Part 5 Review of previous assignment self assessments.


I have looked through and read my assessments and don’t have a great deal to add. I I have progressed steadily through the course and my best work was Assignment 1. 3/4 and then 2, in that order. I think time, workload and misunderstanding of expectation and personal problems, was the reason Assignment 2 was the least impressive. Assignment 4 I worked really hard at, I spent a large amount of time making drawings and researching artist for this and really felt I had learnt a lot. My skill level is still below that which I would like with figure drawing and I realise I need a lot of practice for my work to flow and to be able to draw a person from memory. It has become habit to draw people whilst I am out and I am surprised how much I have grown to like trying to capture the moving figure.

Looking through my work I would like to use assignment 2 as my starting point and concentrate on my own enviroment. I know I can do better, the subject matter means a lot to me and I have always enjoyed drawing animals. Still Life would probably be the best subject to gain a good mark, but I know I can do that and need to stretch myself. I want to learn and improve my style.

I found great enjoyment in the drawings I didn’t have to worry too much about every detail, in fact I went a little too far with the line drawing in Assignment 4 because I was enjoying the exercise. Working away from the detailed work I do in my private work and using a freer mark will make me, I feel, grow as an artist and bring more enjoyment to the process. I have always used art as a relaxation tool, but on my more detailed work I lose some of that pleasure in my push for accuracy.

I live in a farming area and would like possible to combine Part 3 outdoors with animals from Part 2 so will try and experiment with studying not only the animal but their enviroment as well. To begin I may do some live sketches of animals and enviroment.


Part 4, Assignment 4, Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness design and compositional skills.

I have no doubt my skills as an artist have improved, now I am beginning to feel I am able to leave the photorealistic work and branch out, loosen up and enjoy trying new techniques. Yes I am still apt to work tight but I can see I am beginning to get a style. My observation skills are getting much better and I am finding with the quick sketching it has increased my visual awareness. Compositional skills are still improving, but I do have room for improvement. Sometimes because I am following an exercise/assignment criteria I feel composition is lost when trying to meet the requests.

Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

I always feel with the course, quality is overlooked in the need to work under time pressures. There is with the course a huge amount of work and I sometimes feel I am learning without the time to apply what I have learnt. I believe I communicate my ideas well and can judge for myself where I am going wrong and my use of different media well, is growing. I have a new favourite in Conte sticks, I have never been able to use them with ability, but I am beginning to learn how.

Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

I feel I am slowly gaining my voice, well I feel like I am stood at the top of a mountain gathering the nerve to go down the other side.  I have drawn a huge amount of sketches from real life for Part 4, and have used photographs a lot less, more a support than a tool to lean on. I have experimented with media and material. Not a great deal with found material for my assignment pieces, though I do doodle on anything that comes to hand when the urge gets me. This time I have attached some of my doodles to my sketchbook, as I often draw and then throw them away.  I am finally beginning to feel like I am using my sketchbooks better, and although the learning log is time consuming, I think it helps fasten your thoughts, experiments, and learning into your memory.

Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning log)

I think the learning log, although a great time consumer, is an essential tool, I am surprised at how much it plays a part in research, remembering and analysing the practical work. It makes me realise where I go wrong with an exercise, how I could do better, remember what I have achieved, and what went well. With reflection I could probably do to get into the habit of analysing some sketches better in my sketchbook as well.

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

This was a great Craft Fair and although artwork as in paintings were not a big part of the show, artwork figured hugely.   Sally Streuli took my eye with her beautifully delicate artwork on her ceramics and Mandy Clevland with her Fine Artwork on brown envelopes. Then there was Angharad Gwynant & Lizzie Atherton who met at University and started a business called Pioden Prints these had superb design work on a variety of objects. Although this was not a show for Fine Art, it was a wonderful day out and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the different forms of art.

I even managed a quick sketch of the queue waiting for their refreshments.

Part 4, Assignment 4

Part 4, Assignment 4

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Three final pieces for Assignment 4

Figure study using line. Figure study using tone. Self Portrait using line and tone.

For this assignment I was to complete two large figure studies (A1 size) and a self-portrait (any size). I had to do 3 drawings in total, together with supporting studies experiments etc.

For each drawing consult my preliminary studies. Write notes on the artists that have inspired me to work in a certain way. Be inventive about work and materials and allow around two hours for each drawing.

