Assignment 1 planning: (initial ideas)
What the course material asks you to think about:
- What scale will I use for this drawing?
I would like to use a ‘long’ piece of paper like in exercise 1.1.
- What support and what medium(s)?
I am enjoying combining fluid media and a counterpoint media. I wonder if I should introduce a different colour. Keep it monochrome but maybe come away from black. I’m considering a red? Quite a raw colour…
- Which exercise was the most enjoyable or intriguing?
My most enjoyable exercises have been 1.1 and 1.4. I wonder if there is someway to combine the two.
- What subject matter or forms in my sketchbook might lend themselves to investigation with fluid media?
Organic materials are quite a popular subject in my sketchbook. But I’m also very drawn to architecture. Overgrown architecture. Houses? Derelict buildings? (theres one near Wimbledon art studios and the house in Wimbledon)
- Which contextual study point do I feel most enthusiastic about following up and responding to?
I am really intrigued by surrealism and automatism. But also ‘action’ drawing that was linked to Kline. I think surrealism and automatism could work well with the idea of derelict buildings. I could be quite inventive with that.
‘surrealists sought to liberate the imagination through an art that involved chance, dreams, and the unconscious, as well as the play of thought itself.’ (The Morgan, 2013)
So although a lot of the surrealists artists drawings were very technically drawn they enjoyed the advantages of spontaneity and immediacy that drawing gave them. The movement became a way to express and innovate ideas, allowing them to ‘bypass the conscious mind and produce new ways of seeing’. (The Morgan, 2013)
So the conscious mind isn’t involved in the type of imagery that they draw but they are conscious in the way they approach the drawing. As with abstract expressionists or action painting there is less conscious thought in what they are actually doing and letting the subconscious take control.
the artist simply allows his hand to meander across the sheet. According to André Masson, who was the first to develop the process, “the hand must be fast enough, so that conscious thought cannot intervene and control the movement.” Afterwards, however, Masson would alter his drawings according to suggestions emanating from the original web of lines. (The Morgan, 2013)
So this would be linked to a performance type work – letting the action of the drawing move across the page – this would I suppose be done with fluid media and then a counterpoint media added on top?! – which would then create a surrealist imagery! YES SORTED!!!!!
My interpretation of this part of the course was to experiment as fully as possible with fluid media and connect with the material in a way that creates a relationship with you, as the artist. I have really taken to the idea of performative art and the subconscious ways of working – autonomy. For the assignment piece I took this into consideration and wanted to create a piece that factor in all my interests and discoveries so far. I enjoyed the uncontrollable fluid media when poured onto a surface in exercise 1.1 and the inventive, imaginative options of exercise 1.4. My aim for the assignment piece was to combine both of these.
I have also begun reading ‘Contemporary Drawing’ by Katherine Stout. This has been an influence in much of my decision and creating process. A couple of artists have stood out to me so far, such as; Piero Manzoni who ‘drew lines of varying lengths which was determined by the length of his chosen paper’. It was a series that had theatrical connotations attached to it. The piece was ‘giving materiality to the line that conceptually demarcates time’. (Stout, 2014: 17) Bob Law has also some interesting ideas linked to my own interests regarding taking inspiration from the world around him and taking time in a particular space. Law says ‘explore my mind and its relationship with the environment, where I came from and try to understand the universe and the way it worked.’ Further quotes from him ‘come to terms with the unknown’. (Stout 2014: 18-21)
I quite like this quote at the beginning of chapter one – ‘Obviously a drawing of a person is not a real person, but a drawing of a line is a real line.’ Sol LeWitt. (Stout 2014: 17)
I’ve been keen to incorporate red into my work since looking into Louise Bourgeois but I didn’t know how to do it. I thought my subconscious drawing would be a good opportunity to see what happened and to go with the process.
Something else that has stuck with me is the visual effect of this piece of art I saw at the Tate recently. It is a piece that is permanently there but I seemed to take more notice of it this time, perhaps because I was thinking along the same lines. Images below.
Stout, K. (2014) Contemporary Drawing from the 1960s to Now. London: Tate.
