Tutor report Assignment 3

The report for Assignment 3 by my tutor Joanne Mulvilli- Allen has arrived. I am thrilled and honestly surprised at how positive it is, as my battle with perspective was not an easy one.

Formative feedback

Student name        Clara Maciulis Student number                     513759
Course/Unit            Drawing 1: drawing skills Assignment number            3
Type of tutorial (eg video/audio/written) Written

Overall Comments

Clara, thank you for submitting assignment 3. You’ve focused your line of enquiry for this part of the course, refining your ideas in preparatory work and following that through to finished pieces. You have a vivacious approach to the course and a willingness to experiment, take risks and learn.

Feedback on assignment

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

Project 1: Trees

The layering here is very successful, you’ve found a way to depict the softness of the leaves and to contrast the tougher tree trunk. This is a more subtle way to use mixed media and could be explored further. Have a look at the work of Sarah Taylor Silverwood. There was an interview with her on WeAreOCA here also.

I love the work of Sarah Taylor Silverwood that I discovered through the blog. I will definitely want to explore layering more, and photo transfers as a background. I particularly like how she is using pictures of very different styles for the different layers. Also various formats- sometimes fabric or a whole room.

Your study of several trees is a lively composition, it is an illustrative piece with a Cezanne influence.

(Happy, happy to read this- I thought it was too uninteresting…)

Project 2: Landscape

Exercise 1: Cloud formations and tone

It’s great to see you so enthused about studying clouds, the ever changing nature of them suits your gestural approach to making. Continue to practice creating variable tonal values making that shift from light to dark more indistinct. If you have the opportunity create some tonal charts in a variety of media.

Yes, will do, very useful!

Exercise 2: Sketchbook walk

This exercise was exactly what you needed to get you stuck into your sketchbook, ( true , true ) drawing in public is never easy, well done. You’ve also used this exercise as an opportunity to practice your perspective and pay close attention to detail. The blue drawings are particularly engaging. Continue to work in your sketchbooks in this way.  

Exercise 3: 360 studies

For this exercise you paired up with a friend, it’s good to share experiences with another artist and it has given you the opportunity to see first hand the many different ways to approach something. It would be nice to see your 360 drawings displayed as a long panoramic view.

Here I put them together in a panorama with Photoshop :

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The background fits together rather well, but the foreground shows gaps and repetitions. There is also a difference in tone, that I left here. I turned myself 90 degrees between the drawings, but did not think of the whole panoramic view- something to consider next time .

 

Project 3: Composition

Exercise 1: Developing your studies

You used this exercise as a place to explore media. You’ve created an experimental series but the composition lacks the interest of some of your previous works. There are vasts areas of the page where there is little happening, perhaps a portrait view would have been better. However you have evoked different atmospheres through your use of media from a warm environ to a dreamscape and desolate place. Just be careful of collage becoming too crafty. When you reflect consider how differing media can alter the viewer’s perception of the same thing.

It is true that here I got distracted into exploring different media instead of really exploring composition which was the essence of the exercise.

Exercise 2: Foreground, middleground, background

You thought carefully about your composition here and it pays, although your pigeon isn’t an accurate observational representation – animal anatomy is a whole other thing that needs to be studied – the rest of the drawing works really well, and the pigeon works as a device in the foreground to anchor the drawing. I am enjoying your limited pallette choice also, sometimes less is more.

Project 4: Perspective

Exercise 1: Parallel perspective – an interior view

A finely detailed study of a Moroccan room, a great choice for perspective with all those tiles. You are understanding the rules which need to be followed and your drawings are improving as a result. It is fine to use rulers and guidelines should you need to in order to aid your understanding.

Project 5: Townscapes

Exercise 1: Sketchbook of townscape drawings

Another successful series of drawings, the square format works really well at capturing a snapshot view. The white space around the drawing creates an interesting frame for the work also. You can create borders using a low tack masking tape if you want to experiment with less conventional shapes. Mask up your page to create letter box or square compositions, create your drawing as you would normally then peel off the tape to reveal your work.

