Formative Feedback for Part 2/ Assignment Two

As with Assignment One, I received my feedback from my tutor in written form, and I have tried to summarize and reflect on this feedback below in italics, and added my own thoughts and reflections in standard text:

Overall Comments

  • A nice assignment with lots of evidence of thinking about what you are doing.
  • I want to have pushed forward with tone and space by the time we finish up.
  • Plan ahead for assignment four, as a model will be needed.
    • I have already been doing this, and have participated in one life drawing class local to me, and have noted a few more that run on a weekly basis that I could attend when I am onto Part Four.

Feedback on Assignment (Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity)


Project 2, Exercise 2: Still life using colour

  • Wine bottle doesn’t have the complexity of colour mixing of the bottle in your studies.
  • Have done very well with the wine glass on the whole – a very tricky subject.
  • The only place I think it could be tweaked is in the streaking marks down the actual winey part – these would need to be a tad more accurate.
  • Congratulated on the way that I created the wall colour behind, which has been built up with different tones and hues. Reminiscent of the Goldfinch.

I found this exercise quite difficult, but enjoyed the challenge. I’m tempted to try going over the reflections again. I liked the comparison to the Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius.

The wine glass took me a while to get right – I found the shadow behind it especially tricky, and had to work hard to draw what I saw, rather than correcting it to what I thought it should look like.


Project 3, Exercise 2: Composition – an interior

  • The drawing of my kitchen for Project 3, Exercise 2 would have been massively improved by using a rubber as a drawing tool.
    • I keep forgetting to use this! I am getting a bit more confident in lifting out lines with a rubber, but this is definitely something I need to practice more.
  • Have a lot of raw white paper in the texture which is obfuscating the tones.
    • I tried to keep some paper white in this, because as I was drawing this, the sun was shining through the window, which meant that the glasses and coffee machine were lit from behind – an unusual effect that I enjoyed trying to draw. I will try to go over this again, but am nervous of losing the highlights.
  • Noted that using rubber to draw is very different to smudging, as it flattens work.
    • Again, this is something I need practice with, as it is not in my comfort zone.
  • Suggested that I be careful using compressed charcoal as it is more difficult to move about, and stands out in a drawing where you could have gone blacker with normal charcoal.
    • I hadn’t used compressed charcoal much before, but thought I’d try it with this drawing to try to get some depth to the darker shadows. Looking at it now, and in relation to my feedback, I think this perhaps I wouldn’t have needed this if I’d built up more tone overall, and used a rubber to blend.
  • Drawing looks like it has only just started, and feels a bit underworked – the shapes are in and the basic tonal relationships are starting to emerge as a composition but have no reliable cast light information.
  • Noted that this was a complicated scene and that it would take a lot of work to resolve.
  • The same point was made about the drawing I did of my housemate’s altar – the cast light was not obvious enough, which has left the image looking a little flat.

Altar (monochrome)

Using a putty rubber to bring out detail in a drawing is something that I am working on, and is not something I have done much of prior to starting on Drawing 1: Drawing Skills. I feel like I am definitely improving, and becoming more confident when using this particular tool to draw, but still need work and practice.

I will work a bit more on these drawings and use a rubber to blend more. I am worried however, that by blending too much I will lose the marks and definition that makes it a drawing.

One of the exercises I found very useful in a local life drawing class I attended recently was to set a ground in charcoal and then use the rubber to draw the picture (see my recent blog post on Life Drawing at Time and Tide Museum). This is an exercise I am keep to repeat, as I found it really helped me focus on the highlights as well as the shadows.


