Assignment 5 reflection on assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I honestly feel that my technical drawing skills have improved immensely, especially from the very beginning of this course. I’ve started to realise that there is so much more to drawing than putting pencil to paper. It is about seeing and looking, how a line fits onto the page. My observational drawing has improved through simply observing to a greater depth and taking time to measure accurately. In regards to the final drawing I feel that I have really been able to demonstrate careful consideration in regards to my composition (something that I really struggled with in still life) which I now consider as just as important to putting line to paper. This is evident in my decision making process whilst completing my final piece and my continuous reflection process on my visual outcome. It has tested and stretched my ability of how different marks can represent different meanings within a drawing. I have explored technical and visual skills using a range of media that perhaps has been extended in previous assignments. I wanted to focus more on what I considered worked well in previous assignments and how these materials would work with the subject matter I had chosen. At the beginning of this assignment I completed a few observational drawings where I experimented with oil pastel, ink, tissue paper, paint, charcoal and fine liner but I also explored different techniques and ways of using these materials to create an effect that had a connection to what I was drawing, for example, one of my first drawings was of the tree trunk where I wanted to experiment with texture and line. I used tissue paper to create a relief surface and stippling to create delicate detail on the trunk. For the pine cone drawing it was more about creating the correct shape with the media I was using, to master the overall form of the object. As I continued to develop my thoughts I sub-consciously neglected the mediums that weren’t working, or that I felt would not be best suited to what I was trying to do. For example, I wouldn’t use charcoal for a really detailed line drawing. The final stage of my development was working with different thicknesses of fine liner and felt tip pen (which I introduced colour with). I took forward the idea of drawing with ink to introduce colour along with collaged curves and photographs. My continued inspiration and referencing point was artist Julie Mehretu. However other artists such as; Jindra Jehu and Carol Heft really opened up the possibilities of drawing to me in this assignment and how I could portray my own response to a place.

 

Quality of outcome:

I was so adamant that my outcome was going to be of good quality and I can confidently say that I think my final piece was one of my best quality pieces that I have produced throughout this unit. However I do believe that I could have added more to the drawing, I was almost too concerned that I was going to ruin the standard I had got to, to then add too much and loose its simplicity. Erasure and ‘breathing space’ was in the fore front of my mind whilst completing the final piece. It was really important for me to remember the importance of composition, so that the viewer was able to drift in and out the piece and for the piece to have movement. I found myself looking more closely at Mehretu’s work each day, each week, to discover and unravel her works so that I could master her techniques. I discovered her first layer was simple and delicate. Her use of line was almost graphic and planned carefully. The most important thing to notice was that Mehretu’s first layer was a repeated image of which I later had completed experiments in Photoshop to imitate this process with my imagery, trees. The simplicity of the marks was an important first layer so that the following layer would then add the ‘chaos’ of movement and emotion. I feel I managed to complete this to a high standard with a fine tipped pen. Once the first layer was down I was able to experiment further with line and refer back to my research drawings and development work to link in marks related to emotion to create movement. I really took my time to make decisions throughout the process of completing this piece, so that I could convey the true emotions I was feeling and the chaos in my own mind.

 

Demonstration of creativity:

I have been able to continue themes of layer and line to develop my creativity in this assignment. I enjoy working with line and it has been a central focus within this unit. I have demonstrated creativity by using a wide range of resources to develop my ideas and aid in my decision making process. Photoshop has been a real influence in regards to selecting what has worked and what hasn’t, especially for my final drawing. The attachment of emotion to my chosen landscape is crucial as it forms the feeling of the piece. The emotions visualised, demonstrate greater depth of creativity as I had to get into a particular frame of mind to be able to visualise the core feelings attached to that emotion. I think my composition shows intense creative indication between each aspect of the drawing, as I have carefully placed all lines and marks so that the piece flows and creates a sense of movement and the highlights the importance of the subject matter. The angle and position of the coloured curves are imperative in developing depth and perspective in this piece.

 

Context:

I found that I had started to use my sketchbook also as my journal. I found that when looking back at images of my drawings, my ideas continued to develop and my critical reflection also started to kick in. I found myself writing all these thoughts down into my sketchbook which made it easier for me to work less sporadically and more systematically. One point that I hope to improve on for my next unit is to make sure that I keep my online learning log up to date. I find that I collect lots of ideas and drawings and get too carried away with the process, to then find myself a little lost when it comes to uploading my work. I feel that I have kept drawing as much and as best I could to get a wide range of research images to work from.

Artist Statement for Assignment 5

Combining movement, emotion and trees in landscape looking at Julie Mehretu as my main focus and then other artists such as; Jindra Jehu, David Tress, Adrian Berg and Carol Heft. The materials I will be using will collectively bring together all techniques and skills that I have developed in this unit so far. My experimentation will be extensive in regards to mark making techniques and developing my own voice in response to research of artists and preparatory drawings. Layering, perspective and depth, line and mark making will all be key aspects in this assignment, to reflect my chosen title of ‘The Outdoors’. My research will be focusing on one particular landscape which holds many sentimental memories which evoke emotions of loss and joy that dictate how I feel about this place now, following the sudden death of my father.