Love this idea and will explore that! I feel attracted to unusual shapes and unconventional backgrounds.

Exercise 2: Study of a townscape using line

This is a quirky drawing, there is almost a children’s book naivety about it that is very appealing, it’s got character. Here for me you have managed to successfully combine the finished/unfinished balance that you were exploring in the previous part of the course.

Wow- I am so happy with this encouraging comment as this was an exercise that was a real real challenge and still felt very imperfect!

Exercise 3: Limited palette study

Again a successful piece, you are reigning in your ideas, developing interesting drawings as you progress through this section. There is a print like quality to some of these more recent drawings, it may be worth your while having a go at making some monoprints. I think it is something you would enjoy and would suit your way of working.

I really enjoy drawing with the limited palette. I was looking at Giacometti’s drawings and feel very inspired by the scribbly layered monochromatic way he draws. I have never tried monoprints because spontaneously it sounds like you need a studio and equipment for that, but now I am very curious and will look into it. Maybe this is not as complex as I think? I have also been wanting to play with phototransfers as a background for some time.

Working from life you are creating a much more honest observation, sensitive to what you see.

Exercise 4: Statues

This was the first exercise you completed for this part of the course. It is a detailed piece but the use of outline makes it more illustrative, again it is just about exploring tone further. I wonder would you create a very different study now having completed the section?

Yes, it feels like I need to have another go at this exercise. When I got back there I felt like I had spent far too long on the exercises and was very much eager to start some assignment drawings, but I will try again.

Assignment

You’ve explored three different environments here. The modern architecture drawing works well at encapsulating what you have learned about perspective. The collaged newspaper doesn’t work as well as perhaps a single found page would have, it’s a bit forced.

Yes, I agree. It felt like a great idea with bringing all languages together, but I agree that it doesn’t work visually.

The Montevora piece carries on a similar line of enquiry to your limited palette study and foreground, middle… one. There is a European charm about it, you’ve captured the essence of the place which is down to working in situ.

A completely different environment again in the form of a skatepark but the limited subdued palette remains. Your composition choice is interesting, which has come about through preparatory work and experimentation, keep this up. Have a look at the work of Laura Oldfield Ford who explore the urban environment with a limited palette.     

Wow- another artist I am so happy to discover- using text and photocopies and scribbled portraits and collage at times- then graffitti, spraypaint. I love it all and don’t even know where to start experimenting here 🙂

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

This part of the course has forced you to get out and about and engage with your sketchbook, you’ve used it really well to document your immediate surroundings. From looking at your blog I can see you are using found materials to draw on, this is great, anything can be a surface, take a look at Adrian Hogan’s coffee cup drawings for example.

Perfect! A real challenge to draw on a rounded surface too. Will immediately indulge in a take- away cappuccino! 

I started but then used found surfaces much too little last chapter, something I really want to explore  further. I have a whole pile of Christmas paper wrappings saved for this purpose. Will go back to Tina Berning as well to rediscover her portraits on found paper.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Thank you for organising your research, you are looking at work from the past to present and visiting exhibitions where possible. Try now to find a way to marry what you are doing with the work you are looking at, use this blog post as an example of a way to compare and contrast your work to help contextualise it. You are keeping your sources within the body of text and this works fine, sometimes it can be easier to keep a separate list as your bibliography but there is no right or wrong way to do it at this stage of study, if you were writing something formal like an essay then you would keep a separate bibliography as a list. If your system works for you then maintain it as it is. OCA use the Harvard system of referencing if you want to start familiarising yourself with it. There is a guide on the OCA student site here.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

A well organised blog that is easy to navigate, you reflect well on each stage of your learning, now as mentioned above you need to try and fuse your research with your making.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

As well as the artists mentioned within the report take a look at the following videos of student work to help you consider how you could pursue some of your ideas further.