Assignment Two: Esoteric Altar

  • Congratulated on doing the work to select a view point in this way. Suggested that I may want to look at Stanley Spencer who does a lot of interesting things with viewpoint. 
  • Noted that it is easy to overlook the importance of the phase of a work when considering a subject or imagery. Have proven that finding an intriguing motif can do a lot of work.
    • I enjoyed arranging the subjects into a still life, and tried to do it in such a way that everything looked related to each other, and to the black embroidered altar cloth.
  • Asked whether I feel differently or know more about the subject of the owner of the objects now that I have drawn them?
    • I was already aware of my housemates beliefs and practices, and have an interest in Paganism myself, and I did enjoy setting this up. The wand in particular is fascinating, and I was quite annoyed that I couldn’t capture the details in pastels: being a twisted branch, that has been sanded and had runes carved, and later burned, into.
  • The use of shadow really works behind the main statue.
    • I had thought about moving the table away from the wall, so that it was completely freestanding, but it didn’t quite have the same ‘wierdness’ to it, that fits with this particular still life.
  • The objects aren’t drawn with the complexity of colour work shown in the gin bottle earlier, and do lack a bit of tonal structure/volume. Suggested I put the gin bottle next to this and think about how to take the best of both forward. 
    • Looking at the pictures now, I see how perhaps the tone could be improved. I do find it difficult to build tone with multiple colours, but am fully intending to go back to this – probably on a weekend, as think I need daylight to work on this!
  • Loose shading at the bottom half of the space around the table top makes the drawing difficult to to get eyes to rest on. Double colour works well for the yellow, but hard to read the surface/space near the edge of table top where it meets the two dark brown areas. Like an optical illusion where the pale bits are further forward than the table. The effect goes away when the work is viewed digitally.
    • I found this curious when drawing, as I tried to draw what I saw, rather than correcting it. The table was high up from the floor and set up against the wall, with the light in front of it, which gave the interesting shadow on the wall behind. Looking at it now, I am still unsure whether I should have moved the viewpoint to line the floor with the edge of the table…
    • I am going to have a look at framing the work, to see whether this helps.

Sketchbooks (Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity)

  • PSX_20170502_220938Suggestion to try using line in a more decisively varied way in quick sketches in sketchbook. Darker lines suggest darker tones and vice versa, so different weights of line can be used to describe weight and volume. Need to use rubber more, and pencil so it can be erased more easily. Using rubber with charcoal can quickly achieve tonal effects. 
  • The using colour study with the gin bottle in red, shows combining colours very well to create a complex palette.
    • Looking at this alongside my assignment piece, I can see the differences with the use of colour and blending to create tonal effects. This piece was quite difficult to draw, particularly the reflection of the shot glass in the bottle, and although I do find working with colour quite daunting, in some ways this was easier than drawing in monochrome, as focusing on the different colours meant I didn’t get so hung up on drawing the shapes. I think this was one of the instances in which I did actually use a putty rubber!
  • PSX_20170425_213403The banana and orange study on purple paper shows some subtle colour work, but could be improved by being more decisive about tonal range. 
    • As this was a quite quick sketch to practice using pastels, I was more hung up on using colour, which made me a little hesitant when looking at the tonal range. I found using yellow, and lighter colours on a different colour background to be challenging, and is something I have been trying to improve.

Research (Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis)

  • Requested to put any research I do for each assignment into the relevant category, to make it easier to find. 
    • I have noted to do this, and have even added Project’s into my categories, to make searching easier through each Part.
  • Asked how I might go about digger a little deeper into research. as with still life, I felt lost at the breadth of it.
    • I am starting to read around more, but this course for me so far has been more about drawing and experimenting with drawing styles and techniques. I also need to get better at writing blog posts and making notes on any research, rather than just what I think may be relevant to the course.
  • Suggested reading a couple of articles, which I will follow up and make notes on in a separate blog post. 

Learning Logs or Blogs/ Critical Essays (Context, Reflective Thinking, Critical Thinking, Analysis)

  • Make some good points about your work but would like to see more evidence of you not only being critical bit also then taking those ideas back into the work and noting that explicitly. 
  • A brief note to say that you thought you could have done better in x so you went and did it in drawing y helps assessors and me see what you are doing with your learning, and can also help you spot where your goals are. 
    • In my efforts at stopping the habit of writing in my sketchbook, I found I kept forgetting to make critical notes on my blog or in a separate notebook. I will work on this, and try to link between the Parts of the course more.

Suggested Reading/Viewing (Context)

Pointers for the Next Assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in learning log. 
  • Keep trying to carve out accurate tones. 
  • Draw with your rubber.
  • Enjoy spatial relationships and volume.
  • Build on your learning. 

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