Joy and Loss drawing:

Another part of my work was to focus on the emotions I felt when visiting my chosen place of landscape. I was keen to visualise these emotions with a use of mark making techniques. These marks would then be included in my drawing to portray my emotions. After a discussion with my tutor I realised two main emotions that I felt, which were actually very contrasting; joy and loss. I decided to engulf myself with each of these emotions to inform a gestural response that could be visualised and made into marks.
The first emotion I completed was joy. I found myself really moving with the tools I was using to draw and developing a sense of ‘dance’ in my drawing. Looking at the marks I created and of which I reflected on whilst conducting this piece, I started to notice fluidity and circular gestures. My marks were a mix of dark, broad, light, faint, circular, straight, spiralled etc. I took notes as I completed the drawing, noticing that my lines were: free, looses, uncontrolled, extended, loud, sure, busy, active, strong, consistent.
My Loss drawing was a lot more morbid and lacked the movement and fluidity which the joy drawing possessed. I reflecting on the outcome it seems that the marks are a lot more consumed within each other. There is no real separation of each line and blurs into one. The drawing lacks varied angles and curves in its line and is rather vertical in its visual appearance. For this drawing I adopted ideas from Tress’ work and manipulated the surface of my drawing, creating a hole in the picture. I liked this physical idea of disturbing the surface and wondered (and still wonder) how I could incorporate this into further drawings. My thoughts whilst completing this piece – anger, frustration, loneliness, lost, longing, emptiness, sadness, soft, weak, linear, tears, no feeling at all
which could be the subject of erasure. Mehretu uses erasure a lot in her work.
I will be using what I have learnt from these drawings and using the marks in further works to create the emotions of Loss and joy.

Installation in the woods:

On instagram (where I find a lot of my inspiration for artists work and ideas) I found a very thought provoking image. This image was a photograph of an installation that an artist had completed in a forest with strong horizontal, vertical, diagonal – it looked to me like – lines of thread. On closer inspection I figured that this was a digital experiment however I was inspired to create a similar image physically in the forest that bought me so many memories.
At this moment in time I was reading a book called ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, which in hindsight was rather monumental in my thought process when studying trees and their relationship with each other. Ideas started flowing and I started to realise that I could combine this installation with ideas of connection between the trees but also the connection of humans with the forest and the idea of the tree of life. It was also important for me to highlight the importance and the connection that I
had with this landscape. I continued to develop my thoughts and took myself to the landscape and started winding wool around the trees creating a physical connection between myself and the trees connections to each other. I was keen to impose the question of our connection and emotions of a place whilst also thinking how the outcome of this installation can develop my drawing and use of line and marks.
I was really quite inspired by the outcome almost considering the natural and the man made image that I had just conducted. I was hoping that these lines could become part of my work either drawn or more conceptual in understanding how to link my emotions to the place.
I think this is where my strong desire to pursue drawings of trees and consider the importance of them began to arise along with my personal reading of ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. This also had a really nice link to my memories of my father and of the place as we planted a tree for my father when he passed and his ashes are now scattered into the soil at the base of tree.

Responding to assignment 4 pointers

I had a couple of things to cover for my assignment 4 feedback to be complete.

First of all I needed to re-evaluate my self portrait drawing. My tutor mentioned that she didn’t want me to re-do it (yet) but to think about what I could have done differently and how I could have planned the composition better. My drawing did not benefit my facial shape, demonstrating my structural features, due to my use of tone, mainly. I completed a mind map as my tutor suggested I go over how I could have approached it differently.

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The second pointer my tutor mentioned I cover was to complete 3 ‘small prep drawings’ to consider the foreshortening of my large slouched figure. Below, are some drawings to evidence this.

 

I started to notice that it wasn’t just the length or size of the legs that seemed to be an issue, it was every part of the body I was measuring wrong that when I came to associate one part of the body with an another – for example, the fingers to the crotch area – the rest of the body parts didn’t link up/fit together. The more I drew the more perseverance I had to correct my mistakes and develop my drawing. I was starting to become more confident in observing and drawing. Sketching these 3 poses has really shown that I need to draw before deciding on a final pose (which I thought I knew, but I never did) and developing my ideas through drawing has really developed my understanding of how important it is.

