|Open College of the Arts|
|Student name||Emma Hunt||Student number||511713|
|Course/Module||Drawing 1: Drawing Skills||Assignment number||2|
Page PAGE 1 of 8
Thank you for sending your final drawings for the second assignment, together with your sketchbook. I was also able to look at your blog to see your work for the exercises and research notes. You continue to work consistently through the course, although you are taking longer than you had hoped to complete the work and you should consider more effective time management for the remainder of your course to bring you back on target to work towards the Degree.
I understand your aim is to go for the Painting Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.
Feedback on assignment
You produced some good sketchbook pages to show your experimentation with different media and I am glad that you found this exercise helpful in exploring the use of media that are new to you. I hope that you continue to experiment with different media as you work through the course.
Page 2 of 8
The study of the plant is what was required for the exercise in drawing in line as you have been able to include all of the information required without straying into the use of tone, although you should explain why you used two colours of pens for different plant stems.
Your thumbnail drawings of the flower have been more effective in describing a wide range of tone than your final drawing of the rose bud. You note that the shadows underneath were lighter in reality than in your small study and you went too far in lightening this area in the large drawing. If you half close your eyes, the area of shadow can barely be seen against the white of the paper. I suggest that you work more on the gradation of the middle tones and you have acknowledged this in your logbook notes. You have done well to fill the whole of the page and your composition uses repetition of shapes effectively. Look at Giorgio Morandi’s etching of ‘Still Life with Shells’ to see how he has used tone across the whole drawing to describe the form and shadows. Your second drawing in tone shows a greater range of tone when using charcoal, creating believable solidity in the fruit. Your composition works well, with the placing of a single small piece of fruit set apart from the main group and you should also continue to experiment with the use of frottage, as used in the background. Your drawing of the small shell was a good choice of object to create a variety of marks, stipples and dots to achieve interest and texture and the single colour drawing has been more effective in observing tone than the more colourful view of the other shell.
Your still life group using line shows good confident flowing lines using graphite, although the lines are of a uniform thickness and I suggest that you try to vary some of the marks using the point of the graphite as well as the side. You have included enough of the background to show where the objects are in space and I am pleased to see you fill the whole of the A2 paper with the composition.
Page 3 of 8
I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed working on the tonal drawing, which you built up using coloured pastels. It was a good idea to use the side of the pastel to create marks which suggest the different angles around the fruit. The brief for this exercise suggested using a different colour for each of the light, middle and dark tones, rather than for each different type of fruit, although I agree that you have been successful in building up the tone to show the form of each piece of fruit. You have been successful in achieving spontaneity in your drawing and I hope you will continue to experiment with this method of working. I am pleased to read in your notes that you now realize the importance of working over the whole drawing to balance colour and tone, rather than work on one item at a time.
Your use of cross hatching in the fruit in your sketchbook studies is good. It was very ambitious to work on A2 size paper for the final drawing and you have done well to fill the whole of the paper. You were successful in creating the illusion of three dimensions in the beetroot in the foreground and I think you could have developed this more in the pears and melon. This lighter colour of pen used has not allowed you to build up tone to the same level to describe the form and you can use other colours of markers over the yellow to suggest shadows. The basketwork in the background is a very complicated texture and it is not clear if the fruit is inside the basket or in front of it. Look again at the photograph of the still life in your blog and you will see that the tone of the basket is much darker to show that this is an interior space. The sketchbook pages of felt pen studies of vegetables shows good directional use of marks and variety of thick and thin lines. This shows good experimentation and the studies have energy.
These studies are well observed and it may be the fact that you cannot erase marks that forces you to be bold and commit to a mark or line in the drawing. Look for examples of this media as used by other artists, such as ‘The Sea Urchin’ by Salvador Dali.
Page 4 of 8
Keep experimenting with different media as this will provide an opportunity to discover which media will suit you best for a particular project.
Your still life using oil pastel shows good contrasting colours in the composition and I think you could be bolder in building up intense colour in this media. There is quite a lot of paper showing through and if you had spent a little longer to build up the layers of pastel, you would have been able to achieve a much richer colour. Look for examples of the oil pastel work of Valerie Barden on the Bridgeman website, such as ‘Village in the Vendee’ and use the ‘zoom in’ function to see how the colour has been built up.
The only study of plants you sent to me was the exercise in negative space and it is clear that you have an understanding of what this means. The photographs of the other exercise work in your blog show good experimentation with mark making using different media. It is unfortunate that you have already framed your drawing of flowers in coloured pencil and given this away and I hope you will not continue to do this when you may need work to submit for assessment. You consider this work to be your strongest drawing to date, although I think it is fair to say that it is very detailed and does not take your work in the direction of a loose expressive way of working that you hope to achieve as a result of working through this course. What do you think?
The photograph shows effective mixing of the colours of the leaves and flower petals, although the flat unworked paper behind the object does not help to create a sense of depth. There does not need to be a great deal of detail in this area as only a suggestion of the background may be enough. You have been successful in paying attention to the detail of the lilies and I am very pleased to hear that this exercise has helped you discover a positive aspect of working in this media which you had not recognized before.