1 Figure study using line (A1) Seated model in an upright chair.

This study was about drawing a three-dimensional form using line. Take note of the figure and the chair in relation to the whole scene, gradually describing details such as the hand etc using single line or combinations of narrow thick, curved and straight, fractured expressive, gestural, dynamic dramatic and so on.

I don’t like A1 it feels too big for me, in part probably because I haven’t got a drawing board that size, and can’t afford one. This means I have to work on a table and boy it gives me backache, this is especially difficult when using a model as the table needs to be at hand whilst drawing. I had gone back through my work within Part 4 and felt I had done a lot of pure fine line drawings, so decided I wanted to have a bit of fun and use various widths and lengths of media. Conte stick were something I have never used a lot of, but an artist by the name of Guy Denning who is inspirational with Conte and line makes fabulous drawings using Conte. I am not fond of his subject matter as his portraits are a bit depressing, but his application is so energised and he has some very expressive drawings, using newsprint and cardboard as well as paper. I thought I would have a go at cardboard and did a small drawing, I felt like I had lost control of my media, which I am guessing is part of the fun. I did in the end decide not to use it but liked the lined pattern it made and used it for part of the drawing underneath, to give some texture.

I did some preparatory drawings,  to check I had the position correct and just to make sure I did want to go with the Conte, and not an alternative line, in the end I felt I would experiment with Black Conte, Grey and White Pastel, Rubber, Pencil, Willow Charcoal and a non-functioning Biro. The Biro was an after though I had placed the cardboard under my paper in order to get the ridged look and notice when making line using either Conte or the Pastel on their side, it would highlight my pencil marks, so to begin with I used and old Biro that hadn’t any ink, to put in some deeper lines. Now as I added the broader line I could see the finer indentations underneath. I also used a rubber to make short lines within the wider ones. I love the texture Conte sticks give when used on their side, it can be seen within the trouser, and just one application was enough in most areas. Pastel was a lot smoother and less dramatic. The line from the cardboard worked well in certain areas, like the top and lower leg but I worked with it a little too much and next time would be more selective where it was used.

I think I was enjoying the process much too much and went way too far with my line work, because although you can see the lines except for areas the fixative caused runs, it may of created more tone within the line than was being asked for. However in the end after my first concerns and even though the model isnt facially accurate, I enjoyed this drawing and felt I learnt a lot about line and how it can be used and how line forms tone. This drawing did go to the wire in time as I thought I had the legs too long, however after numerous measuring and a fed up model, I realised I was  lower than the model lying on the ground drawing, which had given an element of foreshortening coupled witht he fact my model does have lovely long leg. Now there was a lesson learned.   I would if I did this piece again and not on the constraints of having to show the background, try to do a similar drawing with a suggested background, rather than in full.

2 Figure study using tone (A1) Reclining model

I needed to plan this one carefully with my model dressed in reasonably fitted clothes. Contrasting tones would be a good idea. I was meant to use a strong light but living in a small very deep walled cottage, strong light is not possible, so I had to set up lamps to help. It was suggested I let the light filter across the area of the room in an interesting manner. For this I was to use tone only, and positive and negative spaces.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this one but liked the way Paul Hedley combines watercolour with pastel to create his tonal sketches/paintings. I love working mixed media and after preliminary sketches to determine position, colour and application I decided watercolour and pastel would work. I wanted to work this drawing partly in an impressionistic style and didn’t fully draw the surroundings, it worked to a point but would have worked better had I not felt the need to portray the contours and tonal changes on the bed linen.

As I was going to be using watercolour I needed a paper that would take it and to be honest I hadn’t money to buy anything posh, so used a sheet of Eco paper made from cloth. I hadn’t used it before and it turned out to take the toned washes well, but it didn’t take the pastel without furring. I must admit it give the picture a material feel and I would like to use it in future, as I am sure the fluffing could be used to advantage.

This time to spare me some back pain I used a piece of framing board to rest the drawing on my easel. I couldn’t stretch the paper, but it held the water well without too much buckle. The base tone was just a wash mainly pink/brown, but I added more orange to the top to show the tonal different. I had decided to do the picture in a limited colour wash first and then work into it using pastel over the top to enhance the tone. I also positioned the models legs  in a way it enabled me to show perspective.

