Assignment 3: Feedback reflection

4 October 2016. After having received an incredibly quick, accurate and warm feedback from my tutor I feel very much strengthened and encouraged to continue on my road by keeping the general direction, but using the brakes more often to give myself the time to do much more well-thought-out and documented experimentation at sketchbook level and beyond. This is exactly what I know already and wrote down at several points in my blog, but the putting into reality has been made very difficult by the ever-increasing pressure we experience in everyday life with our son. But another very important point: My tutor told me not to worry about leaving things unfinished. This is something I did not realise before – I had thought that an exercise needed a presentable outcome, but it appears that this is not the case. This will of course make experimenting a lot freer. I feel that Part 4 of the course “Looking Out” will provide me with ample opportunity to enter a new task by setting the scene with lots of different quick painted sketches. My tutor suggested using either good quality acrylic paint or watercolours for this and I will try and adapt my inkpen thumbnails to painting. I know that I will need to loosen up and discard any finished paintings in my head to allow these processes to occur at all. We’ll see whether I will be able to let go in this way.

Now to the individual remarks and suggestions:

  1. It is true that sometimes I have a problem placing correctly and scaling down a subject to the size paper I choose. This occurs more rarely now, but may happen if I do the primary sketch of a larger-scale work very quickly, even if my sketchbook setup worked well. I will pay particular attention to this problem in the part of the course to follow.
  2. The sketchbook paintings following my research on thermographic imaging felt quite liberating for me and I will use the technique again in the next part of the course, especially where the task is the creation of a certain mood.
  3. I love combining drawing/painting and text and will follow my tutor’s suggestion to try and produce some work in that manner.
  4. I will expand on my iridescence experiments, both coloured and monochrome, to incorporate at a later point in the course, in Part 5 at the latest (for which I have already chosen a subject, where iridescence could play an important role).
  5. My tutor emphasized that I must separate with care my approaches as a caricaturist and as a painter. I will keep as a reminder my own failed attempt at combining the two!
  6. Preparatory work should occur in series and quick succession to avoid a picture in my head to dictate the outcome. My tutor suggests to first of all write a description of anĀ  experience, then to decide whether it would be figurative and only then to make a large number of very simple sketches without a finished piece in mind at all. This is to open up a more abstract approach to working that “suggests rather than explains the image to the viewer”. I think that I know exactly what I would need to do and I can only hope that my mind and hand are ready to take this next step.
  7. My sketchbook will from now on be a purely painted, fluid, rapid one, I promise.
  8. Regarding the learning log I will try and incorporate research on the intentions different artists have.
  9. I am very much aware that my writing style does become quite personal at times, but under the given circumstances there is no way around it. This is why I take the risk to continue doing so while keeping in mind the requirements of an academic writing style. Sometimes I also feel that it may be necessary to incorporate an emotional aspect into the text accompanying the development of a work, because only then it may become possible to interpret my intentions. I will, however, be rigorous when writing up my account for formal assessment.
  10. In the next part I will continue exploring the properties of transparent layering and its influence on the transportation of the properties of light.

The artist research suggested in the feedback will be reported on in separate posts.

Assignment 3: Self-Evaluation

23 September 2016. Here is my self-evaluation for Assignment 3.

1. Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Coming through this part of the course I think that I managed to gradually improve my acrylic painting technique in all respects, regarding setup, use of negative space, using transparent and opaque layering as well as the introduction of methods new to me, e.g. roller and spatula as well as painting on unusual supports (aluminium foil).
Throughout this part I used my sketchbooks to draw everyday situations and found increasingly that a first look, supplemented by a few correcting glimpses, would be sufficient to create believable human forms and likenesses. My goal here was to sharpen my observational skills so as to be able to stop having to take and make use of reference photos at all.

2. Quality of outcome

The paintings I produced in this part are of varying quality. It took me some time to adjust to my new high quality brand of acrylic paint. While adjusting I switched to smaller size supports, but have now returned to my usual formats, mostly A2 and similar.
I think that I am becoming increasingly aware of and sensitive to the processes occurring while creating a painting and am more aware of the preparatory steps necessary at the outset. If there is a finished painting in my mind, as in my assignment piece “Lady in Pool” I probably do less hard-copy preparatory work than I should, but there is so much developing and discarding going on in my mind that no sketchbook would be sufficient to truthfully replicate this process.

