Tutor Feedback – Assignment 3

My finished Study of Several Trees

Overall Comments

You produce work of a high standard Mark and your submission for this third part of the module is no different. I can see a steady progression in your practice and evidence of it further gathering momentum with the introduction to new disciplines such as the natural landscape. Just as in prior submissions you have also delivered an extremely precise and well-considered learning log. I am greatly encouraged by the quality of your work Mark and look forward to seeing your next submission.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

The preliminary studies and notation describe the developmental stages of the creative process heading towards your finished assignment piece very successfully. The consideration applied to the experimental trials for a suitable medium shows an admirable determination and engagement in the developmental process. The finished drawing for the assignment is well composed and displays a thorough and successful understanding of the portrayal of single-point perspective. I think, on the whole, the final drawing holds together well and is a convincing depiction of the landscape. It displays a strong composition, a good portrayal of depth and your handling of the medium has been effective. My one criticism would be in the rendering of the foliage in the middle ground. I feel you could have been a little bolder in the depiction of the light and shade created by the layers of leaves, thus validating the ’bulk’ of the foliage and accentuating the illusion of a receding background. The lightness of touch has made it appear a little flat with regards form (light and shade) and this slightly affects the overall depth of the piece. Watercolour pencil can be quite a difficult medium to achieve ‘heavier’ or solid depth of tone due to its hard quality, but as you have accomplished this in the rendering of the roof supports, I feel you could have pushed it a little further.

Submitted Piece for Assignment 3
Submitted Piece for Assignment 3

I wasn’t particularly happy with my submission for this third assignment nor the task for this assignment as finding a view that was suitable was very difficult.

‘A View from a window or door – that offers an opportunity to draw straight-lined objects as well as items drawn from nature, buildings, gates, fences and so on. It then says that ‘this may all seem like a lot to look for, but most views from windows and doors will offer you a bit of all these things…’ 

This could have been my favourite assignment if I was in the countryside or back home in Yorkshire but not in the built up area where I live in Bangkok. There were views with some of the above but not all, the view from the school window was the best I could do but I wasn’t really keen on it. 

However, besides all this the tutor’s comments were very positive and he was right saying not being bold with the depiction of light and shade made by the trees has ‘made it a little flat’ and so with other drawings that need attention I shall try to give it some depth before assessment.

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays Context

You have continued to produce a thorough investigative learning log Mark. You honestly identify situations that have hindered you and are equally open about your successes. Although you mention in your notes for this part of the module that you were not overly excited by the prospect of drawing landscape you have proven to me, and most importantly to yourself, that you do have the ability to overcome this doubt. I was pleased to read that you found looking at the work of other artists (Claude Lorrain and J. M. W. Turner specifically) helpful, by recognising the importance of defining fore-, middle and background, and that you have employed those findings to your advantage. I get the feeling that not only due to your obvious growing abilities it is your determination, enthusiasm and wholehearted interest in drawing that will define your progress to me as your tutor, but most importantly to you. That realisation is patently the greatest benefit to even further progress!

Sketchbooks

This part of the Drawing One module concentrated on working outdoors, or en plein air. Due to the unrest in Bangkok I’m sure the prospect of doing these exercises must have felt like particularly poor timing for you and been very difficult at the time! I must say however, even with these enormous obstacles, you have undertaken the exercises and the assignment very well indeed and have produced an extremely thorough and well-focused collection of work.

Your drawing is strong Mark. The enthusiasm and engagement you put into the exercises shines through in the work you have presented. The ‘Sketchbook walk’ and ‘360 degree’ studies are dynamic and show a methodical understanding of how to portray the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional image. I particularly liked your fourth and final sketch for the ‘Sketchbook walk’ series: it is confidently rendered, very well observed and displays a solid understanding of perspective and composition.

A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB
A Sketch book Walk Fourth and Final Sketch : Charcoal Pencil, EE and HB

I must admit the drawing above was one of my favourite drawings from this exercise and I am thinking about enlarging it for my assessment….but will it work?

It was also great to see you wholeheartedly taking on the challenge of new media for the ‘Drawing cloud formations’ exercise. You are lucky to be in a country where there is a defined difference between cloud and sky! The results were well considered in terms of their delineation – the most successful, and intriguing, for me were the night-time clouds on black paper. The drawing has something of the Odilon Redon about it. The developmental sequence for the ‘Plotting space through composition and structure’ exercise was transfixing and I think a very successful drawing.

3 - Plotting Space through Composition and Structure - Watercolour Pencil Mostly Dry
3 – Plotting Space through Composition and Structure – Watercolour Pencil Mostly Dry

The perspective exercises again have been undertaken with confidence and have displayed a good understanding of the representation of both parallel and angular perspective. The angular perspective drawing is particularly well-observed. This thorough understanding of the rules of perspective is confirmed by the beautiful series of townscapes you have included in your sketchbook. These are excellent studies Mark that show wonderfully realised depth through perspective and the subtle but effective use of tone. I especially liked the ‘Limited palette’ studies.