I had watched these videos before, but really enjoyed discovering how differently I saw the videos and the work now after completing this section.

https://weareoca.com/fine-art/laura-strong/

Laura Strong is  a Level 3 Painting student exploring relationship and identity through psychogeography ( a word that was new to me this morning but that I have already encountered several times today looking at these different artists). She expresses emotion and meaning without showing any figures. I love her subtle work and find it incredible how much she can say with a tiny painting of a rather every day scene and then continue deepening in a beautifully presented series.

https://weareoca.com/fine-art/jackie-gaskell-2/

In this video the assessor Jim points out how the drawing of objects becomes a physical experience, through expressive marks and a bold approach to size. A concertina sketchbook goes on for 4,5 meters. The ambitious scale and the versatile way of using media creates a new and magical experience for the viewer.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Continue reigning in your ideas, refining your work from preparatory studies to final pieces.
  • Keep up the sketchbook work, particularly drawing on found surfaces.
  • The limited palette choice works well, explore this further.
  • If you can investigate monoprinting.

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment. Written or video/audio

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment. THANK YOU!

Tutor name Joanne Mulvihill-Allen
Date 7 January 2017
Next assignment due 7 May 2017

Assignment 3

For Assignment 3, I plan to have a more fresh and daring approach than I have had to the exercises . This has definitely been the most challenging chapter of the course for me so far. It feels like I have learned a lot, especially about perspective, but I have continuously   felt stuck by trying to get things “right”. It felt like I started to explore and experiment at the end of last chapter, and  had so many ideas to continue developing, but that all got lost somewhere while doing the exercises of this chapter. This is very much in line with my life as a whole right now- being back in Europe for a longer time after a decade in Asia and doing my best to “fit in” and do things “right”

SKATEBOARD- PARK

I chose to go to a modern, concrete part of the city to explore sharp modern shapes, concrete and graffitti in a skateboard park that I discovered in the Parque das Nações – aiming for a fresh start in a new environment with a different vibe. This whole area underwent a total transformation in the 1990’s from an industrial area to residential with an extended park and exhibition halls, to prepare for the World Exhibition that was held here in 1998.

I find natural objects here- trees and shrubs and lots of weeds growing out of the concrete – as well as the river Tejo flowing along the park.

I find unusually shaped  concrete objects with lots of graffiti, but also straight lined objects, like fences and benches.

A first approach with small thumbnail sketches on A4. It is early morning just after sunrise, with a crisp bright light and long shadows, with many colors reflecting in the concrete.

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A second approach to these shapes- this time it was an afternoon, with no sun, so the concrete is a duller grey and very soft shadows.

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In the bright morning sunlight, the shapes and shadows were the focus, whereas in the afternoon, the graffiti took on another importance.

I really like the “unconventional ” shapes here, and the patterns they form. I found a lot of the compositions here attractive and the idea of  drawing a series creeps up. I think this subject could work really well in series.

I am not sure it would fulfill the assignment criteria of A2 of I create a series of smaller drawings on A2? I will start with developing one A2 drawing first.

some more play with shapes:

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And two of my favorite compositions in colour dry pastels, A4

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I like both compositions here, with their fluid lines and then the very square bench. I really do not like the yellowish colours though, and believe it will look better on newspaper or black paper.

First trials on newspaper. I am still exploring some other compositions as well.

 

This is not yet the right effect, and the colors still look too cartoon like. How would it look in monochrome?

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This could work better, I could try to cover newspaper with a thin black coat and then use mostly a limited palette and colours sparingly. But I don’t feel this is the style for the newspaper version- I will try something different for that if I have time.

Here I decide to try black paper instead and jump to A3 to get a feel for how this works in a bigger size.

 

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I like the effect of the pastels on the black paper, but will try out the first composition with the square bench instead, again A3:

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I really like the effect and the colours of the dry pastels better on the black paper. I still haven’t added the shrubs and weeds here.

I will turn the composition slightly to center the concrete bubble in the back and move my viewpoint a little lower, then draw on A2.

