The figure in history.

I read John Bergers book ‘Ways of seeing ‘ (Penguin books Ltd 2012 reissue) last year while I was trying to work out how much I wanted to do a degree. I managed to find a reading list online for a fine arts course and it was one of the cheaper books to get hold of. Its an eye opener.

I go to life studies as a choreographed way for me to speed up my sketching, I’m not in charge of the model and I’m not in control of the length of time I can have the pose, I have continued to learn about the human form, the muscles in the neck, the tension you can hold in an arm or down the torso in a twist at the waist/hips etc etc…

It is certainly not erotic. I and my fellow sketchers wrestle with the paper and our chosen mediums to create elements we are happy with before we quite literally lose the point and then search around for a pencil sharpener.

Bergers book shows that throughout history the nude was done for either the benefit of the patron commissioning the picture or because the artist had an affiliation (or wanted to)to the model. This carried on to Eduard Manets time where his painting of  Olympia was the first to boldly look back at the perceived viewer and engage them first with her eyes. At the time the fact that this was openly a painting of a prostitute was shocking and a contrast to say the clothed picture of Camille that Monet painted called le Japonais, here the look out of the canvas is almost shy and coquettish, it shows the affection she had for him (the husband/artist), as much as he had for her (as wife and model) The 20th century went through many styles of depicting the form from Picasso’s bathers who to me look like normal sized people going about a chore, through a ream of sexist advertising (the wonderbra billboards are a good case in point) to the work of Phillip Pearlstein (Pearlstein’s models are painted true to form with a definite harshness to the lighting, he does I note pick a thinner form to start with, although in his paintings to me the nude is sometimes an unnecessary distraction from the beautifully depicted play of light from the furniture against the floor or wall, or the view out of his New York apartment),  and Lucian Freud who must have left his models raw after they’d seen his view of them. these really are pictures of anyone and everyone, I think thats the point, they seem more intimate, the skin painted with more care to show its softness. however, the poses are more vulnerable, slightly contorted, the models don’t seem comfortable.

I’d like to think that the point to naked figure drawing has changed over the years, I’m currently reading a book about Andrew Wyeth (a secret life Richard Meryman, HarperCollins; First Edition edition 1997), I haven’t reached the Helga years, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the fact is that art is created for the same reasons as it ever was, but doesn’t need to hide behind the metaphor of the historical reference, myth or religious allegory it has throughout history. I can’t say I am comfortable with this view but it is formed on the body of work produced mostly by men who have either shagged all their models, or been paid to paint mistresses left right and centre.

Not a lot I can add to that without finding a load of female artists and their histories, which, lets face facts is like hunting for rocking horse shit. Tracey Emin in the last couple of years took herself off to America to learn how to draw, and has created some large scale works with more than a hint of Egon Schiele about them, they are not overworked and they aren’t overly personal, in that her connection to the model seems to me to be fleeting, disassociated.

I hope over the coming years I can come up with a better answer than this, it will have to suffice for now.



Pt 4 Project 4 Ex 1 The structure of the human body


This is part of a growing body of work that is interspersed throughout this part of the coursework. some of the life studies opportunities are so short I know I am better off concentrating on an element of form and understanding where the shapes fit rather than trying to cram in the whole person. Where the torso joins the thigh or the curve on the spine and following line of buttocks or the angle that creates the knee and its position in relation to the foreshortening based on the view of the leg. these are as accurate as I can get them in the time.

Also there are the pencil sketches of myself and members of my family, these get more time to complete and the graphite shading gives them much more dimensionally They are also more personal. That is the feeling I get from them anyway.

Figutative studies are absorbing and I get a much better sense of where I’ve gone wrong  when I look at my life studies pictures.