The Morgan (2013) Drawing Surrealism. At: https://www.themorgan.org/sites/default/files/pdf/press/DrawingSurrealismPressRelease.pdf (Accessed on 4th July 2018)
Derelict buildings and other inspiration from nature (images from my holiday in Croatia) all forming ideas for this part of the course, leading to this assignment:
(Please see hand written journal for corresponding notes)
My second attempt:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
I believe my technical and visual skills have improved a great deal from Drawing 1 and I feel more confident in creating drawings that demonstrate those skills. I am particularly pleased with the outcome of exercise 1.4 of which the option I chose to create was a more imaginative and inventive piece. I was able to transfer my knowledge with what I learnt from exercise 1.1 (fluid media) and create something that demonstrated my understanding of the media (ink) and the ways in which I personally found it intriguing to work with. I thoroughly enjoyed exercise 1.1, being able to produce a piece that was simply all about experimenting with the media and being able to investigate various ways to manipulate the application of the ink. This first drawing was the start of my developing interest towards performance art, which led to further research throughout the unit. In regards to the visual impact of my first assignment piece, (red and black) was a real disappointment. Now on reflection, the black creates a sense of power, of dominance in the piece and adding the red almost confused the piece. It started to get more chaotic the more I worked on it. The idea of the piece was to work subconsciously (linked from my research into surrealism) but once I had completed the piece, it seemed to contain all my frustration of how I was feeling about it. I was completely lost in the piece and I think the piece lost its way also. It didn’t know what it was meant to be. I tried to make amends and ‘save’ the piece by separating each A4 piece and resemble it in a different way. Thinking back to perhaps combining the landscape and installing the work in a particular place. Nothing was happening for me and I just couldn’t connect with the it. The drawing simply screamed HELP! I decided to scrap it… taking what I had learnt and what I didn’t want to repeat, I took my time over something more delicate. I think the conscious decision to make a subconscious piece almost back fired as I was drilling it into myself that it had to be about the action and I couldn’t think about what I was doing. I took out a long roll of paper I had left over and made the decision to simplify it by using only black ink. The way the water flowed and the drips were gently dripped onto the paper started to create a sense of calm but seemed to create a powerful impact on the page. It wasn’t too busy it was simply just there. I took many moments to reflect upon the process. I thought back to the way I worked with the ink and water in the previous exercise 1.4. In this exercise I was able to steer the ink in the direction I wanted it to go. I painted the water onto the piece with a paintbrush and then dripped the ink within the area of the water marks. This meant the ink only bled where the water was. I developed my piece in this way, adding more and more marks. The more I did this, I realised the more I was switching off and I found myself enjoying the journey, the process of drawing the line. It became a subconscious piece.
Quality of outcome:
Quality of outcome is always a tricky one for me. I always find my development work is stronger than my final assignment piece. Maybe I feel more free and more experimental, not worried about doing something wrong, in the exercises compared to the assignment piece. But I think because the first drawing for the assignment piece was slightly unsuccessful it meant that I seemed to have expelled that bad energy and got it out my system before I tried a second time. The final assignment piece that is now complete is delicate, simple and encompassed all (most) of the successful techniques I had been able to learn and explore. I feel that I could add more, but I’m never sure when a work is finished, maybe more time to reflect on it would have been an advantage.
Demonstration of creativity:
I had completed the first exercise by the time I had my introductory hangout with my tutor which was helpful as she gave me some feedback on the work I had done so far. She noticed my video of exercise 1.1 and highlighted the fact that this could go into some sort of performance work. She recommended some artists for me to look at, including Richard Long (land artist with site specific locations). This further expelled my interest into having my drawings involved or related to a specific place. The idea of this assignment piece was all about the action and subconscious thought whilst drawing which I understood this part of the course to be about – expanding your understanding of what drawing is, where it can take you. My drawings have always had some sort of link to nature and this was my subject matter which propelled my drawings and mark making for this assignment piece and the exercises before. My initial thoughts for the assignment piece was derelict buildings and the idea of nature taking over, or not even nature just the sentimental idea of everything has its time, has its purpose and then moves on. I demonstrated the beginning of this idea in exercise 1.4 with the vines taking over the tower and I wanted to take this forward. Due to the final outcome of the drawing having a more conceptual impact, I decided to install my drawing amongst buildings creating a juxtaposition of the soft, delicate vines that have been drawn, but only to a certain extent, controlled, and the harsh, man made buildings in London. I feel that this is not particularly a polished idea or piece but I think it might be the start of something that will become a more in depth idea. I have a few thoughts that I would like to carry forward with me onto the next assignments such as; public participation and sit specific art.
I enjoyed researching Louise Bourgeois as I found her ideas and themes very close to home. Her battles with ongoing depression and relationships with people close to her was something that I was personally able to relate to. I think I would benefit from looking into more performance art with drawing and perhaps explore with my own work a little more into land art. I took a real interest in surrealist art when completing exercise 1.4. I am keen to take this further and develop the ideas throughout the next few assignments. I also would like to explore action painting, Franz Kline, and more into abstract expressionism.
Responding to feedback from tutor report on assignment 1:
All comments highlighted in orange = what I need to do
All comments highlighted in green = what is going well
All comments highlighted in blue = how i’m showing my work/needs to change
‘critical comparisons between your work and the
artists you feel connected to – compare subject matter, materials, methods and
outcomes. Have more confidence in the process of drawing itself. Look at some of
the dynamic and visually exciting marks you have been making in the sketches, try
to free yourself up to let these appear in your more resolved drawings.’
