|Student name||Emma Hunt||Student number||511713|
|Course/Module||Drawing 1||Assignment number||5|
You have reviewed the work you have produced throughout this course and made a shortlist on your blog. You also provided me with a top ten list for submission for portfolio that seems a good selection. I recommend including related drawings of a project (including more of your monochromatic work, for example pear drawings as a series, cow drawings as a series). You can mount more than one piece on A1 and you can also go slightly over the 10 so be adventurous.
You negotiated (and this was ccd to curriculum leader) that you would do animals as subject matter (Part 5 option 2 observations in nature) as you are passionate about animals and like the challenge of capturing them.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
The four initial gestural drawings are strong, the first two are stronger. But good start to the project. Sketchbook work A3 good to include these sketchbooks.
Oil Pastel: there is room to think about positive negative a bit more. For that purpose get into the habit of turning your work upside down as this shows up areas for editing better.
The inventive textures are very interesting, in particular the blue background pattern and also the white ornamental foreground pattern. This slightly crazed overall pattern aspect reminds me of Vuillard and Bonnard: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/edouard-vuillard-the-earthenware-pot
the way they camouflage their subjects in rooms with overwhelming wallpaper patterns etc… could this have an impact on your development? So that the patterns in the dog become more prevalent and morph into the context also? This would also connect with the collage work you did for exercise 7 (see below).
Oil pastel sketch – although you use oil pastels here spontaneously with freer mark making in colour I have voiced some reservations about working from photos for Drawing 1 course in general (unless explicitly invited as a method for working from mixed sources, my understanding is that Drawing 1 is meant to hone observational skills and multi-sensory and imaginative skills in drawing, and wean students off the overreliance from working of photos).
Sleeping Titch: this is a fine drawing where you use the ground (buff coloured paper) to work up mid tones. Excellent for the purpose of the project and for drawing 1 objectives as you are working out tonality through it. Also working from life prevented you to over finish and to become too obsessed with naturalistic detail.
Sleeping Titch has a very good composition and has a Lucien Freud quality about it. Well done. This leads very well into giving you feedback on the oil pastel study you initially intended as final piece:
There is stunning technical detail here, but you are overcompensating. Bear in mind technical aptitude is only one part of the assessment – there is creativity and quality of outcome also, and the contextual awareness. With your references to L Freud you show this, but in some ways you don’t act on it as much as I had hoped. If you look closely at Freud’s handling of paint, there is more gesture and more careful chromatic differentiation in the way he applies a multitude of colours. You get closer to this in the actual body of the dog where you have blues and purples creating shadows – good. But the folds appear too stylized here and detract from the achievement in the actual body of the dog.
We have the added problem that you are working, or reworking something, and I firmly believe that your drawing of subjects alive is showing off best when you are more spontaneous and do not try to be so detailed and perfectionist. So for me your drawing (prep drawing) of Titch asleep on buff paper hits all the boxes: technical ability, quality of outcome (including composition), creativity (personal voice, coping with circumstances and adapting to unpredictability of model staying still) and contextual awareness (Freud). But then you loose some of that spontaneity when you rework this drawing.
I suggest you do a number of observational drawings (fresh) directly in colour and see how you fare. I know this will be disappointing as you clearly put a lot of work into the final piece. But rather than putting your ‘eggs in one basket’ why not do a series of colour drawings from your dog sleeping – and then see which of these might be best? As discussed in telephone conversation – you may decide to develop a body of work around Sleeping Titch and submit this is as final study/ assignment, and mount the colour work intended as final study as additional assignment preparation, or project work (yes include it). Generally OCA is appreciative of students reworking assignments in response to tutor feedback, so this does not necessitate lengthy re-writing of blogs, but just an addendum in which you explain that following your feedback you decided to do some additional work and to regroup your final selection.
I understand from our telephone conversation and subsequent email feedback that you are aware, that you might have got distracted by the patterns and details of the photos, instead of a maintaining focus on the topic/ subject matter of your set assignment project.
Also, as discussed, explaining in your blog explicitly that some of your work is the result of working from mixed sources, observation, sketchbook, collage, montage, and photo references, would do you more justice and allow you to get credit for some very interesting developmental work. Scaling up from sketches is fine – just saying that you have freshness when you work directly which shows a particular strength and confidence in drawing, so it would be advantageous for you to show this as well as possible.