Page 5 of 8
Look for examples of other artists working in this media on the Bridgeman Education website, such as ‘Blue Flowers, 17th September 1975’ by Horst Janssen, where you can zoom in for a closer look at his use of cross hatching. I would have liked to see some of the actual studies you made of animals rather than only see these in photographs, especially as you had been looking forward to this part of the course and hope to return to this subject later. The photographs in your blog show that you made some good sketchbook studies of dogs and horses and the quick studies have been particularly effective, especially the two page sketchbook work of Titch, the yellow dog. These sketches are fresh and spontaneous and I would suggest that you continue to work this way in future. Drawing live animals is extremely difficult and I think you rose to the challenge very well.
You made a good attempt to draw a fish and watercolour pencils were a good selection of media to use for this exercise, particularly for the layering of colour and marks on the fish skin. Where are the sketchbook studies to show your experimentation with colour mixing? The form and texture of the fish is believable, although I think you could have gone further to show how the light reflects on the shiny surface of the skin, and you recognised this in your self-assessment of this drawing.
For the final drawing for this assignment, you did not send the relevant sketchbook and it is crucial that I see this in future to enable me to see the development process towards the final drawing. I would like to see a great deal more preliminary work to show how you decide how to use colour, media, select a viewpoint and arrange the composition. You say that you feel more inspired when starting with a larger drawing rather than ‘fiddly sketches in an A4 book’, but these small studies will help you resolve any problems, especially with composition or choice of subject matter, at a much earlier stage.
Page 6 of 8
This means that you should avoid unnecessary repetition of work. You say that you prefer to draw without much forethought and this is not what you are being asked to do in this course. The first large drawing of the view of the kitchen sink and window is more of a view of man-made objects as the focal point is the tap and the kitchen utensils and the natural forms are not the main subject as required for the brief for this assignment. I can see from your blog that you carried out some experimentation, although the techniques you used have not been taken into the final drawing and the only preliminary study you sent to me was the pastel study of the fruit in polythene bags. I thought this work was really effective in your use of mark making in pastel, with a good composition and you did well to capture the transparency of the bags.
You have not explained in your notes why you then set aside this good study and changed composition and media for the final drawing. It is not clear why you introduced the large number of objects in the background around a single bag or why there was large area of green frame around the bag. The bottles and jars in the background are very flat as you have not used tone to describe form and it is not clear what you were trying to achieve. If you had not explained in your notes that this was a white carrier bag, it would have been difficult to recognise it without the text and you lost the feeling of transparency you achieved in the smaller study. I would suggest that you try to avoid adding detailed text as this draws the eye and becomes the focal point of the drawing. The suggestion of lettering in the pastel study was enough to let us know that the writing existed. You say that you are happy with the composition of the final piece as the focus is on the fruit, but my eye was drawn to the text and then around the outside frame of objects as I tried to identify why they had been included. I am glad that you did not go on to make another drawing to include the sink and window, as this would have included far too many objects to meet the brief for this assignment. You explained that you finished the final assignment work at this point as you were months behind with your work and it is unfortunate that you did not continue to try to produce your best work.
Page 7 of 8
The pastel study was worth developing into a larger scale drawing as this was an energetic, loose and expressive drawing with just enough detail to describe the objects.
The A4 sketchbook you sent to me is clearly laid out and the contents page is helpful. It is clear from your blog that you have been working in another sketchbook and in future I would like to see any preparatory sketchbook work for the final assignment work. It was a good idea to make some observational studies of work you researched during study visits and other exhibitions.
Learning logs/critical essays
You have carried out all of the required research into artists such as George Stubbs, Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, however I have not been able to trace your notes about Ben Nicholson or your comparison of two artists who exemplify mastery of detailed drawing or your research into drawings by two artists who work in contrasting ways. I would like to read more about your personal response to the work of other artists to show what you have learned. Perhaps you could select a couple of drawings and look at the way that the artist has made marks and used colour, tone and composition in the work.
Your response to the ‘Check and Log’ questions is thorough and you should use these as a method of getting used to asking yourself questions about your work, to identify your strengths and any areas requiring improvement. You are lucky to be able to attend a couple of OCA study visits and your notes are a good addition to your logbook. You should continue to look at the assessment criteria as a basis for self-evaluation.
Page 8 of 8
For your next assignment you will be working outdoors and I hope that you will have reasonable weather to enable you to carry this out. Follow up all of the references to artists in the course book and look for examples of work by Pierre Bonnard who made sketches in a small diary on his daily walk.
Pointers for the next assignment
Please do not stick drawings together inside the portfolio as removing the masking tape is more likely to damage your work than leaving them loose. The essential work to send for Assignment 3 consists of the drawing of a view from a window or door, together with the preliminary work for this, a sample of the work from the exercises, learning log notes and sketchbook. I will suggest a target date of 31January but I realise that we are fast approaching the festive season and you should let me know if you need more time, although you should try to keep on track to complete your course. If you have any questions about the course work, please do not hesitate to contact me. The main areas to concentrate on to develop your work is as follows:-
Continue to develop use of tone, especially gradation of middle tones
Vary the thickness of line, using both thick and thin pens
Keep working on a large scale as you are able to fill the paper effectively
Consider the experiments which work well, especially where you find energy and spontaneity in the studies and try to take this into your final drawings
Don’t hold back in building up layers of colour, especially in oil pastel
Make sure that you have plenty of preliminary work to show the development of your ideas