‘slow down your pace, maybe
work on a small scale in contemplative way to see what emerges. Making like-for-like
size drawings of your polaroid photos might be one way to do this. You could use
coloured crayons and see what happens?’
‘one series of books for contextual
research, exhibitions and reading and another series for your commentary on your
practical work with photographs, diagrams and visual notes.’ = I have decided to use a sketchbook for artist research as I like to annotate artists work and get my ideas flowing, which I find easier to dribble down by hand. Moving forward, for my personal reflection on my work, I will make hand written notes for my initial reaction to how I am working and ideas that flourish (which I do already) but then type these thoughts up into my blog, which in turn I think would allow me to reflect a second time from making the work to when it is finished. This, I think, would help slow down my pace as my tutor recommends I do, I which I agree with as I find that particularly for my assignment pieces I tend to rush them and my analysis of my work could be stronger once I take my personal connections out and see it as a piece of work – something my tutor pinpointed in my actual assignment piece, which I felt was a very relevant comment –
I think the first attempt is a much more successful piece of work than your second
attempt. You immersed yourself in the process and maybe at the end you could not
step back from it and see it as a drawing separate from your feelings about it.
The first attempt has visual relationships with the starting point, the derelict building,
it is layered which offers associations with the passage of time and I can imagine the
history of activities in the building. In terms of marks there are shapes that might be
industrial stains, there is a sense of dirt and grime building up over time. The
introduction of more colour was striking in this work. I wonder if you had used more
substantial paper whether you might have felt differently. – on reflection I completely agree with these comments. I felt that I had lost the idea of derelict building ideas but I think if I had given myself some more time to contemplate my work I would have been able to ‘unpick’ what I had done. I have realised that I need to critique my work and not just artists I research – link it all together.
The second attempt has a seductive quality in the organic flow of the ink and lines
but it is feels rather derivative, it’s been done many times before. I hope this does not
sound too hard but I think it’s important to be straight. It has a certain kind of beauty
but I think it lacks the depth and visual interest of the first attempt. – the immersive way I worked into the painting and lost myself.
However, after mentioning the above my tutor also recommends that I use a larger format for my learning log… ‘I suggest you use a larger format for your learning log to give yourself more space to see what is going on. Your learning log is an important document for you to go back through and recognise your progress as well as any ideas that you haven’t yet had time to explore.’ Would I benefit from carrying on with my personal journal/learning log hand written? If I am going to do this then I need to separate my artist research and my learning log…?!?!
I need to be able to see the start of each exercise very clearly. I also have to be able to
relate your comments in your learning log to the drawings you send so the Post-it
notes on drawings are very helpful. A Word document or PDF showing the key
images from each exercise would be very helpful. Please number the individual
drawings on the back so I can refer to them easily.
Feedback on exercies and assignment
1:1 and 1:2 This long drawing would work well on thin card where you could make a
folding screen. The free and varied mark making and the extended horizontal format
suggests landscape. It made me think of walking along the edge of a woodland
glimpsing the sunlit space beyond the trees. Think about what happens at the edges. – this idea of working on the ‘edges’ of my drawings crops up a lot in this feedback so this is something interesting to think about that I hadn’t considered before. I think this is also evident because composition has never been a strong point of mine so this is to be improved.
Composition – Visually dynamic but pay attention to what happens at the edge of the
paper. Top right and bottom left – the sense of depth and darkness gets lost here. – these were simply a real quick experiment and it wasn’t a time that I was considering tone it was more about experimenting with materialist and if it would work or not. But again the edges are something to consider.
Crystal Palace drawings
Good observations about how more and more is being revealed as you see more
clearly over time. And I notice you are checking the basic shapes. As you say the
charcoal drawings work better as compositions on the page. There is a sense of
three dimensional depth in these that is missing from the painted pieces.
You need to make it clear when you have completed your explorations
that you can see where there is a conflict between the nature of the subject matter
e.g. the slender lines of the tower, and your drawings e.g. the thick black paint lines
and comment on it.
What are the visual effects of
a. the white paint bleeding into the black?
b. the paint drips? – I think this comes down to a deepened critique from me regarding my own work. I need to become more analytical and understanding of how my work creates a particular effect and how that relates to my ideas. This exercise was supposed to be based upon Kline’s expressive works. I need to make a link between what I have discovered when drawing e.g. my slender lines of the tower and then demonstrate that quality when it comes to upscaling the work. This is lost I think because I was trying to imitate the style of Kline and the expressive quality but I didn’t successfully execute the two together.