3. Demonstration of creativity

I think that for reason of worrying about our son’s health I was less creative materialwise than probably expected by my tutor, but I am immensely happy that I still hold out despite the massive time constraints we experience at the moment. We expect the situation to relax somewhat in the months to come, but I need to accept that I may not be able to achieve my full creative potential under the given circumstances.

4. Context reflection

The human figure and condition are my main interest also in my work as a caricaturist. So the choice of subjects was easy in this part of the course and I hope that I will have fulfilled the requirements set out in the study guide. In the wider context I did a very large amount of research on contemporary art both set by my tutor and on own initiative and find that I am increasingly able to relate to artists working in the 21st century.

Assignment 3: Lady in Pool

Updated on 12 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

20 August 2016. A few days ago we were given a day off to spend at the local spa and sauna. The totally relaxed lady we found floating in the pool was so impressive that I found I had to try and make her the subject of my Assignment 3. Although she would probably not count as a true portrait with her face half hidden because of the extreme viewing angle, I just had to take the risk.

08 September 2016. The lady reminded me a lot of the work by Jenny Saville and in preparation I had a look at a large number of Saville’s paintings. Her wonderful delicate handling of skin tones is something to remember, although I know that my own approach is somewhat rougher and I do not want to avoid it on account of trying to copy someone else’s style. Also today I did some intense research on the science of painting pool water. There was a very detailed tutorial (at the time of updating this post the tutorial had unfortunately been taken off the web for copyright reasons and is available only if bought from the author (Mural Joe, n.d.).

15 September 2016. Today I started on the assignment by making a preliminary sketch in order to position the lady correctly, since foreshortening was very strong in her case. As in the exercises preceding this assignment I decided to avoid referring to any photos, in order to see whether my knowledge about human anatomy and memory imprint of the floating lady would be sufficient to produce a hopefully believable form (Fig. 1).

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Figure 1. Sketchbook – positioning the lady in the pool

Next I prepared an A2 canvas carton with a watery mix of blue and turquise (Fig. 2).

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Figure 2. Prepared background

23 September 2016. I noticed how my recent use of acrylic paper had let me forget about the qualities of canvas and the preparation of the background I wanted took me a long time. The smoothness of paper is something I have come to like, since it allows the production of fine detail with ease, while the roughness of the canvas I use leaves, at least at my level of expertise, more than a fair share of the outcome to coincidence.
On the finished background I quickly painted my lady as I remembered her without further reference to other work or photos. I also tried to see her from my caricaturist’s viewpoint, which proved extremely useful in the construction of a loosely painted first layer. My main goal was the creation of a form unusual enough to allow it not to be easily forgotten and in analysing this form to both find and emphasize, if necessary by exaggeration, the innate rhythm in the sequence of arms, breasts, thighs and feet, while trying to take great care in designing a pool atmosphere, whose orderly shapes and cool colours would make a hopefully interesting contrast to the lady’s well-rounded forms (Fig. 3).

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Figure 3. Developing painting – intermediate stage (1)

This painting is another one in which I found an intense communication to develop while working. A small change to one detail – and it was small changes throughout – would instantly cause my eye to focus on something else requiring adjustment in answer to the former. This experience is joyful and satisfying and, at least to my feeling, probably one of the most essential parts of a working painting (Fig. 4):

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Figure 4. Developing painting – intermediate stage (2)

Here comes the final result. It took me a while to decide, observing it under different lighting conditions, but I have come to the conclusion that I should leave it as it is. I might change my mind before I send my portfolio to my tutor, but for the moment I am very happy as it is (Fig. 5):

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Figure 5. Finished painting

For self-assessment please see separate post!

References:

Mural Joe (n.d.) How To Paint Waves Bundle [online]. Mural Joe, Flagstaff. Available at: http://learn.muraljoe.com/downloads/how-to-paint-waves-bundle/ [Accessed 12 March 2017]