Tag: oca

Part 5, Assignment 5, Assessment Criteria


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

Over the course I have no doubt all skills have improved. I am starting to manage to put what I am learning into practice. I still want to push my work to the more detailed stage and I lack speed in application. My visual skills are getting better and I am gaining an eye into being aware of shapes both positive and negative. My compositional skills feel better and I am trying to put into practice, what has been learnt through Drawing 1.

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

As with Part 4 I still feel quality is second to time, maybe as I become more confident with my work this will get better, but even as a child it was noticed I couldn’t work well at speed. With Assignment 5 I found it a little easier applying what I had learnt, maybe because I had to use this in developing my own ideas, rather than worrying about achieving a set criteria. Communicating my ideas is becoming second nature now, as is the ability to judge where I am going wrong, however I am sure there are areas I still need help with.

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

This is the fun part, only now am I beginning to feel I have gained enough knowledge of working to this level to now concentrate on being creative and using my imagination. I think the course can be overwhelming when you haven’t worked at this level before. You have to learn what is expected, how it’s applied and what to apply before you can actually begin to settle into what is expected from you. I have seen a difference looking at those who have done an art degree before, as they already know what is expected of them.

My personal voice is beginning but I have yet to get there, though I am now able to use artistic licence when needed in order to improve my picture. I have no doubts of the importance of drawing things in the field. It is so important in the process of being able to invent and use your imagination. To imagine you first need to know your image intimately.

Context reflection – research, critical thinking (learning log)

I love my learning log, and it really makes me think about what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what I want to achieve. It is hugely important to me and helps with my learning process. I always like to draw then put the drawing up so I can look at it for a day or two to see where it can be improved. Thinking what I have done well, or where I have gone wrong and the putting it up on the log, is so important, it gives me the ability not to make the same mistake again.

Writing down the research again makes me learn more about what I am reading, the act of writing it down means I have to have learnt about the subject in order to know what to write. Where I am falling down a little is my Gallery and Museum visits, I often don’t analyse pictures, I get caught up in the enjoyment of looking then describing what I have seen is difficult. So in future I will try and take notes at the time.

Assignment 5 Written Element.

Using tone studying texture, depth of field, and applying learnt skills.

I have learnt a lot in this course, and wanted to put what I had learnt into practice with my final piece. I love the outdoors and animals and worked as an animal nurse for year, but have until now drawn still life, flowers and individual animals, backgrounds and landscapes have never figured in my artwork outside of my course work.

Texture is something I have become interested in after seeing tactile artwork within the Care Home my mother lives. I had obviously come across texture in contemporary art but hadn’t realised how much it had been used throughout history. The two pictures I have chosen to show of John Constable inspired me the most. His painting The Cenotaph is full of drama and draws the viewer in, the texture adding another dimension to the piece. One thing I notice when studying Deer for Assignment 5 was they blend into their surroundings. He achieved this so well within this work of art. I also liked the very fine branches which can be seen and I tried to add this to my own work.



His other piece that I was inspired by was Hadleigh Castle, wow the depth of field in that painting is amazing. Not only does the texture or Impasto effect cause the Castle to be dominant, but he also manage to get such depth to the picture. I have never painted landscape, but it really made me want to have a go, and played a great part in my decision to draw a landscape and look at depth of field.


I wanted to add an animal of some kind to my drawing as I feel it was the weaker part of my course. After looking at various animals I decided Deer suited the time of year and the ability to help portray distance. After a visit to Dunham Massey I was convinced it was the way to go, having originally thought I would draw closer to home, my mind was made up, the scenery and deer were just what I was looking for. It is an area where I could practice my looser background with a more detailed fore as discussed earlier in the course with my tutor.

I went back to Dunham Massey a few times to collect sketches, photos and get the atmosphere of the area. It was one of peace, there was the odd clash of antlers in fun, but the Deer went about their day behaving as if the public were not there. Some of the trees were enormous, dwarfing the Deer dominating the scene, acting almost like their guardians. I practiced drawing the Deer and found the comment from my feedback really helpful, concentrating  getting a part of the animal correct works a lot better. I have always tried to get down as much of the subject as I could before they moved, but somehow, drawing in part, seems to make the brain remember the subject clearer.

After drawing the scene and animals I decided to make the trees my main subject, as they seemed to be the most dominant part of the scene and their size gave them majesty. This inspired me to make them the main part of my picture, not the Deer.

Putting texture to a drawing is not something I have done in the past, but I had read about Gesso and tissue applied to support material and I decided on using them together. I did attempt to cover the whole application with silverpoint ground for added grain but found rubbing down the Gesso to be more successful. I tried various experiments with the Gesso and media until I finally decided on pencil, carbon, and polychromo. I applied the Gesso in several layers and rubbed them down gently with sand paper. Next time I will try to experiment with adding sand or something like marble dust to improve application of media. In the last layer of Gesso I applied it thick enough to add textured lines, indicating bark on the tree. Sadly there is a time limit when doing work for the course so I could not apply the layers a slowly as I would have liked, which led to a slightly untidy look.

