard Richter’s abstract drawings both of which have interesting representations of space – their use of varied mark making and line to create depth is incredible and may form the basis of my work for Part 5 – perhaps using interior spaces (malls and shopping areas) as a subject matter.



Part 2 Intimate

Part 2 Intimate

Project 2 Exercise 2 – Still life in tone using colour

During my research and practice work for this part I completed two sketches of fruit using first just pencil – this helped visualise the tones within the still life – and then using coloured pencils:

Graphite pencil on A3 fine grain paper (detail)
Coloured pencil on A3 fine grain paper

In these studies I concentrated on the form and use of colour – also cross hatching and building up layer upon layer of colour of various shades to achieve the final result.

I tried hard to produce tone without line/heavy outlines – I believe I achieved my objective and produced a satifactory range of tones from light to heavy dark tones in between the fruits.  The LH shadow from the bowl and fruit could have been darker – especially in the colour version – to balance the offset orange.

My final study for this exercise was completed in soft pastels on black A4 pastel paper (A4 because I did not have any other size black pastel paper!)

I spent some time setting up the still life and the lighting. I wanted the vases to dominate the picture and chose three very distinct coloured vases each with a different texture, colour and pattern. I also wanted to concentrate on representing the forms of the flowers in an accurate but loose manner.


I was extremely pleased with the final result – the drawing took about 2-3 hours. Although I was totally immersed in the work, I did step back on several occasions and assess the progress (as called for in the exercise). The exercise was an exercise in tone so I concentrated on tone not line. I believe I achieved a good range of tone using colour and represented the flowers in the best way possible with the medium/format size.

Soft pastel on A4 black textured pastel paper

I felt that this picture marked a big step in my learning process and has given me more confidence to experiment and push myself more. I effectively simplified the forms of the vases and flowers using several layers of pastel to achieve the final result without using line. Another issue was composition where I used the small yellow vase to draw the viewer back from the two busy but orderly/dominant vases placed further back.  There was also a sort of grounding with this vase as it was rendered in similar colours/tones to the background.

The coloured pencil study used line and colour to achieve form – also a step forward for me in producing a piece that was like a stepping stone to more technical processes in other mediums.

Reflection on the last two exercises:

What aspects of each drawing were successful, and what did you have problems with?

Flowers/leaves can be challenging and I had difficulties working loosely but accurately rendering their forms/patterns.  Fruit is less difficult to render loosely. I successfully experimented with many different styles during these two exercises demonstrating a versatility within my work that needs to be exploited further.

Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawing and still life groupings helped to create that sense?

Only in the smaller studies of flowers did I achieve a sense of depth using line and perhaps to a certain extent in the watercolour drawing. The greatest sense of depth was achieved in the last still life above where I used the placement of the vases to help with this. The use of lighter tones at the forefront of the images – for instance in the fruit grouping and the vases – also increased the sense of depth. Also see my comments above regarding the small yellow vase and its effect on the composition.

What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone?

Being restricted to just line or tone did not produce restrictions for me personally – on the contrary – it allowed me to look for other solutions and avenues to explore.

How did using colour affect your working method?

There is a lot more to think about when using colour – as it can alter the depth of the composition, change the focal point and even the mood of a drawing/painting. It has pushed me further … to think deeper during the execution of my work.


Part 1 Form and Gesture

Reflection on Part 1

Demonstration of tecnical and visual skills

During the course of Part 1 I have tried to make use of some old material that I had stored away and found some of them too dry and unusable. I have therefore bought myself many new sketchpads, and drawing materials – pastels, oils pastels, coloured pencils, charcoal and graphite sticks etc. I found that the new oil pastels were of a better quality and much softer than my older/cheaper ones (I will find a use for these old pastels!) I have never really used charcoal to draw and was very encouraged with my work in observing shadow using blocks of tone, and in the shadows and reflected light exercises. I recently bought some willow charcoal which I found much easier to use than my old compressed charcoal sticks and found the markmaking more expressive. I am aware of the use of wet media and in this part I have started using ink – and will explore this further in Part 2. I also used watercolour at the very end but in the next section where colour is introduced I will use it more. I have never used gesso and will check this out soon.

During my recent trip to Europe, I was inspired by an exhibition of the work of Otto Dix – in particular his watercolour paintings/drawings (see my final comments below). In two works: Red Light District III, 1922 and Tavern in Hamburg, 1922 he uses a wonderful mix of watercolour, indian ink, graphite, pencil, oil pastel and opaque colour on paper.  I want to try similar effects in my forthcoming still life work.

I believe that I am visually aware of my surroundings and the effects of light to create mood as well as to enhance form, however I am not sure if my definition of ‘Visual Awareness’ as referred to here is correct?

My design and compositional skills I think will be tested more in Part 2 Still lifes as well as interiors.

Quality of outcome

Part 1 was limited in opportunities to demonstrate quality of outcome with the exception of Assignment 1 in which I have demonstrated an application of new techniques learned during the exercises and brought together a drawing based on a well thought out idea – which included some experimentation and initial conceptual ideas in my sketchbooks.

I am not sure that I understand ‘discernment‘ and ‘conceptualisation of thought’ as referred to in this section.

Demonstration of creativity

Part 1  did give me plenty of scope to demonstrate creativity – in the initial experimentation with expressive line making I did start to come out of my shell! I also included additional creative alternatives to more tighter work. I have started to experiment with media in my sketchbooks and will continue to do so.

I have not been using my sketchbooks sufficiently and need to develop this skill. I need some ideas/strategies on how to improve this – as this is a habit that all good artists including Picasso had from a very early age

Context reflection

During Part 1 I have read John Berger`s Ways of Seeing,  I started on Robert Kaupelis’ Experimental Drawing, I am currently reading a very interesting biography of Frank Auerbach – Speaking and Painting by Catherine Lampert, and I visited three interesting German Art Galleries. I have not had the time to reflect and use this research in my work but I am aware that it is important to use all this material to enhance my artwork and knowledge of art in general.

I am currently struggling to identify when an artwork is defined a drawing as opposed to a painting! I thought that wet media had a lot to do with this but am now not so sure. In Hamburg I saw Giacometti’s work entitled Annette in the studio, 1961 (Oil on Canvas) – to me this is effectively a drawing made with oils on canvas!