I received my Tutor’s report on Part 2 work today (27 August) and am pleased that in his opinion I have continued to progress in my studies with Drawing 1. I have taken the highlights and critique he has provided and summarised them in the learning points below. He also provided me with more helpful suggestions for further research and reading that I will pursue in preparation for my next assignment – Part 3.
• continue with an imaginative approach to my work
• build on my ‘vocabulary’ of marks and keep adding ways of making interesting marks
• explore merging the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’ in my work – seen and imagined
• play with the tactile and optically stimulating nature of materials and media
• keep with the creativity in taking on interesting subjects and ways of representing them in a variety of media
• keep taking risks – aiming to develop a more ‘personal voice’ in the use of materials and media appropriate to illustrate my ideas
• experiment with staining the support in different ways prior to drawing
• develop a ‘conversation’ with the medium used – even to the extent of letting it lead the process of drawing
• push my personal boundary with more quick sketches/ studies and compare/contrast with the outputs from ‘slower drawings’
• use the looseness of my sketchbooks – try and introduce this approach to drawing into finished pieces – attempt to remain “… in the space of ‘exploring and risk-taking’ rather than ‘finishing and polishing’.”
• look to incorporate experiments with materials, processes and methods of mark making into exercises in the next assignments
• keep exploring multiple viewpoints and push layering and ‘thickening’ of the drawing
• experiment with more textured grounds to scour and draw into
And probably most importantly –
• let go even more and reflect on results to learn
This assignment is designed to pull together the fine observation and practice that you’ve done on this part of the course. You’re free to choose your own subject matter and media, provided that you take account of the factors listed below. You can either work on a still life, animal study or interior scene – or a combination of any or all of these. Whatever you choose to draw, be selective and don’t be tempted to cram too many objects into your composition.
In the work you produce now you must demonstrate a growing understanding of:
• the use of colour in drawing • the most appropriate medium for the subject • composition and context • mark-making and contrasts of line and tone • accurate and expressive depiction of form • experimentation with idea, material and method.
Use this as a checklist for the final pieces, continually asking yourself: Is this a creative composition? Is my subject interesting? Am I using the most appropriate medium, colour, method, etc.?
Look back at the projects in Part Two and decide which might be most appropriate for your chosen subject. Experiment in your sketchbook and make notes until you’re confident and then begin on a sheet of paper at least A3 size. Spend time gradually building the drawing, bearing in mind that this should show some of the skills and knowledge gained throughout Part Two as well as earlier in the course.
I used masking tape to stick an OS Landranger 1:50000 map of the local area onto a large enough framed canvas, mounted it on an easel and photographed it (getting the folded up Landranger map unfolded and flattened out enough was a bit of a faff):
Using a small hand held projector mounted on a camera tripod I traced the required section of the map onto a sheet of A1 Watertford 190gsm paper, using Fineliner ink pens:
Red for A trunk roads; orange for minor B roads; and blue for areas of water (sea, lochs and rivers).
This first colouring of the traced map was made with Inktense block to capture the landmass and areas of water. There is no way that this depiction of the local area would pass mustard as an exact geographic/topographic representation, but it is not meant to and is close enough in accuracy to suggest the nature of the Inverness, Loch Ness, Glenurqhuart and Strathglass part of the Highlands.
I noticed that when I applied the Inktense wash I began to see some of the landmark road, water and rail lines begin to bleed a little and I was tempted to go over these lines again. However, I resisted because the more I looked at the effect the more I thought about how these lines on a map act as kinds of boundaries or borders in the landscape and that the bleeding effect was almost a way of breaking down these barriers. But too much bleeding was not going to be a good thing, so I need to watch out for that as I develop the work.
Once the first colouring had dried I then added some ‘found’ mini-icons cut from a variety of sources to pinpoint places and names (even “Nessie”). The application of green Inktense block wash marks out roughly where the main forested/wooded areas are in the landscape:
I am now quite excited by the challenge of trying to execute my idea of incorporating images of my sketched rooms around the house onto this backdrop. Who knows how it will turn out – but I’m going for it!
Funny how things turn out – I ended up just using the sketches of the small bathroom chair/stool instead of angles of doors and ceilings and all the business of the other room sketches.
Having lightly marked in the outlines of the objects I was stuck as to what medium to use – what would be appropriate for the ink background? I didn’t want anything that would run, rejected pastels (oil or soft) as I would probably have had to give a covering of fixative which I think would perhaps make the ink run and bleed, and I wanted to continue with other media.
I experimented with water colour washes over test ink pieces, but was scared of using too much water to keep the colour light and which might also run and bleed. In the end I chose to use Neocolor II water-soluble wax pastel as I found that I could control the amount of colour laid down quite easily and was also able to apply very light controlled washes using a number 10 Round brush.
The colours of the chairs could perhaps have been brighter/bolder, but I really wanted to allow the background map show through and not be hidden by full colour washes.
All-in-all it was a pretty challenging and ambitious piece of work for me and I think that I have managed to achieve the outcome I set myself using the original influences of Anthony Green and Zsofia Schweger and also sticking with my chair motif. The combination of the local area map and the bathroom chair mean ‘At home’ to me – our home is circled in red at the bottom righthand side of the brown chair, located in the wee neighbourly settlement of the Dal in Balnain, Glenurquhart, Inverness-shire.
Assessment criteria points:
● Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills (35%).
● Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).
● Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (25%).
● Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning logs and, at second and third level, critical reviews and essays) (20%).
In reviewing my work for “Your own environment” I think that I have embraced the exercise, research and assignment briefs with imagination and application. I believe my technical and visual skills are improving with practice and that I am becoming more willing to work outside my comfort zone and take risks – experimenting with ideas, media and formats.