This is how far I got with the A2 …

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when my partner walked in, saw all the sketches and trials spread out , and said : “What IS that?”. And he already came with me once to this skatepark.. so I realize how unclear this drawing is. After considering giving the whole idea up, I decided to focus much more on keeping it real instead. I started over, focusing on perspective and this is how the drawing developed:

 

The last version, A2, complete with graffiti and bushes:

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I am happy with this drawing.  It is very different from everything I have been doing these past months for the exercises- which is what I wanted. But it is still a drawing that let me practice perspective . I think keeping it less “cartoon like” and more real made it better and easier to read. But then I have been staring at this for so long, I can’t really judge if anyone new to the drawing can see what it is at all.

I feel that the effect of the light on the concrete could be clearer on a more glossy surface, so I will try out how I can use graphite instead of pastels for the concrete.

Also I can’t really let go of the idea how good this would be as a series.

So here I am experimenting a little with colours and shapes for a series, first in thumbnails:

img_1856

I feel this could work. The yellow of the sky in the two first drawings can be picked up by yellow glare on the bench for the last drawing that doesn’t have a visible sky. Also the diagonal of the shadow in the first, mirrors the opposite diagonal in the third for a harmonius whole.

Here on black A4:

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And a trial on white paper  A4 with the same drawings:

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Now I am experimenting with covering graphite with gesso mixed with yellow acrylic for the glare of the sun.

This is Amsterdam transparent gesso mixed with Rembrandt Azo lemon on the right and Jaune Azo Moyen on the left. Top and bottom are mixed graphite sticks and the middle Artgraph watercolor graphite:

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In this case I would choose the graphite sticks that give a better feel of concrete , and I am really happy with this effect. On black paper, this does not work as well though, not even after two rounds:

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I really want to use this, so I have now decided to skip the series, draw the first motive that has the most colour on white paper separately and then draw the last of the three on black as a couple with the middle drawing that is already completed.

 

I first outlined the shapes in various grades of graphite sticks, then smudged some parts with a tissue and then covered the whole with transparent gesso mixed with the Jaune Azo Moyen acrylic.

That allowed me to draw over it again with dry pastels:

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This is the final version, A2, graphite and dry pastels:

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I think the shapes in the background worked out well, and in essence this is what I was aiming for, but I just like it less than above drawing on black.

So now I develop the last motive on black paper, with the same media :

And this is the final version, A2, graphite, gesso with acrylics and dry pastels:

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This is how the two black drawings look together:

These two drawings definitely give a much better feel for the atmosphere of the park.

I am happy with these drawings because they allowed me to experiment with something new. They are technically messy and I chose a too thin paper for the black ones, but I am happy with the process and like the look of the final two.


 

MONTEVORA 

This weekend we went back to Evora and visited the small village of Montevora nearby. This place is famous for its medieval castle placed on a hilltop overlooking the whole region. I was not so attracted to the castle itself, but walking around the hill offered a spectacular view over this small church and the surrounding hilly landscape.

I decided to use this view with it’s perfect aerial perspective , the church tower with straight lines, and lots and lots of trees and bushes  to develop another “Expanse” drawing. It was a rather grey day with dull light but the white of the buildings stood out clearly against the dark cork and olive trees surrounding them.

I decided immediately to draw with a limited palette with Conte sticks. I enjoyed that exercise a lot and wanted to draw more like that.

This is the final drawing. It is on A3 ( for logistical reasons) :

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I am happy with this drawing. I think it really captured the perspective, and the mood of the view. I am also happy because this is something I would never have thought of drawing before this chapter, and I found great pleasure in drawing it!


MODERN  ARCHITECTURE

Every time when walking to the above skatepark in the Parque das Nações, I passed by this modern building, with a sculpture of men before it, and every time it screamed to me- perfect for Assignment 3! I tried to look away, because angular perspective and stairs plus sculpture just seemed terrifying, but I finally decided to try this out.

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I will change the view slightly, so that the angle of the wall will be more centered, remove the buildings in the back and move the tree in a little, so I still see it if I crop the right side.