These are from a life studies day last weekend

female model in the morning, male for the afternoon, I asked my tutor for a steer on artists to look at the night before and the two I think I got closest too at the event where Egon Schiele (foot raised on the stool, all angles and discomfit with a hint of emaciation) and possibley at a stretch Lempicka with the futurist pose that reminds me of an early black and white sci fi view of a robot (at the top) in an art deco pose.

We had the lady from the morning back on Thursday evening this week

Some of that work is at the top of the post as its more relevant to that part. These represent a fully formed view of the whole proportionally the first I have the raised thigh too long in comparison to the dropped leg coming towards the front of the picture however, I am confident the shading is accurate and at least one of the lines making up the left shoulder. The second picture I am hoping to complete at another life studies day at the end of February. I would like to either get the shadows complete on the wall so the legs aren’t hanging and/or finish the arms. From an accuracy perspective, this lady is incredibly long of limb and I’ve actually got her feet correct. The painted view further up the post has them too small and again (my recurring theme for this model) both legs aren’t the same length.

Also by working into the second sketch I hope to add that softness I only seem to accomplish with time, skin isn’t a highly textured surface at this distance, the human form in a state of undress is a vulnerable thing and I think my best sketches over the last couple of years are the ones where I’ve had the time to work back through and remove those elements of shadow that are the reflected light from the wall to the back of the model in comparison to the solid whites of the light hitting the model from the spot light at the front. The time to spot those is the bit that to me creates the illusion of intimacy.

1 evenings life studies, tried to concentrate on areas instead of the whole for the shorter poses, the blue has hints of Egon although is still more forgiving and softer.

I am definitely having more success with this model, I think part of the reason is that it is easier to note the musculature in her figure and the prominent bones that explain the position of the pose. Her ribs visibly curve through the torso, her pelvis explains the link to the hip and onto the thigh. Shadows are the muscles under the skin.

Assignment 3 Tutor Report


Open College of the Arts
Tutor report
Student name Megan Cheetham Student number 514266
Course/Module Drawing 1 Assignment number 3


Overall Comments

You have worked hard. You have worked from source and evidenced your thought process as you completed each exercise.

Again there are issues that I need to bring to your attention.

I do need to push you on to developing your work further. You have achieved a certain level of ability which must now progress further.


Assessment potential  




Select one of the statements below:

*delete as appropriate

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, 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.    


I do think that you will be successful in the formal assessment. However you seem to have arrived at a threshold. You must now take on some additional pictorial issues that should lift your drawing to another level.


Feedback on assignment.



I think that- as you write- you seem to be more at ease drawing on A1 sized paper.  However I worry that perhaps if smaller drawings were completed you could give more time to detail and perhaps carry your drawings further in intensity.


You have worked out a good composition and your choice of two colors is quite dramatic. The perspective is sound.

You make very bold initial statements – really strong first impressions- you block out strong large areas of light and dark- a rather sketchy version of shadow- you have an expressionistic way of using media with strength and robust marks. What you need to do is to reach another stage of investigation – go back into the drawings and be more discriminating about detail- smaller areas of the composition- research your subject matter more thoroughly.


You reinforce the larger areas instead of finding the smaller areas of tone- of pattern- and of tone.

You are in danger of repeating a stage of generalization which you repeat in each drawing.


What you must do is to investigate more- observe more patterns and be more specific about these smaller areas. Use a greater variety of texture- pattern and marks.


12 landscape


Again- a strong first impression. Again I do think that you could have worked more on the drawings to investigate the shapes more and produce a more creative – more inventive result.


I would have thought that studying the walls of the buildings- the surface texture – perhaps- simplifying some shapes – relating others – leaving out such issues as door handles etc. might have produced a stronger – more architectural- structural buildings- a greater symmetry a  stronger design. Perhaps you need to   re – assess what you should include and what you should leave out.

Project 5- limited palette.

Again – a strong initial statement. The black and orange are a dramatic choice of colour.Ii would have liked to have seen   you experiment more with creating different tones  by using one of these colors over the other- by mixing textures etc. .In this way more smaller details could have been included- the window frames- the railings etc. Again there is a generalization.