Well done – you have demonstrated you can commit to an exploration and sustain it.
There are some effective elements and less effective elements in the large drawing.
The desription of the tree limbs at the top of the page is strong and visually
interesting. The tower below is much more unconvincing. Have the confidence you
show in some of the sketches e.g. sketch 7, where there are dark darks. The
tentative lines mean that the tower does not have substance which is not helped by
the fact it is floating in space. You are trying to bring together two objects and you
need to show the physical qualities of each. – I agree that I should have been ‘braver’ to add dark tones into the piece to perhaps demonstrate shadow and depth with the tower place on the paper. I perhaps focused more on the conceptual ideas of what the object could become rather than looking at the physical quality it has.
Look at Breugel the Elder’s painting The Tower of Babel to see how he sets it in a
landscape. You do not need to draw a landscape but you should make some marks
that indicate an environment for these two objects connected to each other. – I agree
https://www.theartist.me/collection/oil-painting/the-tower-of-babel/ – biblical motif. Produced in 1563.
Visually, like in this work, I could have added a few marks to suggest Forna at the base of the tower to give it an environment in which it belongs.
Sketchbooks – Number each page lightly in pencil so I can refer to it in the tutorial reports. You may want to keep a small sketchbook for visual notes. – I already have a pocket sized sketchbook I take in my bag and completed small sketches when possible (i did not send this in with my portfolio)
Learning Logs or Blogs
Your contextual research is independent, thoughful and relevant. I noted your
change of mind when thinking through Swayne’s paintings, this augers well for your
I suggest you use a larger format for your learning log to give yourself more space to
see what is going on. Your learning log is an important document for you to go back
through and recognise your progress as well as any ideas that you haven’t yet had
time to explore.
Greg Rose – use of stencils to create lines and spaces when drawing trees.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkGXkcyA6Jo – I had a look at this. It was an interesting process that he uses however very intricate. I think it fits well with my tower drawing but I’m not sure that I want to sustain the intricacy?!?
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographic series of industrial structures. – please see sketchbook pages below
Hannah Hoche’s collages. – please see sketchbook pages below
Pointers for the next assignment
If you have space display all the drawings from one exercise and take about 10
minutes to just look at them, then make some notes about what you can see.
Walking out of the room and coming back in a few minutes is one way to try and see
afresh and become more visually discerning.
Contextual research – carry out some critical comparisons between your work and the
work of other artists.
Pay attention to tone, if you squint the tonal range will be more apparent.
You demonstrate commitment to exploring different processes and in 1.4 and
Assignment 1 you show your capacity to sustain the exploration.
You are making critcal reflections on the outcomes of your explorations. Don’t be
too quick to make negative judgements, take time to sit with your drawings and see
Composition – think about how your drawings fit on the paper. Be aware of the
visual relationship between the drawing and the edge of the paper. Pay more
attention to what is actually happening on the paper, at the moment this is more
important that what you are trying to make the drawing do.
Contextual research – carry out some critical comparisons between your work and
the work of other artists.
What i’ve taken away from this:
- separate my artists research and my own reflections/journal
- Draw smaller, play around with other materials
- I would like to start introducing colour into my mark making now
- Be more analytical in my own work and connect it to other artists
- Give myself time to be more reflective
- Think about composition – edges of the paper
Referencing for artist research suggested from tutor:
Tate. (2018) Who are Hilla and Bernd Becher. At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 1. Water Towers USA (1988) [photograph] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 2. Blast Furnaces. (1969-95) [photograph] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 3. Gas Holders – Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, USA. (1966-93) [photograph] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 4. Winding Towers Germany, Belgium, France (1965-98) [photograph] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718/who-are-bechers (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
The Art Story (2018) Hannah Hoch. At: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-hoch-hannah.htm (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 5. Das schöne Mädchen [The Beautiful Girl] (1920) [collage] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/hannah-hoch-das-schone-madchen-the-beautiful-girl (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 6. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany. (1919) [collage] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/hannah-hoch-cut-with-the-dada-kitchen-knife-through-the-last-weimar-beer-belly-cultural-epoch-in-germany (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 7. Da-Dandy. (1919) [collage] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/hannah-hoch-da-dandy (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Posen, A. (2016) Hannah Hoch and Collage. At: http://thecreativehours.com/creative-exercise-hannah-hoch-and-collage/ (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
The Artist. (2018) The Tower of Babel. At: https://www.theartist.me/collection/oil-painting/the-tower-of-babel/ (Accessed on 20 July 2018)
Figure 8. The Tower of Babel. (2018) [painting] At: https://www.theartist.me/collection/oil-painting/the-tower-of-babel/ (Accessed on 20 July 2018)