Assignment 2: Tutor report

Here is the tutor report for Assignment 2.  My responses are typed in blue italics.

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Overall Comments

Thank you for submitting Assignment 2 for Drawing 1. It has been an absolute joy to see all the hard work you have put into this Assignment and you have clearly gained a lot of visual and technical skills because of it. Your learning log is exemplary. It is ordered, is well written and is a very clear and thorough supporting tool in support of your learning. Your research of the work of other artists is of a very high standard and you have selected very appropriate visuals in support of your critical writing. Your sketchbooks also demonstrate your modus operandi well both by annotation, small compositional sketches, detailed studies and supporting photographs and the standard of your drawings for each exercise is good. Your assignment and supporting ideas has been a little unsatisfactory for you in terms of outcome, but a necessary part of your learning curve as you move through Drawing 1.

This assignment overall has been of a very high standard from start to finish and you should be very proud of your achievements so far.

Assessment potential

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.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Exercise: Exploring coloured media

You have submitted a good range of materials for this project and have fully investigated different ways of making marks and building up tone using cross hatching and stipples. You have annotated well in your sketchbook demonstrating your understanding of the exercise. Your notes made on your learning log and personal and extensive which makes your blog interesting to read.

Research point

Great research throughout (with complete referencing) of the work of Albrecht Durer and John Hurford. You have selected contextually the work of both these artists to illustrate your own interests and tastes and there are definite links to the work you have produced to these artists. The blog is extremely well referenced, compelled and intellectually appropriate for this level of your studies.

Project: Detailed Observation

Exercise: Line drawing detail

You have worked on a number of drawings in your sketchbook that demonstrate your visual and creative skills well. Wonderfully illustrative, you have managed to get the paper like skin of the onions across. Don’t forget that you can use continuous line to build up tone, so perhaps these could have been enhanced more by layering up the lines to allow the objects to become more three dimensional to look at.

You have annotated well in both your sketchbook and expanded on your thoughts on your blog.

For some reason, I’d never thought about using continuous line to create tone before – will definitely be trying that.

Exercise: Getting tone and depth in detail

You have had a play in your sketchbook at this exercise in an attempt to really understand both the object and the technique and it is clear that your first effort falls down slightly, possibly due to the cross-hatching being linear and stiff in either a horizontal or vertical manner. You then clearly experimented with a variety of different pencils for your second attempt, as well altering the cross-hatching to suggest a curved object to really get the materials and your learning knowledge to work on the slightly less successful first attempt. As you have progressed with this drawing you can almost see the learning that has been undertaken through the seeds of the pomegranate which, although tonal, a little more could have been expressed, the roundness of each seed is executed much better as you practice meticulously with the interior of the fruit. You have annotated again well, both in your sketchbook and your learning log, outlining the journey you made with this second drawing in particular.

Exercise: Stipples and dots

For this exercise you have drawn carefully and meticulously a shell that, despite the enormous amount of time you spent on it, has really worked well. Although a little flat in places this drawing really photographs well and the texture and three-dimensional aspects really work quite well in places.

Research Point: Michael Landy

Again excellent research looking at a range of drawings where you have grasped easily how and why the artist makes the types of drawings he does. It is clear that you have understood conceptually the work by looking at a range of drawings that he has executed, so well done. Again you have used the appropriate referencing system citing the numerous research articles you looked at and the standard of the research overall is very good.

Research point: Tracey Emin

Again another good research point highlighting both the conceptual aspect and working processes that Emin has employed over the years. You have written your thoughts down eloquently, rigorously and concisely, reading closely her descriptions of the work she makes and of the wider aspect of drawing as a whole.

Check and log

Another good reflective account of your learning, demonstrating your openness to new ways of looking as well as receiving new ideas. You have made some nice references to the work of others throughout your learning log and have written clearly and concisely about your learning for this part of the course.

Project: Still life

Exercise: Still life group using line

You have submitted a great range of preliminary and supporting sketches in your sketchbook in preparation for drawing your still life in line. You have embraced colour, line and composition well, trying out numerous approaches and ways of working which suggest you are very experimental and prepared to work hard for each exercise.

Your final drawing for this exercise has been broken down into simple connecting objects that link beautifully to a collection of vegetables, drawn from above on a wooden chopping board. Highly illustrative in outcome, you have selected sympathetic materials for this drawing, using bright yet subtly changing tones throughout which has allowed the work to become loose, free and similar in approach to Matisse and Picasso. The pale blue and dotted tablecloth background works well, as it allows the subject itself to be grounded on the page in an extremely subtle way.

Exercise: Still life group in tone

Some very good research in terms of looking and trying out variants of composition, as well as selecting materials that had not been used much before. You have maintained a very good critical dialogue with your attempts throughout the learning log, reflecting on the work as you move through each exercise with references to some online studies to help you through the difficult process of building tone with pastels.