The reason I have chosen to continue developing work with inspiration from Mehretu is because I believe her works are so complex with many un-answered questions (for me as a viewer) and I want my work to spark the same desire and depth in my drawings. I would like my piece or pieces to consume the viewer, for the drawing and viewer to become as one. My aim is to portray my emotions through this piece so that other feel it too. The skills I will use for this is layering line to such an extent that the drawing becomes unrecognisable from a distance and it is only when you come close that you become fully engaged with the piece. This is like understanding death of a loved one. Within this piece you are experiencing the loss of those joyous memories that are forever fighting for a return. Other aspects such as collage are also another factor which I would like to bring forward. The idea of this landscape being represented in a 2D form in a photograph that is then torn/cut up – destroyed – to emphasise my feeling of loss when I am in this place, but slowly piecing back together the memories.

On a side note:

The very act of drawing is such a physical representation of emotion that I started to develop a stronger understanding of the subject I was drawing. Trees are such an important part of life and in the metaphorical sense of trees signifying life.  The connection of trees and human life is so strong and apparent to me that it was something that could not go un-noticed and was going to have to be highlighted for the final piece. This is finally when trees become my sole focus for my final imagery. The links between both species (human and plant) became highlighted to me from my book – The Hidden Life of Trees.

I have used not only artists to inform my decision making process but also personal reading that has so actively although delicately, entered into my mind to inform my drawings during this assignment.

Final drawing reflection

I had decided, through many unsuccessful Photoshop experiments, that I was going to use a number of repeated images layered on top of each other to create a more distorted but soft image. This was going to form the basis of my drawing, my first layer. This first layer is in fine tipped pen to create a more graphic approach to the drawing like Mehretu does in her architectural buildings. I was then keen to combine ink, colour and aspects from my emotion drawings (which cover the emotions – joy and loss). The main points that I picked up on in my joy drawing was the curves and circular motions of the marks created, whereas in my lost drawing I subconsciously created strong, vertical lines and let the ink drip down the page without having any control over it. I applied the ink in swift, circular movements and allowed the ink to run without directing the liquid onto the drawing. This use of ink is really subtle and gently shows some of the emotions behind the landscape. I also used the ink to visualise my sound recordings of the wind. Learning from my mistakes I decided to plan my drawing more extensively. This time I cut some curved lines to which I then planned to collage onto the main piece. I wanted to portray movement in this piece and started to attach curved, circular coloured lined. This is to incorporate energy into the piece and demonstrate aspects of joy. The colours I chose related to the landscape – greens and blues.

I stopped adding to it at this point as something wasn’t quite working. Looking at the piece more and more I noticed that I hadn’t created any sense of depth with these coloured curves, which was something I was definitely keen to portray. I wanted the viewer to be consumed by the drawing and swallowed into the piece. I had another look at Mehretu’s work and how she uses her coloured lines to create depth. After talking with a family member we decided that these marks needed to be more exaggerated. Thankfully my original coloured curved lines were placed onto the main piece with ‘blue tack’. I was able to edit accordingly so that I could create a more acute angle for the curves. By doing this, the piece was completely transformed and immediately depth was created in the piece. Once I was confident with the type of mark I was going to create I started preparing the new curves to collage onto the drawing. These were then painted in earth colours.

The final stage of the piece was adding the next layer. This layer was about adding the final details, bringing together all my visual research adding rhythms that had been visualised and observational details from my chosen landscape and other natural, organic places in London. I couldn’t decide if to continue adding to the piece or to leave it as it is. I’ve been trying to work on ‘less is more’ and I always find that I tend to ruin the work by taking it a step too far, so I decided to leave the piece as it is for now and have some time away to come back to at a later date.

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Final outcome process ideas:

What materials can I use to layer my image, to show depth and make the layers softer in the background. (Like in Mehretu’s work there seems like there’s a piece of film over the first layers.
Tracing paper?
I completed a little experiment exploring this and how I would make use of the tracing paper to show this.
Mehretu’s more colourful works create a stronger response for me, in regards to energy and movement in the drawing. I have discovered more issues to put right but also some that have given me some answers. I need to try further experiments to develop an answer of how to co-ordinate the coloured lines. I would like these lines to imitate the wind and sounds of the chosen landscape. I need to practice getting some depth into the piece with my use of marks, the smudging on the first layer needs to be erased as it makes the actual drawing unclear and harder to distinguish. I’m keen to add some block collaged shapes to the drawing. The colours that I will use need to be linked to the landscape and more natural. I wonder if this could be coloured ink which would add to
the flow of materials. I was starting to become a little concerned with how I was going to add depth and also make the first layer more subtle. This is where I decided to bring the tracing paper back into my drawing to experiment with. However when it came to completing my final piece I was aware of the quaility of the finish and reflecting on the final outcome I decided not to use tracing paper on the final drawing.