Drawing in this loose fashion doesn’t come easy for me and if there had not been time constraints on the drawing I would undoubtedly had to fight the desire to work this picture longer. If I was to take it further and develop the drawing towards a finished piece I would like to try putting less detail in the fore and maybe with a little artistic licence push the bed edge nearer the models rear and placing the model into the golden mean a little more. I enjoyed this piece and would like to take the method further maybe using coloured pencil. Pencil was my first choice but due to the time constraint and size of this drawing, it really didn’t make sense.

3. A portrait or self-portrait combining line and tone

Here I was to create a portrait with believable features in proportion. I was to work with line and tone.

For this I wanted to do a sketch similar in fashion to the old masters, silverpoint was too slow, and has to be done over time, though I did look at sketching with this media and did a quick drawing. I decided to colour the paper to give it a more aged look and after looking at media decided to use coloured pencil and restricted the colours to a white, sanguine, brown and black. I absolutely love the drawings by Rubens and it was some of his drawings that inspired me to have a go. Unfortunately the paper didn’t take the watercolour well, it was meant to be mixed media paper, but it took the pigment in patchy pools, sadly I didn’t have any other paper more suitable, so continued. For the most part it worked well. The shading was light and I kept the tonal contrast as delicate as I could. I would like to carry this style on to a finished piece at some stage. I think there is a need to experiment with the background colour and tweak it as its colour tone was slightly wrong and needed to lean more to the brown than the red. The background being patchy wasn’t as big a problem as I thought and in places added to the picture, and distracted in others. However it does look like me and made me realise how big my jowls had become. Oh dear, there again I did leave out the wrinkles as I wanted to keep the portrait soft, the shoulders and upper chest faded into the background colour.

I have included the preliminary sketches below, and some are interrelated, I tried media out within the 3 assignment pieces and if it didn’t suit one drawing I thought about how it would work with another, so my preliminary work was looked at both individually and also as a whole.

Various drawing specific sketches were done but techniques medias and method were sometimes intermingled.



Part 4, Project 6, Exercise 3, Portrait from memory or the imagination



For this exercise I was to use my imagination and the skill I have learned to draw someone I had seen momentarily – or not at all. This exercise should prompt the question, what is a portrait? Should it show something more about the person than mere physical characteristics and if so what? I was asked how difficult it was to create a portrait of someone from a chance meeting or completely form the imagination.

For me it is difficult, though the portrait of the little boy above came to mind because of pictures of starving children I had seen and been horrified by.They looked like large dead eyed skeletons. This stuck in my mind. I think without all the practice I have done on faces I would not have managed this at all, and I certainly dont think at the moment I could do a portrait from memory. Maybe I would be able to do some of the  features of the person, and possibly be able to get the features in the correct place, but the character no. This is individual and where we all share similarities, we have features which are our own. I can understand why the old master worked on statues before individual people, there is no forgiveness in the execution because we need to capture the personal traits and character of each individual which makes them look like who they are.



Part 4, Project 6 Exercise 2 Your own face


For this i was to create two interesting images of my own face, I wasn’t to worry about producing an attractive or accurate likeness the aim is to create a believable face with the features in more or less the right place. I did 3 very quick sketches which were not the best likeness then moved onto the first sketch. I cant say it is very interesting, in fact I look terrified. In reality it was more to do with me looking intently in the mirror, so much so I forgot to do the interest thing. I hate looking at me at the best of times, so not exactly my favourite exercise this. My second drawing I did from a photograph hoping I could get a better view and remove the look of terror from my eyes. Err no, that one was even worse. The second picture I did in oil crayons and I am just not used to using pastels oil or chalk. They are very thick to use and I am used to drawing fine detail. The pencil drawing was much easier to do and is a slightly better picture of me. When my daughter stopped laughing at my minute sketches, she felt the pencil drawing was the better likeness. I think in part it was because I am used to the medium and also I found the features were easier to measure correct when working from life. I feel drawing individual parts of the face is easier for me as I am a slow drawer possibly due to my dyslexia, and although my drawing will no doubt always be slow, with all the quick sketching in Part 4 it has built up my speed and I would like to continue drawing like this as I believe it has improved my work.

Part 4, Project 6 The Face, Research Self Portrait

For this I had to research artists, self portraits. I was to begin by looking at historic examples such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and then use the reading list and other resources at my disposal to look at some self portrait styles that have emerged in contemporary art. Look at how contemporary artists approach tone, medium , pose, story, etc. in self portraiture.