City scapes


Again strong chalk marks- a firmness to your response- and you have isolated two very strong shaded areas that balance well. – On the right and on the left. Such a pity – more observation could have tightened these forms- highlighted those forming two rather impressive forms. The lighter areas could also have been worked on to create a greater atmosphere – of extreme light and shade.


The John Virtue drawing might have benefited from a smaller sized paper. However again there is a certainty to the buildings. It is a pity that you could not capitalize on your strong first impressions. You do have an accurate eye- a flamboyant expression of the division of the paper – a good eye for balance. Now you must take your drawing to another level of investigation to make them more inventive- creative and less predictable.


Project 4

A smaller piece of paper and a more complete image. I know that you like using water color. If you are to continue using this medium then you must try and control it more. The roofs would have clearly been a mass of different tones – the windows also a mass of different tones. Perhaps water color is not the best medium for you to achieve a really solid feeling to the buildings. There should be a better feeling of depth which can be achieved purely by tone. Try not to always draw outlines and fill them in with a wash.

I know that you are not so fond of pastille but you can achieve the same expressive marks- the same bold statements – as well as the more details – and over drawing can produce so many rich colors that will produce solidity.


Research point John Virtue


Wonderful white windows against black walls on one side- against black forms against white walls on the right hand side- more of an atmosphere because of the less obvious outlines in some parts of the drawing. Could you not have used an eraser to draw back into the sketch to refine your design? I wonder if you have used an eraser to draw back into the design- or have you used a view finder?


Project 1


I am not sure whether this clump of trees goes upwards or further into the certainly does not move away from the surface of the paper. Do not just make sketchy marks in the hope they look effective- you must be more accurate- more discriminating. The same with the water colors- just painting over with a wash – using the “effect “of the medium does not work. You need good solid observation- good solid investigation- exploration – do not just be satisfied with the “effect.”


Project 3- developing your studies.

Again a good beginning which could have been worked on more to produce a stronger landscape. The trees at the back do not appear as thick structures – with bulk and a three dimensional quality. Do try and create a greater variety of marks – be more discerning with textures- look for more variety of pattern.


Project 5- a landscape using line.

A drawing full of potential- – line is not just about outline however – you have seen some of henry Moore’s drawings – especially those of figures in the underground. Again- accurate perspective. Again this drawing could have been continued.


I do worry that you might get stuck in the apparent superficial cleverness that certain marks and certain qualities of water color give your work. Avoid falling into this trap – avoid being seduced by this. Concentrate on drawing what you see- not how you did it’d not put technique over content.

I do admire your drawing from source. You sit there and draw the landscape or townscape in front of you.  All this demonstrates your commitment. You have many strengths and a certain facility which reveals a certain easy aptitude to a certain type of drawing.


It is important now to approach each project freshly – looking more and giving less attention to how you get there. You do need to elevate your work – get past this stage of learning and move on to more complex pictorial skills- more intensive looking and more creativity.



You have made some interesting sketches in your book. You need to demonstrate your own personal voice more and complete research other than is demanded of the assignment.

I hope you have a small sketchbook to be used as a visual diary?


Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Your learning logs are comprehensive. They are honest and sometimes- too self- critical- too harsh. However you have documented your reflections as you work through this third assignment.

You have studied other craftsmen and in your own writing compared and contrasted their work.  


Suggested reading/viewing

Have a look at the work of De Chirico- especially his strange landscapes and the work of Magritte as well.

Have a look at the drawings of Andrew Wyeth- look at the simplicity of his landscapes and the power and drama he instills in them. Some of his portraits will also help you in assignment four.


Pointers for the next assignment


Do try and find a model if possible! – Perhaps your children can stay still for a certain amount of time!

Using your small sketchbook and drawing people in the street etc. would be good practice.

Perhaps a few weeks taking life class lessons would also help in assignment four.