This is a first sketch of the composition I have in mind:img_1601

I want to keep this very minimalistic, very modern and rough, focusing on the basic shapes and perspective more than the real objects.

This is an A4 drawing in grey and black dry pastels:

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I want to try something different than the pastels, so go for a version with graphite sticks:

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I tried to colour the tree red, inspired by the red trees I saw on my trip to Germany that I drew earlier this chapter. By why red trees?  Because it is a strong visual accent. Because I just came back from the COP22 , the Climate Conference in Morocco and red could be seen as an alarm signal – the last sliver of nature fighting for space in this concrete surroundings. I am not sure about the red yet- I will have to see how it fits in with the final drawing.

I am always attracted to rough scribbled drawings, so I decided to try this out here. First I tried some different pens annd checked how they bleed with water:

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So here is my motive in scribbled fashion:

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The top one is with more straight scribbles and outlines, the lower one with curly scribbles and no outlines. I prefer the straighter scribbles and outlines for this very “straight” motive. This is how it looks when washed with water so the pens bleed lightly:

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I also tried out how this could work in ink:

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Possibly colored ink:

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How does it look on newspaper?

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It all becomes too unclear, so I decide to cover the newspaper with white gesso first:

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Now you see too little of the newspaper! I will try to mix transparent and white gesso for a very light cover. I will also try to add a cold blue hue:

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The bottom part is with white and transparent gesso, right Rembrandt Outremer and left bleu brillant.

Both outremer and white work well.

My idea is now to create a collage with newspapers in various languages as a background. These buildings are located in the area created for the World Exposition, so what could be more fitting than a variety of countries and languages represented by their newspapers.

I have been drawing this with a frame the whole time and I will keep that for the final drawing- creating a collage in different languages, then cover the center with coloured gesso to draw on, but leave the frame around clearly visible in clear gesso.

A trial on a quick A4 collage:

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I decide to stick to the transparent/white background and possibly add red trees as the only colour.

This is the background collage in A2. I have avoided images to focus on the languages and the coming drawing.

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Now I cover the center with transparent/white gesso as a background for the drawing:

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There is a small detail of the Assignment saying “spend UP to two hours on this drawing”. So preparing the background does not count 🙂 And surely you get bonus time if you include stairs in your drawing?

I had been drawing this motive roughly now for so many times and it flowed easily. Also I already knew exactly how I wanted the composition- so I was a little surprised at how stuck I got here. Now this had to be “precise” and “correct” and I cramped up terribly, spending the precious two hours on the stairs alone.

So I then took a clean start- gessoed everything over again- so now the background is whiter and does not let the newspaper shine through as well- and then drew freehand, no worries , and may that perspective be crooked. I then scribbled fine straight scribbles with the Uniball pen.

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Finally I went over parts with a wet brush to bleed the pen and decided to go for the red trees as bright color accents.  This is the final version in A2 , on collage:

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I am very happy that I used newspapers and that I used scribbles- I have been wanting to explore both for a while and not found the correct place for it. I think this is a creative solution and I greatly enjoyed every step of the process.

Unfortunately I am not so happy with the final result. I think my anguish at perspective shines through- the whole drawing is stiff and cramped instead of roughly happily scribbled. It is not free enough for this style. Also my mistakes in perspective are painfully obvious.


Here I will insert an update- I started having nightmares about how bad this last drawing worked out, so I decided to redraw it again , very simply, as clean and as correct as I can on a white paper- A2 with dry pastels in grey and black only.

Here is the path- this time with ruler and vanishing points:

I experimented some more with the trees and had a final look at red trees, but decided to leave the whole image monochromatic with grey trees too.

This is the final version, A2, dry pastels:

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Finally, I feel that I can put this motive at rest 🙂


I am happy to have drawn motives I would never have considered before. I have learned a lot about perspective, but also how much there is still to learn and practice- this is definitely a challenge for me.

I have also learned how to work more methodically with thumbnails and then small sketches, and try out different versions before launching into a drawing.

I am happy that I found a way to experiment more with these final drawings of the chapter.