A Limited Palette Study in Conte, Pastel and China White
A Limited Palette Study in Conte, Pastel and China White

I am wondering whether or not to include this in the work for submission. It is probably a good choice as I have some great studies from the previous exercise.
Your studies for the ‘Drawing statues’ exercise raises my expectations to see your work for part 4 of the module. These again are very well-observed studies. The conté and pastel study of the Soonthorn Poo bust has been beautifully realised, the solidity of the representation skilfully rendered. This is also true of the studies for the ‘Drawing trees’ exercise, particularly the larger study of the individual tree and strong oil pastel study of several trees – I agree, it does appear like an admiring nod to Georges Seurat.

 

Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil
Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil
My finished Study of Several Trees
My finished Study of Several Trees

Suggested viewing/reading Context

As it is obvious that you are continuing to make gallery visits and are clearly getting a lot from these sojourns there really isn’t much I can suggest you look into Mark. I am undoubtedly preaching to the converted but continue to gather references of other artists’ oeuvre and truly look into the way they work. Then look at your own work in a similar depth. You may be familiar with the writings of John Berger but if not check out the following two books:

Berger, John (2008) Ways of Seeing Penguin Classics ISBN: 9780141035796

Berger, John (2009) About Looking Bloomsbury Publishing PLC ISBN: 9780747599579

I couldn’t find About Looking without purchasing online but I was very lucky to find a copy of Ways of Seeing and exercised my new fresh view of seeing things in the research point Investigating Artists’ Self Portraits.

Pointers for the next assignment

As you know the next part of this module is all about the figure which I’m sure will suit you. Hold on to the enthusiasm and commitment you have shown and carry on looking and researching. It is evident that this way of working is very good for your practice. I look forward to seeing your submission for ‘Drawing figures’ Mark.

I understand your aim is to go for the Painting/ Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

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Assignment 3 – A View from a Window or Door

Submitted Piece for Assignment 3
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil

The task for this assignment was ‘to select a view from a window or from an open door. Try to find a view that includes some natural objects: trees, shrubs, pot plants, fields or garden plants’ also to ‘try and find a view that will demonstrate your understanding of aerial or linear perspective – in other words a view that has some depth to it.’

The brief also says to ‘look for a view that offers an opportunity to draw straight-lined objects as well as items drawn from nature, buildings, gates, fences and so on. It then says that ‘this may all seem like a lot to look for, but most views from windows and doors will offer you a bit of all these things’…

I have spent the best of two months trying to find a window or a door with view with any of these things and came up almost empty handed. The view from the 26th floor of an apartment block in Bangkok only offers you one of the most complex city views you could ever imagine.

view from my apartment kitchen window - Photo taken from back wall of living room
view from my apartment kitchen window – Photo taken from back wall of living room

I took a camera with me everywhere trying to find a view that would accommodate the criteria for this assignment and almost came up empty handed and then right at the last week of the school term, the last week in February for me I dropped on 2 views (by accident).

View from a 3rd floor window at school
View from a 3rd floor window at school

One was the view from the top floor of the school, which offered mostly concrete and not much of anything else, the other was a view from the school’s second floor window looking out of one of the windows of the school building that I had drawn in both ‘A Sketchbook of Townscape Drawings‘ and a ‘Limited Palette Study from Your Sketches‘.

View from second floor window facing temple
View from second floor window facing temple

I decided to start by having a go at sketching all three, starting with the view from the second floor window, which even on the small preliminary (rough) sketch in my notebook proved very technical.

1st Sketch ifrom 2nd floor window in my notebook
1st Sketch from 2nd floor window in my notebook

The second was a half-hearted sketch of the view from my apartment window, working from the photograph I gave up after 5 minutes realizing that it wasn’t a drawing suited to the size of paper that they wanted us to do the final drawing on (A3). But maybe it would be something I would like to come back to later with the possibility that it could be painted in a style close to L.S. Lowry.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom
3rdd Sketch View from top floor classroom

The third sketch was from the window of the classroom on the top floor, which all though had most of everything, the tree in the view wasn’t very big at all and so after a second larger (partial) sketch on A3 I decided that I was to go with the view from the 2nd floor window.

3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window
3rd Sketch an Attempt at Drawing the view from the 26th Floor Window

View from the 2nd Floor Window

I started do do a study in line of what I could see from the window. This turned out to be a partially finished drawing but helped me to decide to crop the view to the middle window as it was very technical with the roof beams. It also helped me to decide on getting rid of the railings on the windows.