You will be drawing yourself so that will be no problem.


Assignment four is a very important assignment. All the issues that I have brought up in this review are – again well with in your grasp. As long as you do not get stuck in that rut of familiarity and can push yourself to produce more intensive- more creative work.

Assignment 2 Tutor Report


Open College of the Arts
Tutor report
Student name Megan Cheetham Student number 514266
Course/Module Drawing skills Assignment number 2


Overall Comments

This is a formidable amount of work. I am very impressed with this second assignment and frankly can find little that needs adjusting. I did persevere however! I have picked upon a few issues- but it wasn’t easy – frankly you have produced drawings of a very high standard. All in all it is an excellent set of exercises.


Assessment potential  


(After Assignments 2 and 4)


Select one of the statements below:

*delete as appropriate


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.


Of the statements available to me – the above paragraph best suits the standard of your work at this point in the module.

I have no doubt that you are committed- the intensity of your work is evidence of this.

You must not become complacent though. I will pay close attention to your progress and it is for you to keep improving your creativity- technique – at the same pace you have set yourself.

Feedback on assignment


The horse sketches.

You have really studied the horse and experimented with media. The more you seem to work on a project the better the quality of the drawing. This might sound an obvious fact but it is not. Often students over work drawings and it can weaken the final image. The pastille drawing on blue paper could have been developed more. I do realise that some of your drawings do not contribute to your final choice to develop.

Do try and remember to draw only what you see – not what you know. This is a hard concept for some students but you should relate to this guidance immediately.

For instance you have drawn the mane and the tail as you know hair grows because of your previous knowledge of how hair grows. In fact you would  have seen the hair completely differently – not as separate strands – rather more of a mass of textured tone.


I would have liked to have seen more breaking down of  the forms- discovering others – creating more tones of black and white and investigating how the animal is constructed.


The pen drawing of the head of the horse is quite a dramatic rendition – with the three dimensional quality much more expressed.

The pencil drawing with added tonal water color on A1 paper has rather an exaggerated length to the neck. I know that the view you have chosen would have given some foreshortening but perhaps rather too much has been described.

All in all these drawings are well researched – with a variety of poses  and different ways of looking at the horse.


The natural seaside forms.


These found objects have wonderful potential for drawing. Some of your sketches are very subtle with very sensitive marks and textures.

I do feel that an opportunity has been lost with these forms. I know they are only sketches but I think more experimentation and you would have discovered other ways of interpreting the forms other than a purely representative way.

The scale of the objects could have been explored- perhaps enlarging the shell so it cuts into the side of the paper. The same with the star shaped form. The wonderful coral collection of repetitive forms could all have been taken that step away from the predictable formal drawing into more of a pattern – a repetitive pattern perhaps. A larger scale of these forms might have produced a better opportunity for investigation.


I make these suggestions so that you will become more adventurous with your work – be braver to experiment and to leave your comfort zone- to become more confident. Technically you are becoming surer – you observe well.  Perhaps cut up your forms- recreate others using these broken forms to create new shapes and designs.


Experiment more with scale too – don’t be afraid to exaggerate forms- enlarge them so they dominate the paper and are not dominated by the vast expanse of surface surrounding it.


The drawings of the interior of the house.


When you do experimental and investigative drawings- remember to enclose them within a rectangle. This might seem a small point but it does help a lot . You only  use the edges of your paper to isolate these smaller drawings which can be inaccurate. Sketch all small preparatory drawings within a rectangle – in the same proportion as your final drawing.

You are rather apprehensive about the use of a grid. Don’t be- they are very useful when you come to develop your drawing and experiment with composition and division of the paper.

All these indoor sketches are interesting. However I would have liked you to have been more experimental with the shapes of individual objects. Don’t draw what you cannot see.  Break up the lines of the objects – join them together – relate the shapes more – experiment with the view point – explore different options of seeing and be more adventurous.