Historic self portraits seemed to be more  a likeness of the artist as they appeared  at a given time, with their moods and changes through the years being seen within the pictures. Self Portraits becoming more prolific over the years. It is said Rembrandt produce numerous self portraits. Each one very detailed and showing how his life and looks had changed over time. The paintings all seem to show the same person as they age become more affluent and then head into old age.

Vincent Van Gogh was said to paint in his own likeness, the bold unmistakeable brushwork can be seen in most of his pictures. His use of colour, pattern and brushstrokes are in the style we are all aware of.

Moving on to contemporary art, I think self portraits seem to have moved in the same direction as art itself has moved and all styles are seen. Self portraits dont seem to need to look like the person, emotion can be the main criteria, style can be loose, abstract, or minimal. This self portrait of Leon Kossoff is thickly painted, limited pallet, low tone picture and was painted with very loose brushstrokes which rendered the picture unlike the artist himself. I am guessing if the painting was a reflection of the mood he was feeling, then Leon Kossoff was in very low spirits.

Next I looked at Francis Bacon and his Triptych painted after the death of his lover in his usual style showing unmistakable grotesque figures.The one of the right is supposed to be him, but looks nothing like him at all. His painting is said to depict life draining from the body and presumably the wrestle with life itself. His lover a gaping hole in his body as his life drains away. Painting style is abstract, brushwork look to be fine, pallet limited. Oil and sand.

Last and the most grotesque self portrait I could imagine is one of Marc Quinn, he literally makes a sculpture, using a mold and 10 pints of his own blood, repeating this every 5 years. There is a need for electricity to keep the sculpture frozen and portrays a time when he was substance dependent, the sculpture being dependent on power to keep its form.

From these examples we can see that self portraiture seems to have moved on. Contemporary self portrait doesnt need to look like the person being depicted, it can show the artists mood a or snapshot in their life and emotions.

Part 4, Project 6, Exercise 1 Facial Features

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Look at people (including yourself) in the flesh, in magazines, TV and other places and study the individual features. Practice drawing in my sketchbook a couple of pages per feature – different kinds of nose, eyes, ears, lips, chin, hair, eyebrows etc. If this helps use an enlarging grid to scale up a found image. Bear in mind that tonal variation, hatching an curved lines help model the form of facial features in the same way as they do in still life or landscape.

When you feel fairly confident draw an entire face.

I was not to worry if my lines and marks overlap and become untidy, and shouldn’t erase don’t erase mistakes. The workings and reworking’s are part of the thinking process and show are to show my tutor that I understand where you I went wrong and worked to put it right.

I was on holiday when I did most of this and had nearly run out of space in my carried sketchbook, so used loose sheets for most of it, although it is difficult to keep tabs on how much work is put into this when I am drawing people all the time. I used various media in my drawings and tried two sketches of a full face one in the main a line drawing of Miss Marple (Joan Hickson). The second was a version of my daughter who was posing with expression for a photo she was having done. This was drawn using charcoal and largely a tonal piece.

I have drawn all at a relatively quick pace  as I know this is one aspect of drawing I am not good at. I don’t seem to have a brain that can compute quickly, but am pleasantly surprised my speed/accuracy ratio is getting better.  This is a  good exercise to show the difference in shape, tone, size of a humans features. I feel now that I would like to try and draw faces with less line and more tone. I never thought I would be inspired as humans have never been my chosen topic of drawing, but I am enjoying Part 4, and have treated myself to a book called, Figure Drawing For All It’s worth by Andrew Loomis.

Part 4, Project 6 The Face research

This research was to look at contemporary as well as historic artists who work on the face in different ways.  Use my research to inspire my own experiments. Look at the reading lists well as other sources and make notes on what I find in my learning log.

I was to look at the two different approaches of Graham Little and Elizabeth Peytons image Daniel who both used colour to draw the face in a painterly manner and make notes of what I found in my learning log.

I think  the similarity of Graham Little and Elizabeth Peytons  approach to the depiction of the face stops at the painterly colour and the fact both artist do use paint. Elizabeth Peytons David was actually painted with watercolour and synthetic polymer paint. However the paint was used more like the blocking of colour when using pastels. On the other hand Graham Little who uses Goache with coloured pencils, has a much finer technique giving an almost porcelain look to his figures the feature finely depicted rather like using oil.