Your finished drawing, however difficult to render tonally, works really well on the grey paper. The greens, browns and white are complimentary and deciding to use a limited colour palette is a very good idea. The vegetables unfortunately lack the tonal variation I would have expected, but the reflected light that you have emphasised on the vegetables is a good attempt at trying to get the objects to look more three-dimensional. Overall the white is very dominant and the darks are not in places dark enough, but a very good effort overall.

Project: Drawing fruit and vegetables in colour

Exercise: Using hatching to create tone

You have made a series of sketches in your sketchbook that use hatching to create tone. The onion is particularly successful in terms of tone, light and successful rendering of hatching to make your object look really life like. You have tried different makes of coloured pencil and it is interesting to see which ones really work well for this exercise.

You have managed to record the different stages of your drawing on your blog that again is a good way to work. It is clear that again you have spent many hours working on one exercise, but the result is of a good standard so it does pay to invest the time wherever possible.

Exercise: Using markers or dip pens

You have worked on a number of small exercises for this exercise that demonstrate that you are making interesting compositional decisions. Much more graphic overall, these drawings are very illustrative and hold their bold colouration well. These would look fantastic as textile prints as a repeat pattern just on their own. You have annotated well and produced a number of good quality outcomes that demonstrate again your creativity, your visual skills and an ability to work across all types of mediums.

It’s been interesting to note how different mediums affect the degree to which work appears graphic or illustrative – the markers had a decidedly graphic effect on my work, yes.

Exercise: Drawing using oil pastel

Again a great record of how you built up the layers of tone, as images on your blog show, after creating a series of compositional decisions in your sketchbook with annotation. You have managed a good drawing here in an attempt to work faster and looser than the rest of the assignment to date.

Research point: Ben Nicholson

Again superb contextually relevant research with well selected images on your blog. You have sourced your information from a range of places and have referenced them meticulously throughout. Your critique throughout is good, so very well done.

Project: Drawing plants and flowers

Exercise: Plants and flowers in coloured pencil

(I think the comments for this exercise and the following one were inadvertently placed under the wrong headings, so I have switched the order back again, so that it might make more sense for the assessors.  Please bear in mind that I have done this, though – I’m not trying to ‘doctor’ my tutor’s report!)

You have drawn a series of loose and interesting compositional variants with annotation in your sketchbook. Your studies of detailing of the flowers, the stems and petals are extremely delicate and sensitively explored in your sketchbook also. You then move on to show the development of the background and then move on seamlessly to showing the various stages of development on your final drawing. The subtlety of colour in the background really complements the delicacies of the flowers and the composition you have chosen is fluid, interesting and complete. Perhaps a little more tonal depth within the petals could have enhanced their beauty and allowed the eye to rest easy of the flower heads overall, however yet another very competent and creative drawing for this assignment.

Exercise: Drawing with other coloured media

You have submitted a good honest account of the journey made and of the mistakes along the way. A good solid outcome with a competent outcome.

Project: Drawing animals

Research point: Animals in the Renaissance

Another excellent research point within your assignment. Well done.

Project: Drawing animals

Exercise: Grabbing the chance

You have submitted a range of quick sketches using different materials of the cat Maude, Dartmoor geese, sheep and birds, Harold and a final wonderful silhouette of Maude the cat. Drawn from many viewpoints, there are some very competent simple sketches in there.

On top of this you have decided to work on A3 sheets of paper a continuum of work that displays a real love of animals and a solid ability to draw them in a fun and interesting way.

Research point: George Stubbs, Lucien Freud

Again you have selected a good range of illustrations to support your written work. Along with this you have critically engaged with your research and cited your reading list appropriately.

Exercise: Fish on a plate

We have agreed not to do this exercise due to your vegetarianism.

Check and log

Good.

Assignment 2

In your sketchbook you have written up many pages of reminders from books and other resources that cross reference ideas and remind your of what you can do to get your work working for you from the outset.

Again your sketchbook is your starting point selecting details to look at and work with, introduce colour studies with annotations and then the addition of research into the work of others really supports your working ideas. You then methodically work through smaller sketches using a range of materials to look at composition, materiality and outcome that will work for you overall in terms of output. Your annotations at this stage become much more in depth looking at conceptual stance, research of other artists approaches and your final annotations suggests that you may be trying out a lot of new things.

Your learning log goes in depth to explain your working processes, as do your supporting sketches and notes in your sketchbook and overall the maturity of the work really shines through.

