Open College of the Arts
You have completed all that was required of you in this first assignment. In fact you have completed a rich and varied folder of work. Your blog reflects a student of breadth and commitment. I am very impressed with your work and do hope that you can draw confidence and encouragement from my review. As you are aware the first review lets you assess the standard of your work as you begin this new challenge. It also allows you to become familiar with what you should expect from my assessment of your work.
You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.”
I do need you to confirm your aim as to the formal assessment.
Assessment potential (after Assignment 1)
I understand your aim is to go for the Painting/Textiles/Creative Arts*) 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, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.
The previous statement best suits my estimation of your work at the moment. Of course there needs adjustments- there are issues that I need to draw to your attention. However if you continue to work with the same intensity- adventurousness and professionalism then I do feel that you will be successful in the assessment.
Feedback on assignment
You have presented your work well- it is well organized. As a first assignment it shows a great deal of promise. You are not afraid to experiment – you have obviously worked hard and with a great intensity.
The experimental emotional sketches.
You have understood this exercise and produced marks and textures
That vary immensely in their expression- even using a screwdriver! You have capitalized on ways of producing aggressive interpretations and produced marks of a gently subdued quality.
You do not need to feel that rubbing charcoal is being dishonest. Honesty should be applied only in drawing what you see. How you achieve that is up to you. You need only to draw what you see – Not what you know is there from previous experience. Use your materials how best suit you – there are no rules to this.
You obviously are capable of drawing in different scale. You are not afraid to draw with a fine implement or a heavy – clumsier medium.
The charcoal drawing with two cups.
The composition is inventive because of the aerial viewpoint and the positioning of the two cups on the white rectangle which is at an angle to the sides of the paper. The drawing is strong and the forms solid.
Look more closely at shadows and light. They are not made up of one tone but merge and flow into different tones. Be aware of edges – some edges are soft whereas other definitions of objects can be intensely sharp.
The salt pig drawing
Again the objects are in scale – a massive quality vigorously drawn. These two objects are “floating”- however. The whole of the surface should have been used. The space between the objects is just as important as the objects themselves. There should be some evidence of a background.
I reinforce my observation as to the intensity of your shadows- do look more closely as to their tonal range.
The two jugs
The main structure of the jugs are sound. However the detail – such as the feet of the decorative jug is weak. I think that it would be a good idea to study some of your drawings more intensely. You can be very physical with your sketching – big movements that reflect energy and an initially good first impression. You need to work more and go back into your drawing- altering it – changing it. You can do this easily if you are using tone by erasing mistakes with a putty rubber- or you can use a white chalk – or white cone crayon or white or grey pastille to further create more detail and tone. Do not be afraid to redraw- alter – change your drawing.
The charcoal drawing of the shiny teapot and shiny container.
This is an adventurous challenge and I admire your choice of subject matter. I can see how you have broken up the forms to see the reflections – their shapes and how they follow the curve of the forms.
The forms themselves could have been investigated more. The shapes are weaker than the other still lifes. Again a background should have been included and other media could have been used over the black to express degrees of grey. However it is a brave attempt.
The drawing of the perfume jars.
The tones off this drawing are all very similar which a shame because it is potentially one of your best drawings. You have searched out texture as a background- you have arranged the bottles well- broken them down to investigate their interiors. However the forms are weak in as far as the perspective on the square bottles is inaccurate – and the round vessels do not read as three dimensional forms. This can be easily corrected if you had worked on the drawing more. I do suggest that when you work in pencil that you acquire other strengths than 2B. Try using 3B 4B and 5B- these will give you added strength and a greater breadth of tonal values. Again though I think it is an adventurous choice of subject matter. I think that you might have sacrificed form in your interest with the details of the reflections. Do watch this aspect of your drawings.
Do not worry about your choice of still life. Cezanne devoted virtually all his life to studying apples and he didn’t do badly did he!
The large charcoal drawing with keys.
This is a very sensitive drawing and the one I feel that you have worked on the most. Although the division between the height and the width lies parallel to the edges of the paper the composition is fine. There is atmosphere to this drawing and a greater breadth of tone. Although this could have increased providing a more dramatic finish.
The experimental drawings on different papers – different textures of papers.
I think it is good to experiment and explore different surfaces. So do continue in this research. However do not concentrate too much on the “effects” at the expense of solid – good drawing.
You have experimented with different arrangements of the chosen forms and experimented with different media. This must be nurtured as it is a valuable quality.
You are using your sketchbook regularly despite your other commitments and responsibilities which I fully empathize with.
Do keep it up though as regular sketching does improve your craft- it gives your ideas and helps you think visually. Use the sketchbook as a research resource too – collecting textures from magazines- illustrations – collage etc.
You do not need to doubt that you lack a “personal message”- the longer you draw the more likely it will emerge on its own accord!
This “personal voice “- will also be revealed as you continue to sketch -collect pictures –explore and investigate visual forms that are different from the requirements of the assignments. Already a picture is becoming obvious even with this first assignment and it will only increase as you progress.
You do need to evidence your thought process as you decide upon your final drawings. First try and draw from source. I know many artists use photos and that is acceptable. But at this stage I would choose the real object to draw in front of you. Photographs have already taken the transition from three dimensions to two dimensions. It is for the student to be creative and learn how to do this. During this process you will observe much more – be alert to visual issues that might not be picked up in a photograph.
Your preparatory drawings can be thumbnail drawings in the same proportion as the final drawings. They should be enclosed within a rectangle. Often artists square up this small space which makes it easier not only to draw the forms but let the artist see the spaces in between the objects with a greater clarity. Drawing ellipses – or round objects for example can be completed with greater accuracy when using a grid. If you do prepare your final drawings in this way then you can give more time to the final design.
I did like the line drawings in your sketchbook – the ones that you cross hatched. You did think they were weak- I disagree- only again you should have continued with them.
Despite your domestic obligations you continue to be inventive and your ideas are not dulled. Observing the changes in a still life during different times of the day can reveal interesting changes. The impressionists -so intent on reflecting light at very specific times did exactly the same with their landscapes!
I think the drawing of the child looking up at the table is fascinating – a really clever and ambitious idea.
I know it might be frustrating not to have a special studio of your own. Many artists possess marvelous facilities and produce mediocre work. So just carry on as you are doing – you are doing very well. You should be pleased with this first assignment.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
I have read your blog and it makes good reading. You analyze your work clearly – define your progress and write well.
You have included different artists as you visit exhibitions. I would suggest that you study also the work of more influential craftsmen – historical figures that have changed the face of creativity. Do try and visit museums as well as art galleries.
I see that you have included illustrations of the artists that you have written about in your sketchbook. It might be a good idea to devote just one book for your learning logs and put them into another ring binder. This will organize each part of the module – it will separate the different parts and ensure that the learning logs are clean and easily accessible.
I suggest that you look at some of Henry Moore’s drawings. The line ones are particularly impressive and just shows one what is possible just with line.
Do try and read “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain “- by Betty Edwards.
Try and also seek out a book on basic color.
Always check the OCA website.
Have a look at the drawings of Picasso.
Try and get some information as to constructing grids.
Do remember that all the surface of the paper must be considered.
Pointers for the next assignment
Do take on all the pointers that I have mentioned so far.
I am impressed with this first assignment. Not just because of the quality of some of your drawings but also because of your openness to experiment and explore the medium. You already have skills to draw in vastly different scale. Your work has an energy and robustness which are very positive drawing skills. Technically your work already shows much ability. Your creativity emerges as you develop your visual ideas.