I was asked to look at other artists who work on the face and I looked at many, too many for this Research. The face has been depicted in many medias and methods over the years, from abstract to photo realism, monotone, to full colour, and from detailed to loose in style. The artists I looked at mainly held my interest because they are a style I appreciate, or would like to emulate.

From the historic artists,  I chose two artist of the many I like, that have enough difference to be of interest:-

Leonardo Da Vinci:-

I have used him before and he is one of my all time heros, I love his detailed drawings, both delicate, full of detail, each mark placed is there for a reason, nothing more nothing less. I have a tendency to overwork and appreciate this style of detail and suggestion.

Edgar Degas

Again we have detail within the drawings but the studies seem to be less technical and more loose in fashion. This doesnt take away the beauty or the skill involved in depicting his subject. I really like Degas and can see why he wanted to be known as a realist, his paintings are real, from real life with enough detail to be removed from impressionism.‘Music-Hall-Singers’.html

For my contemporary choice, I went with three very different artists, two are well known but maybe not seen as politically correct in my choice, however I thing they both show a very different way of working.

Guy Denning

His works are lively and varied in mark width length and application, using Conte and Pastel in a loose but detailed way. His drawings make me feel like they are made with speed and great passion, they shout the emotion he is trying to portray. His found surfaces give a completion to his pictures in a way I find difficult to emulate.

Paul Hedley

I love his work, especially his mixed media work. His style is real but loose. His  work is delicately made with detail very much suggested. The mood although not deployed in the energized way of  Guy Denning, is palpable. The gentler sexes face portrayed in a romantic and dreamy manner, with the softness of watercolour, the detail helped along by his use of mark and line. He gives me the feeling the painted are waiting in anticipation of the return of a love one, or the memory of a lost love. There is much less aggression with his application of his media, but nevertheless you can feel what his subjects are feeling.

Andre Kohn

I wanted to add Andre Kohn as his drawings are tonal and linear, expressive and gentle. He has a very mixed approach with his mark application but his drawings possess expression, without aggression. His paintings to me feel different from his drawings, but he seems to draw with paint, detail being hinted at, tone giving a suggestion of, texture giving life. His work to me covers various ways in which to depict his subjects faces.


Part 4, Project 5, Exercise 2 Groups of figures


For this exercise I had to people watch human movement and interaction.  I had to observe different kinds of people how they stand, interact what they carry, etc I had to do a few small and quick sketches on the spot or take a few discreet photos and try to keep the atmosphere of the scene in my memory until I got home, trying to recapture the movement, drama, noise etc in your sketches.

I actually did all my sketches on site as I was on holiday at the time. I followed the same method as with exercise one. The first sketches were  on a crowded beach, people were moving and although it wasn’t strictly drawn an interactive group, it was much to large and busy, it was a group of people enjoying the pleasures of the beach in their individual manner. Drawing 2 was a group of people wandering around a shopping area. Drawing 3, band members on a break enjoying conversation and a cup of tea they seem to have the figits though and I couldn’t get them finished. Drawing 4 were people waiting for a boat at the quay, there was no form of queue just a slowing wandering group of people enjoying the view of passing boats, a small dingy can be seen in the top right of the sketches. This and Drawing 5 are not strictly the group as described but they were in the area at the same time, so they even though they may of been drawn as a single figures, they were together in the same area at the same time. They too were far too mobile and too great in number to capture in the moment. Drawing 5 were pleasure golfers, families couples etc all using the same golf course but drawn as individuals in no particular order. Drawing 6 and yes more playing golf, you would think I was a golf fanatic, but actually I don’t play, I just like sipping coffee. This was a family group who seemed to take their swing more serious and I had a little more time to draw them. The shading was done after the drawings so not strictly completed at the time

I know only 3 drawings were actually drawn as an interactive group, but I felt they the other 3 were good examples of an interactive group of people caught in their moment. In picture 5 the little cat had gone around visiting all the golfers in turn so I included it within the picture as it formed part of the atmosphere.

This exercise asked how successful was I in my attempts to retain an image of a scene to draw later, as I followed the first option of this exercise and did all my drawings on site I can’t answer that, however I will try this option of the exercise at a later date.

As with exercise 1 I feel I need a lot more practice with figure drawing at speed. Surprisingly I have enjoyed it, I think because it is a challenge and I found it difficult. Equally I can’t help feeling embarrassed at my inaccurate drawings. Its a must do better for me I think, having said that I think I managed to show movement atmosphere and interaction within the sketches.