Assignment 4: Self-evaluation

Updated on 24 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

29 November 2016. In this post follows my self-assessment for the painting produced for Assignment 4, “Claustrophobia”, of Painting 1 (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a):

1. Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I believe that in the course of this part of Painting 1 I was able to make use of most of the skills acquired in the course up to now. For the assignment piece “Claustrophobia” I used the experience gained in planning paintings including subject choice, subject and artist research, testing compositional ideas using sketches on paper and in my sketchbook in the appropriate way as well as drawing on the experience gained in a previous exercise (the river gorge painted for the exercise on aerial perspective, (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b)). Again I tried to transport a message by translating an emotion into a visual language, this time the agonizing feeling of claustrophobia and not being able to breathe due to a trauma left from an own childhood experience (ether narcosis).

2. Quality of outcome

My second charcoal sketch made in preparation for Assignment 4 appeared to me quite strong at transporting my message, whereas the final painting did loose somewhat in this respect. The properties of charcoal are probably much better suited to create the intended atmosphere, because it allows the blending of crisp strong messages and vage suggestions. Also, it could well be that my technical skills regarding the use of acrylic paint are not reliable enough yet. Still I think that I was able to translate my original idea into a working painting. There are some weak points concerning the composition, but I believe that I was able to produce some interesting and beautiful effects using a palette knife throughout (apart from the blue of the sky, which I wanted to be in strong contrast to the rocks of the cave, and the sunrays and haze added).
In this assignment I tried to address a subject, which I believe might be difficult to express to a wider public. If a viewer never experienced the sensation of claustrophobia and/or the feeling of not being able to breathe ever before, I guess that they might not be able to comprehend the strength of the associated emotion to its full extent. However, I believe that nobody is totally free from it, so I hope that my approach might allow them to reproduce what I felt.

3. Demonstration of creativity

I think that I was able to include a large amount of experimentation in Part 4 of the course, both regarding the choice of subject and the use of paint. The assignment piece itself was an extention to the exercise mentioned in 1. above (which I did with the assignment in mind) and so in itself not a totally new approach. However, the choice of subject with regard to the set task of painting a landscape might qualify as being creative.

4. Context reflection

Before embarking on this assignment, I did some intense research on the chosen subject, both regarding the medical and psychological aspects of claustrophobia, the work of spelaeologists (cave explorers), the interplay of light and dust in air and the effect of ether narcoses on patients, as well as on a number of visual artists, who produce(d) work described as claustrophobic and/or addressing the subject of claustrophobia. I think that in this way I was properly prepared to carry out the intended work. I do not think that I was influenced by any named artist, but noticed how references from past and present research came to my mind and help at points when the direction of the next step was unclear.

References:

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Assignment 4: Claustrophobia [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA Painting 1 blog, 29 November. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/assignment-4-claustrophobia/ [Accessed 29 November 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) Part 4, project 3, exercise 1: Expressive landscape – creating mood and atmosphere [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA Painting 1 blog, 17 November. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/part-4-project-3-exercise-1-expressive-landscape-creating-mood-and-atmosphere/ [Accessed 29 November 2016]

Assignment 1: Self-evaluation

Updated on 19 February 2017 (Harvard referencing).

1 April 2016. Thank God I browsed the blog of another Painting 1 student to remind me that I might be required to go through self assessment with each assignment. Since in Drawing 1 a reminder came with each assignment, I wasn’t sure whether the same was true for Painting 1. So, just in case, here it is:

1. Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I tried to include in this work the experience gained both during Drawing 1 and the first part of Painting 1. The chosen view from slightly above was comparatively difficult, but I think that background, bouquet and shadows work together in a believable and interesting way. What I will need to work on is, as always, my weak point of not doing enough research concerning both the work of other artists and following a consistent approach to a painting using a series of sketchbook studies. My problem is that I always have a finished painting in my mind ready to be transferred to the canvas and I have yet to find a way to navigate around this aspect.

2. Quality of outcome

While I think that the general layout and the systematic realisation of my idea are not too bad, my use of materials and techniques has ample scope for improvement. In particular, my use of a layering technique using both opaque and transparent layers is still very inconsistent and I will need to do more research in this respect.

3. Demonstration of creativity

Other than with Drawing 1 I am not sure yet whether we are expected to push our limits in Painting 1. Since also the instructions for this assignment included the remark “Don’t be too ambitious at this stage” I decided, for once, not to run wild and stay with something manageable. I still think that, within limits, the idea of having a black flower-head with a bouquet of bright tulips, whose shadow on the other hand is the only one that is colourful, reflects my attitude towards life: Even if something looks quite bleak, it may come with an extraordinary characteristic helping to compensate for the more obvious “deficits”.
Since my grasp of acrylics is not yet well grounded I decided that I did not to want to experiment too much with materials and techniques yet. For the next assignment, however, I am planning to go ahead with a more inventive approach.

4. Context reflection

I think that my choice of materials and techniques support the message included with the painting. The bouquet is not simply a representation of a real world object, but hopefully allows a viewer to interact with the depicted situation in a more intense way, allowing the symbols used to deduce a generalized view of the world.