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:


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.

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.

Figure 1. Powell, A (2017) Installation 1 [photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: Verwood.

Figure 2. Powell, A (2017) Installation 2 [photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: Verwood.

Figure 3. Powell, A (2017) Installation 3 [photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: Verwood.

Figure 4. Powell, A (2017) Installation 4 [photograph] In: Possession of: Powell, A: Verwood.

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.


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:



  • 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.