Initial response to Assignment 4 feedback (full reflection to follow once I have acted on pointers)  

Overall I thought my feedback for assignment 4 was fairly positive. My tutor’s summary of my work noted that I am starting to organise and edit my work effectively. Through analysing and visual problem solving my tutor mentions that I have improved the quality of my work even when it was a struggle for me to do so. My time management is improving and this is reflected in my self-motivation. I have been conducting a broad range of research including interviewing artists via email. I need to improve and consistently Harvard reference which was something that was also picked up from assignment 3.

Feedback on assignment:

One point that is constantly repeated about a lot of my drawings is that I need to make a space for ‘quieter areas’ of the page, to allow the drawing to breathe rather than trying to bundle all my ideas and thoughts. I think this will come as I learn to develop my understanding of critically reflecting on my work and deciding what works and what doesn’t.

Again I need to be completing some more observational drawing particularly before I start planning my final drawing for the assignment.

Relating this to the feedback I have been given, I need to look more closely at the foreshortening of the reclining figure. I was pleased I chose this pose and it was mentioned by my tutor that I chose a challenging post but perhaps if I had spent more time completing observing my selection of drawings, would have aided my visual understanding in mastering the foreshortening correctly.

‘The self portrait is the weakest’ is what my tutor said and I completely agree.

The self-portrait is the weakest drawing of the three for several reasons;  the head appears too squashed into the bottom right corner,  the tonal values around the head are too dense and dark, the highlights on the chin, cheek and brow don’t really help to convey a sense of the form of the face; skull or flesh.   What is the intention behind the faces on the left-hand side, what kind of a visual narrative or dialogue were you trying to create?  

The self-portrait  (unlike the other two) feels over-crowded by visual elements and the use of the intense blue.  How could you approach this differently?  What can you learn from the other two drawings, that could improve on this drawing? I need to act on these questions and I plan to do so by drawing.

In the right-hand side (reclining fig) your use of tonal values is more varied through a range of mark-making qualities in charcoal, ink and eraser marks.  The left-hand side becomes too dark in the leg and edge of sofa(?).    I suspect the darkening tone of the legs is where you really struggled to convey the foreshortening.  Here drawing from life would help and also re-looking at the photographic reference.  Look at and analyse the angle from which the upper leg, then lower leg pivot from the hips.  You can also use the negative space (sofa and upper background) to help you to see and correct the foreshortening.  Review and do some small ‘prep’ drawings from life and the photo reference.  Post these drawings and your response to your blog.

In the reclining figure you decided to leave your finger prints in the drawing, which provide a sense of its making and you being physically involved in the process. They refer back to the gestural qualities you have been researching and exploring.  There is a sense of weight and gravity to the figure, positioned (weighted) at the bottom third of the page.  

If I’m honest I didn’t do much planning in mapping out my visual thoughts and ideas for this particular drawing. I knew what I wanted to include but I wasn’t sure how I would portray that idea on paper. Planning and drawing and re-drawing would have helped me with this.

I need to get into the habit of using either my journal or my blog and not repeat myself in either. I feel a bit concerned that when it comes to assessment it will not be clear where to find my reflection and written ideas so I need to consider making this more organised for assessment. Another part that I believe to be repeated from other feedback (which is a shame) is that I need to more concise, critical and analytical rather than too much babble.

My tutor mentions that she can see evidence of me using my written journal as a main site for reflections and analysis. She says ‘The journal is being used as the main site for your reflections and analysis, the quality of experimentation and reflection is feeding into your use of material qualities.  The reflection on your visual research is generally underpinning your experimental processes and creative strategies, which is helping you to develop your gestural, mark-making and tonal qualities.  This is also starting to inform your options for composition.’ This is a really positive comment for me as she can see that all aspects of my learning and experimentation is coming together to inform various aspects of my drawing. I was really uplifted by this particular comment.