You also communicated to me that you thought of Titch in fetal position as an analogy for human situations of seeking security, quite a metaphorical reading where animals stand in for human emotions, or we project onto them our own feelings. This is interesting and congruous with L Freud’s use of animals. You can learn from his ability not to illustrate or prettify his subject matter but to present it as a larger theme (life/ existence/ man/ nature type of thing). I think you are onto something very interesting which you may well be able to develop further in future as part of a new project in a new course. (I do like the photo of your dog’s appreciating. You have a good eye for images!)
Your evaluation: overall you run through this list a bit like a tick box exercise. For example you say imagination – you are ok. But then where is the imagination in doing drawings that are observational? This is difficult to square up – and I can see also, that it is hard for students to win in Drawing 1, as it is so skill-based. When you explored the avenue of pattern in option 2 exercise 7 you demonstrate that you can think out of the box. On reflection I recommend you should include this work for assessment folder mounted on card/ paper to show your creativity and ability to work in different ways.
Sketchbooks/ Project work Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Horses / horse fair: Your drawings have a lovely cave painting quality to them especially where you involve red pastel as well (Chauvet Cave France comes to mind… http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet/)
Dogs: good start.
Cows (in particular mother and calf drawing, also some of the sepia and soft pastel and final charcoal drawing) are very strong drawings –you submit a good body of drawings exploring one subject in great depth and through lots of different approaches. You should include these as a development.
Dogs (Titch) as project:
here you are exploring your subject matter through a range of sources, including life observation, photography, and mixed media. With images derived from photos you show your love of detail and your ability to persue a more graphic handling. When you work more freely, in my view you manage to capture the essence of an animal better. There are also some good study sheets here in line of old master drawings (Rembrandt for example I had recommended for you comes to mind, but also Impressionist, ie Degas, who did a lot of animal drawings including horses and dogs, I believe). There is not really a right or wrong about which approach to take in principle. The more graphic route lends itself towards Vis Com/ Graphic Design/ Illustration and Printmaking; you can also pursue it in hyperrealism and some artist do very well with this approach in Fine Art (see Ian Cumberland for example, and many artists generally featured in National Portrait Gallery). Note however, that with the “Fine Art approach” – ie the people who get selected to go to the ‘top’ (Tate, National Gallery, Jerwood Prize, John Moore’s Prize etc) there is a tendency to look beyond the surface and to expose a deeper theme (vanity, frailty, vulnerability, beauty in unconventional forms, psychological gaze etc). This is something you are interested (see above re fetus position of dog). In the long run only you can determine what is a direction you are comfortable with – and you can explore that with the courses you study.
Drawing from life: Tess portrait appears strongest to me – the whole sequence does show also that you are struggling a little bit with drawing your dogs from life. Bear in mind what you learned in part 2 and also 4 – about cropping in on an image. What is vitally important for life drawing (see Diebenkorn examples) holds equally for your dog life drawings. Hence Tess works well, also an interesting perspective.
Colour sequence: You add something very important when you use colour, even if only limited palette. Be careful with context background (see Vuillard hyperlink above, and your own selection of Freud examples). There is real potential to think more creatively about context beyond pattern (feet/ aspects which relate back to a human owner – perhaps an object?)
Collage/ pattern work: this has opened up more imaginative ways of combining images found/ lens based and observed – a good idea to push working from mixed sources further and allow to use photographic imagery in a more imaginative and creative way then simply copying from it. An interesting way of working for future projects where suitable/ permitted?
This also links with comments on Vuillard/ Bonnard above, and I understand from our discussion that you are aware these comments are not meant for you to rework this course part and assignment any further, but to keep at the back of your head for future work and study at a different level.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context Comments are incorporated in above as this assessment is based on the blog.
Suggested reading/viewing/ final further guidance/ advice:
Dürer and Ruskin both did very detailed illustrative work of animals and they work very well and avoid sentimentalism – but they worked mostly from taxidermy….
this would work with the more illustrative direction I mentioned above.
You mention Toulouse Lautrec and Gwen John –I think it is worth your while adding little paragraphs on these two artists for your context research.
I voiced reservations about Cecil Aldin as the work appears overly sentimental and illustrative in my view – we disagree on this point, but of course you are entitled to keep the work in as reference – my comments are not about censoring you, more about explaining difference in emphasis and direction/ philosophies underpinning diverse creative practices. Rosa Bonheur is fine. But above Toulouse-Lautrec, Gwen John, plus also Rembrandt and Degas, Vuillard or Bonnard create a good balance overall. Find a suitable image and relate it to your practice development and what you are aiming for.
Section on Freud: you have selected really good images here – this demonstrates perfectly that extra quality Freud brings to depicting animals now- in particular the one with the cut off feet of a human. Would something like this not be inspirational for you to try out?