An attempt at Line Drawing
An attempt at Line Drawing

My next drawing was in A4 and was basically a quick sketch to see if I could meet the assessment criteria in my final drawing.

My Chosen View - CRopped down to the middle window
My Chosen View – Cropped down to the middle window

After the Study of several trees exercise I said that it give me an idea for the final drawing and that was to use oil pastels as I was impressed by the way they left white specs on the paper reminding me of a Seurat painting and if I had committed to the view from the classroom window I would have probably gone with that medium…after trying other mediums first of course. But, with the more intense view out of the 2nd floor window, on the small size paper I decided that it would have to be done in colour pencils.

Colour study in Marker Pen
Colour study in Marker Pen

Still, even though I had already made my mind up the Assignment  had asked for broad brush stroke studies to decide on the colours I would use for the final drawing so I tried a couple of mediums that were very different to what I had decided on drawing for the final drawing.

Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour
Colour Study in Ecoline Liquid Watercolour

Both of the studies turned out to be quite pleasing and both mediums quite feasible. It was the first time I had used the liquid watercolour as a paint and not as an ink and even though the colours were great, my watercolour painting skills leave a lot to be desired.

I had been plodding on too slowly with this assignment and to be honest that’s because I was not happy with the subject and it was very stressful but eventually I had to start the final drawing and it had to be in dry watercolour pencil.

Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil
Final Drawing in Dry Watercolour Pencil

An English language student asked me the other day what I thought has been the hardest medium to draw with and when I replied colour pencil they weren’t surprised. The Derwent artist are very waxy so I prefer using the watercolour, dry, but stillI do have problems blending even though my I have come along way since the beginning of the course.

I started by drawing the shape of the window to act as a border then I drew in the window at the side and the roof beams as well as the horizontal line of the fence then I got stuck straight into the colour starting on the fancy Thai style roof beams (or props or whatever you want to call them).

I spent about an hour layering the colours to get each of them a different tone and looking quite accurate but then realized that it didn’t really matter how long I spent on those as they wouldn’t be the focal point of the drawing.

Next I worked on the window and the wall then the rafters and from there the tree that came up both sides of the fence, through the roof of the outdoor secondary cantine and on the other side. At first I was going to draw the tree with a form of squirkling in colour but when I did the broad brush colour studies I could see a reoccurring pattern of almost star like shapes and so I spent a lot of time trying to simplify the shapes and drawing them by layering yellow over green, from there I filled in the negative space in between to give the tree some thickness.

So far I wasn’t looking at all great but then I decided to use a form of squrkling in three colours on the dry fallen leaves with the occasional star shape trying to mirror the green leaves above, the result was quite nice and it made me feel a bit better about the assignment.

Once I hatched in the fence and the double roof of the canteen below everything started to come together but the problem now was that I didn’t leave myself enough space to draw in enough of the large orange roof behind and so a lot of the roof is hidden by leaves. I do still feel though that because of the direction of the roof beams and the perspective of the roof that the viewers eyes will still look where I want them to and that is to the temple and the road to the right.

I completed the drawing with one of the worse mistakes ever, I decided that I would draw the wall all the way around the window in oil pastel the result was a complete mess. My only hope is that I can crop and frame it when I come to send off my work for final assessment.

Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

Although the final drawing is somewhat messy I do feel that I have definitely shown a demonstration of technical and visual skills in my final drawing especially where perspective is concerned and I feel that the drawing shows a clear understanding of both aerial and linear perspective. I also feel that the final drawing shows a substantial improvement on the way I have been drawing trees.

Quality of Outcome

Well to be very honest I am not satisfied with the quality of this final drawing that looks more like an exercise than an assignment. I really found this assignment stressful, it was very difficult to find a view that I was happy with and the problems we have been having here in Bangkok haven’t helped. But a poor craftsman always blames his tools.

I let myself down with the preliminary work on this assignment but this was due to being very busy working all hours to try and make up for loss of income lost through these protests. If I had more time for the preliminary work the quality of the final piece would have been much higher.

The work in the previous exercises in part 3 as been high quality let down by a low quality final piece.

Demonstration of Creativity

I believe I have demonstrated quite a lot of creativity through this part of the course I haven’t necessarily shown this in the final drawing. I would say the projects where this was more visible was Drawing Trees and Townscapes where I let go of trying to pay attention to detail and tried being more creative.

Context

The troubles here in Bangkok have been a great drag on this part of the course. I started out feeling really positive and in October when the protests started hit a brick wall. However I do feel like I have learnt a lot from this part of the course and I no longer feel that drawing landscape is a problem for me.

I have tackled every exercise to the best of my ability and even though I’m not happy with my final drawing I do feel that everything I have practiced through this part of the course is evident in the final piece.