Something that was picked up from my last assignment was my poor use of vocabulary, well I didn’t have a very broad range of it. I would repeat many phrases such as ‘i’m pleased with’. This was one of my aims to tackle as I wrote about my work and others and my tutor has been able to respond positively. You have clearly made good efforts to explore the quality and range in your vocabulary and phrasing- good practice.  This is improving the quality and focus of your reflective analysis, by being more specific and particular (rather than ‘liking’ or ‘being pleased’).  Continue to explore your vocabulary by noticing the language and vocabulary in your research and other students blogs.  Take notice of how they analyse and critique their own and others work; learning from their written, as well as visual language.

In relation to the nude figure, my tutor suggests that I might find the exhibition and catalogue ‘Flesh’ interesting in York City art gallery. This exhibition involves cross-disciplinary practice. This is one of my next steps to discover, as she has sent over some reviews to have a look through and record my thoughts on.

I was quite excited when my tutor mentioned that it was good to see a performative approach to drawing and she wondered whether this approach could be combined with longer periods of time within observational drawing. Good to see the experimental and performative approach to drawing; with feet, plastic and inks. It would be interesting to see how you might combine this approach with longer periods of observational drawing.

I need to make sure both my reflections and research are purposeful and relevant. I need to be continually questioning how or if it will inform my work. Much of your research is thoughtfully and purposefully analysed.  Do make sure you approach all your research this way- be aware that your research and reflections need to be both relevant and purposeful; always asking how might it feed into and inform your work.

I am using both primary and secondary resources to research artists e.g. emailing artists. One thing I was confident with was my Harvard referencing but apparently it was no consistent, so I need to look at this again.

My tutor recommends that I continue to attend life drawing classes it I can to develop my observational drawing skills.

I need to review my work and respond to my tutor’s comments and my own questions on my blog.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.

 

  • Reflect more concisely and purposefully on relevant research.  Post content / context that you can establish connections with your ideas and development.  Analyse and reflect on what might inform your own work.

 

  • Consistently refer to and use the academic referencing for all your research:

          http://www.oca-student.com/introduction-studying-he/part-4-acknowledging-your-sources

 

  • Review the self-portrait and respond to my comments and questions on your blog.  I’m not asking you to redo the drawing- yet I am asking you to think about how you might have planned, approached and drawn it differently.

 

  • Review the foreshortening on the reclining figure.  Draw 3 small ‘prep’ drawings to more carefully observe and draw the foreshortening of the legs to the rest of the body.

 

All these points will be reflected fully.

Further investigation

The below post consisted of drawings that were made whilst staying in my home town, Verwood, Dorset, which becomes the very centre of this project.
After emailing Jehu, it was obvious to me that I needed to ‘feel’ the landscape (well that was how I would describe it), how it moved, how it communicated and to draw excessively at a place to learn all about it. I took my sketchbook out into the woods with me. I completed some quick sketches and rubbings of tree trunks and the ground to see wha marks I could make using nature as it was. The rubbings enabled me to use marks that were literally, directly from nature/the outdoors.
I went home and developed my ideas and thoughts from my research of the forest so far. I completed a double page in my larger sketchbook recording shapes and textures that I remembered. After this I felt I wanted to bring all these techniques together and experiment layering various media. I took an approach similar to that of my sketchbook but on an A1 sheet of paper (I was keen to upscale my findings and experimentation). I stopped at various stages of my drawing to reflect appropriately, by deciding what was working and what wasn’t. I found that the piece, to me, felt as it it didn’t have any real passion, no real emotion, no excessive repetition that I was hoping to create. I re-worked the drawing using repetitive vertical lines in different shades of brown oil pastel. By doing this I emphasised the maze of trees in the drawing that I was confronted with when coming across this outside space. The colour and texture in this piece is very domineering, which is evident by the excessive lines and marks I have created. In that sense I feel, in this drawing, I have been able to portray some sense of passion in response to this landscape.

 

After completing these first, initial drawings I was then able to speak to my tutor about my ideas. We discussed the reason I chose this particular landscape.outdoors space. I mentioned that it held many memories of spending time with my father and sisters. We discussed further about a particular place which holds many sentimental memories and thoughts.