I have found it interesting reading of the layers of Gesso and grounds added by Fine Artist to their pictures and how they went about applying texture. In the future I would like to carry on looking at texture and its application, as it seems a most interesting path of study.

Assignment 5


The journey to produce this picture was an enjoyable one, and I have learnt a great deal in its production. I am still in the experimental stage of using Gesso but on the whole it worked well to emphasize and give form to the picture. The one thing I did find troublesome is the shine produce when using graphite on it. I decided to not to add colour in the end in order to hopefully show I have learnt to use tone and can suggest depth with mark making. The whole picture is drawn with various different marks. To work in fine detail would have taken far too long for the Assignment piece, as this is an A1 so an enormous project for pencil work and I have discussed with my tutor my technique and decided to concentrate on the trees  in the fore, using the Deer to help give some sizing. Most of the Fore is done using hatching, however for large areas I used graphite powder and the rubbing out technique. I applied this to some of the trees at the back and will use it again as it gave a good texture.bark

The tree bark in the fore was first done using the powder then shadows were put in with hatching, then the design of the bark was accentuated with a black polychromo then removed some giving a less blocky look.


I decided to leave it to a black and white project, in part because I have never used graphite in such a large picture, and it was more stable than charcoal or pastel which I had used for Assignment 4. I still have to fight myself to not add a lot of detail, but time would not allow a too detailed approach. Having said that I am getting better at using mark as a  suggestion, even though I do feel my work is still half finished. My choice for the drawing would have been on board and then a covering of gesso but due to weight when posting, I decided to use heavyweight watercolour paper. Fabrino Artistico 300 accepted Gesso but I didn’t want to cover the entire area as I was still having problems with the shine even when the Gesso was rubbed down, any build up of graphite or carbon would cause shine, Graphite powder which I used for the background was ok, but it would not build depth of tone enough so I used a black polychromo pencil to get the darks. The trees were deep in shadow one side and it gave them form. Unfortunately the paper has a cream tint and they highlights were not as bright as I wanted.

To begin with I drew out the scene loosely, then applied the Gesso and tissue to the area I wanted heavier texture. I decided to only apply it to the foreground on this occasion as it would have meant a lot of rubbing down to get the smooth surface and as mentioned above I was still working on getting rid of graphite shine. If I use the technique in the future I may try marble dust or sand in the mix. I used perspective lines to gauge the size of the Deer in the picture, trees were not as essential because they come in so many shapes and sizes, what was important was to start off correctly sizing the nearest Deer with the trees. After that I drew perspective lines to the horizon and matched the other Deer in the picture in order to get it correct. This then helped with the tree sizing behind. I also tried to incorporate the Golden Mean  placing the Deer in specific areas, though there are two in the background which were put in just to add interest to the viewer.



I started drawing at the top of the picture, due to its size I used graphite powder as it covers a large area fast, this worked well on the paper and on Gesso, but the Gesso looked overworked if I tried to get the deeper tones on it. I will use this method in the future and it has its place, but if this had been a finished piece of art I would have worked a lot slower. It is hard to get Graphite detail on watercolour paper so it did work well emphasising distance within the picture. One thing I didn’t like was in certain light you can see the change of surface colour between Gesso and paper. However walking around the room I notice something that artists in the past noticed with texture oil paintings, depending on where you look at the areas that had the Gesso the depth of tone changed, so I think I am hooked at trying to perfect drawing on the surface and will experiment further in the future with its application and use.

Overall I am pleased with my final piece, I wanted to produce a drawing that showed what had been learnt throughout Drawing 1, and I think I have done that. What I did struggle with is letting go and allowing, as they say, happy accidents. The foreground showing the texture was developed using tissue and Gesso, this gives the look of fallen branches and other vegetation. However I had little control over how this looked and had to an extent go with the look and work with it. The trees were different, they worked really well and are tactile, I managed to manipulate the bark better by using pallet knives which didn’t seem to work as well with the finer work. I did put random marks a little further towards the middle of the picture, these didn’t work as they were too small to rub down and I found it hard to work them into the picture. Also I got a little Gesso by accident to the side of one of the trees and found it difficult to make that look natural within the picture.  I think in the future I would like to take this drawing further, I would use Gesso over the entire picture and experiment more with it adding some form of grit and try different supports.

