I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles 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.
You have submitted a good quantity of work for the second assignment. You have attempted to use some colour throughout the projects and experimented with a variety of surfaces.
I can see that you have attempted to work with thumbnail sketches for your composition, you should continue to develop this further and aim to really experiment with the arrangement of objects. Keep your pencil sharpened to assist you in clearer lines to contrast with softer marks and tones. For example, when drawing the snail shells it would have helped you to describe the three-dimensional form if you had used a range of grades of pencil to give you a range of tones to work with from the lightest to darkest grey. Using directional marks, which follow the form of the object, will also help you to have more success at creating the illusion of a three-dimensional form as the examples below:
You mention in your Learning Log that the texture/surface detail of the object makes it more difficult to suggest the form with shading. Alongside the use of a range of tones you often have to simplify the detail in order to emphasise the form. As you have discovered using shadow and highlights can help to define the form so create a strong directional light source when setting up your still life compositions to help promote this.
When experimenting with texture as well as varying the mark, think about varying the pressure and angle of the media, this will help to extend your vocabulary of marks.
You have experimented with the use of colour for your Project 3 work and you have considered the texture of the objects to some degree. The issue you need to work on is keeping the form whilst you do this. Unfortunately this has become a little lost and the objects are beginning to merge together, creating more pattern than form. It may well be that this starts to inform your textile work, certainly that is what is hoped for. However, at this stage it is also important to develop the skills to capture the form. Remember that there is a difference in how we perceive colour so that it is possible to use this to create the illusion of form:
As you have indicated throughout your Learning Log, some work needs to be done to ensure that the backgrounds within your drawings are as considered as the foregrounds. Much of this can be resolved at the thumbnail stage, by trying out different placement of the objects in relation also to what appears in the background. Whilst you have tried different arrangements and viewpoints you could develop this further by zooming in close to the objects and focusing purely on their relationship to each other or zooming out and including something of the environment they are sited in. It is possible to use a textured and toned background rather than drawing the environment. However, this needs to be really distinct from the objects otherwise, as you have discovered, they begin to merge.
Although you haven’t sent them through, the mixed media drawings have real interest to them. It would be worth bringing some of the elements you have used into your other work: newsprint, strong tones etc. The contrast that you are achieving in the photographic images of your work needs to be brought into the actual drawings: ‘monochrome musical instruments’ for example. The strong contrasting tones of yellow and red work well to describe the form and add interest to the drawing, which is not apparent in the original. Use this to select the colour and tones you are going to work with.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
The thoughts behind your selection for the assignment are interesting and evidence an ability to think things through conceptually and be creative in your response to the tasks. The combining of reality, impression, death, life etc. are concepts which you could easily develop throughout your projects.
There are some issues with the final piece, which are related to some of the things I have addressed in the overall feedback. The composition needed much more experimentation before you embarked on the final work. You don’t have to stay true to the original photograph you used. As it is there is a large amount of background without much going on in it. This could have worked if the ducks and skeleton had sufficient detail to provide focal interest and contrast. If you were trying to make reference to the endless cycle of life through the vastness of the water, it would have been better to work on a portrait format with the ducks occupying a small section at the bottom of the composition. The positioning of the objects, as much as the objects themselves, can give rise to a range of narratives so it is important to consider this if you are going to work in this way, i.e. more conceptually.
You also need to be careful of the order in which you apply the media. The background appears to be drawn over the top of the ducks, distorting their shape and making them merge into the background. As with comments previously, you needed to use a range of tones in order to describe the form of the ducks. The course is designed to develop your observational skills alongside your creativity so it is important to demonstrate this within your work. I don’t want you to lose your lively, free approach to drawing. However, there needs to be a balance between, lively mark-making and accurately observed more controlled line and form. Concentrate on trying to develop this in the next part of the course.
I would suggest that you attempt to develop this assignment piece. Create several compositional drawings and see how this changes the narrative the work is creating. If you decide to work with vast expanses of water, observe how water appears and try to capture this. Reflect on how you would approach the texture of the water and ducks if you were creating a textile and try this approach to your drawings.
I know you have stepped out of your ‘comfort zone’ whilst undertaking the course and that necessitates pushing yourself to experiment and holding your nerve until the work starts to come together – it will if you continue to work and reflect on what you have produced.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
It is good to hear that you are beginning to use your sketchbook in a manner that is more appropriate to you specifically. As you have suggested the course should help you to develop skills that will allow you to work in your own particular way. It is not enough to be skillful; your work needs to be distinctive if you are to develop as a practitioner. It is important that your drawing and textile practice begins to come together so that each is feeding the other. However, it is early days in the course so it is something to be aware of and work towards.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
There is some evidence of reflection on the work you are producing in regards to the process and techniques you are developing. Think about the context of the images you are researching and referencing. The mallard duck illustrations for example: how might the context in which this was intended for viewing affect the choice of media and composition compared to the context you are working in? Good selection of artists referred to in your still life section. Remember to include critical reflection on the work as well as biographical details. Reflect on how the work of others is helping you to develop your thinking as well as comparing and contrasting the work of the artists you are researching. This will help you to develop your critical thinking.
Look at Vija Celman’s drawings of water:
David Hockney’s landscapes:
John Virtue’s cityscapes:
Pointers for the next assignment
Action points from feedback:
- Experiment further with the composition before embarking on the final piece
- Keep your pencils sharp and use a range of grades of pencil, which you can use to vary the mark, pressure and direction in order to successfully describe the form
- Use a strong directional light source and colour perception in order to emphasise the tones and assist your development of the form
- Rework your assignment after you have experimented further with composition
- Reflect on the context in which artists make work and how this affects the reading of their work
- Compare and contrast the work of others and reflect on how this influences your own work
Next assignment due
So, to get it straight in my head, what I need to do during this part of the course is:
For finished pieces: More composition sketches to prepare for piece - do this for assignment piece and draw it again.
For each sketch: Use more than one or two pencils, and sharpen them frequently
and try out different pressures and directions with my marks to make the form.
For each sketch, and practice in sketchbook: Form needs to be more obvious than detail - directional light and colour changes (including cool and warm).
For research and reflecting on what I am doing: Reflect on how seeing artists work affects how I do mine.