Tutor hangout 27th Sept

After having a couple of tough weeks in regards to moving forward with my art I arranged a hangout with my tutor to help make sense of my thoughts and seek some advice on how to progress with the final part of this unit. I felt I had completely lost any momentum and drive to continue prior to the discussion.

I was able to share a handful of drawings with my tutor; this consisted of heavily pattered tree images which I had completed as well as one of my drawings (from my chosen landscape) which has been drawn mainly using small marks and lines. These drawings are a complete contrast to each other in terms of the mark making and approach used. Whilst talking to my tutor about these drawings I was able to realise and open up about what I thought worked and what I liked or disliked about them.

The more I discussed my drawing, the more I started to realise the importance of the style of my drawing. My subconscious engagement was made apparent through this discussion and how I was beginning to develop a personal response. I felt completely engaged with the work I was making and the build up of the drawing with various layers of marks. It was very spontaneous and I did not feel pressured to correct any mistakes I felt I made. I also found creating the heavily patterned tree drawings really enjoyable and somewhat therapeutic as I became completely lost in the drawings. The spontaneity and emotion was however almost removed when compared to the other drawing, although the visual outcome was quite intriguing to me. I am still processing ideas as to how I can include my emotion inspired marks into the drawings but feel this will come with practice and experimenting further. (I need to focus on ensuring greater clarity on this point in my work). My tutor raised another important point to make to sure that my drawings can breathe and to ensure there are ‘quiet’ areas in the pieces to force the viewers eyes to travel across the page. After seeing my expressive mark making drawing, my tutor recommended I look at Adrian Berg’s and Peter Doig’s work, particular Berg’s Regents Park series and look at his use of colour and mark making.

I think it is important to note my reasons for the two varied styles of drawing. Although I enjoyed completing my expressive drawing (I think my tutor quite liked this piece) a drawback was that if I were to layer a number of these then the integrity of the respective pieces would be lost due to the volume and nature of marks and lines. I still want to create a distinction in my drawing so as to ensure the trees are clearly identifiable. This is something that Mehretu does well whereby you are still able to recognise her architectural buildings in amongst the expressive marks. This is why I decided to work more distinctively on trees and patterns and not create the gestural marks. The next step for me was to compare what worked for the artists Mehretu and Berg when they applied this approach. I have since completed some Photoshop experiments of the two different drawing styles which I plan to compare to Mehretu’s and Berg’s work.

Discussing more about the particular landscape I have chosen I need to think how I see this place. I mentioned the chosen location was more about evoking emotion of the view rather than the response coming from the position in which I was standing. On reflection however it became apparent that both factors are indeed related and relevant in my visual language about the place and the emotions that it bought up.

I am eager to incorporate wind into my drawings and reflect the sounds and elements of a particular place. The elements provide a sense of reality and can allow me to demonstrate the serene setting that captivates me about the chosen location.

The most helpful takeaway point from this hangout was the importance of setting myself deadlines. I have since started to do this and can tell it has enabled me to keep my momentum, journey and direction going forward. I am also continuously asking myself questions, which needs to be consistent, as does my practice of various drawing techniques.

 

Mark making drawings:

These drawings, I would say, are more inspired by Carol Heft than any other artist. Taking initial inspiration of mark making from Julie mehretu and earlier on in this project, jindra jehu, I decided to move forward with my mark making in building up a picture of the scene I was at. The outcome is more evidently inspired by Carol heft. I really enjoyed working this way and felt completely free to be able to make as many mistakes as possible: the form wasn’t so restricted so I didn’t go into panic mode about how to master a perfectly observed tree, for example. After my tutor catch up, as
I was struggling to find direction in my work, I felt more confident in drawing these landscapes and that this way of drawing was ‘ok’ to do. My tree trunk layered drawings on tracing paper was to explore different ways of representing marks of the tree trunks. It was important for me to unpick the textures and patterns of the trees to develop these marks in further drawings. This drawing was extremely time consuming and I don’t think the layers of drawings favour each other visually, but on their own I think they look quite striking due to the detail of each one.

Below is one drawing of line to visualise wind:

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Collage ideas…

I really enjoyed completing collages during my experimentation and I really like the links that it has to disjointed memories and emotions. Reflecting on these ideas now that I am coming up to my final drawing I am keen to explore the possibilities of using collage in this. Initially the idea with the collage was to reflect the emotions of Loss and joy. I would tear up photographs of my chosen landscape and then piece back together the disjointed parts. This process was to mirror the idea of trying to re-live these memories but it just wasn’t quite the same. I tried a few small experiments and an a3 collaged piece, from magazine pictures, where I was creating one large fictional picture
from different smaller photographs that weren’t related to one another. I was keen to explore varied scale of natural forms within this collage, for example the spiders web was larger than a plant. I have also combined collage into previous assignments. In assignment 3 I re-visited my final drawing and used collage, inspired by Oliver Zwink, in completing this drawing. I would like to use these ideas in my drawing if possible. The reason I have not taken it forward as of yet is because I felt I had too many ideas floating around and I wanted to tackle my drawing first before adding further dimensions to the outcome.
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