Assignment 5, sketches leading up to the assignment

I am working my way to the final piece and what I am going to do. I have decided to go with the textured drawing with gesso but have one final experiment to perform before I actually decide on the drawing. I put Gesso over tissue paper and I also applied it thickly to the area and when drying put marks into with cocktail sticks and a pallet knife, it gave a great affect. The charcoal doesn’t adhere to the Gesso as well as coloured pencil and oil pastel as it is so smooth. I over lay some silverpoint paint to try and give a grittier surface but I don’t think it worked too well, so I am going to try a small sketch this time and sand it to roughen the surface. The oil pastel has depth so in my final piece I am going to place the deer through the wood, however I do like the larger deer in the foreground, so I think I will go with a mix. The near branches look better in texture so I will apply it to the foreground.

My final Gesso experiment was done pretty much the same way as before but I rubbed it down with sand paper. This worked well and the pencil adhered well. The drawing which is the middle one above wasn’t best compositional piece I have done, but I was short of time and needed to try the media and technique. It worked well so I am now going to do a few sketches now in regards to composition.

Assignment 5, experimenting with textures.

I needed to now look at textures and how to go about using them. It’s not something I have ever really tried before, except for a little collage. I had been looking at variations whilst studying artists and found people often use Gesso and tissue to create a textured surface in which to draw. I felt it may be a good way of producing the effect I wanted. Tree bark pattern is different for each type of tree so taking a few rubbings to get the feel of the marks was one of the first things I did then I tried out various methods on how to create and use the texture.


The first textured work was done using Acrylic paint tinted with watercolour and tissue. It was totally random and I wanted to try out the technique whilst waiting for my Gesso to arrive. I used Charcoal, C. Pencil and Pencil, I liked the tinted background but I feel it will limit the distance in the picture, but I did like the texture on the tree stumps this was effective and felt tactile. So I thought I would extend the texture further back into the picture next time.


I then tried Gesso and tissue to create the background in which to draw, and used oil pastels and coloured pencils to draw on the surface and silverpoint in the background. I felt there wasn’t too much texture  in relation the rear of the picture, so it lost depth, however the foreground was really nice and the affect was how I wanted. The colour was a nice touch, but I  wasn’t sure there was a little too much. The definition on the bark wasn’t good either and  the tree came out looking flat and overworked, so I needed to tone down the overuse of media and try something a little less dominant. I did like the oil pastel in the foreground it gave the whole area a tangled look which was similar to the wood near where I live. Silverpoint did work but it didn’t bring anything to the table graphite wouldn’t in this particular picture.


Next instead of using tissue, I covered the paper with tinted gesso, this was left rough, the brushstrokes giving a lovely textured affect. I really like the deer which is a coloured pencil sketch. Unfortunately for the Assignment I really needed to showcase all that had  learnt in Drawing 1 and this type of drawing wouldn’t show that. However I decided I would to try and better the technique in the future and improve on the above, it is a style I feel will combine with my more photorealistic style and I find it really enjoyable to do.

I then did various experiments using the Gesso and mark making and went through a number of media, both on Gesso alone and on Gesso overpainted with silverpoint paint in increasing layers 1-4.  When mark making I used cocktail sticks, pallet knives, wire, fingers and piping, all worked well enough depending on what texture you wanted, and as I discovered earlier you can get a good effect from the hairs of a paint brush. Most media worked relatively well and had its use, but one thing apparent was there was little change in quality with the increasing layers of silverpoint ground. Silverpoint worked well on the surface but I am not sure I will use it in the final work as its delicate mark feels a little at odds with the heavy texture of the trees.

Assignment 5, studies of deer


Having decided to draw deer I have found two areas where I can draw them in the wild. I was amazed at Dunham Massey how near I could get and how obliging the deer are.  I found it easier than the first deer I drew which were in a field near to where I live, and didn’t like their portraits being done.  The top picture was drawn using pastel and Conte sticks, I have not decided on media, or  if I am using any colour in my final drawing, so I wanted to experiment with a limited palette the drawing was done from a photograph and my sketches. I have sketched two different types of deer, which will explain the difference in their appearance. The Fallow are bigger, the Roe are daintier.

Assignment 5,Choosing my subject

I looked at various animals sketching and looking at the way in which I could portray them within my work of art. I had decided to do a drawing with texture and after discussion with my tutor would like to marry the outdoors with animals. The major problem I have with this is the time of year, trying to get naturally occurring animals in the winter is difficult. I looked at various animals and in the end decided on drawing deer.  Above are a few quick sketches of various animals. The two more finished drawings are from a couple of vary obliging animals, the rest of the time it was just really quick sketches. The goat seemed awfully interested in what I was doing although I am not sure it liked my sketches as it ate some of my page! The goose, I really wasn’t sure who was doing the studying.

Not only did they appear in the wood where I live, I love drawing trees. When starting this course my first studies included the charcoal drawing of Odilon Redon’s Two Trees. It is an atmospheric drawing which I found inspirational and still do. I also love the atmosphere and drama in the painting of The Cenotaph by John Constable. Trees have a beauty of their own and are very tactile, which making them a good subject for a textured piece.

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.

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.