The final drawing by your own admission tightens in rendition quite possibly due to the nature of exercises you have been required to work on for this assignment. You suggest that a looser approach would have been more desirable, but I am sure that this will come as you move through the next assignment’s exercises. The overall subtlety and control of the colour selection overall works well. A particularly strong part of the drawing is the reflective light on the bottles. An unforgiving medium, you have managed to master inks very well at this stage of the course and over time it is extremely likely that you will obtain the mastery of tone when attempting to draw nature as you move through each assignment. For me, the leaves and the chrysanthemum on the right lack the tonal qualities and colour range that were in no doubt present. They feel much more graphically rendered than the bottles and thistles, so it seems in places a drawing of two halves. In places you have drawn the reality and in other places you have drawn in much more decoratively, both of which are highly satisfactory approaches but it is important to be aware of maintaining different approaches in one drawing. That said, this can be achieved, but having an awareness of this holds the key to a successful drawing. This is by no means a failed attempt, and the standard of your outcomes has been extremely high. You have clearly worked over and beyond the remit of the course but your drawing skills have benefitted enormously as a result.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity 

Your sketchbooks are extremely informative and provide your audience with excellent examples of how a sketchbook should be. They map out the journey through the ‘Observation in Nature’ section of Drawing 1 clearly and are annotated well throughout. Your sketchbooks demonstrate enquiry, backed up with clear annotations and working drawings and you talk through questioning, demonstrating visual decision making as well as technical and visual skills selecting processes used in the previous assignment which are varied in outcome.

Overall, your sketchbooks give an interesting insight into your creative decision-making, the selection of your subjects and the visual enquiry you have with each sketch and drawing throughout. Your annotations are clear, demonstrate the highs and low of the journey and are technically extremely competent.

Learning Logs

Context 

Contextually your learning logs are appropriate, well researched and critically evaluated throughout. The standard of your learning log is exemplary and recording the various stages of building your drawings is a fantastic way to get your visual ideas across to your viewer. You are researching the work of others extensively and your learning log is ordered, clear, extensive and very professional. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about your blog and find it an outstanding piece of work in itself. Well done.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context 

Look at the artists I have listed below. Also please try to get to see an exhibition if at all possible that looks at Landscape and drawing outdoors. This may help, if you are unable to venture outdoors, in order to get a greater sense of what landscape can be http://www.tate.org.uk/search?f%5B%5D=im_vid_49:1911.

I recognize that this may be difficult for you but it is an absolutely crucial part of your course to see work in the flesh wherever possible.

Edward Burra

Paul Nash

Eric Ravilious

William Turner

John Sell Cotman

Thomas Girtin

Arthur Melville

Jessica Cooper

John Ruskin

Happily, I was able to see an exhibition of landscape work just after completing Assignment 2, and will be writing it up in my blog shortly. Always intrigued to see which artists are recommended for further investigation in the tutor report, and was glad to see a few favourites here (Burra, Nash, Ravilious, Turner and Ruskin).  Jessica Cooper was an unknown name to me, but having had a quick look at her work, I’m keen to see more.

Pointers for the next assignment

You will be looking carefully at perspective as well as the more expressive aspects of landscape so I suggest you have a look at a wide and varying range of artists work to support your own line of enquiry. Of course, you must be mindful of selecting the work that you are either comfortable with or like, and attempt to embrace the difficult aspects of working with light and structure through looking at unfamiliar approaches to landscape.

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I do hope that Part 3 will help with the ‘loosening’ of my work.  It seems to offer more opportunities for sketching and working in an exploratory way, which is good.  After receiving this report my first reaction was (I thought) one of disappointment.  Initially, I attributed that feeling to what was in the report, as the two coincided time-wise.  However, very soon after, I realised that what I was feeling wasn’t anything to do with the contents of the report (which I actually think is really positive), but more to do with feelings that had been brewing in me already.  Namely, those of wanting to take my work in a different direction, working looser and more expressively (as opposed to purely illustratively).  What I perceived as ‘disappointment’ was in fact frustration at not knowing how to achieve the outcomes I desire… a sense of ‘stuckness’.  However, I’m beginning to understand that it’s unlikely to happen overnight, simply by force of will!  The kind of expressive quality I’m after probably takes longer to evolve than drawing illustratively does (although it may not be as linear as that, and I’m sure the two can overlap). It would make sense that expression takes shape gradually. The important thing is to keep working, keep exploring, keep experimenting. When I explained this to my tutor, she responded very encouragingly.  I’m including her message here as, for me, it’s a continuation of the report, and helped me place things in context more fully:

‘I think that you may have misread my comments in places and I am keen to rectify this as I thought that your assignment was outstanding on so many levels and I am keen to get that across to you. The term ‘illustrative’ is not to be seen as derogatory in any way. Working in this way can be both tight or loose in my opinion and is very open ended and I am keen that you remain positive in everything you do. I could not find anything negative whatsoever about your submission and so in light of this email I would like you to re-read my feedback in a more positive way. It is always difficult to write down how you feel about how you recognise that someone has worked over and beyond your expectations as a tutor but I am keen to get you to see how talented you are.’

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Things to focus on in light of this report:

• look at using continuous line to build up areas of tone

• practise working with perspective

• explore the suggested artists and others who I feel will help me expand my understanding of landscape

• try not to get bogged down by frustration when outcomes don’t match the pictures in my head – keep working – keep experimenting

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