Drawing 1 - Assignment 3 - Tutor feedback

Overall Comments

Good to see the blog. Clear images and clear reflections on your actions. Well done. Also very pleased to see the preparatory work, a lively set of thoughts that indicate the beginnings (and return) of good studentship. You have an interesting viewpoint on the world (with particular ways of composition and framing) and this gives a visual voice to how you are engaging with the projects, which is relevant and something that you can make more of as you progress. A good set of works that I have truly enjoyed engaging with.



Feedback on assignment

View from the window

This drawing has many possibilities and indicates that you are really striving to push head- you have taken into account my critical comments from last time and are showing good improvements in mark making, scale and composition. The composition works well because it has a strong focal direction and you have rendered the wood surround simply in order that this happens. This is a delicate balance and you have achieved it well. The mark making inside within the framed space is interesting and has a variety of mark applications making it interesting. There is depth and a sense of inside outside. A critical comment would be that the bench seems small but it doesn’t really matter that much because as a whole it work. The preparatory work is good, marked improvements seen here. Well done.



A lively set of experimental drawings in your sketchbook, you have set out to investigate the subject and have not settled for the obvious solution- again I feel as if you are beginning to push yourself and it is certainly paying off. You have thought your way through mediums via testing and trying out- this is good artistic practice, allowing you to make considered choices along the way.



The ash with blue background.

The blue is handled in an evocative but not straight forward way, passages within the triangles and trapezoid shapes made by the tree are well seen and it feels familiar, like little notes of music that we have already heard. This familiarity is crucuial to us as humans and the sensitive way you have handled this drawing allows much scope for the future. It doesn’t feel heavy handed, over designed or egotistical but rather it feels exploratory, alive and as if I am looking with your eyes. Well done.


On the final drawing of a group of trees, the composition is good because it is quite innovative, in that it is bordered at the bottom of the page by the hedge and above by the sky that you have been brave enough to leave alone.  These horizontal lines really help form the composition and it starts to have the feeling of a sense of place.

The mark making in the background is simple and engaging and the shifts in tone mean that you have achieved some depth, however this could be improved with a bit of judicious working over. This would also allow you to get a bit more vivacity into the image- trees are alive, not static and you have managed to evoke this in parts. Very striking mark making on the lower left tree- quite dramatic but evoking the weight and balance of the trunk and branches.

A good outcome: remember that the handbook is just the starting point, and as you are finding out you can push how and in what ways you want to achieve the exercises. You may be interested in the drawings of Kiki Smith in relation to these two exercises.



You have attempted this challenging exercise well and have taken perspective seriously in your endeavours. However, it seems as if you are limiting yourself to the big idea again. With the trees you broke your investigation down into manageable viewpoints before then making the larger view. Here you have repeatedly formed a large view in order to make a picture, rather than to investigate the subject matter at hand. This is why you have come to the conclusion you have. I much prefer the middle pencil drawings because they have a warmth and character, although wonky. They remind me of Alice Neel drawings.  If you had stayed exploring smaller areas, details and mediums, your frustration would be minimized because all the time, like the trees, you are finding out little revelations that can then go towards a larger work.  Look at the images for the sketchbook walk- lively and with a sense of immediacy. Remember, exploration is key.

Exercise 38- composition and structure.

This feels as if this is lacking the vitality of the other pieces of work. It is interesting in terms of composition but you need to experiment more with your mediums before you make the work- quick rough sketches. The honeysuckle is over worked in relation to the rest of the drawing. Either you pare back the rest so that it is merely a whisper, and so the distinction is even greater, or you need to find another way through making testers and experiments. It is unresolved in its present state. Think about the energy that you have created in your other works (and in relation to your own thoughts/reflections), this could include a feeling of lethargy or dullness, it depends upon your intentions. If you handled this exercise with the same working methods as your view through a window the results would be much stronger I am sure.


This is more like it- you have attacked the cloud exercise with an exploratory enthusiasm and the results are interesting, varied and evocative of the extraordinary variety of days that we have in the U.K.

I think you are right to avoid watercolour for now, don’t be worried if one medium works better for you than another, just keep practicing, exploring and trying to capture the essence of the view in front of you. You may find colour inks a good way forward.

In the statues sketches both the colour works of Verity stand out. When you are working live in this way, try to inscribe some sense of place in the background however marginal. It will help to situate and give scale to the overall.


Suggested reading/viewing


Look at the historical drawings of Barbara Hepworth’s hospital series.

William Kentridge.

Paula Rego.

Anita Taylor


Learning Logs/Critical essays

You are beginning to explore, stretch yourself beyond the handbook at this stage and try to really engage with the works of other artists.

I re-iterate from the first assignment- just to keep these thoughts top of the mind, so to speak.

There are four main component parts to thinking about and discussing a work of art. We need to think about content, form, process and energy.



What is happening within the work?

What is the subject matter? Does the subject matter suggest a deeper meaning? Is it direct observation, remembered, invented or imagined?

Is it realistic, deliberately exaggerated, distorted or abstracted?

Describe the content in detail.

Describe the Size/Form/Placement (part of a series, particular installation arrangements etc)  When was it made?


Form: Is it 2d or 3d? How have the basic elements been used in the work, such as line, tone or materials? Is there a colour palette? If so can you work out why and how it is operating? Is it subtle, vivacious? What appears to be the artists’ intentions? Think about, series, lines, rhythm, texture, is it shiny or matt?


Process: What is the work made out of?

What media and processes has the artist used? Why might the artist have used these materials? Have you discovered any supporting studies/preparatory work? If so, how does it inform the work? What other skills may the artist have needed to create the work?


Energy: What is happening outside of the work? How does the work affect the surrounding space? Is there an atmosphere created? Does it remind you or evoke of a feeling/time of something else/another art form?

Why do you think this work may have been produced? Is there a political/social context apparent in the work?

Was the work commissioned?


What is your reflective opinion of the work (given the above investigation) how does it relate to your own work?



I re-iterate from the last feedback: Developing much better, but you can really extend yourself within the pages of your sketchbook further than you have already achieved. It is a place where testing, colour work, experimental drawings all can happen- they will really help your development into an artist. I re-iterate from your last feedback- You would benefit from working with small studies/partial studies to try out techniques - this will help you with the decision making process. Try out a variety of compositions of the same scene in this way also. Look at the OCA website for other student artists sketchbooks, it can be very informative.



Pointers for the next assignment

Keep exploring the subject, let go the notion of making a picture, when you do this your work really flourishes. Keep this is mind as you go forwards. Be inventive and brave. Let your drawings speak of what you are seeing around you and try to get into more emotional space with them through mark making and through decision making processes.


Assessment potential (after Assignments 2 and 4)

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

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