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From here on, I base all my drawings and research on this particular place.
After my father died, this was a place where I would come on my own to reflect on memories of everything I shared with him but most recently and probably most importantly this place offered comfort and joy. Even though this place was full of tender memories, I still want to return overtime. It still held so many joyful moments shared with both family and friends. I think, because this place has a view where you can see all the way to the coast, it offers the human mind, my mind, possibilities, hope and wonder, contemplating the past, present and future. I love just staring out and simply observing nature. It’s a place where I feel completely relaxed and I can go there to either think of nothing or think more deeply.
My tutor picked up on what particular emotions this place evoked for me. I replied that it is mainly joy and comfort but also touches of loss and sadness, but this does not take over. I plan to explore these emotions through a mark making exercise, of which I covered at the beginning of the course. We continued to discuss my Julie Mehretu research and decided it would be appropriate to develop my knowledge of her work and combine with other artist that inspired me.

Observational drawing

From inspiration by Jindra Jehu and to develop my own drawing skills, I was keen to develop some observational drawings from my findings on various walks. Walking is becoming an important part of this assignment and collecting bits and bobs from my walks is something that I have always done from a young age. By observing and taking away these objects, to then draw in my studio, I have picked up on shapes that needed adjusting but also things that I need to improve on. Jehu has a collection of works called ‘Ocean Drifters’ which inspired me to collect objects.

This first image is of a pine cone collected from a walk at hengistbury head:

I struggled with getting this drawing looking 3D. I struggled with the individual shapes of each segment of the cone which affected the overall form. It was important for me to combine various media as I enjoyed completing my drawing of the tree trunk. The pine cone was looking a bit flat with no striking emphasis, especially in regards to the shape. I couldn’t quite see what wasn’t working so I asked a family member their view on it. They mentioned about making the segment more obvious and observing the shape more intricately. I kept going, adding more marks with a range of media. I added shadow to show that it was laying on a surface and then highlights with white oil pastel to emphasise the surface properties of the cone, showing where light was falling on one side of the cone, evidencing the 3D form of the object. The piece was completed with oil pastel, ink, charcoal, pencil and the use of a putty rubber.

This next drawing is what I have called ‘natures compositions’. It is an amalgamation of string, seaweed and stones that have been forced together in the ocean’s movement. I was keen to convey the texture and the movement/story of the actual object. I wanted to show my developed observational drawing skills but also create an essence of gesture and expressive marks. My use of line and mark, I feel, are evidently fluid which add to the idea of movement and flow in relation to the object. It was actually quite a challenge to draw this ‘ball of string’ with detailed observation as each piece would disappear into the next, which meant the drawing ended up being an amalgamation of directional marks and lines. I used my charcoal effectively to emphasise darker tones and highlighted areas to give some depth. I feel my inspiration from Jindra Jehu is successfully evident, as I feel I have been able to complete a gestural and energetic drawing but also include aspects of observation.

Tree trunk

This drawing was inspired by one of the many walks I have been on recently and for this particular drawing I focused on the texture of the tree trunk. I wondered how I could convey this in a drawing and show my engagement of this particular object in nature. I was obviously keen to explore texture but by using lines and marks to combine my interest from my recent ideas and themes. I combined printing from parts of nature e.g. moss and also created my own marks and lines to capture the dark and lighter areas of the trunk.

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Mixed media consisting of: tissue paper, ink, paint – printed with lichen moss, oil pastel, fine liner – thick tipped.

Without realising it I have drawn this tree trunk with a very relaxed, expressive mark that I feel has created energy and passion from the environment. Instead of drawing the tree trunk how it was, I have expressed myself through this drawing. I’m surprised with the outcome as its more expressive and energetic than I expected it to be. The smudging of the oil pastel created a smoother surface which isn’t what I wanted, so I will take this away with me and consider it for further drawings.

Also I wonder how to make the highlighted parts of the tree stand out without covering it in white. I like the texture of the tissue paper as it creates a 3D effect to the tree which makes you want to feel it. Could this be an idea? Interactive drawing? I need to work on tone to make the 3D parts and the more receding parts of the tree because I want to establish a real sense of ‘realness’ to the tree trunk.

I was really pleased with outcome and I honestly think I have been able to devise my own style in enhancing the texture. I think the aims of this exercise were met.