Line drawings don’t just mean outlines –as you have found out. Be more discriminating about heaviness- lightness of some lines- be aware of stronger  thicker lines as opposed to thin weaker lines .

You have worked a long time on this exercise and investigated different rooms to understand the interior of the house


Still lives.

The drawing with the aubergine again a good example of mixed media. You have started to understand reflected light (The reflection of the orange pepper in the aubergine. I would have liked you to have investigated this type of light more. You have studied color – do put this learning into practise.Objects are made up of many colors – look more – observe more and see the reflected light- the shadow – that is never made up purely of one tone and one colour. Observe more – look more.


The still life with the round wooden platter- various ways of understanding the still life. Again I think that the object could have been enlarged – or alternatively the background space is too empty. The composition is rather straightforward too. Again though the forms are in proportion – again you have expressed the objects in different color and in different ways.


The A1 final drawing with objects from your Grandads shed


You have brought all your skills together to create an adventurous piece of work. You have reduced all the objects to lines and angles that use the paper well and simplify the chaos of the workshop. You have broken up forms and just used parts of equipment – used lettering – included collage and produced an inventive design. You have taken the realistic interpretation a step further and produced a more creative composition- a more creative way of understanding the objects. You have used newspaper to produce texture and to give a robust quality to the forms.

It is a lovely idea to use this as your final drawing. It has inspired many sketches and helped you create one of your best drawings.


The three fish

Again an enterprising vision of the fish. An interesting combination of texture and a sensitive drawing of the fish.

Again though perhaps the sizes of the fish might have been

enlarged in relationship to the rest of the paper.  Were they just black and white fish? – Perhaps more investigation into the color- reflected colors of the fish might have produced a more cohesive finish.


The drawing of the skull

You have used the texture of the paper well – combined with your own drawing. More of your own drawing however would have created a more solid feel to the skull. It is a dramatic image however.





Good sketchbooks. There are some beautiful drawings in your sketchbooks. Good drawings of your grandad’s chaotic shed- drawings of equipment and tools.

An unusual view of the lamp in a room using collage. The upward view of the lampshade brings a fresh vision – a different viewpoint.

Good dissection of half a cabbage on black paper. You have created pattern and given the object a new way of understanding it- that as well as the line drawing of the onion – and the two mixed together – good work


Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

These are good- articulate – detailed and honest. Perhaps more illustrations from the drawings and paintings that you mention might be a good idea. It is wise to contact other students – you then don’t feel so isolated.


Suggested reading/viewing

Have a look at the work of Patrick Caulfield. Look at the line drawings of Henry Moore


Pointers for the next assignment

Do take on board all my suggestions.

I do reinforce the fact that this is a group of drawings and sketches that you should be so pleased with. I do feel that you should be aware of certain issues that would improve your skills i.e. the proportion of the objects to the rest of the paper- reflected light- more intense investigation- changing your viewpoint-making sure that preparatory drawings are enclosed in the same proportion as the final drawing.

I also think you might get too “comfortable “with using pen and line.

Start using pencil more and try conte crayon of different tones and colours.

Keep experimenting as you do. You really are producing interesting work and obviously working hard.

All of my suggestions are well within your grasp. They will widen your ability – your technical skills and your creativity.


The next assignment requires you to investigate the outside world. Do find a variety of venues and make sure that composition works well – with foreground – middle ground and back ground. You will need to make a view finder which will be enormously helpful.

Remember to draw only what you see – not what you know is there.


Assignment 1 Tutor Report


Open College of the Arts
Tutor report
Student name Megan Cheetham Student number 514266
Course/Module Drawing Skills Assignment number 1


Overall Comments


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.


Suggested reading/viewing.

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.



Pt 4 Project 4 Ex 2

I missed life studies tonight, I’ve got a full day on Sunday, part of the reason is I’ve worked out how to set the mirror up to draw myself and I wanted to do some smaller sketches then work up a larger piece working from the sketches alone.

Of these 2 pages from yesterday evening I was most happy with the pose on the second sheet, lying back. This was a more challenging perspective to get a realistic shrinking back from the foreleg, shading to round the form. My major problem here is the angle the mirror was at chopped off the bottom information. However it was the starting point for this evenings work, kneeling stool utilised to get the mirror at the right height and angled better.


I really wanted to get the leg coming forward and I think I achieved it best in the third picture. I was also happier with the amount of detail around the form. I did like the standing pose, the narrow framing provided by the mirror I used to draw from offered an unusual cropped image. This led onto the larger sketch. I am worried it doesn’t look worked in too much, but I like the simplicity and the strength in the lines.DSC00846

I took the Andrew Wyeth sketch information in, and whilst I’m not producing hyper realistic information, I am using the lines and choosing which bits I want to inform about. I’ve asked for a second opinion, will see what my tutor says…

As predicted, my tutor wanted me to work into the picture, but I really liked it, so I decided to start another picture.IMG_8568

I decided to change out of PJ’s so there was less ambiguity in the form, I didn’t get the angle of the mirror the same as the trial sketch and I ended up twisted at the waist so my foot wasn’t swallowed by the duvet. My tutor pointed out that the face is a bit flat which I knew, but as I haven’t worked out if its too wide or too short, the shading is kind of neither here nor there. This is a more developed background than previous and I ended up cutting back with a rubber to get my whites (my smear the pencil lefthanded-ness strikes again). However, I think the crick in my neck was probably worth it.

In the style of Andrew Wyeth.

I can see me getting bogged down in this if I’m not careful. My tutor recommended I look at the work of Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) as he dealt in both landscape (Part 3) and figurative portrait (part 4).

I have acquired books on his sketching, paintings and those of his, his father (an acclaimed illustrator in his own time) and his son (also an artist) in the same book. I also got a biography about him. This may seem a bit extreme, but I’ve reached a point where I feel I should be able to come up with the story behind a piece, I should be able to fuse different things together to create this story. Andrew Wyeth drew and subsequently painted simple acts of life, but his reasoning behind the pieces where quite convoluted links to other things, random memories brought to the fore because of the placement. His sketch of his boots ended up as a tempera painting with the boots crushing a weed, referencing the point in his life he was at, recovering from necessary life-saving surgery.

Andrew Wyeth was accomplished as a draftsman, his sketching full of minute detail denoting texture and light, he didn’t fiddle about with the whole picture though, just the elements that interested him. The result is sketches that peter off in detail around the edges giving the images an eery feel of their own.

As I am now in part 4, I have chosen to adapt his study sketch for downtrodden weeds, my limitations are that the background story for the boots is lacking and they are smooth leather, the grain in the paper more than covers the texture. I also wouldn’t want to paint them in the same situation as Andrew, I’m much more inclined to produce a winding path, over grown, uneven, in the hopes that it shows my own uncertainty in where the image is going.

Andrews success as an artist is I think in producing paintings with such depth and detail that you are drawn into them as a viewer, they are darker and intense, his perspective in his wide open native American views are a steep contrast to me living in the city surrounded by a succession of hills as I am. I look at his landscapes and see a loneliness and in his portraits an HD quality searing account of someones soul.

His watercolours are a mix of dry brush and wet work but are loose and not overworked, the tempera? I think its a medium I’m going to have to save up for.

A3 graphite, I went with a 3B for the depth, the boots are black, I have a mirror set up in our north facing lounge in an English winter, I needed to be quite dark. the coat I managed with a 6B aquarelle. It seemed dark enough to me not to have to go conte or pencil crayon. Unlike Andrews sketch, I added a slight shadow to the floor behind the boots to ground everything or the boots are floating in space. I used a pencil rubber to adjust the placement of the centre seam in the right boot, that is the only eraser mark I made.